Poetry Blog by Hazel ettridge (2018)

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Pain or Suffering?

I'm leaving you, he said.


I went in search for the meaning of this callous act.

I dredged up all my previous hurts.

Lined them up like a firing squad.

One of us must die. You or I.

Stop! Shouted the Buddha.

Act one. Scene one. Take two.

I'm leaving you, he said.


It's a wrap.

Anyone for coffee?


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He had a disintegrating childhood.

Broken home, residential and foster care.

Joined the army aged fifteen and three quarters.

Married. Three kids. Divorced.

Married again. Three more kids.

Six tours back to back. Left the army, sick to death.

Friends disintegrating in his arms. Just kids.

Home to family. To hope, but more despair.

Rows and harsh words. 

"Get a job, we ne...

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One Bright Day

One bright day, oh, glory, glory, glory.

The sun, the sky, the beach, the sea

A double shot espresso, the breeze.

I saw the seal, at first a little to my right

Moments later to my left and closer in. 

Black head bobbing and diving.

Unusual, I thought, in these waters.

When it beached, almost at my feet,

It was shiney, bloated, somehow darker than black.

I tried to hold o...

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Life before death? 1 and 2


Is there life before death

Or just eating and fucking?

Putting effort and time

Into staying good-looking?

Chasing power and glory

And money and gold

To hold on to youth

And never get old.


Is there life before death, tell me where I should look

In nature  or poetry or a holy book?

Find my own song, become one with the beat

With strength and commitment stay...

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Broken Shells Everywhere

Broken Shells everywhere 

Shattered illusions

Life is easy in the light

Stepping into darkness

More of a challenge

Under every stone

A shameful secret

Houses built on sand

Fools Gold in every pocket

Self worth? Out of credit 

Crawling on her belly, she feels the sun on her back

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The Pearl Fisher

Stringing the beads

Each milky orb

The product of

A grain of sand

You placed in

The soft mantle folds

Of my shell.

And layer upon layer

I grow in beauty

And year upon year

You open every clam

Trying to find me.

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In my dream I ask for a lethal injection.

Foetal on a hospital bed, I wait for it to take effect.

Nothing more to say, nothing more to do.

All worries, now redundant, pack their bags and leave.

Stuart is here, and Tash and Chris and Jane.

Not grieving, just bearing witness to my peaceful departure.

I feel nothing and it is wonderful.


When I wake

The gentle feeling


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I sit within my skin where all is safe

I sit in this room that I have made beautiful

But it does not feel mine

I have a piece of paper saying that

I own this house and all the land

On which it stands

But it does not feel mine

It still belongs to those people

Who were builders by day

Smugglers by night

Who lived here first

Who loved and fought

Within these walls


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Sink Hole

The sun shone bright and warm

There was a blue cloudless sky.

It was a cliche of a day.

She was happy and at peace.

The tide was away, away.

The warm golden sand like sifted sugar on a cake.

A timeless moment, bounded by time as

She stepped into the sink hole.

Warm, watery mud

Sucking at her feet

Sucking at her ankles

Sucking at her knees.

Snatched from her high...

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Into the Blue

Squeezing out of the old skin

A shiney new start. Again.

Letting go of that life.

Letting go of that persona.

All is possibility and potential. 

She wriggles forward. Predator.

Tries out a different mask.

She's been here before.  Many times.

Casting off. Re-emerging.

Excitement. Monotony.

The larval stage can take years

And oh so many moults. 

Then, one day, the...

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For Stuart

Walking home from work, I was thinking about Stuart.

How I messed up and how I didn't know what to do anymore.

Punishing thoughts set on Short Spin in my washing machine mind.

Shame hammering on the firmly locked door of my frightened heart.

I reached the garden gate and, looking up,

Saw a sequin spangled sky. A glory of stars.

And my heart leapt up into the dark open space


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Sometimes my mind walks to heel

Sometimes it runs off into the woods

It ignores my calls

At times it gets entangled in its lead

And it strains at the leash

With no idea where it wants to go.





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Us and Them


Mods and rockers and commies and Tories and parents and kids and bosses and unions and girls and boys and blacks and whites and gays and straight and Christians and pagans and posh gits and gutter trash and able bodied and disabled and haves and have-nots and northerners and southerners and ......

Must it always be us and them?

Must you always be other to me?

Can I not lift y...

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The thread of change cuts deep

First anger, then tears, tantrums even.

Much later the empty space.

Shedding, shredding, shape-shifting 


A new skin to live in

And all is well.

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Autobiography (seems to be a theme on WOL at the moment)

I am that woman who does yoga

Then sits on the beach

Eating oranges and writing poetry

I am that woman who watches her weight

Then takes the grand kids

For pizza and icecream on Friday evening

I am that woman who listens to TED talks

And checks out youtube

For mindfulness, shamanism and grannies dancing.

