Homework for 19 July

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expand and complete

1 – Polish up in time for the next session your piece on ‘rituals’ – Whitsun Wedding – or whatever yours was. Some already finished pieces are published here

2 – Polish up and bring next time your post-meditation poem. Again, some are published already, here

3 – Use form and rhythm to write a new poem of four lines or more – and bring it with you

 

Will’s Riffs In Blue

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Knock knock who’s there? he said long before anyone else and it became a foregone conclusion that he really didn’t believe that brevity is the soul of wit. But even with a heart of gold it left him in something of a pickle and one could see that he had not slept one wink when normally he was as merry as the day is long. However to give the devil his due there was method to his madness when he asserted the world’s mine oyster and I’ll not be a laughing stock for it’s neither here nor there nor the be all and the end all when I wear my heart upon my sleeve in this brave new world although that is cold comfort when we gave that devil incarnate Lord Chancellor a chance to speak. The relationship was not helped when he heard him mutter by the pricking of my thumbs something wicked this way comes. There was, however, method to his madness when he said he’d be glad to see the Lord Chancellor as dead as a doornail for forgetting that all that glitters is not gold. He then went on to remind us that we will all vanish into thin air and need to look at all our yesterdays as being forever and a day but advised us that with mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come but never to forget that our little life is rounded with a sleep.

Colin Dixon

A wood full of woodpeckers

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I opened a British Medical Journal yesterday and the obituaries were there; earnest distinguished looking doctors, predominantly men, Roger Bannister foremost amongst them. The world reveres him for his four minute mile, yet he researched and practiced in Neurology and had a list of qualifications as long as my arm.

Our revels now are ended. Shakespeare is famous for the beauty and pleasure and truths in his works. Will I be remembered for anything? Does it matter?

When I die, I don’t expect an obituary in the BMJ, or one in the local paper. I don’t even know I know if I lengthened, or shortened, anyone’s life. If I’m lucky, some people may remember I was kind when their loved one died.

What will survive me? I like to hope a wood full of birds.

Last spring, we were faithful at topping up some birdfeeders, and a pair of woodpeckers started coming down from the wood behind us, eventually raising two young, which they often fed on our balcony rail. This summer there are another two, bouncing and teetering on the rail as their mother brings them food. On Sunday we went for a walk in the next valley and three woodpeckers flew through the trees above us, in a place we’d not seen woodpeckers before. Have we helped populate a wood with woodpeckers? I want that to be true. It’s a little thing, one that maybe only lasts a year beyond my death, until a severe winter decimates their population, but that’s enough.

Cathy Johnson

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Names and shapes

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Zephyr, Samiel, Williwaw,
my names are many
Yet my shapes are more
A westerly wind I’ll come and go
A will-o-the wisp with wings of snow.
I’ll whisper sweet nothings,
Caress your cheek
Then slap your face and start to shriek.
I’ll rock your boat in a lullaby
Or puff the waves to seasick high.
I’ll marshal the clouds in a fleeting flock
And tell the hours
By a dandelion’s clock.
My playground is this magic isle
a wizard’s daughter to beguile.
And now to taunt the witch’s son.
My song is ended – the story,
Just begun

Kath Sunderland

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An ode to my children

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Oh my delightful babes
Your revels are at their beginning
Made from the fabric of the earth
Be spirited – love is your way
Wear this worldly illusion loosely
Grace is substantial, the rest will fade
Leave forgiveness in your wake
You are such stuff as love is made of
May your lives be rounded with peace

Catriona Messenger

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Interludes

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I remember a conversation with a colleague some years ago. “I don’t think we are really here,” he said. “WE are just part of a soap opera.” I laughed in reply but there are times when everything feels unreal as if I am not really here. I am sure that Shakespeare was right. Our lives are like a pageant in which we are all actors playing out various scenes. Our parts are unscripted and must be written by ourselves. Those around us frame our lives as well as accompanying us on our journey … Some of our contacts stay with us for a long time, others move on quickly to other places or other worlds. Some make an impression, which leaves a lasting mark. Others are soon forgotten. But few are on stage at the same time as we are. In the end we all melt away into thin air, spirits, forgotten forever. Do we make a good or bad impression? If we are the stuff that dreams are made of do we cause nightmares or sweet dreams?

Our spirits disappear. Only the memories are left unless someone decides to dig up our bones to do a DNA test to look at our heritage and investigate our ancestry. Sometimes past memories float in and out of our minds as if they have never gone away. Putting all our lives together is a complicated jigsaw.

Our lives are short interludes in the history of time.

Dorothy Crowther

Reflection

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There are places I can go, without trying,
They present themselves to me.
The perilous journey on a ship
With masts, and sails that curve into the wind,
As it navigates an iceberg sea.
Or the familiar white house I know so well
With lavish grounds, and swimming pools full of sunshine.
In one dream I was in a room,
Only to find myself in it, years later.
The sink was in a corner, and the windows
Opened with a pole. I turned and saw it,
It was there.
My soul recognises before my eyes have grown accustomed.
So that when I met you, I knew,
Before a word had passed between us.
The cynics mine for proof of truth,
Before they can accept it.
Cloud reality with clever words,
But remembered dreams are not of that order,
They are more real
The less
They are explored.

Lorraine Mackay