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Parenting (or I love you but please leave me alone for five minutes)

Two poems in one month! Well it is National Poetry Month. Whilst I planned to write ‘The Tale of the Vitae Plant‘ this one I did not, it sort of just popped into my head. As a teacher I have had a few weeks off with my Wife and kids. Whilst I love the time we spend together, having children can be draining. This poem came to me as a lot of different rhyming couplets and then I popped them all together. There was actually very little thought involved. It is kind of a snapshot of my life as a Dad. I hope it resonates with other parents and they do not feel so alone in their struggles. As usual you can read it below or go to wattpad and my collection ‘Bad Poetry You probably never want to read.‘ Enjoy….

Parenting (or I love you but please leave me alone for five minutes)

I know that you are my life
But sometimes you just cause me strife
Your questions really get me down
Why is the sky blue and the earth brown?
You are the apple of my eye
So why is it you must defy?
All the rules that I set
And no we are not there yet
The washing machine is going again
I think we’re on load number ten
I’m sure you’ve got more clothes than me
Your t-shirts number fifty-three
I thought I’d washed them all by now
But the laundry basket’s full somehow
How much TV do you want to view?
When I turn it off you look so blue
I have the theme tunes in my head
They go round and round when I’m in bed
Let’s go outside and play with sticks
Now put that down and stop those tricks
Just leave your sister alone
Hang on how did she get my phone?
Oh I see she started it
You both sap my energy bit by bit
I read this book the night before
It really is starting to bore
I read The Gruffalo a million times
Now I can remember all the lines
I keep reciting it in my head
If it’s not your music it’s that instead
To get you dressed takes a whole day
You just roll over and crawl away
We started getting ready at half past eight
It’s gone eleven and now we’re late
Why are you tantruming today?
Because in the cat litter I won’t let you play
Or eat that dirt off the floor
Or we have to leave we can’t play more
I remember when I had a book
In every cranny and in every nook
When I could read or watch TV
When I used to really be free
Now there is no space in this home
Because all your stuff is thrown
Across the floor and piled on the shelf
If I sold it all I’d have some wealth
Some you haven’t touched for a year
If I had my way it would be out on its ear
I was just going to throw that away
But with it you have started to play
How many toys do you really need?
You have horses in every colour and creed
Batman, Spider-Man, Thomas and Friends
This glut of stuff never ends
Then your relatives come around
And now there’s even more abound
Your Mum and me, we used to speak
Now we just nod when we greet
We look into each other’s eye
And wonder how we will survive
The romance really is quite dead
How do we get through so much bread?
Did you actually hear that rumbling?
It sounds as if your bottom’s grumbling
I am pretty sure we shouldn’t yet
Have farts louder than a jumbo jet
And when I try to have a wee
You suddenly appear just behind me
Can I have some space, however brief?
To do a poo or brush my teeth
I’ve got a cold I think I’ll drop
But you don’t care you just won’t stop
You just keep saying look at this
To jump a bit gives you so much bliss
I just want to have a rest
But my patience you must test
My shoulders are starting to ache
Just get off I need a break
I don’t really want to be a train
A boat, a horse or a climbing frame
How much snot can you produce?
We really must learn to reduce
The amount of tissues we are using
If only you would stop refusing
To let me wipe your button nose
It really just adds to my woes
I’m sure that fish cake was just mine
It really did look divine
Now it’s in your mouth of course
You’re eating it without remorse
You liked spaghetti the other day
We don’t eat shepherd’s pie that way
Oh look it’s now all down your top
This messiness has to stop
Can you sit on your chair properly?
You’ll hurt yourself and then it’s me
That has cuddle and comfort you
Oh you’re grumpy because you need a poo
Just get down, to the toilet run
Your tea will be here when you’re done
It took you ten minutes to get there
Now you’ve done it in your underwear!
I know when you don’t want more
Because you throw it on the floor
I’m just glad that we’ve got a pet
That’ll hoover up if I forget
And when I get five minutes free
I go and collect cold cups of tea
They seem to be dotted all around
In places they should not be found
In the bathroom, by the toaster
There’s even one behind the sofa
When you finally go to sleep
I tell myself I’ll have a treat
Because the days been a rollercoaster
I’ll just fall asleep on the sofa
It’s time to sleep not bounce on bed
But, “I love you,” you just said
Now I really want to cry
Your so sweet and you do really try
To be good and nice and wonderful
On my heartstrings you can pull
A cuddle, kiss and then goodnight
To lose you would give me a fright
I do this again every day
Because I love you more than I can say

National Poetry Month – a new poem

At last it is finished, my latest poem. It is a bit of an epic by my standards but then it is National Poetry Month. I tried something a little different with this poem, dispensing with rhyme to try to get a more old world feeling. I tried to get a rhythm going but that did not work, lines just seemed to shoot into my head so I put them down. When I came to editing I realised I quiet like that it focuses more on story than literary devices so left it how it was.

