Birthing Words

I feel obliged to write you with my reasons,

though they wane and wax with time, there’s constancy,

nothing can surpass the words 

if, even sleeping,

they drift and drone and beg, oh, please, choose me!

I shush them when, in real-life mode, I’m enacting

fulfillment of the roles I must obey,

I try to shun them, tell them, wheesht! I’m working

Do they listen? Not a word that I can say.

They tease, torment and test me with their pullings,

This way, that, o’er here, oh, Anne-Marie, please look at me.

Dismissal doesn’t work, I’ve tried, they never listen,

I jot them down for my posterity.

I’ll come to you, I say, when I have finished, 

the workload that demands so much of my time,

I’ll hear you better when the pressure’s off me,

Like children, they just sulk then whine on constantly.

I must admit, I’d miss them if they left me,

They start my day and end it with their charm

And even though they tug, torment and taunt me,

They never really do me any harm.

I love them, they’re my children, 

Add to seven,

the words that birth themselves and beg me, please,

feed me, fill me, love me, never leave me.

I resign myself to mother of all these.

You’ve got to love this place. Even when I’m ignoring it as much as I can to do what I have to, it sneaks in. Checking through a bunch of emails that I’m also trying to ignore till I’ve, at least, wrapped the feckin’ presents, I come across this one, leading to this one that takes me back to this one and spawns this one.

I can be accused of many things – a tendency to leaving things to the last minute being chiefly noticeable at this particular time – next year I’ll start in September, like some of the folks in my school. Who wraps Christmas presents in October? Does this mean that they have Easter sorted too? Booked their summer holiday?

I seem to remember that my essays always got in on time. But usually after an all-nighter. Each to their own comes to mind. But this might be why I’m still shopping, haven’t wrapped a single present other than the lucky dip for school, will hit some stores tomorrow, god-help-me, and enlist the help of my fourteen-year-old wrapping elf.

I can’t, however, be accused of being short on words – check my posts. Haiku? I wish. I’m missing my writing time so badly that I’m dreaming the bloody words again. Noted for future reference. Driving to work has become a memory test. Repeat, repeat, repeat till I can note.

Ain’t it great though, that words demand of us? That’s kind of what Charles was talking about, I think. It’s like words are truly born – and I know what that’s like! Including one emergency caesarian with the last. Some are easy, some not so much so, some require intervention. But, after the birth, you look and say, I know you. I’ve always known you.

My kids – my real babes – are sorted for Christmas. I just have to make sure to take time to tend to the ones that keep on crying. Love takes many forms.

Merry Christmas all you lovely folk. I may be back before you know it. Or I might be burning the venison, cursing the carols (don’t you just get sick of the same ones?!)

Feck it! When my crew are all sated, from too much of me, I’ll be loving my orphans.

Won’t we all! Mothers and fathers to words.

Your words are a gift. I thank you for them.

They’re also your gift to yourself. Open them every day.

Christmas-gift-certificate-template a

Words are made flesh and live among us.

Unexpected

Sneak away to cotton wool of quiet

Where verbiage is visual, thickened slurp

Upon a screen, (or paper’s always preferable),

It’s stealing time between each gulp and blurt,

Like weaning from the waifs that all are gathered,

No kidding, it’s like twisting with the crew that Ollie kept

(before he joined the rogues and Fagin’s chorus)

And held his plate for seconds (though unmet). 

I figure at this rate that I’ll be plastered,

(with drink or effort or the two combined),

It’s early days for falling on the flooring

(but as long as fridge is full, they’ll step over, they won’t mind).

I wonder where they put it all, these grubbers,

(like orphaned foragers who’ve starved till I stepped in)

I really should be charging for this workhouse

(or at least for all the hangers-on they bring).

But, bugger it, they’re young and I’m an old fart,

(Moaning for the fun of moaning’s sake),

We do that you know, (while pushing zimmers),

It’s called prerogative (or some such take). 

I really can’t complain, (they made the dinner,

But buggered up the menus I had planned),

See it, want it, eat it, (no questions),

It was delicious with the French bread (full of garlic, heavy hand).

