Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Welcome back to the new look AppleHouse after the summer break, or welcome if you're joining us for the first time. I look forward to reading your poetry and comments in response to my posts over the next few months.

When I was a kid September marked the end of summer. Some years there was no perceptible change in the weather but returning to school removed the freedom of the previous months and a prescribed timetable took its place, as well as a different dress-code, and social pattern too: school friends weren't always the same as holiday friends.

Now, apart from this post to AppleHouse, there's really nothing in my life that makes the beginning of this month any different from the last week in August. Ot at least that's what it seems like on the surface.

In fact, if I look closely, there are differences:

1. The humidity level has suddenly dropped. The wooden doors to the pantry and the kitchen cupboard have shrunk back to their usual size and now close properly.

2. The days are still gloriously sunny but the nights are cooler and I wake in the early morning to pull the quilt up from the bottom of the bed, dislodging the cat.

3. The grass is regrowing. There are thick, healthy green tufts spreading across the baldness of July and August.

4. I find myself looking at sweaters and boots and imagine wearing them in the not too distant future.

5. Red wine seems more palatable rather than the chilled rosé.

6. There are less people walking up and down ave des ChĂȘnes, to and from the beach. And the voices of those who are tend to be Italian, or Scandinavian, or British.

7. Today I packed up the buckets and spades, the inflatable blue deer, the beach parasol and straw mats from under the terrace and put them in the garage. We have no guests due to arrive, no children with sandy toes and flushed cheeks clutching pebbles.

So I have said 'goodbye' to lots of things, and 'hello' to others. I suppose we do this often in our lives when seasons, circumstances and relationships change. Perhaps it might be an idea to write about one of those times or about goodbyes and hellos in general.

Of course, 'goodbyes' to things and people don't necessarily have to be sad. And 'hellos' aren't always joyous either. But they can be what we expect too.

Write a poem that explores 'what has left and what has arrived'.

It's good to be back.
L x


Glenn Buttkus said...

Before I write something in
response to this challenge,
let me say that it is a joy
to hail the return of the
magus, our personal
sorceress of poetics.
Your new profile pic is
cherry and still shines
and drips with the summer
departing. The new look
of the site is great,
kind of bookish, yet bright
like an orchard of literary
and poetic delights.

Lynne Rees said...

Thank you, Glen! It's good to see you again. : )

Glenn Buttkus said...


The stark simplicity of her flat
headstone greeted me in the soft
mist of a gray-green morning
not long ago, and a soft murmur
on the warm breeze chided me
for the years that have slipped by,
just a pinwheel’s whirl
of the cogs since my last visit.

“Hello, Mother,” I muttered,
knowing that the Stygian slab
at my wet feet was naught
but symbol, that the buried
red ceramic urn laden with
her carbonic ash held nothing
of She who had been maternal
essence to me for those too
brief thirty-nine years that
she strode erect in flesh.

I have never said farewell to her
because she barely left my dreams,
and her spiritual embraces still
leave dampness on my slumbering
cheeks, as she kisses her boy
good night.

Glenn Buttkus September 2010

Keith Wallis said...

There’s a kiss of chill on morning cheeks
when you leave for school;
the summer of togetherness
fonders into daily absence.
Time changes:
the shortening days
grow longer,
lengthening nights
speed away.
There’s a kiss of chill on morning cheeks
and the lingering loneliness
of the working day.

martin cordrey said...

Eve of 1st day at grammar school

It’s the smell of newly laid beige carpet
gloss painted woodwork that heralds

the dawn of a new school year; the dust
of a decades’ growth dysoned away,

the blue rabbits chased into the dark
attic with pterosaurs and brachiosaurs.

As I hug him, kiss the top of his head
goodnight, he is aware of tomorrow,

of his life about to alter – being older –
I have no heart to mention how much.

Erin Lee Ware said...

I took the dog out this morning,
and the cold went right through my shirt.

Standing in the wet grass,
hugging my arms across my chest,
I felt like I missed something,
like this all came too fast.

It’s darker in the morning,
and the air smells different.
The trees aren’t full of cherries,
and the ground’s not hot from the sun.

But I guess change is good.
The circle of life and all that.

I still wish for a warm hand to hold.

Martin cordrey said...

September morning floods
our neighbours trees in orange -
tonight a wall of black

Glenn Buttkus said...



the yoke,
the chains,
the rut,
the deadlines,
the commute,
the stress,
the forced changes,
mandates, and edicts,
the ape in the corner office.


Birdsong for an alarm clock.
A cat who has adopted my lap.
A lighter step.
A key-start walk-behind lawn mower.
A 2008 silver Suzuki Grand Vitara.
A Sanyo 45” flat screen HD television.
An orange Dyson Ball vacuum cleaner.
More vases of flowers for my wife.
Less bulk and smaller waist levis.
A crew that shows up monthly to tailor our yard.
Aching mandibles from copious smiling.
The constant echo of children’s laughter.
The sounds of trains at night make me happy.
The timely and joyous arrival of the Me Time Express.
A buzzing cortical carnival between my ears
that has free admission
and never closes.

Glenn Buttkus September 2010

Lynne Rees said...

Lovely to read all your poems - thank you for coming back : )

@ Glen: 'Hey' - I found this very moving, and some lovely, and appropriate, words placed at the line ends too so the reader can linger on them: soft, murmur, buried, maternal... in fact, and I've just noticed this, if you read down the last words of every line there's a kind of sense that connects to what the poem as a whole is doing: e.g. flat soft morning... and later on 'buried with nothing' and 'maternal too that flesh', and, the one I love 'her dreams still slumbering'. How cool is that?

@ Keith - this has a lullaby kind of feel to it, a way to comfort the self during the absence. I like how the poem tightens at the middle too, but is more expansive at the opening and the close. It seems to mirror how the day begins, settles to itself, then opens up again.

@ Martin: Lovely poem. A rite of passage nicely illustrated by the childhood toys being shifted to the attic. And the last line sums up how so many parents must feel... not wanting 'childish' things to leave a child's life too soon.

@ Erin: I like the directness of this poem. I wonder if it might be more effective all in the present tense? Not absolutely sure though. But I do like the tactile quality you've created with the cold and the hugging and the sun not touching the ground... the latter making the close of the poem even more emotive.

@ Martin: haiku - I think this needs to focus on the single moment rather than two separate parts of the day. The strongest haiku tend to do that: illuminate the significance of a single moment.

@ Glen: Shangrilala - what joy here! And a joy to read too - I love the aching mandibles! Perhaps the only line that I felt wasn't necessary was 'The timely and joyous arrival of the Me Time Express' as the poem clearly and effectively shows this idea.

Another post coming at the weekend. Speak soon.

Glenn Buttkus said...

Loved your comments Sensei,
and the second time they
were still cool, but less of
an event. Don't you love

Elizabeth Bowles said...

I'm new to your site and blog and I'm new to blogging. I love your site and your poetry.

My website is and my email is I live and work in Atlanta, GA. My blogger name is lizwriter.

Lynne Rees said...

Hi Elizabeth - welcome to AppleHouse! Hope to see you here again. L x