You can read The Tale of the Vitae Plant on wattpad in my collection entitled ‘Bad Poetry You probably never want to read‘ or take a gander below….

 

The Tale of the Vitae Plant

The King layeth upon his death bed
Skin pale as a ghost and pocked with marks of yellow and red
Though the last rites had been read, hope there still was
For in a far off land grew a plant
A plant so powerful it was told it could grant life to all
A crew were to be assembled, not of the nicest
But of the best, for a sinner may be more courageous
Than the most holiest of men
More builders than ever before were assigned
To build the most magnificent ship
A temple of oak stained to look like mahogany
Upon its prow sat the most beautiful mermaid
A sign of hope that was to bring luck on the seas
They would search the corners of the earth
To find the illustrious root
A tincture would be made and fed to the King
So his illness would, at last, be past
On the sunniest day of all they year
In the season of high summer
The rag tag crew, drilled till they were one
Set off on the fateful mission
The blue stretched to horizons unknown
A journey laid before, distance fixed
But timeframe chosen only by the waves
The creak and groan of wood knotted and gnarled
Weathered and beaten but standing true
Night become day and day become night
As not a soul didst enter their aura
But still they proceeded under rain and sun
One day the storm picked up worse than before
The sea a swell of dragons flapping violent wings
It threw the ship left then right, rocking more than a child’s horse
They went under deck or grabbed on to rigging
Anything that would save their mortal bodies
Like a bird set to flight one crew was tossed asunder
Landing in the water but making no dent on the waves
They shouted, they search but alas they could not see
Thankful they were, when the wind and waves died down
That only one was sunk like many a ship
But there was no time to think of this
Off course they had been driven
The maps and charts checked once more
A new direction set as sun descended and star appeared
A score and three they had been at sea
When yet new weather at once appeared
Through mists dense that none could see
Swirling and howling like horrible ghosts
Day and night one and the same
They journey through the impenetrable shield
Upon their exit, some four days hence
A cruel banner did descend upon them
Black as night with bones of X
Underneath a dead man’s face
Thus battle ensued of the fiercest nature
Smoke from cannon mimicked from whence they had come
And billowed high from treacherous fire
Though the ocean was full it could not get to the blaze
So bucket and basket transported their saviour
Poured, thrown and chucked a chain of buckets
Combated fire and saved the deck
Though the wood stood firm their assailants entered
Swinging from rope of twine and walking on plank of wood
Rapiers glinting showed off a deadly arsenal
But many more were hidden in the fog and smoke
With slash and thrust the swords tried to find purchase
Tried to rid our heroes of life given so freely
To plunder and steal what secrets this ship held
As the enemy deemed a life of villainy more rewarding than hard labour
But our lads and ladies didst not falter
They too had weapons a plenty
That of steel and wood and gunpowder
Blood did stain the well oiled deck
And many were taken to the kingdom in the sky
But alas, those deadly pirates could roam the seas no more
Cut down as they were in the vigour of their lives
Many of ours too did fall, never to stand again
But time for pity and to pay respect was not upon them now
The mission too important so such frivolities would have to wait
They continued henceforth till the sun position
Justified to them the location upon their maps
Their destination nearby must be
As black and white gulls swept the air
Diving, screeching, they follow the ship
In expectation of a feast, free loaders, unthankful
But alas their plans were foiled, no scrap tossed or morsel given
With renewed vigour our crew didst sail forth
The land glinted, found at last, a shining jewel
Moored in the bay they took to smaller vessel
Rowing ashore, toward the picturesque scene before them
Stepping foot first on pure white sand as the Sun’s rays beat down
They knew they should venture forth
But a moment in the sun is good for the soul
And thus they stopped there to rest weary heads and aching limbs
When sleep threatened to overtake them it was time to move
Up the bay and toward the lush foliage they marched
Into a small wood, large leaves and winding barks
That felt rough to the touch and had a strange tickle
One looked down to see a mini beast
Eight legs, large mandibles and a million eyes
Screams echoed, bouncing from bark to bark as more emerged
Crawling, scuttling, seeking flesh
The spiders bit deep, injecting venom
Swelling, puss filled sacks grew forth on arm and leg
Till man and woman alike did fall
And were consumed by a sea of legs
The rest did charge, dodging trunks, looking for any opening
