Tag Archives: Val J. Chapman

Bommy Poems and Prose, Bonfire Night, November 5th 2020, Bonfire Night Memories by Val J. Chapman

Our regular Zoom workshop replaces the physical meeting at Touchstones and takes place on the first Thursday of the month between 2-4. This month it fell on November 5th so we had to write about Guy Fawkes’ Night, Bonfire Night, call it what you will. What I loved about facilitating this session was the marvellous memories we all brought back, I’m sure there’s a book to be had from this!

Val sent in her poem for our enjoyment.

Chairman Ray

 

 

Bonfire Night Memories

 

The excitement of the 5th November approaching surrounded us, at our young age, along with the anticipation of being allowed to go to buy fireworks at the local shop (they all sold them in those days).

For weeks now the bonfires would have been growing and growing in height and size, until they were tall enough to throw a Guy Fawkes on the top. He would also have been getting fatter and fatter over the last weeks of October, his old clothes being stuffed with hay or straw, and always with an old hat on his head. And prior to being thrown on the bonfire, kids would have been dragging him through the streets in a wheelbarrow shouting ‘Penny for the Guy!’ for a bit of pocket money.

Mum would make treacle toffee and Parkin which would be shared with our neighbours at the communal bonfire.

Dressed in warm, waterproof clothes, with wellies or substantial shoes, we’d take our torches and walk down to the already lighted bonfire on the corner where everyone from the surrounding streets would congregate. There was an atmosphere of smoky excitement, of lights and warmth and community spirit.

We all had sparklers and would wave them around to create writing against the dark skies.

All the young boys seemed to love the bangers best though, and the noisy Rip Raps which I hated; they scared me when they leapt along the ground in different directions, as if they were chasing me.

But the best was the baked potatoes which were cooked at the base of the bonfire in the hottest of the glowing embers. They burnt your hands when you held them, even through the knitted gloves that we wore.

But what remains sharpest in my memory is the smell of the gunpowder from the fireworks and the haze of the smoke which often hung around for days afterwards in the misty November skies.

© Val J. Chapman  5th November 2020

Bommy Poems and Prose, November 5th 2020, The Catherine Wheel by Val J. Chapman

 

Our regular Zoom workshop replaces the physical meeting at Touchstones and takes place on the first Thursday of the month between 2-4. This month it fell on November 5th so we had to write about Guy Fawkes’ Night, Bonfire Night, call it what you will. What I loved about facilitating this session was the marvellous memories we all brought back, I’m sure there’s a book to be had from this!

Val sent in her poem for our enjoyment.

Chairman Ray

The Catherine Wheel

 

It flies and crackles with sparks and light

Its colours whirring and blending in flight

It’s a circular wheel with a central pin

And when it’s lit it will start to spin

Gaining momentum, it sparkles and flies

Sending sparks into space and light to the skies

 

© Val J. Chapman 5th November 2020

If Covid Were a Person, What Would You Say To Them? Isolation, Val Chapman

If Covid were a person, what would you say to them?

 

Keep away! Keep away!

I’m not available today,

Or any day.

 

Can’t you see my mask?

It can protect me from people like you.

People like you are a like a virus,

Following me, kerb-crawling, encroaching.

 

You’re a killer, a murderer!

People like you make me ill.

I can’t even breathe because of you.

 

Yet you’re invisible, like a ghost,

Haunting me, taunting me, threatening me.

I could kill you!

 

And you could kill me,

But you won’t!

Val J Chapman

Val Chapman, Isolation

 

MARCH 2020 : ISOLATION

 

There is space, there is blankness, there is a complete lack of focus.

There is separation, there is loneliness, aloneness, and total isolation.

Diaries and calendars are devoid of appointments, arrangements.

Empty lines.

 

My house has never been so clean; my garden’s never been so green.

I walk each day for exercise, fresh air, and to keep me sane.

And writing, writing, writing; I need to do it.

No more empty lines.

 

I am hovering, like an eagle in the sky, looking,

Watching out for symptoms.

Waiting, hoping I may escape it, keeping safe

In my space.

 

Meanwhile, deserted cities, deserted towns.

All fallen silent, without sounds.

No socialising except by ‘phone; only myself for company.

Making us all feel totally alone.

 

And yet, when doors are closed, one learns to climb through windows.

Human nature, I suppose.

So there are still those who flout the rules.

But most of us are all still dazed by the closed doors.

 

Family and loved ones missed; no little faces kissed,

And promises of video calls. Hopeful.

Freedom’s just another word for ‘nothing left to lose’

But freedom’s not appreciated until it’s lost.

Freedom, one day.

 

 

 

 

 

April 2020                                                                                                         Val J Chapman