Winds of Change

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Here’s a poem for Trump’s Inauguration Day. I’ve included links at the bottom, to explain some of my references in more detail. Stand firm friends, your sails need hope to sail…

There’s a Trumpicane

brewing across the Atlantic,

and there’s a tide of panic

as it rips truth up

from its foundations

screaming, spinning, hurling it

until it shatters into splinters

that pierce our bubbles of comfort

and fill them with fear

that everything that makes us human

is breaking

 

And yet

a little closer to home

a bright breeze of hope

blows in the news

that wind power beat coal

to the finish line last year, here

so take a bow flighty friend

make turbines spin

and trees sway

and sails flap

tack, tack

as we change direction

this way, that

but where are we going

who’s got the map

no I think you’ve got that

upside down my friend

for though the world may indeed

be turning on its head

sailing our way safely through this storm

will require all hands on deck

heads up

shoulders back

stand straight and face

those winds of change

so that we can see them coming

and direct this ship

to calmer waters

where waves lap gently at the shore

and children who have fled war

are not washed up dead

but play carefree with their families

less sail away, sail away, sail away

more gather round people

for you too

deserve a safe home

and yes the waters around us continue to grow

but we must swim

we can not give in

 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/16/not-post-truth-simpler-words-lies-aleppo-trump-mainstream

https://www.positive.news/2017/environment/24858/uk-wind-generated-electricity-2016-coal/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Alan_Kurdi

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/enya/orinocoflowsailaway.html

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bobdylan/thetimestheyareachangin.html

Hot questions

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I had a fabulous time at ‘Taking the Mic’ last night, an open mic night in the heart (the bar!) of Exeter’s cultural hub (The Phoenix!). Met some wonderful, talented people and felt warmly welcomed, as I was there for the first time. While I’m still buzzing and gushing, I’d like to share one of the poems I read there.

Listen and/or read as you prefer – enjoy!

What are your hot questions?

 

 

Do we get colder

as we grow older?

I don’t mean extremities

becoming more sensitive

to the seasons

I mean do we stop

asking hot questions?

Like:

Why do people go to war –

what’s it for?

Why are foodbanks necessary –

isn’t there plenty?

Why do the eight richest men, between them possess

the same as 3.6 billion of the most dispossessed?

Why are over 1,000,000 elderly chronically lonely –

when we think we’re all so FB’ing connected socially?

See, I think we complicate things

as we get older,

like putting on a jumper, or shawl

when you’re cold

to take the edge off

the discomfort.

Add a few layers of spin and complication

and the burning hot question

gets easier to handle and discard

somewhere it won’t burn

a hole in a heart.

Even though we can mend those too right,

I mean we’ve been doing

heart surgery for two centuries,

but you and I both know

I’m not talking

about that kind of hole.

The soul

can’t be sliced, stitched, stapled –

but it likes questions.

So maybe to warm up again

we need to start small

and ask why we –

crossed the road

turned away

didn’t say

what we really thought

because

we were ashamed

scared

didn’t want to lose a job.

But it’s ok

we’ve got great hot question teachers

they’re all around us

but you might want to bend you knees a little

and open your heart a lot

and be brave enough to say,

you know what, I don’t know.

What do you think?

Wednesday Writers’ Well

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“The aspiring poet is constantly lowering a bucket only half way down a well. coming up time and again with nothing but empty air. The frustration is immense. But you must keep doing it anyway. After many years of practice, the chain draws unexpectedly tight, and you have dipped into the waters that will continue to entice you back. You’ll have broken the skin on the pool of yourself.”

 – SEAMUS HEANEY

Welcome to the first of a regular blog slot each Wednesday, which I’m calling Writers’ Well because: it’s intended to be a source of nourishment and inspiration for the writer in you; it expresses my belief that creative writing benefits our well being on so many levels and…I love the above quote from Seamus Heaney. It gives me goosebumps every time.

Writing Prompt:

Each week, I’ll share one of the writing prompts used the previous Friday in my weekly workshop, along with an example of what was written in response. Today’s prompt is…Where do you go?

Write the name of a place in response to each of the following four questions. Ideally the places you name should be real and specific. Of course, you could use the same place for one than one. Now choose one of the four to write about and expand upon for 10 minutes. 

Where do you go when…

– you want to be alone?

– you want to be in the company of others?

– you want to celebrate?

– you want to connect with something bigger (life, love, spirit, God – whatever you want to call it)?

I chose to expand upon my answer to the first. This is what I wrote:

Funny really, but when I want to be ‘alone’ it’s not that I want to be ‘alone’ as such – rather, I want the opportunity to be with ‘life’ in a very direct way, without the distraction of technology or human company – so I go out. Usually, towards water – the river, a beach, but anywhere that allows me to see the sky, feel the breeze on my cheeks, put one foot in front of the other and let the ground support me. When I’m alone, I open, and as I open, that inner well within starts to refill. I can almost feel it happening. There are signs you see; I might skip or twirl, start singing, reach out to touch something beautiful near me. I might just stop, close my eyes and breathe.