They twisted, they turned in hope to find some secret exit
Through the dark maze finally found their way
They ran back into the sunshine and on to a glade
Hearts jumped at the welcome sight
A field of flowers aplenty, red and blue, purple and yellow
A kaleidoscope of fresh scent, a painter’s dream
But all too quickly the nightmare had taken over
Some incredulous beast didst taunt them with gross roars
Bounding into the peaceful meadow it cut them from their path
Its hulking mass, its thick brown fur, its piercing eyes
Did not waylay their vision from the yellowed fangs
Its breath was hot and tasted unpleasant such was its proximity
One of ours made a dash, fast of feet they flew
But alas their speed did fail them
And impaled they were on sharpened teeth
As flesh did rip and the beast did gorge
The others saw an open path
Best to save oneself than risk the entire mission
Take flight they did as the Bear distracted on his feast
And thus through all danger and treachery
All but two had been felled
Was this a price worth paying for one man’s life?
Though he be a King among men, a leader to all
From glade of beauty a wall of weeds
Thick and dense so no man should pass
They wondered east and they wondered west
Alas there was no way round
It was through the obstacle or turn back
They had lost too many to give in now
So, without knives, swords were drawn
Hack and slash, vegetation didst flow
No care given to homes of bird or rodent
Luck was with them this time as nothing worse
Than parrot or mouse hid away in the foliage
Whence at last they did find a way through
On golden path they did set foot
A dusky road to travel to such wonder
The path was steep and made calves burn
But ever onward they did trek
Pebble and stone tumbled down the slope
Collecting under the growth they had come from
Rejoice at last as small stone steps
Crudely fixed together with mud
Rose slightly to an opening, cut direct into the rock
There in nothing but darkness showed
As if a portal to yonder nightmare
But beyond the root they desired, grew steadily out of the sun
How such a plant without base needs
Could survive neither didst know
Unsure of what would appear inside
Their feet did falter and minds did create
A plethora of scenarios, each more horrific than before
Realising this was their destiny they could not let hearts rule heads
The chamber set deep in rock was to be
Their salvation or their tomb
But only way to know for sure was to cross that dreaded line
To step forth into the unknown
Once inside their fears allayed
As if they were players stepping onto a stage
For sunlight streamed in on well carved steps
Guiding the way with natural light
As dim a house appears when viewed through a window
But brightens by the presence of man
Their nostrils assaulted by the stench of decay
As they descended the crypt they didst see
The treasure they coveted that which they did adore
Around which sat bodies bereft of flesh and bereft of life
A contrasting juxtaposition against which the seed sprouted
A glow from whence they did not know
Bathed the plant in the most glorious light
And thus it shone like a beacon in the dark
Asking them to pluck it from this prison
So that once more it could see the day
One was cautious, stepping back, assessing what must be done
The other head strong, rushing in, ready to grab and run
He reached forth with grime cover hands
Eyes only on that which they sought
But as his fingers broke the light
And showed every crevice covered in dirt
Yet before he could touch their elusive prize
A terrible rumbling came from the earth below
Shaking the remains of those whom had stepped here before
As if they were byproducts when panning for gold
Appearing before them like some kind of apparition
Stood tall four fighters, thin and gaunt
Risen again, the bones of soldiers felled long ago
From the dust and cobwebs appeared
In each of their hands a rusty blade
Our heroes blocked and parried, sliced and thrust
Had these been normal enemies their dancing blades
Would have meet with skin, biting deep into flesh
But these were some sort of demons from the pits of hell
Where sword did hit bone and limbs were lost
The skeletons hit the floor, only to reform
They had lost their power and skill in death
But their endurance didst stretch on
And, alas, our heroes faltered
Strength and focus giving way to nought but wayward swings
They could have fled at any point
But loyalty stayed their feet and kept their hearts strong
Only so much stamina does a man have
And on thy enemies pitiful weapons they did surrender
Giving up on life’s true wonder
And more was their pain that no hand still touched the elusive root
Ere to this day they still do dwell
Though no flesh they have to speak of
But if one as bold didst want the plant
Then it be their folly that will rouse them
And of the King they still do speak
But not in tones of glory
History tells of his incurable illness
And an adventure to find a mythical root

End of year review 2016 (here we go again!)

