Culture by Joe Lyons

Joe Lyons – one of our ‘virtual members’ – offers this response to our trigger ‘culture’

Culture by Joe Lyons

The cultured pearls around her neck had an iridescent gleam
The smile of pride upon her lips as she took in the scene
When the people who had gathered had the chance to take note
It was all she could do to suppress the thought, not to gloat

This, the main difference between the classes present
Sometimes it is the showing and just being pleasant
With the nature of the classes all you need is self-control
And to remember as in life you are always playing a role

 

Picture credit: http://poetrygroup2015exeter.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/symbolism.html

Not fun, not fair #3 by Kaye Locke

Not fun, not fair #3 by Kaye Locke

He looked like a gypsy
brooding eyes and
wisps of brown curls.
How could I resist when
He invited me to waltz?

I never expected the spinning
to be so dizzying,
or the music so deafening.
He threw a curveball
And won my heart.

Then bought me candy
that sparkled in the bright lights
of the ferris wheel
where we swung high and saw clear
to our cloudless horizon.

On the rollercoaster of reality
we swooped and sunk,
and screams punctuated
the nauseating motion
Of the not-so-merry go round.

We twirled together
down the helter skelter of life
where only dank earth
waited for our landing.
Entwined, we hit the bottom.

We tried the dodgems
but couldn’t escape
our car crash lives
and ended up in a house of horror.
The dark tunnel of lost love.

Kaye Locke

Freycinet by Angela O’Connor

Freycinet

Freycinet so far away
but everyday I see you.
Your wineglass bay looks
at me whenever I close
my distant eyes.

Golden sunset, white sands and
ice cold water. The Antarctic
winds never mimic another.
Bountiful land I love you so.
Untouched by man-
unfortunately no.

Still you are here, for all to see;
Freycinet never that far away.

Light by Michael Healy

Light by Michael Healy

My bed was in a slept-in mess, for I had just awoken.
I picked my feather pillows up, crumpled but not broken,
They felt so very light, compared with their size.
My brain began to wake and rise,
And my thoughts came as no surprise.
What is Light?

We know what Einstein said;
Energy equals mass times a constant squared.
E = mc2, that constant, c, is the speed of light
299 792 458 metres per second.
Thus, mass,m, is crucial to the energy as it beacons
Light is energy. The more energy the brighter the light.

I switched on my bedside lamp.
This had a halogen bulb, very energetic, very bright.
All around my room was excess light.
I opened my room’s curtains. Outside the dawn was dull.
Daylight was late coming, clouds filtered sunlight from being full.
This greyness made me sad.

What is it about light, it seems to affect people’s mood.
Bright light and the soul is cheered,
Darkness and gloom prevails, almost feared.
But the human soul interacts with its environment and light.
Indeed light is crucial to life on earth.

Without light:
Our bodies cannot synthesize crucial vitamins and hormones,
Plants cannot photosynthesize; no vegetables, fruit and flowers.
The World would be a dull, lifeless, monochrome; a cold place.

Thank goodness for the light of the sun,
For the warmth and light in our homes.
May the light waves from the sun, and their photon particles,
Continue to brighten our lives.

Dr Michael Healy

IF YOU TAKE LOVE AS YOUR MISTRESS by Barrie Purnell

IF YOU TAKE LOVE AS YOUR MISTRESS

There are some things in life you can’t comprehend or control
Affairs of the heart and that which lies deep in your soul.
Love is a mistress that you cannot command or constrain
An enigma a mystery that you can never explain.

If you are looking for love then you had better beware
If you take love as your mistress she isn’t forgiving or fair
She will mess with your mind until nothing is what it seems
She is just too dreamy for real life and too real for dreams.
She is a fallen angel who comes to you while you sleep
Searching your mind for commitments to steal and to keep
You are in a prison without bars and her hypnotic hand
Will hold you without touching wherever it is that you stand
The drug of her beauty will invade your heart and your mind
She will prove without doubt that so called true love is blind
When love is your mistress her rules you will have to obey
If you give her your love she’ll take your freewill away.
She will bind you tightly with jealousy and with mistrust
And will ambush you with a confusion of passion and lust
And when your emotions are laid out naked before her
She will clothe them in your tears which is all she can offer
When love is your mistress she’ll drain you of reason and sense
You may meet by design or just by coincidence.
She can take you without warning and give you no time to flee
Very soon you will have forgotten what it’s like to be free.
If you take love as your mistress she will seduce you with lies
If she succeeds you find she’s taken your soul as her prize.
She can be all things to all men and will enslave you with her charms
As you lie innocent and unsuspecting in some lover’s arms.
She is without mercy demanding surrender right from the start
Leaving you defenseless against another attack on your heart