And as the well gets filled, I feel lighter, and the weight of expectation and worry has diluted into the vastness of the space all around me, so I can carry it with more grace, and start to see solutions.

Just like my body needs food and drink, so my soul must feed regularly on alone time in nature – and when I’ve taken in my fill, I can return – ready to let others drink from the well again.

And if you’re really lucky, one of these might drop by to sate their thirst…

unicorn

So, where do you go…?

Promise…

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I was lucky enough to be invited to read a couple of poems on a friend’s radio show on Wednesday, and I’d like to share them here as they speak to that part in us that’s yearning for spring and new beginnings, but sometimes needs to be just a little more patient…;-)

I wrote this first one while offering Poetry to Order at a Christmas Fair, and the title is what the gentleman gave me as a theme for his poem.

The Promise of the Garden in Winter
 
You go to sleep
Beneath a duvet of leaves
With robins singing
A joyful lullaby
But your promise
Is more silent
For deep below
In frost hardened ground
The seeds of potential
Watch and wait
Sleeping through the darkness
Drinking the rain
And waiting for warmth
And sun again
I might look bare
But don’t despair
I promise life
Is hiding there
And in the spring
When days are longer
Watch me burst forth
Brighter, stronger
****
****
****
This second one I wrote on New Year’s Day in 2014.
****
****
****
A Re-feathering
Whether fairies are real or not

I won’t risk killing one

with a disbelieving thought

For I have seen

strewn at my feet

the feathers of my own wings

shot from the sky

when doubt came hunting

***

But I am not a bird

and my wings

were not of this world

any more than a unicorn’s horn

is hard and made of keratin –

so it’s time for a re-feathering

growing new shafts

from quill to tip

with the beauty of belief

’til once again

I fly

And here’s the podcast of the show. The first half is a discussion with Hannah Pearson, a passionate herbalist and healer sharing about her work. Fascinating stuff! And a great dose of nourishing inspiration for the New Year. I read my poems in the second half.
If you’d like to hear/see more of me reading/singing my poems and songs check out my audios/videos page:

What is…

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Yesterday I held my first writing workshop of the year, and it was the perfect foundation on which to build a year of insight, creativity and community. I always complete sessions with a brief round of feedback where I ask participants to share three things; something they enjoyed/were surprised by, something that challenged/didn’t work for them and how they’re feeling now, in that moment. Several people acknowledged the power of writing together, and how the group’s presence was both a joy to witness in itself, and an inspiration for their own creativity.

I resonate with this point very strongly, for though I believe in the value of developing our own recognisable ‘voice’, writing together can help us to explore styles and themes we wouldn’t otherwise consider, and so bring a greater depth and freshness to our work.

One exercise involved choosing a quality to explore (in our group we chose; generosity, compassion, courage, love and authenticity) and write that word at the top of the page followed by – is… We then wrote a sentence offering our own understanding of what that word meant, before passing our paper to the right so the next person could add their understanding of that word, and so on. When we received our papers back, we had ten minutes to write a poem inspired by the list we now had.

Below is my poem exploring the quality of Authenticity

 

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Authenticity

 

Be the author

of your own truth

and align those inner pages

with the declaration

on the cover

of your life

***

Do not edit or bind

rather write

and print

volume on volume

as you create

a welcoming life library

where the world comes

to linger for a while

 

in search of entertainment

or wisdom

or both

***

Do not fear the critics

who judge your tomes

to be lacking in vocabularial variety

and perfectly placed punctuation

for perfection is a word

we risk hanging ourselves on

as we strain up towards it

and inevitably fall

No – perfection

isn’t authentic at all

 

What are your thoughts on authenticity? It is a word I intend to explore throughout January, for reasons I will explain in a future post, so I look forward to reading your wise reflections in the comments…

Here’s hoping your 2017 is off to a great start!

Love, Harula xxx

Dare dream

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I wrote the first version of this for a friend who asked for a poem on the power of belief when I was writing three minute poems to order at a Christmas Fair. I’ve since played with it further because I could do with that power right now. And so I share the poem with you…and, just maybe, through the poem…I share with you that power of belief. May 2017 be the year you believe, trust and dare…greatly!

Love and blessings of belief to you all xxx

 

Would the sky

tut tut the stars

for shining too far?

***

Do the oceans laugh

at arrogant mankind

for failing yet

to know their depths?

***

There is more

in your heart and soul

than you dare dream of

in your philosophy

+++

so defy impossible

stretch it far

beyond that long extinguished star

whose light continues

yet to shine

beyond and through

the joke of time

***

disbelief nets no

soul

willing to face the truth of

freedom

and fly through the gaps

that appear only when you

see

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

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Just baked (and ate!) this cake with family – and it’s fed my muse, so here are some poetic thoughts to share ( because I can’t share the cake through the screen – not that there’s any left to share  )

Soooooo much love to you all. Have a wonderful start to 2017!!!