So here we are again, at the end of another year and once more, like nearly all writers, I am doing a look back at the year blog post and, in terms of writing, what a year it has been. Right, after that  really long sentence let’s begin.

I always start off by reviewing my targets from the year. I specifically kept them simple in 2016 to avoid disappointment and another year of failure, simply put all I planned to do was ‘do some writing’ and I certainly did that. It is probably clearer to look at my three successes…

 

Poetry – as you may know I am bad at poetry, but that has never stopped me writing it! I managed a whopping six new poems that included topics such as Nintendo, love, Star Wars and not being able to write well. I have never had a repository for my poetry so decided to make one rather that it just sitting on this blog. That meant that ‘Bad Poetry you probably never want to read’ was born. I popped in my older poems that were on this site along with the new ones. As it is a work in progress it is only available on wattpad at the moment. You can read it here. There was to be a seventh poem for the year but nanowrimo took over and it was abandoned. Please feel free to ignore my poetry but if you do read it can you leave a review? It can be good or confirm my belief that I am terrible at the medium.

A Close Shave with Destiny – I finally finished my first draft of the story I started in October 2015 for Movember. It turned from a 5000 word short story to a nearly 40,000 word novelette. I finished it just before the start of nanowrimo so it still needs a proofread and a cover created. Expect it out in paperback and ebook format in 2017.

The Fifth Coin – this was my story for nanowrimo, which I am happy to say I won thanks to sticking very close to the target daily word count. I really like the story and have pushed myself to keep writing it in December, although not at nano pace. I am now on 60,000ish words and only have three chapters to write to finish the first draft, two of which I am already half way through. I hope to have it out next year as well.

 

So overall nothing published but a lot of words down, the most in any one year. This is largely thanks to Google docs which allows me to write from anywhere. I often sit for five minutes and add the odd hundred words which does add a little to a novel and keeps you in the flow. In fact I am writing this blog post on Google docs on my phone whilst my daughter is asleep in my arms.

Right on to next year, there is a lot I would like to do but the ‘just write something’ idea worked really well this year so I am keeping it. That said, in an ideal work ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ and ‘The Fifth Coin’ would be published and I would have started work on something else as well as a few more poems being released. We will see though!

Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year, I look forward to 2017 in the hope that it is good for writing. Thank you to new followers through the media hop set up by Raimey Gallant, I do look at your posts even if I rarely comment. I do hope you enjoy this blog and find it useful. Anyway, to every out there good luck in whatever you do next year, unless it involves hurting kittens, then I am afraid I cannot condone it!

National Poetry Day 2016

A friend told me yesterday that today, if you are reading this on the day it was posted, was National Poetry Day. I seem to miss these things. When I got home from work I quickly checked the theme and wrote a poem. The theme this year is ‘messages.’ I had no idea what to do so I wrote a poem about not being able to send a message with a little humour in there for added measure. It was written really quickly and I abandoned rhyming early on. I am actually quite happy with it. It is called ‘I tried to send you a message’ and, as per usual, can be read below or in my poetry collection on wattpad, ‘Bad Poetry You probably never want to read.’

 

I tried to send you a message

I tried to write a letter but I couldn’t find a pen

I tried to phone but you didn’t pick up

I tried it in an email but the computer took too long to load

I tried to send a text but I was out of phone signal

I tried to contact you on social media but the Internet was down

I tried to send a fax but realised it was an outdated communication method

I tried to shout it from the rooftop but did not have a big enough ladder

I tried to tell your other friends but they said they weren’t seeing you till next week

I tried to get some flowers and a card sent from a shop but I didn’t have enough change

Then I saw you, walking in the street, I tried to tell you but forgot what I needed to say

Probably wasn’t important

I’m not that good at poetry

Just a quick blog post. After watching Dr. John Cooper Clarke on a TV appearance recently and loving some of his minimalist poetry I decided to write a quick poem about how bad I am at poetry. It is, subtly, entitled ‘I’m not that good at poetry.’ You can read it below or on wattpad in the collection ‘Bad Poetry you probably never want to read.’

