Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mops, poems and tuts

Hurrah - no need to go to church today as I'm no longer doing the 8am service since giving up my role as Sacristan at Christmas, and we've never gone to the 10am Family Service anyway due to not liking choruses. Or children. Or anything written by that ruddy Graham Kendrick (the only songwriter I know of who can never manage to fit the tune to the words, no matter how much he thinks he can). Give me an old-fashioned hymn any day. At least they have depth.

So, a lazy morning followed by a lazy roast lunch and an equally lazy afternoon watching Michael J Fox in "The Secret of My Success". Cute film, though not great - but you can't really go wrong with the great Michael J. in my opinion.

In the meantime, we are having an interesting time with mops. I managed to break our mop a couple of weeks ago, and Lord H bought a new one last week, complete with spare mop parts. Ready for when I next break it, I imagine. Curiously, since that time, everywhere we go, we are followed by women bearing mops. Even in Brighton yesterday, we spotted three. Is there a national mop crisis, which I am not aware of? Or has the country been taken over by a sudden desire to keep the streets clean? Or are our womenfolk revolting with the only weapons at their disposal? Sometimes, I think I'm living in the twilight zone. Still, at least it's better than secreting illicit knives about one's person.

And, whilst I haven't been writing any fiction (poor Simon - he's still waiting for me to get him out of his current predicament ...), I have been busy with the poetry, and have managed to get two poems down this weekend. One for a Valentines Day competition in Writing Magazine ( and one about my grandmother, which I reproduce below:

My grandmother

always thought
I was a little pagan,
someone lippy who didn’t believe
quite how she did
although our anger was the same.
She sang opera
at the kitchen sink,
songs from the shows
while stoking the fire
in cold northern mornings.
Her voice woke us
in summer holidays
filled with coal and sweet pink biscuits.

We were never quite comfortable,
she and I,
never sure how to be together.
Perhaps we didn’t try for long.
But I remember one day
in my bedroom
a bird flew over my hair,
sparking ancient childish terror.
I screamed
and the bird spun upwards and from wall to wall
in wild, unreconstructed flight,
a whirlwind of feathers and fear.

Disturbed by the noise,
my grandmother pounded upstairs,
calling my name, the note of panic
sky-clear in her voice.
The bird’s wings flapped a storm around us.
Her hand snapped out,
as fast as light or sound,
and caught it.
A quick movement,
a click, a silence,
and wings hung limp and soft
over her pale fingers,
the bird’s neck broken,
an angel in death.

She left without speaking,
taking the fresh carrion with her.
I never asked what became of it,
if its fate was fire or burial
or if she simply threw it in the street
for the rag-and-bone man’s cart.

Later, I cleared the mess of feathers
from my small room
and banked the memory down.

Hmm, a tough cookie, my grandmother. And good on hand-eye coordination too. Ah, memories, eh?...

Which brings me to tutting. Apparently, Lord H tells me I do this now without thinking and even before he's done anything wrong. Well, I like to save time, as you never know what he might be about to do. I don't like to have my tutting box empty. Be prepared, as Grandma used to say. Oh, and I've just finished reading the Selected Poems of James Fenton. Loved some of them, but others left me cold or were just plain irritating. Personal favourites are: the marvellous "I'll Explain", the haunting "Tiananmen" and the bleak but beautiful "Fireflies of the Sea". And I see I only have three poetry books left to read now, so I'll have to go on the hunt for more fairly soon.

This week's haiku is:

City of bright lanes,
couples, the windswept pier
and, always, the sea.

Anne Brooke


Irene Black said...

Good grief, Anne - you certainly know how throw a punch. That poem is awesome, absolutely terrifying, but brilliant.Crumbs!



Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Irene - glad you liked it!



Sean Carter said...

Hey quite a poem you've posted there...and all the best with your writing competitions...and hey since you'll be writing stuff on Valentines Day you can check out my blog sometime where i've included a few posts on Valentines might it visit soon and find out!!!

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Sean - and great blog too. Loved the choice of movies!!