May your year be sweet and rich
and big enough to share
with anyone who needs a slice
to know that someone cares

May your year be warm and full
of kindness and less fear
an open heart that beats as one
with anyone who’s near

May you be well and happy
at peace and full of dreams
with eyes that see life’s magic
for all is not as it seems

And so my friends I thank you
you make my life worthwhile
the old year’s ready to let go
come New Year – make us smile!

GLADvent Day 24

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Welcome to the GLADvent finale – day Twenty-Four! Yesterday we had the word Poetry.

Poetry has long been precious to me, and most recently the experience of writing three minute poems to order has been a wonderful way of keeping that love alive and vibrant, as I end up writing about topics, and in a style, outside of more familiar terrain, which kick starts the flow and prevents me from going stale. Hopefully, it also means I’ve contaminated others with verse love! It brings a powerful sense of play too, which creative muses thrive on!

Poetry is teacher, friend and entertainer. Poetry uplifts me, guides me and connects me more deeply with life and the feelings being alive involves. I really do think poetry says the big stuff best, because it uses words in a magical musical way that has enough flexibility to stretch to invoking the intangible that exists beyond our everyday lives in this dualistic world. Personally, I think it’s that ‘intangible’ stuff that gives meaning and interest to life.

 

And now, for the last stocking!

day-24-friendship

FRIENDSHIP: “Walking with a friend in the dark is better

than walking alone in the night.

– Helen Keller

Now take a moment to pause and reflect upon how Friendship has shown up in your life recently. What are the qualities you value most in a friend? Who has been there for you this past year? What do you/will you do to cultivate new and existing  friendships in the new year?

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And so GLADvent comes to an end! Thank you all for joining in, and have a wonderful Christmas Day, however you choose to spend it.

Love and blessings of friendship and gratitude,

 

Harula xxx

GLADvent Day 23

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Welcome to GLADvent day Twenty-Three! Yesterday we had the word Plants.

 

I’ve never been patient or gentle enough to develop green fingers, and have been known to wholly unintentionally kill houseplants, mainly through over-watering. However, woods and forests are places of great nourishment and fascination for me.

I am never so aware of NOT being alone than when I’m walking among trees, and I receive my greatest inspiration on these adventures. Trees have even been known to almost directly talk to me; it really feels that way because suddenly I download/access wisdom I am very much in need of at that moment, and the sense is both of care and detachment. There is such freedom in that.

And now, for the twenty third stocking!

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And let’s turn it over…

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POETRY: “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.

– Leonardo Da Vinci

Now take a moment to pause and reflect upon how Poetry has shown up in your life recently. Do you have a favorite poem you turn to when you are in need of soul food? Do you write poetry, even if you never show it to anyone else…and if so, what drives you? What do you think is poetry’s place, if indeed you feel it has one, in modern life?

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See you tomorrow for the final post in this series….

GLADvent Day 22: Plants

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Welcome to GLADvent day Twenty-Two! Yesterday we had the word Clothes.

The first piece of clothing I remember clearly is a light white cotton dress with blue dots on. There’s a photo of me in Greece, wearing the dress whilst standing at the top of concrete steps leading down to the beach, looking wistfully at the sea because I had measles at the time and wasn’t allowed to swim.

I remember the tiny little super smart navy blue hacking jacket I wore to compete in my first gymkhana.

I remember the multi-coloured coat my mother made for my birthday when my Dad took me to see my first musical in London, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

I remember the gorgeous wide sleeved warm coloured cardigan my sister crocheted that I wore until there were so many holes it just wouldn’t stay on any more.

I remember the clothes my Mum made for me to take to Rwanda so I’d look smart enough to match the standards of my immaculately turned out colleagues in the classrooms there.

I remember the dramatic boots; green, warmly lined, zipping neatly over my calves and up just below my knee, fitting like gloves – except they were never originally meant for me. They were generously gifted to me by a friend who one day decided she could no longer wear green. They started letting the rain in through holey soles earlier this year, but I can’t quite bring myself to throw them away, and so they crowd the shoe shelf in the corridor.

I will remember forever the long red evening dress I bought about 8 months ago in a second hand shop, knowing the moment I started pulling it over my head that I’d found the dress I needed to look the part for performances with the choir.

My mother asked me many years ago if she could please have the privilege of making my wedding dress when I get married. I wonder if maybe one day I’ll be able to say – Mum, I need that dress…

So, the twenty second stocking.

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And let’s see what focus for reflection this day brings…

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PLANTS: “The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.

– John Muir

Now take a moment to pause and reflect upon how Plants have shown up in your life recently. Do you have green fingers? Are you a houseplant lover, or do you prefer your vegetation wild? Have you had the chance to walk through woods, or forest recently?

 

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Twenty-two stockings turned – we’re almost there! And I reckon we’ve saved a couple of the best till last 😉 Hope to see you tomorrow for number 23.

Do continue to share your thoughts and reflections in the comments section below as you wish…