Sunday, 17 January 2021

White by Christopher J Lloyd

White

on a steel cold night

came a bright white

covering all around

a triumph over sound

sharp edges depart

woolly ways start

crunch when we walk

steam when we talk

a chubby robin looks

a child drops her books

sun slowly climbs

opening her blinds

rosy faces cheer

this time of year

hearts full of song

it won’t last long


©Christopher Lloyd

Monday, 11 January 2021

Dahlia by Jo Cameron-Symes


You were a late comer, last year.

Content with hibernating well into the warm days of Spring.

When the sun beat fiercely down upon our

shoulders.

You were asleep, curled up, dormant.

 

The golden rays of Summer coaxed you into growth.

The Sunflowers strong and cheerful, encouraged you to bloom.

Shoots emerge, the sign of new beginnings.

Followed by leaves of green, dappled in raindrops.

 

Your first buds appeared when the leaves began to burn and fall.

Then you coloured our garden like jewels, flashing brightly.

Rich reds, purples and deep pinks,

Decorating our borders like couture gowns.

 

We cautiously waited,

For the first nip in the air,

The first ice on the wind,

For we knew this late display was cursed.

 

In just one night, one fingertip of frost caused your retreat.

Like an enchanted princess, now you wait,

For the kiss and warmth of the sun,

To awaken you once more.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Instructions for Life by Virginia Hainsworth


As we turn away from the old year and look to a new one in the hope that our lives will be happier, I thought that it might be timely to give this week’s blog over to the Dalai Lama and his Instructions for Life.  I wish you all a very safe, healthy and happy 2021.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE by the Dalai Lama

1.       Take into account that great love and great achievement involve great risk

2.       Follow the three R’s.  Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for your actions

3.       Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck

4.       Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship

5.       When you realise you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it

6.       Spend some time alone every day

7.       Open your arms to change but don’t let go of your values

8.       Share your knowledge.  It’s a way to achieve immortality

9.       Once a year, go somewhere you’ve never been before

10.    Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

'Tis in my memory locked' by Vivien Teasdale

 

I listened to Poetry Please on Radio 4 on Sunday. One poem that struck a chord was One Art

by Elizabeth Bishop, about losing or forgetting things.


This has become a known aspect of the Covid lockdown – people really are finding their memory is getting worse. We have lost the routines, the conversations, the interactions that force our brains to focus, concentrate on what is happening, who we are talking to and why. We slop around the house – many people have said they no longer bother to wash their hair as much or put fresh clothes on every day or wear make-up. It’s not worth it, we don’t have customers to worry about when we send emails out. Zoom meetings can be ‘any time, any place, anywhere’ (for those of you are old enough to remember the Martini ad!)

Of course, we forget things from the past, too. We remember things we want to remember and filter out other things, such as that train fare we ‘forgot’ to pay or that time we tripped over our own feet and felt a complete idiot. We mis-remember because it was a long time ago, or someone else insists that their version of the event is correct and that influences our own memory.

Other times we can’t forget. The bad things, the traumatic events, the times when we wish we had said/not said, done/not done something. Memories that come back to haunt us, even in our dreams.

Then there are the times we forget because we are too busy with other things, and what we should have done just slips out of our head. Even if, sometimes, it disappears between the thought ‘I’ll put the kettle on,’ and actually getting to the kitchen and wondering why you’re there.

This, of course, has nothing to do with old age or failing brain cells. Which is why I wrote the following poem:

I listened to a poem yesterday

About forgetting things we say

Like “I’ll take the dog out when it rains”

Or “Yes, of course, invite your Aunty Jane.”

This year I’m going to write a list

Of those whose birthday I have missed

I’ll label all the photos too

So no more arguments about the view:

On whether it was Greece, Japan,

Australia or Isle of Man.

I’ll write down names, and dates I’ve made,

Shopping lists, where keys I’ve laid,

Meetings that I must attend

From whom I borrow, to whom I lend.

And where and why and when and what,

So there’ll be nothing I’ve forgot.


No more apologies I’ll have to say.

Like, “Sorry, this blog was due here – yesterday.”


Title quote from Hamlet.

Monday, 21 December 2020

Hand Warmer by Owen Townend


At market there was a sign:

‘HAND WARMER’.

I have bad circulation this time of year,

so I followed the glowing arrows.

 

They stopped at this stall with a bloke behind.

He looked creepy in his corduroy cardigan.

‘Hello,’ he said, ‘come for a hand-warming?’