It’s gone quiet now, (they’re off to their own rooms)

(At least, I think that’s where they’ve sneakily disappeared),

I’ve been excused for good behaviour (by hubby,

who’s now got his feet up in a chair)

Though very soon it’s pick-up for another,

He’s on that (cause I had Cabernet, a lovely wine)

Daughter back with cat, (no longer tiny kitten),

Poor dug will have a seizure (or maybe fine).

It’s the unexpected nature of the season

(Well, it feckin’ is, if you live here!)

Beds unrolled, (some couches unfold)

And counting heads, (maintaining all good cheer, sic).


Did you know that some wines are labelled 14%! (I didn’t.)

Swear to god and all his wee buddhas and helpers

(no offence to all wee buddhas and helpers)

I am such a light weight at times.

Two glasses is what I call a cheap date.

I blame all the work.

And then suddenly stopping.

Confuses the body.

And the mind. (Spirit still intact).

It’s not really Christmas Eve tomorrow,

is it?

I’ll probably do my damndest to escape to wordville over the season ( I call it maintaining sanity) but if I don’t (or even if I do) I hope you all have a lovely Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasonal Fest.

Thank you all for reading over the year and all the lovely comments. It’s still such a pleasure to glimpse all your worlds. May the New Year be good to you. And all your dreams be blessed.

Anne-Marie x

Sad Tears. Happy Tears.

I’ve cried a few times over this holiday period. Yes, Hogmanay, I find a very melancholic night. I hate it actually. I don’t want to view it as the end of a year and reflect on another year of life passing. I want to see it as one more day in the unfolding days of life. But, for some reason, every year, I find myself weeping. I’m fine the following day, as if it never happened. It’s not alcohol induced. It’s just a sad sort of melancholy I cannot avoid in the hours leading up to the bells. And I know I was not alone in feeling this way. I have read a number of posts from others who felt exactly the same.

I want to share with you though another evening of tears. Happy tears.

Christmas Eve. My 20 year old daughter came home to spend Christmas and gave me my Christmas present on Christmas Eve.

It’s a beautiful leather bound journal with carvings and leather bindings. It’s gorgeous.

But she inscribed it to me. And here is what she wrote. I cried. And I hugged her for her love and understanding.

To Mum,

I got you this journal to say that not everything you write has to be read by the world and not everything that is read by the world is actually how you feel.

When you feel angry or frustrated or sad or lonely, I want you to write in this and be reminded of how proud I am of you. How proud that you’re my mother. I want you to write in this and remember that I love you very much, that we all do and that will never change. I want you to write in this especially when you feel that no one is listening or that something is just too difficult to say and know that I will always be here to support you. I want you to write in this, mum, even if it is just one word and I promise you that everything will be okay.

And then one day, if you allow me, I’ll read it. I’ll read it and be reminded that it’s okay to have flaws and faults because the strongest person in my life also did. I’ll read it and remember how brave you are and how your courage helps me through my darkest days. I’ll read it and know it all already because nothing you could say or do could ever disappoint or surprise me. I’ll read it mum and be in absolute awe at your talent. You’re amazing – never forget that.

Merry Christmas.

MK xxx

I’m crying again as I type this up. It is the most beautiful gift I have ever been given. The journal is lovely. The words take my breath away.

I am sure we all have people in our lives who feel this way about us. I happen to have a daughter who, like myself, loves to articulate what she feels. I am honoured she feels this way.

We all have those who love us unconditionally, I hope. And maybe we should try to say what we feel to let others know our love too. This has set me up for the rest of my life let alone the new year.

Magic And Miracles

‘You’re a big liar!’ Niece to my brother. ‘You said the tooth fairy was true!’

‘But you asked me again and again and again. What was I supposed to do?’

Stomped off to her room, stormed out in a huff,

Back minutes later, still not at all chuffed.

 

‘What about Santa? Is he a big fake?’

‘I can’t answer this. The truth you can’t take.’

‘I can! I can! I want to know! Is it Santa that comes or just you?’

