Tag Archives: kathleen Proctor

Response to Painting by Kathleen Proctor


 Response to Painting

Interior in Standgarde : Sunlght on the Floor by Vilhelm Hammershoi

 I sit at my desk, about to begin writing the letter that I know will affect my life.            The sun streams in through the window but its warmth cannot touch me.                        My heart is cold and I know that what I am about to do is unforgivable. Yet it has to be, it is inevitable now, I cannot turn back, cannot do the right thing.                                 So, I close my mind to the consequences of my actions, to all the hurt I am about to unleash on someone who deserves better, better than me, someone who can feel sympathy, not this empty vessel that I have become.                                                            Guilt is my permanent companion but this is my choice, my decision, my doing.                                         I pick up the pen and begin to write.

 Response to  Painting “Six Tailors” by  Lubaina Hamid

It was booked as a Creative Craft session, the first in the Rehabilitation Programme devised by the powers that be to make sure that all the government boxes were ticked and signed off.It was only open to those with a record of good behaviour or in reality those who were astute enough to give the illusion of being amenable, and ready to embrace change, of which I was one I was adept at subterfuge, knew the right noises  to make, said all the right things, toed their line.                                                       Actually it was popular only because it afforded us an hour out of our cell, we had nothing to lose. We were resentful when we saw the task, we were completely unused to this activity This was  not Man’s work!                                                                                  We expected to saw or hammer or use our strength, not this mindless waste of our strength or abilities. We were clumsy, useless, unable to follow simple instructions, could not cut out a simple shape or thread a needle, we were not made for delicate tasks.

We were hard, powerful men, now reduced to sheer incompetence, being unable even to thread a simple needle.                                                                                                             I fail every time. I do not like it. My fingers itch.                                                                 The scissors tempt me; they are sharp, lethal and well within my reach.

 Response to Painting “The Jungle” by  Wilfredo Lam.

The Faces stare at me. I try to look away but I am mesmerised, forced to watch.

They are mocking me, laughing, I cannot bear the raucous sound they are making, taunting and deriding me.                                                                                                            I close my eyes but the imprint is etched on my brain, menacing, grimacing, contorted.

They move closer in unison, threatening, hostile, weapons clenched, waiting to be unleased on to my defenceless feeble body.

The outlines merge, become fused, a congealed mass of vicious intent.

I can no longer function, I am annihilated. Obliterated, reduced to nothing.

I close my mind and await the end.

©Kathleen Proctor 13th August 2021




Bommy Poems and Prose, Catherine’s Story by Kathleen Proctor

 Catherine’s Story

Honestly, I was so naive! Like as though I’ve been living in a box for most of my life!

Well, admittedly, I hadn’t really ever been out much, this covid stuff has a lot to answer for, but I honestly thought that this specially constructed  flat that I always lived in and which suited me so snugly and fitted me so well, would be my home for ever, that it would be here that I would see out my days, safe, warm, and comfortable.

Oh yes, it had its drawbacks. I’ll admit that. It seemed to be was always quite dark and, if I am absolutely honest, a bit boring, nothing much to see in the surrounding, but lots to hear.

My fellow inhabitants were very vocal, and were now beginning to annoy me.                                                                     Right next to me in our communal home, was a long streak of boastfulness.

“Just you wait and see,” he’d say, “When the time comes, I’ll outshine all of you!                                                   Everyone knows that Golden Rain is the best, the most spectacular and beautiful of us all!”

Well, I had no idea what he was talking about.

Hence the naivity. I should have known better, paid more attention, asked questions, but I didn’t.

“When the time comes!”  What time?  It was all a mystery to me!

So, I just ignored him as fantasist. Big mistake!

I could hear other voices too, equally as loud, boasting that they were the shiniest, the loudest, the most sparkly… all these claims were a closed book to me. I just decided to keep my head down and keep quiet, just ignore them all and they might all go away.

But, this particular day when it all happened, seemed strange from the start.                                                         Everyone was tense somehow, waiting, uneasy, almost expectant, it was as if no one could relax. Anticipation was the name of the game. Something was in the air, strange smells, loud banging and odd whoosing sounds I hadn’t heard before, but as usual, I just buried my head and stayed ignorant.

I was just drifting off to sleep, which was difficult  to do, as it seemed as if the room was moving. I started to feel a bit seasick, as though I was being tossed about in my bed. I had to hold on to the sides so I wouldn’t fall out, but then, I was suddenly very roughly grabbed and prised out  and held in some sort of vice.

No, “Excuse me!”  No warning! No chance even to get dressed or put any make up on.                             I was simply manhandled out of my comfy bed and I was on the move.                                                                                      The, I was brutally jammed up against a hard wet wooden  surface and…. well, I have difficulty finding the  correct words to desribe the horror of the next  few moments.

