All posts tagged: family

Returning Home For A Spell

My father had a VCR tape of One Man and His Dog that we could never get to play properly. It’s probably still in the bottom of the cupboard, with the Disney films and MotoGPs that never quite make it across the living room anymore. Some people have got rid of their VCR players these days. There’s nowhere else for them to go but the bottom of a plastic bin so they stay in the dark with the dust and the spiders. That is the way things move on. In October I re-learnt how to be by myself. Sort of. Just me and the dog, and the crunch of autumn on farm tracks. Even the walkers seemed to be absent or perhaps I had fallen out of step with the world. Found the time of day when no one ventured further than their front-door or garden gate. I’d found a time when all of it, all of the emptiness was mine for a while. So I let it swallow me, completely, for as long as …

Hear The Ancestors Speak

There are motions that crack open the audios files inside my head. I don’t realise what they are until your voice is playing on the loudspeaker in my brain, blotting out all other thought with the echos of your absence. Salted caramel for the mind, both sweet and salty, love and tears. I will hit repeat until the lump in my throat jams the mechanism and you stutter into silence. In the months where I’ve lost track of time, I cannot tell if you have begun to sound more like me, or if I am becoming you. Rolling the words around my mouth before I speak as if to stain them with your voice. Familiar phrases still clutter my tongue as I sift through the vowels jumbled between my teeth. You spoke so easily compared to me, I do not think anyone notices that I am using your words instead of mine. Learning how to thread these sentences into conversations is a little like taking the waist of a dress in a few inches before …

Fingers And Toes

My fingers are wonky. Long, slender, but wonky. They start off straight enough, but seem to loose focus near the ends where suddenly they tilt off course as if there was a cat in the road or something.     I think it’s a Forrester trait. Hands and feet not quite lined up the way they should be. The length is all Swin, though the blood ran short at the other end, with teeny, tiny toes more child than woman.   Index, middle and fourth are all the same length. Even the little isn’t really little in comparison just a fraction shorter than the other mini sausages wriggling beside it.   At one family gathering, we compared missing knuckles, stumpy thumbs and odd shaped toes to see who could call bingo with a full set of oddities. Actually, that should have been the name given to my family. I hope tonight’s poetic’s host doesn’t mind me using fingers and toes as my family trait in response to tonight’s prompt. I know we were only meant …

NaPoWriMo – Day Seventeen : A Job Half-Done

If you don’t want to be asked to do something again, make an awful job of it the first time round. That was the lesson my father’s father apparently taught him when it came to household chores. It was the reason that his attempt on the lawn, a job normally reserved to my mother, has to be redone once he’d relinquished hold of the mower and she’d had chance to evaluate the outcome. It was similar to my Grandfather’s paint job of the kitchen in my Dad’s childhood home. The instructions were to leave two inches of each wall below the ceiling unpainted, so my Grandmother could do the edges with a hand she clearer believed to be steadier than the one she left her commands to. The result, was two inches of paint, on ceiling and wall each, while the rest of the room remained untouched. When my father pointed out that he didn’t think that’s what his mother meant Granddad responded with ‘Never you mind, I know what I’m doing,’ and besides the …

NaPoWriMo – Day Three: SHEEP ARE VERY IMPORTANT!

My Grandfather’s biography would be called ‘I’m sure a bit of string would fix it’. The cover held together with bailer twine splint ended and bright orange beside the tight, crisp pages of neatly suited companions, with their dapper dressed poses, and carefully choreographed covers.     It would be part of the collection. A Night Away For The Nile, Never Going Back To The Bog, Butchers Bike To Farmer’s Wife, Livestock Before Children. A Gate To The Face Or Three, Tales From The Garden Path. Down Drainpipes Up Ladders. Sheep Are Very Important! How To Escape The Country. How To Escape Back To The Country. Why Mad Families Are Worth It. Are You Really Going To Read This? SHEEP ARE VERY IMPORTANT!   It’s almost enough to fill a library. NaPoWriMo Prompt Day Three: A list poems about items with made up names.

One Simple Gold Band

The nursing home had labeled it. A thin strip of sticky white paper folded over the band, pressed together, with your name in neat, tiny letters as if it was a reminder in itself that the person who once owned it could no longer claim it as their own and had to be told ‘this is yours’ ‘this is something precious to you’ ‘this is part of who you were’. Tonight’s prompt was to write a poem based on a token such as those left by mothers for their children at the Foundling Hospital in London. Make sure to click the badge above and check out the other wonderful poems written by the fantastic poets taking part in tonight’s fun.  

Love From Budapest

You showed me the apartment in Budapest, phone held up in front of you as you turned in slow circles, laughing at the heat and mist outside.   The next day, the ones of us still at home gathered and scanned the Grand Prix crowds for a familiar face.   Grandad called to say he’d done the same. but you’d been hidden near the pits you explained that night on FaceTime, glorying in something you loved.   You will be back there this year to watch them roar around the track again. I will miss you just as much.     I found this poem pretty much fully formed in my draft folder with the date April 17th 2016. Thought it was time to dust it off and get it posted nearly two years later.

Thinking Of You

My Great-Grandmother did not turn grey in her old age, she went white instead. The photos of her in younger years are tinted sepia to the point where I’m not sure what colour her hair once was. I think it might have been the same brown as mine, but that’s just a guess. I’m sure my mother would remember if I asked her. In my memories her hair is the same colour as icing sugar. The sort we sieved over golden mince pies straight from the oven in the kitchen, bronze mincemeat bubbling through the cracks. Though we only made them at Christmas in my head the sun is beating through the windows and the tress are heavy and green. Beneath my tiny feet the orange seat of the dining room chair creaks with each movement I make and there is flour beneath my finger-nails, packed tight beneath the tiny half moons. I know it is my job to decorate the pie crust before it goes in for baking. These stubby fingers will mash pastry …

A Well Worn Inheritance

If courage is something we inherit then mine was already battle scarred the day my parents sewed it into my blood. Whenever I have to reach for it I reread the fingerprints bruised along its flesh from worried hands that clutched it close seeking reassurance. The beatings haven’t made it fragile. Instead it’s more like leather, worked until it bends softly beneath pressure but refusing to break. More often than not I wrap it around my joints in the hope it will support knees elbows aching wrists when I force them to lift me a little higher. I cannot hide myself completely beneath its folds as all armour has its chinks. Instead I protect myself as best I can, tuck in the frayed edges, darn the patches when they come loose and try to add something of mine that I can pass on when it becomes time. Daily Post: Courage