I live in Leeds. I spent some time as a child before embarking on a 50-year career as a building services design engineer and consultant. Fearing boredom in retirement, I signed up with the OU to study for an honours degree in literature, which I completed in 2012. This led me into creative writing in general and poetry in particular. Success with poems include first prizes in the Milton Keynes Speakeasy competition and the NAWG formal poetry competition. I paint the occasional picture and enjoy wandering about on foot in the countryside to explore the experience of being alive, and in the hope of revisiting childhood with the benefit of experience.
Asset Management It was no ordinary taw: so small, a mystic ball of glass, it gleamed around spirals of blue and red, it was the special member of a hoard that clicked and clattered, a chattering conspiracy in a bag with a draw string. Now I see it was the flaw we argued over, its imperfection, the extra twist that merged to purple in one minuscule comma of space, like a living eye at one end of the twisted seed that filled an eight-year-old imagination. Its worth exceeded anything that Jim had in his biscuit tin, Billie’s bottle-washers, or Kevin’s crumpled Captain Marvel comic. That marble would succumb to no seduction; its value held up all that summer through – then slumped as conkers dropped into vogue and a wizened campaigner, hardened through age and experience, gnarled and denuded, scars exposed, last year’s fourteener came from the top drawer to knock ’em for six and deliver a bonus. Tree Shadows One thing is clear: the mood shows through, but not in terms sufficient to express the sentiments that guide her lonely figure past the shadows on the wall; light nuances, which fix the mix of pigments on the palette, conduct the brush simply to hint what thoughts exist within her tiny silhouette. Time after time she entices me back: to shift perspective forward, follow the four-wheeled cart which left its lines along the lane as it passed into a future since forgotten; to share that sun-washed pavement on her frozen journey, doff a fashionable hat, offer a supporting arm; to walk with her, engage in talk of polite society, learn of indistinguishable destinations that tantalize beyond that wall where tree-shadows mingle tangled fingers across her steadfast path towards the vanishing point. I could Never … I like to think. I can do some things well, especially when I sit down to write; but I could never do a villanelle because it taxes every cerebral cell to render both refrain and rhythm right. I like to think I can do some things well – perhaps the sonnet is where I’d excel if that iambic metre weren’t so tight – but I could never do a villanelle. And when my novel’s finished, it might sell enough to make me famous overnight; I like to think I can do some things well enough, and would improve if I could spell sophisticated words like ‘sexpartite’; but I could never do a villanelle without descending into doggerel. Although I must admit I’m not too bright, I like to think I can do some things well. (But I could never do a villanelle!) Poem Can I call a tree a dragon? A sycamore with jagged foliage, scaled full green, may meet the metaphor. But Autumn’s fiery flush does not define ferocious flame. All the same, a tree remains a moving thing in winter when the wind may only whistle where the rustle once existed. A tree is monstrous.
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