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

Friday, September 02, 2011

Welcome back to AppleHouse

And welcome to September.

How is yours? I've had two September experiences so far. Both in one day. I left Kent, UK yesterday which was a surprisingly summery 20 degrees and a welcome comparison to the wet and cold August. The change in the weather made me want to stay longer but the flight was booked and we took off from London City Airport, flew east along the Thames and out over the southernmost part of the North Sea.

1 hour and 50 minutes later we landed at Nice and drove to Antibes where it was 32 degrees and sunny, but so humid. This morning I couldn't tell where the wet quilt cover ended and I began as I struggled to lift it over the washing line.

Coming back to France in September meant I missed most of our crop of figs. I took a bowl of them back to Kent and left instructions with my cat and house sitter to help herself to whatever ripened in my absence.

All that's left now are a few, small late ripeners. September is too late for them. I missed their best time.

Here's a poem called 'September' by Linda Pastan, a poet I've previously introduced on AppleHouse Poetry


it rained in my sleep
and in the morning the fields were wet

I dreamed of artillery
of the thunder of horses

in the morning the fields were strewn
with twigs and leaves

as if after a battle
or a sudden journey

I went to sleep in the summer
I dreamed of rain

in the morning the fields were wet
and it was autumn

from Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968-1998
W.W. Norton & Company, 2009

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September is our ninth month but takes its name from 'septem'/seven as it was the seventh month in the Roman calendar.

We tend to associate September with autumn but in the Southern hemisphere it's the beginning of spring.

September was always a mark of going back to school. More recently it reminds me of 9/11 and the attack on the Twin Towers.

Write about September, or the shift from one month to another. Or dreaming. Or waking up. But anchor your poem to a particular time of year.

Write well.