I am that woman who is an almost vegan

And (you guessed already)


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The other C word

It shares my bed and pecks at my dreams,

Claws at my thoughts.

Each morning I wake,

Look into its empty eyes

Pinioned to the bed, no will to rise.

I scuttle through shreds of mind

Like a beetle through dead leaves

Searching for life.

Yet still I rise, complete the empty actions of my day.

Stroking my wounds with poisoned talon

Seeping the life from out this shell


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Mothers Pride

This is my girl

She's looking so frail

She's her mother's pride

Thin, white, sliced.

She hurts with a cutter

She spreads just like butter

She's her mother's pride

With nowhere to hide.

This is my girl

A broken pearl

She's her mother's pride

Thin, white and sliced.

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One of those weird unexpected moments

They lay humped on the ground

Like war strewn bodies

But they were only sleeping 

In early morning sun in Euston Square.

I had twenty minutes before my connection

Ran into M&S to buy ten packets of custard creams.

I lay them on the grass, one for each slumbering man.

He stirred and stood quickly swearing at me.

He threw the packet at my head.

"Keep away from my patch you...

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entry picture

I went to my mother for comfort

When I was too young to know better.

Later I turned to dope, speed, acid. 

As comfort goes that was good for a while.

Much later I drowned myself in the comfort of alcohol.

Or perhaps it was anaesthesia. I don't recall.

Today, I leave my daughter's house

Driving down country lanes 

My feathers ruffled.

Indignations sparking like a light bu...

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In the Garden Again

I'm listening to my thoughts

I'd like to light a fire

But there's washing on the line

In the garden next door.

I'm listening to the trees

And watching as they dance

In full leafy green regalia

A strange arboreal  Strictly.

I'm listening to the birds

A mother twittering crossly

As baby comes too close

I'm breathing softly.

I'm listening to the wind

Shifting so...

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The Oyster

The love in you seeps out

And spreads like dye

Bringing colour to every life it touches

You think you need love, but no,

You are already overflowing with it

You give it freely and generously on these pages

Each word a pearl.

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Almost a Prayer

Wondering what to do with my life

I looked back and saw that

I had already done it.

So much of it.

A life full of twists and turns

Carved by emotions

Honed by relationships

Tweaked by impulsive actions

Worn down by daily practice

Sculpted by humour and intellect

Made beautiful by good intent

And ugly by regret

This work of art is still in progress

I hope it d...

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The C Word

They took my warmest, softest part

A place of comfort and pleasure and 

Created the most offensive word in the English language.

"A radioactive word impregnated with hostility"

"A superstar of four letter words"

The battle cry of misogynysts.

It shames this fertile river

That flows through and beyond me.

An obscenity. Taboo.

A word never to return to grace.


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I love a good fight

Beating the living daylights out of someone

It's the best adrenaline rush ever 

Yes, of course, I take a beating too

But I don't feel the pain 

I feel alive .

It used to be my job. 

Debt collection. 

Drug money .

I hate drugs. 

What they do to people.

But I loved that job 

I'd have done it for free. 

A fist fight is honest 

It's a natur...

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Holding to the Root

This love is not gentle, it is outraged

By the self-interested scuttling to safe burrows,

The building of walls, the digging of mass graves.


This sadness is not sorrowful, it is ashamed.

These reasonable, rational, sensible words

A smoke screen for cruelty, cowardice,complacency

In the maggot ridden blood of human nature.


This anger is not rage, it is the deepest kin...

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Is it okay?

I'm sitting in the garden wondering

About that other world where

I would be going somewhere,

Doing something,

Being with somebody.

Or is it okay to sit alone

In a garden, drinking tea?

Listening to birds as they fuss

Over sleeping arrangements.

Seagulls and pigeons

Perform a final fly past

Hoping for a bite of supper.

Jackdaws proudly straddling

Chimney pots.


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Don't Short Change Yourself

Push life to the limit

Don't play it safe

Roll naked in the mud

Graffitti "I was 'ere"


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Don't Short Change Yourself

Push life to the limit

Don't play it safe

Roll naked in the mud

Graffitti "I was 'ere"


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Wedding Haiku

Wedding over

May blossom falling

Knives are out.

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A Life



I love you

Let's share

Isn't this amazing

So glad I came


See you again


I hope. Maybe.

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Drawn by Dragons

She was screaming 'I need to sing my song'

They called it a breakdown.

Take a few weeks off, you'll be fine.

Come back right as rain.

She wore the corporate image very well.

They didn't want to let her go.

But she was screaming 'I need to sing my song'.

They called it a mid-life crisis.

Have an adventure.

Take a lover.

Write a novel.

But please come back.

You fi...

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You know that stuff you do?

The stuff between birth and death?

The bit where you think it's all going to get better?

