‘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.

‘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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Prompt of the week

There are certain things in life that it is pretty much guaranteed we’ll all experience at some point or another – first kiss, passing exams, first job, falling in love, then out again….. they could all be described as ‘rites of passage’. The Collins dictionary has a couple of definitions of rite:

  1. a formal act which forms part of a religious ceremony
  2. a custom that is carried out within a particular group

Now, not being of a religious bent, I know not a lot about religious ceremonies, but, I do recognise that I indulge in lots of customs within my family, especially at Christmas. From watching ‘Carols from Kings’ on Chrismas Eve, to mince pies and bucks fizz for breakfast amongst the wrapping paper on Christmas morning, and noisy board games in the evening, the rites of Christmas day are set in stone (there are plenty more, but I won’t bore you). Of course, this year things may be different, we’ll still have those ‘rites’ but they may be postponed until we can get together… that might be Easter the way things are going…! I’ll record Carols from Kings just in case.

Anyway, I expect you’ve guessed what all this nonsense is leading to? Yep, this week’s prompt is:

Rite

Let’s hear about the customs/traditions of your family, or one of your own ‘rites of passage’, or perhaps a wedding or baptism, diwali, hanukkah, Wesak or Yuan Tan or any other religious festival that I haven’t thought of (sorry, I told you I know nothing..). As always write in any form you like – poetry, prose, fiction/non-fiction, give it a go. Actually, come to think of it, this site is getting a bit poetry heavy, a bit of flash fiction or some such would be most excellent! Can’t wait to read your pieces.

‘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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