 

I’m not that good at poetry

I’m not that good at poetry

The rhythm seems to flow

But when it comes to rhyming

I can’t find the words that bananas

 

The other good news for poetry fans is that I am working on another poem all about how my baby daughter keeps stealing people’s glasses. It is going to be a classic!

 

New Poem – The First Word

Now the summer holidays have come I am tasking myself with writing for at least ten minutes each day so I can get something out before the end of August. Sometimes I find, like most writers, that I just need to get the first word right to allow my writing to flow. I know what I want to put down but cannot always start. For some reason today I felt like writing a poem and thought this writing conundrum was a worthy topic. Unlike the ideas behind the poem the actual writing of the poem flowed and I was able to produce it quickly. I tried to get symbolism in there rather than focusing on rhyming like I have with most of my other poems, you can not only tell this by the metaphors but the fact it does not rhyme at all! For once I feel like I did a good job and am rather proud of myself, a little bit smug you could say! You can read the poem on wattpad or take a gander below…

 

The First Word

Shaking, trembling, the perspiration falls

I have so much to say

So much to give to the world

Like a torrid ocean my mind swirls

I know where this will go

I just need to find its hand

So I can lead it to its destination

But alas it blocks my path

My kryptonite

My achilles heel

My dark side

My temptation

My inner demon

A vast land stretches before me

But I am stuck behind a wall

Peering through the bars of a gate

If only I could get the key

Turn the lock and be allowed to run free

I look, I stare but all is bare

As I fumble in the undergrowth

I find what I am looking for

Cold metal on my sweaty palms

But there are more and more

Some copper

Some plastic

Some card shaped

But which is right for me?

The land changes as I move each one close to the gate

It turns to fire, then ice, then sand

All will work, but only one is right

Which I pick could shape my destiny

Keep me flowing through this land

Carving out a channel through the rolling hills

Until the next wall appears and I must choose again

I use the first key I saw

Poke a toe out, the grass feels rough

It is like thorns pressing into my foot

I pull back in pain

Maybe the plastic one will do

I try again but this time I feel water

It is cold, ice cold but does not feel bad

What is that? Swimming there?

Sharp teeth, dark eyes, wide jaws

I retreat again, to the safety of this place

Behind the wall, waiting for the inspiration to come

Waiting for the right choice to be made

I search some more, there are keys

Keys everywhere

Some hang from trees, pretty and ornate

Some are deep in the ground, covered in dirt

Some give an aura of hope

Some tell of despair

And so this will go on and on

Find a key, try the lock

Taste the air and feel the ground

I will keep going

For minutes

For hours

For days

I will find the right path

I will be able to run free

But I cannot think of that now

Now I need to hunt

Now I need to search

Now I need to find my first word

World Cup Dreams – two copies to give away

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I’ve got two copies of World Cup Dreams to give away, just write me a football poem.

Euro 2016 starts in less than a week so to celebrate I thought I would do a different type of promotion to those I have usually done. I have made a book free for two days, which is quite easy when they are on Kindle. However, the Extra Time Edition of World Cup Dreams is both on Kindle and in print. So this time I am going to give away two print copies of World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition for FREE. As I have had to purchase the books before sending them on I am going to make you work a little for them. What you need to do is write a poem about football, it could celebrate the Euros coming up or the World Cup. It might be about your favourite club team or a great manager or player. It might even be about grassroots football. The only rules are that it must be original, it must be about football (sometimes called soccer in some countries) and it can be a maximum of 250 words long. To enter you need to fill in the form below. The competition will finish on Friday 3rd June at midnight UK time. I will then pick my two favourite entries (very subjective I know!) and contact them for an address to send the book to. When the competition has ended I will put some of the entries up on this blog (both the winners and other good entries) and will link to the websites/blogs/twitter/facebook of the writers (so you can get a little promotion yourself.). Right then, all there is to say now is good luck and I look forward to seeing the entries.

 

World Cup Dreams competition entry form