‘Weeelll…..Santa’s a story to make things exciting but mum and I make your wishes come true.’

 

‘I hate you! You’re mean! And so is my mum! Why did you spoil it for me?’

‘You begged for the truth, now can’t take it. It’s all magic, like the Christmas tree.’

Some fair time later, niece reappears, eyes narrowed, a pout on her lips,

Staring at brother with such great intent, legs akimbo, hands on her hips.

 

‘So, Jesus, then. Is that all a story to make a little girl good?

Did you make him up too to keep me in check? It’s a conspiracy in the whole neighbourhood!

I’m stamping my feet ‘cos I’m angry at you. And at mum. You both make me sick!

Lying to me and both of my brothers. Is that what you do for your kicks?!’

 

‘Now, calm down sweetheart. Sit while I speak and the truth I’ll offer to you.

If you can take it then you’ve done some growing. Will you listen? Calmly? Please do.’

Sat on the sofa, still pursing lips but a questioning look in her eyes,

A pleading for sense in dreams all distorted. And new hope so she would not despise

 

Her parents and life and all those around her who promised then laughed in your face.

At ten, such a burden, to question the all then discover that words may be laced

With hurt so acute it’s a physical sore

An ache deep inside, right through to the core.

 

‘Now here is the truth. I want you to listen. Say naught till I’ve finished then ask

Any and all questions you may have. This, your poor daddy’s task.

All you’ve been told is real for a while,

Magic ensues. It all made you smile.

 

Fairies in myth and Santa in legend, unicorns from stories you’ve heard,

Monsters in lochs, aliens on planets. Some just exist in your head.

Most is imaginative and feeds little children. Adults wish they could hold fast

To all that you’ve heard from me and your mother. We wish the magic could last.

 

But time takes its toll and friends tell you snippets and magic begins to erode.

But never doubt Jesus, I’ve never lied about that. He is the son of our God.

He fills you with magic more real than a story, an infusing of God’s Holy Spirit

And miracles are better than magic, I tell you. God gives them without any limit.

 

I’d ask for your trust to return to your soul, your belief in things we can’t see.

God gives that faith. It’s a gift, my darling. A gift that’s pouring through me.

I’ve no more to say except that I love you with a love that knows no real end.

It comes from the source of all that’s created. Jesus, my sweet, is your friend.

 

And He is mine, you’d better believe it. I couldn’t do this all by myself.

Your hurt hurts your father, I bleed when you bleed, I feel what you feel. You’re me.’

Runs up to hug him, to wipe away tears. To comfort the father, no less.

‘It’s ok, my daddy. I get what you’re saying. It’s all true and still magic. God bless.’

 

Well, Mark, not at all what I was expecting. But who knows the mysteries of nightly meanderings? 😉

Brussel Sprouts

Why does everyone hate Brussel sprouts?

I was a good little girl. When I was told to eat up my vegetables, I ate up my vegetables. And I don’t think there is one that I don’t like. I acquired a taste for them all, you might say.

Unfortunately, no one in this house, apart from me, likes Brussel sprouts so it’s almost pointless having them at meal times.

But I am bloody well having them on Christmas Day no matter what the rest of them want.

Just thinking out menus.

And beginning my online shopping. Whee! Christmas is coming. Now I’m in the mood! 🙂

Are You Dancing? Are You Asking?

Today I was reinitiated into the joys of ‘social dancing’.

For the unenlightened, this is the kind of dancing your mammy and daddy might have done. Well, actually, my mammy and daddy didn’t do these dances. They were more your tango and fox trots and waltzes. But you get my drift.

You know the kind of dances. ‘The Gay Gordons’, ‘The Saint Bernard’s Waltz’, ‘The Canadian Barn Dance’ and ‘Strip the Willow’, among others. These are the dances that teachers like to encourage the ten to twelve year olds to learn for the day when, ‘You might be at a wedding or a ceilidh.’

In fact, the children involved today will do these dances at their school Christmas party.

A lot of schools have moved away from inflicting this punishment on children. I don’t know whether some child or other in the past begged their parents to take the education authorities to the European Court of Human Rights to ensure that their civil liberties were not impinged upon. But social dancing has rather gone the way of the dodo.

