The Nymph


burning_tree_by_azad03-d3cvkrw

There’s a tree in my neighbour’s garden

And inside, I see a nymph.

She’s trapped within

That rough, grey bark.

Frozen.

Heart still beating,

Eyes still seeing,

Mind still racing.

But they will slow soon too.

Years later she will forget.

Another form, she’ll take;

A reverse metamorphosis

Eyes still seeing

Heart still beating.

Only just,

Only then

It’ll beat to the rhythm of her prison.

No more restlessness.

She’ll take her cocoon

Sometimes she’ll remember

A previous life.

It will return like pleasant scents

Mixing in with

Stale odours of bark and sap.

And then she’ll be locked

In, once again

In the body of another.

Stagnant, stagnating,

Moss and lichen,

Vines which wrap and strangle

Until it stops everything,

Until immolation – a phosphorous grenade.

A light so bright

It will give eyes which finally see

After, only after

Blindness takes hold.

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Success in the face of failure


 

sea hagThis year, yet again, I am taking part in NaNoWriMo; that famed writing competition that goads you, that wills you and challenges you write a 50,000 draft of a novel in 30 days. It’s a seemingly insurmountable task and yet, this year, with a full time job, two children and a surprise birthday to get through, I decided to go for it.

I won’t win, but that’s OK. I might get close to 30,000, which will be a massive achievement in itself but again, I won’t be able to claim the 50,000 word winning badge like I had done back in 2013 when I had a cook, a maid to look after the children and no job. I found it hard then too; I remember going on a 10,000 word marathon on the last night and finishing with minutes to spare. I remember just collapsing in a heap afterwards and the absolute elation I felt after I submitted the first draft of a novel that would never subsequently be published. It was like giving birth. The pain, the joy, the disappointment, the anti-climax…but ultimately the pride.

I won’t be able to claim that this year. Although, secretly…I’m still hoping, by some miracle, I might be able to pull it off.

But the success lies in unearthing the desire again. The quiet broodiness and then, the ultimate decision to try once more. I’ll never really be done. And in the act of writing, I find that joy of creating and seeing my world unfold. Who cares if no one outside my blogosphere sees it? I’m making a whole universe come alive peopled with hope and humour.

Click on the link, if you don’t believe me!

The Sea-Hag and the Moon Queen

Bloody Pumpkins Everywhere!


Orange

Don’t you just hate Halloween? I am the Scrooge of All Hallow’s Eve or whatever the f*#£ they decide to call it. This Americanised, bastardised evil which is upon us means nothing to me except, of course, entitled children demanding sugary treats, sometimes accompanied by smug, sometimes tired looking adults, sometimes “in the effing spirit of it all”, dressed up like a sexy cat! What’s all that about? Bestiality or something? Leave me alone to enjoy my evening away from people. Anyway! F-off Halloween and take your crappy, carved monstrosities of the organic fruit and veg isle, with you! pumpkin

This too, shall pass…


There are times when we look at the world and feel despair. Events over the months of 2016 and part way across the threshold of 2017, have given us justifiable cause for such malaise.

Trump will be president within days. The Syrians are either forgotten or vilified, Britain is leaving the EU, the weather has turned to murk and it’s cold. Underlying it all is the common theme of hate and fear and it’s all fueled by the need for power. Xenophobia is a weapon of mass destruction and yet it is allowed to be wielded time and time again, not for a greater good, but for the good of a tiny minority.

What has happened to humanity? Some of us are outraged but not enough of us. Are the rest of us just apathetic then? How has it come to this?

There will be a women’s march in London, against Trump next week, just ahead of his inauguration, and I’m considering going with my daughter. But Trump is not the disease, he is simply the symptom of a system which demands that we look out only for ourselves. The individual will always be greater than the group because as individuals, we have tasted ego and it is a heady cocktail rush of me, me, me! And it’s highly addictive!

Research has shown that happiness is not achieved from helping ourselves, but by helping others. It can be gleaned from gratitude and noticing all the beauty that we are surrounded by.

The winter months in England are notorious for carrying, in its wake, a fugue of depression. Sometimes the sun won’t be seen for days, with a steady unsatisfying, grey drizzle, forming a kind of hazy veil over the world we see. It’s hard to see the beauty with branches bare overhead and hues of grey underfoot. Where to find the happiness here?

To recap, the world is filled with racists and the weather is shit!

At times like these I miss the Indian sun and the certainty of belonging with the rest of the brown folk. I miss waking up when it’s light outside. I miss the heat.

Again, I ask, where is the beauty? Where is my happiness?

I search and I search and then I sit down and cry. Just then, my son of five enters the room and I dry my tears quickly. He is hungry and I check the time. I fix him a snack and he’s grateful. He grins with the double gap between the top row of his teeth and hugs me. He fits perfectly into my embrace and I into his. It is I now, who is grateful.

The following day, I am observed teaching at work and am told that I need to jump around more, use different voices to entertain and educate the children I teach. It doesn’t really matter that I am in pain from the bleeding I endure every month, that the headache that accompanies it for days makes me dull and irritable. It’s no excuse. I know this, but I tell them anyway. Just because I want them to, need them to, not judge me. But they judge me and I want to scream.

It’s been raining continuously the whole day and it remains dark. By the time I leave school, the sun has already set but the stars have appeared. The moon has risen low in the sky, shadowed by ghostly clouds. It peeps in and out and it follows us, playing hide and seek all the way back on our drive home.

My daughter and I are delighted. I send the children inside and my daughter brings out the camera for me. “Take it with the tree, Mummy,” she says. The bare branches, the same bare branches form a perfect silhouette and I take a few shots with different settings. The results are satisfying.

I wait a day before I upload the images and look at them. It sustains me. These moments sustain me, I suppose until the spring, much like the branches which are bare now, but not forever.

And we remind ourselves, “…this too shall pass…”

moon