Picking love as your mistress is just a gamble you take
You are gambling with your heart if you lose it will break.
The book of love gives you all the odds if you bother to read
Why when so many have failed are you so sure you will succeed?
Love’s a one way journey which has no route map or chart
And few successfully end it from the many hopefuls who start
She will change you forever for better or maybe for worse
Too late you will find out if she is a blessing or a curse

If you take love as your mistress and drink deep of her pleasure
You know from that moment she is your mistress forever
If you’re lucky she will give you eyes that won’t shed any tears
And a transfusion of trust to banish your doubts and your fears.
She will weave you dreams from roses to blot out your yesterday
You will have no regrets you will be happy that she stood in your way
She will invade every part of you from your head down to your heel
Mere words on a page won’t describe how she’ll make you feel
She will ignore all your weaknesses and tell you that you’re strong
Let you live the romance you knew before only in poetry and song
So go ahead and take love as your mistress that is if you dare
But remember my warning from someone who’s already been there
Only take love as your mistress if you think you can handle the role
She may be your one true love and you’ve nothing to lose but your soul

Dove sei? by Angela O’Connor

Dove sei? by Angela O’Connor

Sunday morning, at least it was not pouring down. The miserable wetness of this time of year was magnified by the slate timbre tone of those around me. To crack a smile would literally crack their faces. The dourness they embraced was in stark contrast to our shared workplace. I had given up trying to make light of weather, badgers, Corbyn, Brexit or climate change.

Moving the perennials into the new display area, I held a Verbena leaf in my hand. Not long now before these hardy purple beauties would be saving that empty patch in many gardens. Bees would sail through the air targeting their cylindrical head and drink from the fruitful flower.

Hopefully by then I wouldn’t be here, escaping the maddening spring and summer planting clubs. At the bottom of the pallet lay some rubbish, the usual crap – Wispa wrapper, squashed Coke can, two ciggie butts and a Greggs bag. In the Greggs bag, poking out like a stamen, was a dirty A5 piece of paper.

I turned it over. It was his. Definitely his, the handwriting was unmistakable. The quirky ‘w’ that only Italians do. Although stained with water, dirt and snail marks it was legible. A list of necessities; passata, onions, garbage bags, dishwashing liquid, toothpaste, sensitive foam (gilette), milk, crema e gusto café and a goodbye card.

Even with a list you always forget one thing. Four months had passed since we last saw each other. I don’t drink prosecco anymore.

NURSING by Fay Marie Morris

Fay’s response to the June Trigger ‘nurse’

NURSING

Nursing! Nursing is one of my worst nightmares, so I decided to start this piece by stating what a rubbish nurse I am. I simply hate needy, ill people and have very little sympathy, mainly because when I’m ill, sympathy is the last thing I want. What I do want is seclusion and normality. Normal normality not abnormal, cliched, pretentious normality and I don’t like the usual trite, rubbishy, well-rehearsed, overly compassionate stuff that some people love to trot out. I am not unfeeling, in fact I feel things quite strongly and I know how hard it is to say something original when you are facing someone in pain. Pain is a massive leveler with the ability to turn even the bravest, most tenacious person into a babbling, physical wreck although some people seem to get off on being ill, they can ramp it up, turn it off or back on, almost at will…but seriously, I don’t have time for illness.

I remember when my son Danny was about 10 and he’d had to write about what it was like when he was ill and these were his very words. “I try not to be ill because It’s better to be well at our house. My mum’s horrible when you’re ill, even my dad says so. All she says is get your shoulders back and stop whinging.”

I was at a parent/teacher evening when his form teacher felt she had to show me his essay. I should have been horrified, tried to defend my actions or at least have a go at dignifying myself…but I didn’t. Instead I told her that I agreed with every word and as far as I was concerned illness is a state of mind, for wimps only.

