In Every Sense

Philip’s reel to reel

King Cole and Reeves bound us

Yesterday’s high tech magnetic tape

Rotating digits counted

 Noted in red-spined book

Labour’s hands finely copperplating

Words for future soirees

My ear to the speaker repeated and sang

Irish melodies and ballads

Baritone and childish soprano

Harmonising life then in music

In country walks

Woodsmoked potatoes

Memorised now in every bonfire

Leaves in a pierced drum

In freshest air and briskest walk

My too small hand in yours

Protected, directed

Loved

Simple

Loving memories

Gruff twinkled hazel eyes squinting against

Clayed tobacco. Condor moments.

Remembered in my senses

And soul

 

Serendipity, Synchronicity And All That Jazz

Bear With Me. I Do Get To The Point. I Think. Eventually.

Should I apologise now or later? Feck, let’s make it later.

OK, I know that on Friday I waxed a bit about Scotland and the beauties of its scenery and the quality of the land that makes me feel proud to call it home. Blame the whiskey and a hard week.

I feel its history and its trials and tribulations. But feelings aren’t always enough. Not always. There are thoughts and there is reason. There is right and there is wrong.

I’ve been pondering politics and independence.

Don’t switch off!

That’s not what I’m talking about here. It’s just that sometimes things come together in a magical way. And I do question, then just accept the synchronicity that exists in the universe. The hand of god touching. Poking finger into pond and causing ripples.

Where the feck to begin.

I could begin today with Shirley Maya posting an almost identical post to mine insofar as it touched on the voice of womankind within the world. A huge absence I think anyone with truth in their hearts would acknowledge. Politics has been for so long the realm of men. It’s been that way for many reasons. You know them all. I can’t be arsed listing them. If you want to, send me an email. And I’ll fill that page.

I just don’t have time or inclination to do it here.

Women have been, and continue to be, under represented in the voice of the world.

And, NO, I’m not talking of the burn-your-bra-men-are-bastards-sort-of women who portray womankind in such a distorted light.

I’m talking of your mother. And mine. Of all mothers. Of your wife. Your love. Your sister. Your daughter. Why are they not listened to in the way they should be by all men who claim to love them?

Why are they petted and cossetted as brainless princesses with doe eyes until they reach THAT age and then they are every man’s jail bait?

I will make generalisations here that I acknowledge may apply equally to men. I get that. Anyone with half a brain knows that there are good and bad men and women.

But men are still over represented in the political realm regardless of their goodness or badness. Or maybe because of it. 😉

I was thinking last night of some of the women who have featured in the political field for one reason or another and the names that sprang immediately to mind filled me with dismay. Maggie Thatcher. (God forgive me! I still have to ask that every time I think of her). Imelda Marcos. What a feckin’ eejit and betrayer of womankind. Then I thought Cleopatra! (Shit! I’ve just realised why I started thinking of Roman soldiers and then did the tortoise post! Gawd, my mind!)

Anyhoo, I’m already losing track of where I’m going with this. OK, you too.

To the chase.

Lots of stuff that I won’t go into ‘cos you’ll fall asleep or go, ‘Oh yeah?’ are coming together for me and making me believe that nothing really happens without cause. And effect.

Scotland. That’s where I started. I think.

Yeah, this guy, Magnus-MacFarlane Barrow. Scottish guy. From a place called Dalmally. I had been involved in his project ‘Mary’s Meals’ through schools. Knew I recognised the name. My mum had gone to a place called Medjugorje in Yugoslavia where she further realised the power of Jesus and His mother in her life. Yup. Knock on effect. Two of the people who had visited that place gave over their house as a retreat centre to anyone needing ‘time-out’ and rejuvenation. Calum and Mary-Anne MacFarlane Barrow. Parents of this other chappie.

Then tonight my brother posts on Facebook a message for me to listen to –Tommy Sheridan and Scottish Independence dealing with poverty and justice and then posts the one below.

.

All mothers (and fathers, I know!) must feel for the plight of these children.

My mother was involved with this family. I have been involved with this family. They’re Scottish. The cause is now a worldwide one. Can Scotland make it on its own? Do mothers have a voice? Should women be listened to in the global political arena? Who will make that happen? Or let that happen?

Am I making any feckin’ sense here? No wonder I write poetry.

There are times when right just feels right. And this feels right. It’s also good reasoning.

There is one species of humankind. There are two genders. We must listen to each other.

We really must listen to the voice of mothers. Because, with the odd exception, they love selflessly. And that’s what the world needs.

And I KNOW so do men. But the voices must be shared. How else do we achieve balance?

And now should I apologise? Nah. I don’t think so. 🙂 x

Sunday Up The Braes

Sunday comes.

We fetch our summer buckets; gaily coloured, red, blue, yellow and green. In a while, the plastic pails will hold Autumn’s fruits. Dad holds hands with one or other of us, alternating as each child takes a turn to race ahead. We skip along, stopping to check the hedgerows, trying to spot the nests that are hidden there. And, when we do, a proud cry goes up.

‘I’ve found one!’

We count the eggs but do not touch. We have been warned. None of us wants to be responsible for the mother bird’s non-return. Dad’s previous instructions are always bidden; his wisdom heeded, if not always completely understood.

We examine the markings on the eggs and note their colour. Dad identifies them. Sometimes we are proud to remember their names from earlier lessons. We scan the skies for the parents and wait quietly some way off to see if any bird spotted will return to the nest while we watch.

