Near Drowning

Inspired by Beth Taylor and Faye Benedict to engage in Memoir writing, not to mention some sunny days in the past week and good swimming, I found myself remembering a very different beach. When I was nine years old, my sisters and I were caught by the outgoing tide at Castlerock, in the North of Ireland. Sadly, there are often drownings on this coast, but we were fortunate, all rescued, and forever after have respect for the water.

Near Drowning

I am swimming
There is only me and my body
And water. No-one else.

Each breath is breathed in fear
Salt wet wild water
Does not care where it goes
Following wind and tide it throws
Cold slaps on my eyes and into my nose
My mouth is shut tight against it

I need my arms and hands to swim
I cannot wipe my eyes
I remember to close my fingers
So my palms and hands are wide
to make better paddles.
To push the water.

I count, one, thrust hands arrow forward
Two, turn the palms
Three, pull the water.
All the time kick, then breathe.
My arms are tired.
One, two, three.

Breathe, push, pull, kick
Arms ache. Push, Pull.
So long. So much water to pull
Water in eyes doesn’t matter.
Eyes see a short way to shore. Push
No change, ever the same distance. Pull

Want to see sand. Push
Just water. Pull.
I cannot feel my arms. Push.
I cannot feel. Pull.
There is a man with black hair.
In the water in his clothes. Push.

It is a tweed jacket, tough wool.
Pull. He holds my body
The cloth scrunches rough against my face.
Thank you arms.
Rest now trembling, trembling.
Thank you, man.

I wish I remembered you.
I remember the rough weave of your coat.

It should be added, all I actually remember is all about ME. What I have been told is that my older sister, Veronica who was ten, and could swim a bit, held on to our youngest sister Irene, and so saved her. They were both swept quite far out, before our mother was able to reach them, and bring them both in to safety. I don’t know how to write about Veronica. Today she would be getting one of those children of valour medals.


The king was in the Counting House

for a more ordered view on the subject of this poem look at what Ivo Mosley’s writes

The king was in the Counting House…

Banking is business
That’s what we do.
We produce money
and sell it to you.
We make it from nothing
[it’s not really real]
Everyone trusts us
There’s no need to steal.

You didn’t know this
Well that’s no surprise
It’s not that it’s secret
just hidden from eyes
behind lots of numbers
and labels and jargon
You need lots of patience
to get a translation.

In fact when we say
“We promise to pay”
it’s really quite funny
it’s never your money.
We’re owing you money
that we have just made.
We say that on the paper
And you are misled.

It’s a sort of in-joke
more a pig-in-a-poke
what you think is your money
is always a debt.
Whether yours or some others’
does not much matter
somebody owes us
and interest gets fatter.

you look for your earnings
the products of work
so does the businessman
he’s not a jerk.
You both use up energy
make things of worth
that’s goods and services
needed from birth.

These things of worth
start from gifts that are free.
The sun and the rain
fall on our earth
bring harvests of bounty.
Yes they ask for your effort
your skill and your sweat
Sharing them round is not happening yet.

If we make the money
then sell debt to you
Your work pays us back
Always more than was due.
For banking is business
and that’s what it does
But who ever decided
We wanted to lose?

Money is thinking
Just an idea
To help us move something
From somewhere to here
To privilege banking
above all our gifts
is saying capital isn’t for us,
just the risks!

Bosses and workers
Are both the bank clients
Their money is debt
It’s not rocket science.
The bank’s interest is interest
So everyone’s stressed
by the law that allows banks
to say debt is best.

Why is the money
issued this way?
if it’s just an idea
to help plan our days?
Just as the sun and the rain are for free
We can decide if we want to be!
We could decide
how we’d make the money!

Let the banks do the managing
They do that well.
Take from them the privilege
that acts like a spell.
As if we were unable
ever to choose
how the need for the money
could be planned for our use.

Freedom to choose
brings trusting and risk
that’s why we duck it
and give up our task.
That’s why we labour
give power to the banks
give up our lives
and forget to give thanks

For the freedom to live
For the free gift of life
For the capital in us
For sharing not strife.
For the money we could
if we wanted agree
Belongs to us all for our needs
Make it free.

Remember to look at Positive Money, and all the resources available there, if you want to learn more about what money really is in today’s global world.

Bees Know

Bees know

No-one told the bees to make honey
but they do.
No-one needs to know how the grass grows
but it does.
When the tree falls in the forest we do not hear
but fungi flourish
We have not asked the sun to rise and shine every time
Morning comes
In a darkened night we lift our eyes to the stars, or sleep
and dream.
Did you hear the rain pitter patter your window, or the wind’s rattle?
Planning permission not required.

