My grandaughter, Ellie Mae who is 5 years old wrote this poem. Which was based on an idea from ‘One Smiling Grandmother: A Carribbean Counting book by Ann Marie Linden. We are so proud of her. As a poet, I am impressed and see promise here.
Soldiers standing in a line
Not sure of the time
Waiting for the whistles to blow
Then over the top they go
Body’s lying on the ground
Some still not found
People waiting at home
For a telegram to come
The troops were happy
Smiling as they marched to the front
Most were only young men
Doing their bit for king and country
Things they weren’t told
It was a living hell
Most didn’t do very well
They laid were they where shot
Their bodies left to rot
Only a few made it home
For the next two weeks, I will be posting about the two world wars of the 20th century. The poet for this period is Catherine Pemberton form York, England. Her poems are written in the uncomplicated form and seek to tell truths that we can all identify with. I have chosen not to edit them and I let Catherine speak for herself. Later, I hope to publish an interview with Catherine.
I have often thought of the inhumanity that is forced on women and the stigma that attaches to children by the sins of brute men. This poem is one of the most moving I have ever read.
They call you bastard
to make your heart contort
into folds of pain and rejection of yourself
you wish to fall into perpetual coma
you go to your mom to demand your father,
your mom that tied you on her back
and held tight to the thorny fetters of life
your mom that shielded you from bullets
targeted at you, and blinded her left eye
she bows her head, ashamed, rueful,
you feel the push to force her mouth open,
dip your hand into her throat to dredge it up
If you are the bastard,
is the man that planted you into her?
the bastard is wandering about unabused :
is that rapist that pounced on your mom
is that unknown father
that goes about with his taut manhood
looking for more vulva to devour
is that father that does not…
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They say, if your life is too bitter then you crave sugar. And I do remember the acerbity on my tongue when my father told his diagnose: bladder cancer. It was like someone filled my mouth with pil…
Source: Early autumn grapes
I first observed Toni in my favourite cafe bar as she laboured away scribbling sentences in a notepad or tapped rapidly on her laptop. I imagined she was a teacher preparing lessons for eager students. After a year or so we were introduced and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Toni was, in fact, an academic, lecturer, poet, author, songwriter and an accomplished musician. With many books and a range of musical CD’s to her name, Toni is a widely read and respected author and musician. I am pleased to welcome her to our blog this month. I hope that Toni’s experience of the writing world will inspire you and that you will choose to visit her web page and avail of her works.
What inspires you to write?
I am pretty much driven to write, having written songs since I was ten. Certain things catch my attention, and propel me into a new storyline.
What is a measure of success as a poet and author?
If the poems or stories that you write are enjoyed, provide an insight into a different world, and reach out and touch one person only, this is surely a measure of their success.
Who are some of your favourite poets?
Wordsworth, Byron, Tennyson, Coleridge.
The Supernatural appears in many of your books. What inspires you to write about it?
Since childhood I have tended to occupy a parallel world much of the time. This was generally referred to as ‘daydreaming’ and was greatly frowned upon, particularly as I tended to do this during school hours. Inspiration happens as and when, and I have no hard and fast answer as to why I write in this genre.
You are a singer/songwriter as well as a poet. What makes a poem or a song good?
If the words, and tune when portrayed as a song, engender the emotions in others that I felt when I wrote the song or poem, then I feel that I have achieved my goal. I tend to rely on feedback, when I perform my songs, regarding whether they are good are not. It is also useful to see if they stand the test of time.
What was the inspiration behind ‘The Nameless Children’? Could you say a bit about it?
With The Nameless Children, my gothic supernatural story, I happened to see a reference to ‘nameless children’ when visiting Howarth and the graveyard at the Brontë House. These two words conjured up a world of mystery and intrigue which drew me in, developing into a story that I would never have imagined in the cold light of day.
What advice would you give aspiring authors and poets?
Don’t waste time wondering about which genre you should write for, or what your intended audience might be, just write from the heart. In addition, don’t spend time developing a plotline, just because you think it is expected of you. This can often be distracting and might serve to suppress the creative spirit within you. Write because you want to.