One of the schools I go to has, however, decided that it is still a valuable lesson in humility and had a practice today. I wouldn’t normally have been involved but I had a ‘Please Take’ scenario.

Three class loads of kids piled into the gym hall and were then instructed to choose a partner. The same one as the week before. So they had already had some practice at this. Nevertheless, the faces of some of the boys and girls were a study as they struggled with who to ask and then shuffled beside them awkwardly, trying not to make eye contact. There are always the one or two who are quite up for it. Worth a watching those ones.

I smiled to myself remembering this horrible experience from my own days at primary school. It could have been worse, right enough. My secondary school involvement in dances was a hundred times more humiliating considering I went to an all girls’ school.  So that didn’t make for much fun in the dancing stakes. Especially as a teenager.

We were allowed to invite boys from the local co-ed school once we reached our fifth year at secondary. I was about fifteen, I remember. We were all glad- ragged up and the boys were there. So too were the teachers. Old, wizened women who had never smiled since they were babes. Patrolling the assembly hall and ensuring that all partners stayed well apart from each other. No risk of Christmas kisses there. Or even a smoochie dance. No, no, no, it was all very disco from a distance. Status Quo and head banging. Some Slade and Sweet thrown in for good measure. While Macbeth’s witches shook their heads in dismay at the volume of the music and cackled to themselves every time they split up a possible meaningful relationship.

Anyway, back to today.

Heights between and within the year groups varied quite widely so we tried to pair the children so that the boys’ arms could actually reach above their partner’s shoulders. And so they didn’t look too ridiculous. We’re not that cruel.

The girls are really quite mature in their approach to the business of dancing with boys and some even extended their hands expecting to have them taken. At this point, many of the boys pulled the sleeves of their jumpers down over their hands to ensure no possible contamination from members of the opposite sex. An interesting way of dealing with the problem. But one I have observed many times before.

With instructions not to be ridiculous, they began. After demonstrations from two of the other teachers. A young lass reading the instructions from a pile of notes. Step, two, three, stamp, stamp. Step left ……you know how it goes.

The ceilidh music began and off they stepped. I wanted a video! You really would have to have been there. The almighty exertions of these children to follow what to them were convoluted steps while trying to hang onto their sleeves and count out the time to the music was a joy to behold.

So much better than the panto I had to endure the other week!

Not content with watching and encouraging I’m afraid I just had to join in. I’d forgotten how much I liked ‘Strip the Willow’.

It was a good day. And the children definitely improved. So in future years they can join in any wedding or ceilidh with ease! Very worthwhile practice, I think. And so much fun to watch. They were laughing at the end too so it couldn’t have been as horrific as all their protestations would have had us believe. Enjoying school? Teachers and pupils? Ridiculous!

Santa’s Little Shopper

In quieter moments, calm descends and peace prevails.

Time slows down, actions terminate and silence hails.

A blessing on an eve of pleasant pastimes,

Moments stretch and fill, a sweeter lifeline

To all the busy days that lie ahead,

Reposed, reclining now upon my bed.

 

December’s come and Christmas days are looming,

Excitement builds in kids, their faces blooming.

Activity so manic, all things pending,

Trees and decorations, all that spending

Time in frantic towns, in busy stores.

I’m really not excited yet. It bores.

 

To think of shopping really is no pleasure,

I’m gonna cheat and really will endeavour

To buy the pressies all upon the ‘net.

I hope I can achieve my aim. And yet,

There is a little frisson of a thrill

To join the hub. I maybe will.

 

But only for a day or two near Christmas.

Until then I’ll shop online and bypass

All the feet and sweating bods and trains.

I’m good at panic shopping! That’s my aim.

Achieve so many stockings full of wonder

But do it from my bed, no fear of blunder.

 

It’s not Bah! Humbug! to avoid

All the bizz and too much hectic noise.

I just prefer a calmer sort of retail

Where I can browse online and never fail

To buy the stuff. I have to make a list.