‘They never go too far away,’ says Dad. ‘They protect their young.’

The air is fresh and there is a crispness that makes it pleasant to take deep breaths.

‘Breathe deeply,’ says Dad, ‘in through your nose and out through your mouth. It’s good for you.’

We all inhale deeply and the smell of manure sails down tubes to eager lungs. Two or three deep breaths render us dizzy. One of us starts to turn in circles, arms outstretched, going madly round; adding in a fun way to the light-headedness of the moment.

In a twirl of excitement, we reach the woods and our first activity is to retrieve our home-made swing; hidden in the undergrowth on a previous week. We always expect someone else to have found it. We are always pleased to discover that they have not.

Dad ties the long rope to one of our favourite trees. Legs astride the swing’s strong branch, we take turns. We throw our heads back laughing, shouting for a turn, laughing in turn. We swing back and forth and round and round; sometimes pushing, sometimes being pushed. We swing until the fun in doing so is exhausted. The moment of completeness coincides with Dad calling on us. It is time to light the fire.

Collecting twigs is a competition. Are they dry? Will they burn? I’ve brought most. Look at me. I’ve done well. Dad’s praises are limited, directed and precise.

He smokes his pipe and leans against a suitable-sized rock; his legs outstretched to the fire we are preparing. We place the kindling in the middle of the stones already selected and positioned in a neat circle. Dad has previously shown us how to light a fire. Little bits of dried grass catch the flame, while gentle blowing helps it along. Soon the twigs burn and the smell …….I remember it still.

 

Every time I smell wood burn, I think of Dad and those days up the braes. Childish feet walking to a known destination where freedom, fun and adventure unfolded under Dad’s sparse but timely advices.

How I wanted one of the penknives my brothers used, to whittle little twigs to pointed ends that then pierced the potatoes Dad always magicked from hidden pockets.

We roasted those potatoes on our little fire. The boys, who were older, were permitted to turn them with their pointed sticks while my sister and I enviously watched this grown-up activity and wondered when our moment would come.

The potatoes burned nicely on the outside while eventually softened enough inside to eat with tentative fingers. We slugged milk, bought for pennies from the nearby farm. Creamy milk and hot potatoes hit stomachs only aware of hunger pangs when the activity stopped. No thought was given to whether the milk had been pasteurised or not or whose germs we shared in the communal drinking.

Sometimes Dad brought his billy-can and we shared sips of his tea, made from boiling water pilfered from a cattle trough. I was afraid of the cows, sure that they resented my unsuccessful forays at their watering hole. On more than one occasion I had to be rescued by one brother or other. While I stood transfixed by a mucous-laden cow, one of them would fetch the water, patronisingly reassuring me that the cow would not hurt me.

Even after eating, the day was still not over. My brothers carved their names in a broken-down tree, alongside an earlier week’s initials. The tree was our friend and plaything. Lying on its side, from whatever disaster had befallen it; its roots were exposed in a spreading mass. Sufficient exertion on our parts raised its purpose to a magnificent see-saw. Living trees were forbidden us. Nothing else was. There was only one rule. Do not hurt anything. That one rule enfolded us and all of nature in a protective embrace. And so we played freely.

We jumped burns, found special stones and leaves and spread all our treasures out for Dad’s perusal and identification. We only partly took in his words; understanding to follow at another time.

We scattered soil onto the dwindled fire to completely extinguish its living flame. We hid the swing again. Penknives were already closed and we trod the homeward journey.

Now birds were warming eggs in nests already spotted and not. Our bramble buckets were half-empty, the contents already mostly consumed earlier in the day. Dessert before dinner. Etiquette unbound. No silly rules to be observed. Just one rule; respecting the natural order of life. And that one was strict.

Dad’s walks up the braes were an adventure, giving Mum a break with younger siblings only to be attended to. The dinner she had prepared was always eaten with less relish than her efforts deserved. Stomachs full of brambles, potatoes and milk could not enthuse. Eventually Mum learned to abandon the Sunday dinner rule on such days. A plate of home-made soup was more than sufficient.

Faces rosy. Hands dirty. Smiles wide. Sunday bath-time followed.

 

                                                                                                                        

Letter to Mum

(7/2/10)

Dear Mum,

I can’t give this to you or send it but maybe if I write something down it will help me and, if I can clarify my thoughts and feelings, I’ll be able to talk to you.

There’s a hole in me that’s you-shaped. I miss knowing you; knowing that you’re down the road, physically present. I miss not being able to show my love for you. The love I had and have for you – only for you – has nowhere to go. The love of a child for its parent is exactly that. Where can I send it? It isn’t lost. It hasn’t gone. But I’ve nowhere to give it or send it.

Maybe when Dad died I was able to take that love and give more of it to you. But you’re both gone now and the love is trapped inside of me. It wells up and makes me cry.

Maybe without your own parents and without my Dad you took all of that love and transferred it to us – your children and your grandchildren. I felt the measure of that love and I miss that too.

How exactly were you able to transfer it? If that is what you did. Or maybe no – one ever can. Some loves are just for some people. The love I have for all the people in my life stems from the same source but the difference is there in each one.

I want to reach out my arms to you and hear you speak to me. But I’m afraid. I’m afraid of what I’ll hear and that I won’t cope with your words. Maybe you’re already speaking and I’m refusing to listen.