Did you hear about the bananas? Dole’d to consumers faffing and Fyffing
Wanting golden skinned
Nations unfed while consumers led to love the bananas
not too soft or black
tons crated from plantations and tonnage tossing over seas,
Hands harvest the hands.
Fair trade or agribusiness. How do you know there are bananas
in your fridge?
Are you bananas? You forget the world will touch you with its gifts
Let your skin take it in
While the bees buzz on busy honey making.

No-one told you: you will get something for nothing every day
No-one told you: you will be born and grow
No-one told you love, or hate or fear or pride or joy
Let them come, as they will, as surely as the sun shines.
See what honey comes.

Inspired in part by ARTIST ROOMS, Joseph Beuys, A Language of Drawing, at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 30th July − 30th October 2016

From the Life of the Bees, Joseph Beuys.






Age is glorious

Inspired by Mary Oliver: An Old Story [in Thousand Mornings]


Age is glorious

My heart says turn a cartwheel
my body says have you lost your tiny mind
my mind says watch it, I am in control.

Oh no, says body, my experience is first
you follow on after. Heart pumps on
feeling, feeling, feeling…

I still want to turn a cartwheel
recall exhilaration, joy, flip my being
and pride, standing again upright.

So even though I know
that if I turned a cartwheel
the emergency service would follow

I still have time
for feeling feeling feeling
The exhilaration of being.

On a grey morning, and it is snowing again, meetings cancelled again, I turned to favourite poetry books to while away a moment or two.
Poetry can make change happen. Write on all friends. Thanks again Block Island Poetry Project for inspiration when you began 12 years ago. Soon it will be the 12th annual celebration.

Lament for Summer

Writing 210: Poetry. Today the word is Fog, make it an Elegy, and use metaphor.

Lament for Summer

Follow footprints in the snow where the dog has been playing.
Tugging on gloves, re-wrapping scarf over mouth.
Breath rising in clear air. Around the house corner on up the hill
Breath, breathe, heart beating comes to consciousness.
Each breath labours to hear its own continuance.
A cold body listens to its own work.IMG_6146
A dog happily muzzles snow for a buried toy.

Imagine a present only. No spring. No summer.
No hot sand flying under deep delving paws.
A dog’s life indeed.

Indoors, briefly blinded by steamed up lenses
The warm fug of radiant heat rising from the floor
Imagine summer. Strip off these boots and pants
Step out of thermals. Feel skin open to sunshine.
Champagne bubbles burst. Blurred vision, roof snow
flying west with the wind. Golden days are gone.
Happily make tea, mull over memories.

Follow my footprints where I have played
tugging heartsrings, re-telling stories.
It passes fast, indeed.


This week Sidey’s theme is: How something appears is always a matter of perspective and it led me to a variety of different kinds of thinking, including this schoolgirl minded poem, which arrived in my mind after taking the photo of rushes and sky.


If I were a musk rat
Then every day I'd see
Blue sky and tall stalks
waving over me.
Keeping me hidden
Giving me joy
To live and keep safe from people and noise.

If I were a deer
Every day I would walk
Between the tall stalks
beyond the road fork.
I fear very little
Save little food here
Too many cousins, too many deer.

If I were a girl
Just starting my life,
Rushing to grow,
I wouldn't take time 
to think of the rushes
the musk rats the deer. 
What do they know? I'm not a girl

So many views, just good to be here.

What’s in a Name?

Last weekend I was at a gathering on Block Island where the Frantzich Brothers [Tim and Paul] sang, and while singing, suggested remembering. Hence two poems surfaced, the first all as it came is on a different post, this is the second which was unusual for me in that I could not ‘just write’ but had to get home to look up John Hewitt’s poems [Ulster Names, Postscript1984] and check my names spelling for the villages in one of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

I remember when I was a child
John Hewitt wrote music from the Ulster names
Dreaming words from Moy to Crossmaglen.
And then
A postscript.
History came to Crossmaglen
And there they lived a little hell, not well.
With grief of kin and murderous men.

Another time
A world away holds wider names
Mansehra, Jabba, AAhl.
Are they on the road to Chitti Gatti
Khanajan, Kurmang and Kohistan?
Hell knows the strangest places
Strange music sounds. Difference comes.
And I remember, once, long ago
A man came from Samaria.