I’ll even check it twice in case Santa’s missed

 

Any sort of person that needs giving.

With kids, so many friends all need serving.

A token for the neighbours, this as well.

I’d really better start. Oh, bloody hell!

I do this every year. It’s how I am.

I wait and then I rush and try to jam

 

A month of work into a couple of days.

You’d think by now I’d learn that planning pays.

But no, it’s true, I never can be arsed

To start Christmas any earlier. What a farce

I feel it is to bring it so far forward.

I’ll get there just the same. You mark my words.

 

Video reading Santa’s Little Shopper

Ho-panto-ho!

OK, so, I’m on my third glass of red wine. And it’s a Thursday. And I’m making no apologies. When you know why, you surely would tell me to insert a couple of straws into the rest of the bottle and sink into sensory oblivion.

I have spent four hours of my life in the throes of non-rapture, non-fun, non-desire, non-fucking-anything-other-than-sadistic-pseudo-masochisitc-dubious-pleasure.

Yes. I was at a pantomime. In the company of around 500 children. Ranging in age from five to twelve. A joy. It was not!

I will never have those hours back again. But, if I did, I would have my legs waxed or deliver a baby or two. Or insert hot wires up my nose. Get my drift?

I have seen The Wizard of Fucking Oz several times in my life. At no point did it ever feature excerpts from ‘Grease’…..’we go together like shanga-a-lang-a-ding-de-ding-de-dong’ or whatever the ‘words’ are that I so cannot be arsed looking up. It never at any time had ‘Uncle Sam’ come on and give us a rousing chorus of ‘I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandee’. Nowhere that I can recollect did cowboys make an entrance and perform several ho-down, shoot-em-up numbers. I don’t even remember there being cowboys. There certainly was no one, in my foggy memory, asking ‘what did the fox say?’ Who gives a fuck what the fox said? Well, apparently five hundred children did. ‘Cos they stood and shouted/sang from the top of their lungs whatever the feck it was the fox might’ve/should’ve/could’ve said.

Add to that the multitude of opportunities provided by those kind actors to involve the children in their masterpiece and you have screams of ‘Oh, yes he did!!!!!!!!!’ or  ‘Oh, no he didn’t!!!!!!’ depending, of course, on whether ‘he’ did or didn’t. Sacred heart of all that’s holy………….

What is this phenomenon that is the pantomime? Or, in common parlance, the panto?

Is there another country in the world that feels the need to subject teachers/parent helpers/parents/grandparents/whoever-has-the-misfortune to this annual audio-visual assault on the senses?

Seriously. Is there? Is this a British phenomenon? And, if it is, why is it? At this point, I should probably google the answer but, honest to god, I cannot be arsed.

My brain is only coming down from the experience. I am still mentally calculating how many times  six year olds actually need to go to the toilet. I mean really need as opposed to, ‘I feel like a walk/would like to check out the toilets here’.

I also took a snack of jelly babies with me. And I feel a bit sick. What the fuck was I thinking? Jelly-fecking-babies? What possessed me? Must have had a momentary throw-back to my plooky youth and thought, ‘What the feck!’

So, yes, pantomimes.

And now I can hear my six year old in the room next door whingeing to her older 12 year old sister that, ‘it’s not fair!’ And, frankly, maybe it’s not but I don’t feel like investigating any more trivia today. Because most of the time what irks kids is trivia. Builds backbone. Thank god. That means that for most kids their lives are made up of the most trivial crap that it is possible to imagine. e.g. ‘He/she is looking at me. He/she said I was a loser. He/she said he/she wishes I went to a different school. And that I would die.’ Now, the last one I would deal with. Bit unkind that one.

But, god save us from trivia of the awful childish kind. Nope. There’s worse. There’s the god-awful trivia of the adult variety. Case in point. ‘This fucking job does my head in some days.’

Shiiiiit! Was that me? So, yeah, trivial complaints from me about a job that I love most of the time. But, fuck me, on a day like today, all I want to know is if anyone has a couple of straws? Really, ‘cos other wise, I’m taking it by the neck. Ho-Fucking-ho! And a merry panto season to you!