I ran today with the feet of a deer
I ran in my mind so no-one would hear
The thud of my heart as it beat in my chest
Or my soul call out to the East and the West
I ran through the deserts where the seas ran dry
I ran where no-one would hear me cry
The wind was my only companion
And stayed by my side as I ran on and on
And why do you run the voice inside said?
Do you run from yourself, from the voice in your head?
Or do you try to keep pace with the winds of change
Moving forever with the wind and the rain
And an echo came back through the rustling leaves
Finding its way around rocks, around trees
It spoke to the voice that still lingered on
Saying ‘run, if you must; run on and on’
For you need to feel the sun on your face
The deep-sounding caves out of time and of space
To go beyond limits where the edges are blurred
For no sense can be made of this parallel world
Your spirit must find its own way now
Not stay with the others or run with the crowd
For staying apart is your one saving grace
And being alone will help you find your place
© Toni Bunnell 290112
I met Keith in summer 2014. We immediately began a rapport that led me to a deep understanding of his poetic urge, right from the outset; we went on to spend and hour talking about the experiences in his life that had prompted a catharsis for pain, humour and his unique ways of wishing ‘to be’. Keith first wrote ‘First Aid for My Soul’ followed by his extended ‘The Debris Inside My Mind’. Here, in an honest and frank interview, he tells of his journey with the Muse.
What inspires you to write poetry?
My inspiration to write poetry is more often than not, the desire to explain and to release what I am thinking, without having to do it face to face. It is invariably to illustrate the darker or more euphoric thoughts and aspects of life and to express my feelings, emotions and observations.
What is a measure of success as a poet?
A measure of success is often measured in book sales. For me, that could not really be further from the truth, though the occasional royalty cheques are a bonus. The printing of my poems was a mere by-product and publication only icing on metaphorical cake. Success is knowing that something I have written has affected someone in a positive way, or at least begun to understand something of what and who I am, and have become. An example of this is an email I received from a reader, after I began to leave copies of my book on trains, with the label “Please read me!” This resulted in the following email: -I recently fell upon your book on a train from Tamworth to Crewe. I had just been in a job interview and was feeling down with a long journey ahead.The poems were inspiring and beautifully written, changing my outlook on that day. Fate will help me find the right job, and your collection made me thankful for what I have. So thank you! I left the book on my next train between Crewe and Bangor in hope that it reaches another willing reader. There is no greater measure than that.
Who are some of your favourite poets?
Rob Stevens (also known as Steven Zarel – stevenzarel.com), writes with such depth and insight. He can be sought out through Word Wizards in Buxton. His style and rhythm is such that his reading of a telephone directory would be enthralling. Greg Lake, (of Emerson Lake and Palmer fame) penned “Daddy”, which is the most profound and moving poem I have ever read.
What about ‘The Debris Inside My Mind? What is special about it? What inspired you to write about it?
The first poem in my book, entitled “My first one”, relates to the investigation and my dealings with the rape and brutal murder of a 14 year old schoolgirl. This violent episode had a traumatic and long lasting effect on my life, culminating in nightmares for over 30 years. The process of putting these feelings into words was so psychotherapeutic, that the nightmares ceased after the poems very first reading out loud. ‘The Debris Inside My Mind’ then became a collection of cathartic meanderings of events throughout my lifetime, and expresses my hopes as well as fears and observations.
What makes a poem good?
The ability to convey thoughts to paper in such a manner that the writer can paint a picture the reader can relate to and find meaningful. Invariably, truthfulness and openness help when writing from the heart.
What have you had published so far?
I have had a few articles published in magazines and many of my documents and video productions are used nationally, however, ‘The Debris Inside My Mind’ is my first published book.
What advice would you give aspiring poets?
Engage a good proof reader! Nothing puts me of moor than simpull speling miss takes and grammatical errors. They can interrupt flow flow and really braking flow off other-wise beautiful thoughts and observations.
Both collections are available from www.amazon.co.uk in one collection on this link.
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