Dear Life by Ray Stearn

In October 2021 we shared our last workshop with Anthony Costello. After writing this poem we talked about how important a title can be. In this poem, without the title it is simply a travelog. Add the title “Dear Life” and a completely different piece emerges.

 

Dear Life

 

Driving North it is well hidden,

Until that final bend in the road

Where it dominates the view.

The Angel of the North.

Ugly slab of rusting metal

Or iconic, beautiful sculpture.

After all these years I still can’t decide which

But

That simple act of driving past

Takes us North,

Northumberland, Beadnell,

Seahouses,

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

Here our dreams are met

In serenity, beauty, solitude.

For Northumbria is yet to be discovered,

Even through the pandemic,

By the Ibiza crowd.

Seals sing at Seahouses.

Buntings bathe at Bamborough,

Home of the famous Bamborough Banger,

Smoked, like the Craster kippers

And the Swallow Fish prawns.

The Angel, going North

A beacon for happiness,

Relaxation, rest, peace.

 

A week later

We travel South.

Southward, The Angel is visible

From a distance.

Growing reminder of the return

To daily tasks.

Living, breathing,

Paying bills mending ills.

Does The Angel frown as we pass,

That smooth, expressionless face

Above the monoplane wings

The car climbs the hill

The Angel disappears

Until the next time

When

Driving North

The Angel smiles again.

 

©Ray Stearn 7th October 2021

 

Dear Life by Val J Chapman

 

Dear Life

 

I awoke slowly today, carefully.

Yesterday still owned me.

 

I have sailed through my life

And all its choppy waters, rough.

Sinking sometimes, gasping breathlessly at others.

 

Love was always around, in all its many guises.

Sometimes it danced; sometimes it kicked,

And sometimes it left.

 

Left me, still loving, yet empty.

And the clock ticked, its fingers circling rapidly.

 

Until death touched me, sharply.

 

And the years ticked again, loudly.

Speaking to me then as friends.

 

Dear Life, you taught me severely.

 

Yet now I feel the peace, coming almost full circle, with love.

 

Complete, satiated.

 

And I heard what you taught me, with thanks.

 

 

 

© October 2021                                                                                                 Val J Chapman

Val J. Chapman, It Flickered and Shone

 

James Nash was with us for our August Workshop, the writers were asked to write a piece then go back to it in the workshop and edit it. I have included both drafts from our talented secretary, Val so you may see how work can develop.

Ray Stearn, Chair, TCWG

 

‘It Flickered and Shone’

 

(First Draft)

It lit up my life, as I read by its light

Under the covers, in the darkness I lay

Until the noise was gone

Only then did I switch it on.

 

It lit up the pages, the print of the ages

The torch in my young hand

My guilty pleasure.

 

And then I heard a footstep land

And my Mum say “Val, are you asleep?”

“Yes, Mum”, I said, and shook my head.

————————————————————————————————————————————————-

(Second Draft)

I lay there in the darkness until the noise was gone.

Only then did I switch it on.

It lit up my life, as I read by its light.

It flickered and shone, and then it was gone.

 

It lit up the pages, the print of the ages.

The torch in my hand, until I heard a footstep land.

It flickered and shone, and then it was gone.

 

Under the covers, in darkness I lay

Until I heard my Mum say

“Val, are you asleep?”

“Yes, Mum”, I said, and shook my head.

It flickered and shone, and then it was gone.

 

© August 2021                                                                                                  Val J Chapman

Picture of Lady Lying by Mark Hales from Jennie Bailey Workshop 1st July 2021

Picture of lady lying

 

Are the roses in bloom? I am so tired

you work us so hard

Go cut me some roses,

we are so tired

I cannot go I’m stuck on the couch

 

The view through the window raise me high so I can see

no more we are too tired

you aren’t very caring, you hated me

we don’t hate you, but you work us too hard

 

If I get up I will fire you

there will be no job no money,

no food on your table

all you need do is pick some roses

 

© Mark Hales 1st July 2021

 

Disposable Moorland by Ray Stearn

 

Disposable Moorland

 

For the want of a burger white cotton grass was lost

For the want of a burger pure black peat was lost

For the want of  burger soaring skylarks were lost

For the want of a burger green soft rush was lost

For the want of a burger mad march hare was lost

For the want of a burger keen kestrel was lost

For the want of a burger bell heather was lost

For the want of a burger rich red grouse was lost

For the want of a burger the moorland was lost

For this is the barbie that lit the grass

That burned the peat

That singed the skylarks

That ravished the rush

That harried the hare

That killed the kestrel

That hashed the heather

That roasted the red grouse

That murdered the moorland

And all for the want of a barbequed burger

© Ray Stearn 23rd June 2021