Suffice it to say, that I was pinioned to a piece of wet wood and then stabbed right through my centre and nailed there! A hammer was used.                                                                                                                             I do not want to say more, for fear of upsetting people, but after that, believe me, there was no possibility of escape.

I tried screaming, pleading, but it was no good. No one cared or heard. My futile pleas only seemed to encourage an strange apparition, wearing a beany hat and wellington boots to come closer, in fact, to peer right up into my face!

He was laughing and carrying fire. I knew what fire was because my mother had always warned me about the consequencies and dangers of fire ,in fact , my own father lost his life in a fire and so  I knew to keep well away from it  and now, here it was,  directly in my face,  up close and personal.

“Go away,” I screamed, “Leave me alone!”                                                                                                                              But the bobble hat didn’t answer and so the fire did its work.

Now I am reeling. It hurts! So much pain, my balance has gone, I feel odd, giddy, and, to my astonishment, I began to revolve, a sensation I have never experienced before and one which I do not like at all, far worse than any seasickness.                                                                                                      So now, I am starting to spin, slowly at first, but then more quickly, in a kind of frenzy.                                                           Faster! Faster! I am on a roller coaster ride with no brakes.

My brain is over loaded. I am spinning completely out of control.

I can’t stop myself. I cannot fight it.  It is exhilerating!

I do not want this to stop.  Then it is over and I am finished.

I have achieved my destiny!

I am complete!


© Kathleen Proctor November 2020


Man or Mouse? by Kathleen Proctor


 Man or Mouse?


Impassively, he watches the seeping blood

circling his right wrist like red rubies on a bracelet.

Spaced meticulously with great precision,

beautiful beads, glistening drops of pain.

A bloodletting to dull consciousness

and divert thinking.

Around his left wrist, an angry continuous bloody line

etched carefully into the filthy skin.

His own personal line of fire.


The wounds round both his ankles were healing now,

forming scaly scabs which he would pick off later.

The chafing of the harsh military issue socks,

three pairs, woollen, and the heavy, mud encrusted boots

worn for sixteen days and nights, moulded solidly to his feet,

compound the damage wrecked by the shard of shrapnel,

carefully kept and honed to a vicious point.


The field orderly had prescribed bandages

to cover the suppurating sores.

“Sir! Rat bites, Sir!”

“Sir! Trench foot, Sir!

No questions were ever asked,

no bandages were ever applied.

This damage could not be plastered over.


His only solace, a cardboard gas mask box

hidden in a crevice. Inside, a brown mouse

trapped in its prison, fumbling ,cowering

terrified, scrabbling to escape.

Spending its time climbing the walls.



It was given no name, just a number.

It would not last long, none ever did.

Its place would be taken by the next one to be trapped.


Had it ever known soft hay and a soothing silence,

the feel of warm summer sun on its back?


Very gently, he removed the mouse from the horrors of the box,

it scurried up his arm, caressing and touching his bare skin.

Warm, inquisitive, alive. A brief moment of connection

with a normality now denied to him forever.

the sensation of stroking silky soft skin

of living flesh touching his, caressing him gently,

stirring fleeting memories of desires from long ago

when the world used to make sense.


Then. “Action Stations!”

A cacophony of discordant clashing noises,

and the terrors began again!

Man and mouse thrown back into their personal hell holes.

No quarter given. None expected.


Then horror! The box is crushed,

flattened by the blundering, brutal boot of a man

fumbling for a foothold, scrambling

to obey the order to kill a man he does not know.

Someone’s father, someone’s son, someone’s brother.

A man who has lost the ability to feel

An automaton who does not hear

The incessant screaming of a man and his mouse.


One single rifle shot to the head,

precision fired, as per sentry training,


Then the screaming stopped.


A man and a mouse died at Passchendaele.

No one cared or noticed.


© Kathleen Proctor 2020





Looking on the Bright Side of Life? by Kathleen Proctor, Isolation

Looking on the Bright Side of Life?

Are you keeping cheerful?

The future is not looking bright.

Life in lockdown drags on,

It can drive you insane.

I’m bumbling along

Head full of cotton wool.

Don’t get me wrong,

I’m trying to be strong!

I heard from the hospital.

I cried happy tears.

It is the not knowing,

The loss of control,

 That flags up the fears.

How long is your hair?

We should be grateful

And wait for our release

When this horrible virus

Is overcome and beaten.


Ah well, meanwhile,

We are still allowed our dreams.


This is a “found” poem made up of words and phrases from emails sent to me by friends during the last few weeks.  It was interesting to see if I could use them to convey  a mutual feeling, experienced by not just my friends, but which resonates with many people  living through this strange situation.

 My title is maybe somewhat ironic …

© Kathleen May 2020