I have never been any good at pandering to or pampering and I simply hate feeling pressurised into indulging someone through their insecurities. My French sister in law with her permanently silver lined, soft edged, mushy romanticism says I’m hard and that’s fine by me because I know I am. The thought of me trying to be a tender-hearted, nurturing, caring soul makes me want to throw up…but… I can be if I want to be, although I admit it isn’t pretty.

Anyway, after I’d had my brush with the big C, I felt I needed to give something back and decided that a spot of volunteer work might just do the trick, so I checked some of my options.
1/ collecting money for charity… so not me.
2/ Helping the elderly or housebound with housework or gardening, but I hate cleaning and reckon people who like it spoil it for those of us who don’t.
3/ Hospital visitor or serving in the shop or tea trolley or news trolley or driving people to hospital appointments but hospitals leave me cold so they were all out.
4/ Looking after or walking pet dogs for the elderly…A massive, colossal NO!
My husband, who had been driving people to Royal Perth Hospital for a couple of years told me how desperate Swan Caring were for volunteers to help in the daycare centre, so, I went, just for a look and two days later found myself knocking on the locked doors of the Dementia/Alzheimer wing, where I was welcomed like some kind of Samaritan or saviour, when I knew I was neither.

With wide eyes and hunched shoulders I listened to all Bridget, the care co-coordinator said, but the health and safety stuff made it really heavy going and I wasn’t sure if it was for me. Veronica, the care-centre manager, could see how I felt and told me not to worry as I was there to aid the staff, chat and help with the clients and nothing more. So, for a while I would lay the lunch tables then clear them, load the dishwasher, then unload it, be a Bingo caller and a general dogsbody every Tuesday and sometimes Thursdays too. I quickly learnt the daily routine and the clients all seemed comfortable with me around. [They were always referred to as clients, never patients.]

I wrote an awful lot of poetry at this time, probably my most productive period and one day I told Veronica about it and she said maybe I could read one to the clients. I said I didn’t think they’d understand what I was on about, most people don’t, but maybe, after lunch, during their quiet afternoon time, as they sat snoozing in their chairs, it might be OK. It was something I could do to help, but in my own way and…it would allow me to give my creative juices a bit of an air.

One of my favourite clients was Daisy. Daisy was born in London and her Cockney accent was unmistakable even though she had lived in Australia all of her adult life. But, as her Alzheimers grew steadily worse, her accent seemed to get stronger and she became withdrawn and morose. She was a teenager during the blitz and sometimes it was like she was reliving every second of the horror she had lived through, especially when the International flights from nearby Perth airport were taking off. She’d rush outside and freak out, screaming to her mother that the planes were coming over again but she wasn’t going down the air raid shelter.

One of the best ways to calm things down before the other clients became too upset, was to try and take their minds off whatever troubled them and I clearly remember the day Veronica asked if they would like Fay to read one of her poems.

They immediately sat down and waited, eager for me to start, which threw me slightly as I wasn’t sure which one to actually do. I decided on my earliest poem and while I was reciting it, Daisy went quiet, listened intently and started to smile. When I had finished she asked if I would read it again because she really liked the bit about soft cool spring days and could remember when the woods were full of bluebells and cowslips. Veronica said it was OK because by now all the others were fast asleep.

PIONEER WOMEN WROTE.

Whenever I feel low, my thoughts seem to stray
back, several decades, to a flawless spring day.
Where bluebells sway gently, a carpet of blue
and pale yellow cowslips all dripping with dew.

But that was before I made a new home
in this country of contrasts where kangaroos roam.
So why am I often beset with the fears
of loss and homesickness which bring on the tears?

For I love Australia, and all her moods
from the withering droughts to the ‘wet’ when it floods
and wide open spaces that choke up my throat
with emotion and longing.

Pioneer women wrote-

of hardship and toil in the heat and the dust.
Of living on hope and existing on trust.
So, how did they manage to get through each day
while longing for England’s soft cool spring days?

That was my very first public poetry recital and I must say I enjoyed it enormously. It became a regular afternoon session, requested by the clients themselves. I think it was my voice droning on that lulled them to sleep, although they clearly looked forward to it, because straight after lunch they eagerly placed their chairs in a semi-circle around mine. Luckily, by then I had plenty of poems in my portfolio and although I am still under no illusions about my nursing prowess, I was valued by the staff and clients at Swan Caring because I enjoyed putting people to sleep… but in a nice way.

So, is that snoring I can hear…?