Monday, September 26, 2011


Hugging the Plane tree in the garden
when we first arrived
I'm moving from the South of France back to the UK at the end of October. I have mixed feelings about the move. We've achieved so much here but it hasn't always been easy (you can read a little bit more about it here).
I'm not at the point of having to say goodbye yet but it does seem that I spend a lot of time thinking about it.

The end of September.
All traces of our summer guests
have gone: sand rinsed from showers,
beach towels folded away.

Under the terrace
the deflated paddling pool
gathers leaves.

We will not be here
much longer: palm trees, the Mistral,
the smell of coconut oil
at the supermarket check-out,
things of the past.

Four years of our life.
We measure it in numbers:
additions, subtractions,
try and make sense
of what we gain, what we lose.

A language. The scent of bread
carried on a sea breeze. The company
of the sun. The people we love
far away at the end of a phone.

Let me imagine a year ahead:
my parents' will celebrate
their 60th year together.
The smell of apples in the cold store.
The cat will have captured
a foreign territory and accepted it
as home. Which is what

we all crave: home.

I find it relatively easy to feel 'at home'. I can adapt to circumstances and situations. Sometimes it's a temporary home, a writing retreat that's made more familiar with a bed-throw, a rearrangement of the room's furniture. Sometimes it's more permanent: learning a language to feel part of a community.

Write about changes. About home. About the year ahead. Or the one you're leaving behind.

Write well.
L x


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...


Rooms backlit with maternal longing,
memories zipped into every corner,
cupboards once choc a bloc
with childhood.
The dog’s bark echoes in the hall.

A swing tilts on frayed ropes.
Grass thrives where the wicket stood,
bald balls nestle in the undergrowth.
Tennis racquets warp snapped strings.

Sheets lie fallow on the shelves,
for their next unfurling;
puffed up pillows
pert against the headboards,
for adult heads to dent them like a dish,

by those
who no longer call it home.
Just a weekend break.

Keith Wallis said...

Life moves on,
its spanning pace outstrides me -
breathless I wonder
if I take a rest will I catch up
or fondle into dust.
Life moves on,
it takes me in its slipstream
into its mountains
the gradient steepening with age.
Life moves on
and its cacophony gets louder
with each cascade of changes.
I long for the silent words,
the still-crisp air of the mountain top
and the smile on the face of a child.

Martin Cordrey said...


What goes through a caterpillars mind
when it awakens as a humble moth,
or maybe, like a mother, after giving birth,
nature dilutes the memories of such pain!

How helpless is a falling apple, torn -
by gravity’s rage, how dark is a toadstool
in the shadow of charcoal trees? Can you
remember being a toddler, recall the time

your bones stretched into adulthood? How
frustrated is a frog chasing the pond moon?
On leaving the lair; what fear
does a cub feel or a grown-up, vaguely aware

of its old persona shrinking back
into that of an innocent brat!

Glenn Buttkus said...


Do we live only in this moment,
during this breath, and all else
is memory or conjecture?

Is my life your dream, or yours mine,
or are we merely busy parasites
between the toes of God?

We struggle with reason,
search for meaning, conjure up
beauteous myths regarding past lives,
pre-life, afterlife, life between lives,
and love to postulate that we never
are victims, but captains of every
tragedy, every honor, every shame,
existentially responsible for every shred
of decency or decadence in our scenarios,
empowered architects of some Bardoian
boiler plate outline for each incarnation,

yet the media distracts us, libraries do not
beckon to us, book stores lack the literary
luster of our youth, and we constantly
find ourselves plugged into an instantaneous
cyberland, with the entire world now
at our fingertips, bathed in awareness of
every event occurring each minute,
the planet shrunken to the size of a
regulation basketball, growing impatient
during any wait that exceed ten seconds,

being seduced by the fetching sirens
of technology, begging the machines
to pilot our way, park our vehicles, lift
our labors, craft our leisure, and allowing
the zap and whir of our computers to
begin to sound like children’s laughter;

only vaguely wondering where does it lead,
becoming loquacious lemming marching
blindly toward some distant sea cliff,
billions on queue, back to back,
belly to belly, immersed, dissuaded, driven,
with itunes in our ear buds, Avatar on our
smart phones, and a stuporous grin etched
permanently upon the jaw of our journey
to a blind new world.

Glenn Buttkus

September 2011

Jim said...

Cherry Blossom

The cherry blossom is early
this year and the house is quiet,
waits now they have gone.
Lives slow time
with the birds
nesting in the eaves.

anne basquin said...

The Year Behind

In the last two months,
that feel like four
or six,
I've smiled more
exposed more skin,
enjoyed more visceral fruit
torn up more pavement
in buffalo sandals than

in the seven months before that when,
my mouth was set in a line
until like clockwork
the face opened,
the room closed in,
people paid some attention to me.

I deflated slowly,
like tall tomato plants
with rotten roots
that start to wilt
just when you think the hard green orbs of fruit
should start to ripen.

I forgot about language,
stumbled through my own and others,
tripping over grammar
and mime.

I could order food
if I wanted to speak
or ask for a discount.
I smiled until my face hurt
mouth set in a line underneath.

In March,
I watched a surge of water
engulf people,
houses floating like leaves
on the churning waters
black like the cloak of death.

My students who were
regular people
at first felt that it was deserved,
a just punishment
for the enslavement of their own
people years ago.

That night,
is separate from all the others because
I had to pull the corners of my mouth up
with great strength
and a will that came from my toes,
to please,
to be congenial.
I wasn't paid to confront their beliefs,
nor my own.

Standing, I couldn't look them in the eye,
could only face the board, back turned,
to explain the difference between
“be going to” and “will”.

If only I could've explained the difference
between life and death or,
empathy and ignorance.

That black water
full of bricks, sticks, shingles, plants, plastic, boats, shovels, livlihoods
every manner of domestic, modern lives,
doling out punishment
like the hand of God
sweeping down
to cleanse everything.

With time,
they admitted they'd been too harsh
too quick to judge,
no one deserved such an erasure,
such a flat expanse
of debris.

Then the rains came,
a thing I love,
the season,
the words,
the action of forgetting an umbrella
and walking home, wet and happy.

But the rains came with unspeakable,
invisible particles,
that are hard to spell like,
with numbers lagging behind to show
half lives,
exposure levels,
or the year it was discovered.

I read popular slogans like,
no immediate health affects or,
harmful only to breastfeeding mothers
and children under two.

When there was time to think,
I began to worry about thyroid problems,
the mutation of flowers,
or how easily moss can retain
these strange weapons.

And then apathy
laid her sweet hands over everything
and denial
had his hands in it too.

People laughed at fear
while they nursed their unborn children.
I can't blame them, I guess
to deny the air in your lungs,
the seaweed in your soup,
the crops in your country,
the rain in your sky,
the baby in your womb,

is not a choice.

Where to run,
when what you run from is as solid
and shiftless as
wind, air, or photosynthesis.

Where to hide when
whole families rely on how you speak to your boss,
your clients,
your customers,
and not, god forbid,
what you fear,
what is essentially

Responsibility escaped me,
so I took my life and fled

I swept down below the equator
with glee,
and almost wept,
for those who couldn't.