‘Life on Earth’ by Andrew Bell

We love you,
Mother Earth
as much
as we love our kin,

even as we bear witness
to your defilement;

even as we disable
your natural rhythms
lay waste your lands,
poison your air and soil.

For we came to see you,
long ago, as separate,
as a lifeless mechanical force,

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‘Unlocking Poems’ by Andrew Bell

Some words belong to each other.

Others have to be hunted, tamed
and harnessed, to make them work.

Some need a gentle push, then fired up
to ignite others,

or careful watching to hear how they sing,
to see if they’re good for a line or a piece.

In a poem, some people want something
fancy or funny,

but even more, they want things
that are hidden to be unlocked.

And the poet will try to oblige
by gazing upon the swell of images,

swirling behind the surface of things
to bring something back for a dish;

or, by tapping into the secrets
from the further reaches, and plucking them,

like hooked fish, to let them speak.
Others might look further still: by crossing

the threshold of voice and fire, into the holy
ground of silence, where gentle thought-winds

emerge and coalesce, they would whisk them
into shape and form, and land them on the page.

And some poets may just sit quietly and think,
letting the words flow through, with the ink.

Then writing becomes a joy as they let it run,
chasing lines by colour, form, and scent,

watching leaves and flowers spring up along
each branching thought,

learning to listen, as the poem begins to speak,
making sure to set it free, when all that’s done.

New year, new prompt!

Not written anything in 2021 yet? Well… shame on you! I know, I know, its all been a bit trying over the last, well, last year really, and Christmas was absolutely no exception (hope you managed a good one somehow or another despite restrictions). But come on now, brace yourselves, lets get this show on the road and get something down on paper. It really doesn’t matter what you write, nobody else needs to see it, just get writing.

Personally, I love a free-write. That is to say, write for a set number of minutes (I usually give myself 20 mins) starting with a particular subject, no punctuation, no lifting the pen (or your fingers if you’re typing), and no stopping to think. Just write the junk that spills from your mind – a bit like word association. It’s amazing what connections you can unexpectedly (and often, unexplainedly (is that a word?? ’tis now…) come up with, and they’re more often than not a good kick-start to a cracking story, poem or piece of creative non-fiction.

With the current lockdown now firmly in place, I thought ‘Lock’ might be a good starting point. Some of the things I’ve come up with are:

What is locked ? Doors; cupboards; trunks; wardrobes; diaries; hearts; personalities; minds; err…. lockdown (of course)….

Why are they locked? How do you open them? Where is the key? If you open them, what’s inside? Do you need another key? Are you locked in, or locked out?

Well, I could go on, but I’m sure you’ll come up with plenty of other ideas. I’d love to see the resulting work, so get writing….. Write Now!!

‘A Journey Through Two Centuries of Death’ by Barrie Purnell

Stone pillars mark the entrance to a graveyard of Victorian times
An immense copper beech stands as this burial ground’s concierge,
Unmoved by the heavy limbed mourners passing in their sad cortege
Or the furtive lovers seeking solace under the cherries and the limes.

Golden needles clothe the path below a cathedral arch of pines
A hundred years of history hidden by their time-chiseled bark,
Against their majesty mere humans struggle to make their mark
We proceed quietly, as penitent pilgrims would approach a shrine.

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‘Passing On’ by Andrew Bell

Andrew has written this poem in response to our last prompt of ‘Rite’. Andrew says: ‘I thought it would be interesting to take a look at ‘death’, our very last rite of passage. For some, there is no death as such, only an entrance into a fuller life, whereas for others, it’s prospect can provoke anxiety or dread, compounded by a fear of the unknown or a fear of loss. In this poem, I have tried to strike a more positive note by considering if there is an antidote to this very common fear. And it’s not easy!’

Passing on

If I could reach into the silence
to a still point

where memory and desire
are no longer stirring

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‘Smart’ by Andrew Bell

You’re smart because your dad was smart.

I’m simple because my mum and dad led
simple lives.

You’re smart because you can think
on your feet, and make speeches
without notes.

I’m simple because I don’t think like you
and don’t make speeches.

You’re smart because you think your Queen’s
English is a passport to success.

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