Or the bit where you tell yourself,

And anyone else who will listen,

That it's only going to get worse?

Yeah, all that stuff we do.

What happens with it?

I mean, where does it all go?

All that effort?

All that being clever?

All those risks you took?


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Not Drowning

Graphite, smalt blue, silver

Rippled waves

Arriving and arriving and arriving.

Headland heavy, sulking

Beneath lowering sky.

Thin air, so thin. No sun.

Boats low in the water.

Thin people, so thin. A gun.

Falling like pebbles

Into the rippled waves.

Arriving and arriving and arriving.

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No wedding?

Summer of '98

We had a 'what no wedding?'

In the back garden.

A 'what no meat?' Barbeque

In the rain.

Everyone wore white

Even though it was a

'What no wedding dress?'


The 'what no wedding cake?'

Was a chocolate fondue

With things for dipping.

The 'what no champagne'

Was - well actually

It was champagne.

"Let's never have a wedding again" I sa...

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Old Love

She soaked him up

Like water in a sponge.


She went to a bar

Had casual sex

Got squeezed

Then went back for more.

Satre, Kerouac, Cohen

Horizons that exploded

In her small town mind.

They drank to forget the words

Made love in a fug of helpless hope.

Talked about marriage

"Why not? Why the fuck not?"

In an existential kind of way.

Then the love...

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Why cant she write poems....?

Why can't she write poems when she's  happy?

They're all just

"Once upon a time

There was a ......

And she was ......."

And something happens

Then more stuff happens

But none of it is very interesting

And she fears she is in danger of

Living happily ever after.

But along comes sorrow 

With its angst and

What ifs?

And its need for

Deep profundities.

Its ...

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Kathmandu 2

i cried every day

Sometimes a world weary sob

Sometimes a pillow soaking convulsion

I cried for the three legged dogs and the starving cows

That lined the roads

I cried for the goats that stood,

Tethered, through the freezing night

Only to be slaughtered, boiled

And skinned in the morning.

I cried for the beggars

With their leprosy-stump-limbs

I cried for the stree...

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Kathmandu 1

i was ready to be surprised

New language, new culture

I wasn't ready for you.

You rolled a joint and made some tea

Took me to your bed and

Taught me stuff I didn't know.

We said goodbye at breakfast

Went our separate ways but,

Come the evening, there you were again.

"It's better if you do it like this" you said

"My god, so it is" I replied

So glad you stayed my toy...

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Arriving at Annapurna Basecamp

Days trekking up and down mountain paths

Sleeping with bedbugs under mosquito nets

In trail-side tea houses with no hot water

Living on rice and beans and wild garlic soup.

We arrive world weary, sore and exhausted.

Flop down with mugs of chai, rub our swollen feet.

Our sherpas, having carried our bags and sacks so far,

Abandon them in haste, and throw themselves with glee,


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To Wolfgar from the edge.

I wrote this for my dad about 20 years ago. 


So close to the edge again, again, again.

So close you can see it's verges, it's plunges, 

It's deep dark places.

You hear it's snapping, tightly stretched wires.

You feel it's all pervading dampness and smell

Something so personal and familiar

It has no name in this world.

So close to the edge again, again, again. 


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100% Zero

entry picture

A true fool is 100% Zero

Zero serious opinions

Zero harsh judgements

Zero hankering for possessions

Zero ambition for status

Zero interest in hurtful gossip

Zero delusions of 'having a grip'

Zero pretensions of 'knowing what's what's'

A real fool lives moment to moment

Open 100% to all that is

Open 100% to curiosity and wonder

Open 100% to wakefulness, alertness, p...

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Easter Myth

The hero came

He always does

Kills the Dragon

Of dark history

We see the light

At tunnel's end

Forgiven we run

In gratitude and joy

While we can still remember

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Smart App

I have a smart app

I wear it on my face

Especially at work

Or when meeting new people

When I turn it off

The dreaming begins

The poems arrive

The warm feeling

That all is well

Just as it is

Spreads like melting butter

Through all that i am

I have a smart app

I wear it on my face

But not so often these days

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entry picture

Alftrude Ethel Newton was my mother 

Born 24th March 1918

Illegitimate child of Mabel 

And her naughty soldier boyfriend 

Who never returned from his war. 

She lived a life of ravaged emotions

And, eventually, ravaged synapses,

Lit up by daily trips to the bookies 

And nights at the bingo. 

She aimed to please. 

She always kept 

A bunch 

Of plastic 


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From the sterility of all things serious

And the oppression of all things political

And the cruelty of all things pragmatic

And the inanity of all things pursued

The fool arises

From the wisdom of knowing nothing

Lovers hold each other's gaze

Poets begin at the very beginning

Saints abandon themselves to bliss

And the fool arises

From the joy of sheer foolishness


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