 I couldn’t see any packets or boxes so I asked,

‘How though?’

He held out his own hands.

I pulled back.

‘What?’ he asked.

‘That’s not decent.’

‘Tis hand-warming though.’

He got me there.

‘I prefer packets.’

‘Packets?’ He scoffed. ‘Bah! I can guarantee true heat!’

True heat? That sounded even less decent.

‘Come on,’ he said, eyebrows waggling. ‘Tis electric.’

‘Electric how?’

He paused. ‘I have a pacemaker.’

I finally had enough and left.

‘Please,’ he called after me. ‘I’m your fellow man.’

But I kept on walking.

A handshake’s all well and good

but not one long enough to keep off cold.

Monday, 14 December 2020

Poles Apart by Dave Rigby

Hi to all you listeners out there and welcome to The Match. Sorry to disappoint any of you who’ve tuned in expecting me to talk about football. But as all you lovely regulars know, we’re here to find out how you met your other half, how you got together.

And today we’ve got a special couple. I’ll start by introducing John North. Hi John, how are you?

I’m very well thanks, Jimmy.

So, tell me a bit about where you live.

Well, it’s extremely cold here. But it’s slowly getting warmer. Meeting people is difficult. There’s just not many of us around. And with the cold, you know, if you do manage to find someone there’s all the business of big coats, over-trousers and gloves to deal with.

But despite all that, I hear you’ve managed to find a partner.

I’ve been very lucky.

How did you meet?

On the International Dating Line which I’ve never used before. It’s always seemed so far distant from my world. But hey…it’s come up trumps!

Well, this is where I should introduce Jane…Jane South. I’m afraid the line to your place is coming and going a bit, but hopefully we’ll be able to chat. How are you, Jane?

I’m good thanks, Jimmy. And hi to you, John. Really enjoyed that meal.

How did the relationship develop after you first meeting?

By degrees really. We charted our progress step by step, didn’t we, John.

You’re right, Jane, but I think there was something in the stars. It was meant to be.

Indeed. Just because we live poles apart…that doesn’t lessen the attraction!

Yes, and we’ve gradually migrated together – if you get my drift, Jimmy.

Indeed, I do, John. So, tell me, Jane, has the path to true love been smooth for you both?

Like any couple we’ve had our ups and downs. But we allow each other a bit of latitude and I think that’s important if you want to stop things going west.

And have you mapped out your future, John?

Good question, Jimmy. It’s a frequent tropic of conversation between us. Let’s say we’re moving in the right direction, but of course there’s still a way to go. You’ll appreciate these can be difficult waters to navigate.

And where would you like your ultimate destination to be, Jane?

Oh, we’ve both decided a desert island would be best – even though it would be so far from our comfort zones.

So, I can hear that theme music already, those seagulls setting the scene. Have you chosen your discs by any chance? You first, John.

Ha ha, Jimmy. Don’t miss a trick, do you? As it happens, we have. Equal shares, four each. The bands I’ve chosen reflect my homeland. The Arctic Monkeys, Snow Patrol, Polar Bear and The Icicle Works.

And what about your choices, Jane? Are they a reminder of where you live now?

No, Jimmy! That’s because I’m looking forward to our new home. The songs I’ve picked are Island in the Sun, Surf’s Up, Good Day Sunshine and Some Enchanted Evening – you know, from South Pacific.

Well – let’s kick off with some good old Rodgers and Hammerstein.

And thanks to John and Jane for taking part in…The Match.

Monday, 7 December 2020

Two Poems for Christmas by Susie Field

Christmas


Christmas time should be such a pleasure,

With precious memories for us to treasure.

So why do we always shop, shop, shop,

Spend, spend, spend, till we’re fit to drop.

And as it draws near, that day in December,

The true meaning of Christmas we must remember.

Loved ones who have left us, but not forever,

Still in our thoughts as we gather together.

Think of others sitting alone,

Those on the street without a home.

Spare a thought for their pitiful plight,

As we eat and drink into the night.

It’s not about money, but giving and sharing,

Christmas time is for loving and caring.

So as we rejoice in endless chatter,

Remember the things that really matter.


A Special Christmas


Frosty fingers on my window pane

Children sledging down an icy lane

A lonesome robin hopping by

Snowflakes fluttering from a darkening sky

A solitary snowman stands alone

As carol singers wend their way home

to hot mince pies and festive sherry

Over indulge - it’s a time to be merry

For Christmas is here  - magic and fun

So let’s make this year a special one.