Writing me Down

Thursday, June 30, 2005

An alien landscape

The rattle and tumble of stones is continuous as they answer the call of the pink moon that hangs low in the sky. Her width stretches to almost half of the visible horizon. Tidal waves sweep the surface of this planet, crashing chaotically in the grip of the moon’s pull. The constantly shifting, rolling, waving surface glows dimly in shades of magenta, mauve and violet.

Purple pebbles ring
In constant tumbling answer
To pull of pink moon.


The storm started when we were eating baked spuds in the Burnt Stump. Flashes of lightning and then heavy rain slashing out of a silver-grey sky. As we got in the car and started to drive onto the M69, the motorway turned into a river obscuring the white lines. The wiper blades were racing busily across the screen and still we couldn’t see. Jagged lightning struck the ground in every direction. I folded my arms tightly across my midriff as if they could provide protection.

We finally reached the edge of the huge storm cloud, but it seemed to lurk on our left shoulder as we continued our journey. By the time we reached home, we found ourselves driving back into it.

It still took an hour or so to break. When it did, it was spectacular. The forks of lightning, like the roots of an uprooted seedling, were outlined in magenta and turned the sky a bubble-gum pink. Jagged flashes struck the ground at regular intervals, but also forked across the sky, meeting each other in cat’s cradle patterns. Sheet lightning lit the whole sky with a strangely cold light.

The rain arrived, bouncing off roads and rooftops, hurtling from gutters, pounding the leaves. Then just as suddenly, it stopped. The sky was tinged with a yellow-orange luminosity. The silence was absolute, and pregnant with tension. Lightning crackled around 360 degrees, and the thunder followed immediately, grumbling and hurling furniture to the floor as it circled around us. We were right in the eye of a storm that was several miles wide and heaven only knows how high. The silence, that held breath of a silence, provided the stage for the most incredible electrical activity I’ve seen for a long time. I gave myself up to that energy. Lying on my back, I relaxed and felt it fill me, making every limb tingle. It was strangely like meditation.

Bruised yellow storm cloud
Held breath of seething silence
Pink roots slash earthwards.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Stones

Jennifer felt the stone, rough and warm against her back. Her heart still pounded, fast and loud like the flint-knapper’s hammer. Each stone in the circle seemed to lean towards her, like curious observers. Around them, the trees were still and hardly a rustle could be heard, only the occasional ‘hoo hoo’ of a wood pigeon. Her back felt damp and sticky against the stone.

Don’t look back.

Jennifer pressed her head hard back against the stone, her eyes tight shut. She heard a snap, as if something had trodden on one of the dry twigs that littered the edge of the wood. In her mind’s eye, she saw a shadowy form blocking out the sunlight that filtered through the leaves.

Don’t. Look. Back.

Jennifer’s throat felt dry, and her shoulders ached with tension. Her hands were pressed onto the dry ground beside her, small stones grinding into the flesh. In her mind, the shadow grew, forming itself into a figure that beckoned, demanding. She started to shake against the stone. Where was it? The silence was absolute. Maybe she was mistaken. Maybe they had been lying to her. Just a tale to stop her wandering into the woods on her own. She opened her eyes. The stones looked on, harmless, safe. Slowly she turned and looked behind her.


“Mum, look at that stone!” The little boy in blue striped t-shirt and matching baseball cap tugged on his mother’s arm. “It looks like someone sitting down – look, there’s the head, and there’s the knees, and that looks like an arm …”

“Yes, dear,” murmured his mother, looking around nervously. “Come on, let’s go. It’s kind of creepy here.”

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Batophobic gleaming teeth
Fill the city's yawning mouth
Leaning in as if they're watching
Ant-like suited workers pouring
Daily from their orrifices
Money-making sacrifices.

Three Little Pigs

Once upon a time, there were three little pigs who were given a large plot of land to share. They split the plot into three equal portions, and each set about building their own house.

The first little pig saw that the farmer had left some of the straw bales out in the field, and she used these to build a small cosy house just big enough for her needs.

“Nice one, May,” said her sister, June. “You put me to shame – time I finished my place.”

June had decided to build her house from fallen pieces of wood that she collected from the nearby trees. She gathered up all the branches and twigs, and expertly wove them into a tidy hut.

“Nice technique,” admired May, inspecting the closely woven layers. “Let’s go and see how Julie’s doing.”

The two sisters trotted across the fields, well pleased with their new homes.

They found Julie sweating and heaving a hod of red bricks to where a small wall stood in a square shape. Julie started to slap cement onto the bricks, whistling tunelessly.

“Hey, Julie, is that all you’ve done? It’s going to take ages using those ugly bricks. Where did you get them from anyway?”

“I got them from the builder’s yard, where do you think?” Julie replied without looking at her sister.

“Well, where did they get them from?”

“Who cares?” Julie slapped more cement onto the bricks.

For the next few days, May and June sat in their new homes, enjoying the familiar sweet smells of straw and wood, listening to the distant scrape and ring of brick-on-brick as Julie laboured on her new home. Finally, it was done and May and June went to have a look.

“Well, I dunno. It looks kind of weird,” said June doubtfully.

“Give me simple straw any day,” said May.

“But this is built to last,” said Julie proudly. “You’ll see.”

Then one day a prowling presence was felt in the woods. The leaves stirred uneasily, and the grasses swayed and whispered with nerves. Suddenly, the shaggy form of a wolf erupted from the trees, its long body flattened almost to the floor as it loped towards the pig’s houses.

May squealed in terror as she heard him snarling outside her house of straw. She felt his hot stinking breath as with a mighty bellow he blew the straw house away. May fled terrified to June’s house, hotly pursued by the wolf.

The two sisters huddled together listening to the sounds of the wolf snarling outside, and the wood creaking and cracking.

“He won’t get in here will he?” whispered May. “Oh, no!” With another mighty snarl, the wolf knocked down the woven wood walls and the two sisters fled in terror to Julie’s house. Julie let them in and smugly bolted the door behind them.

“I told you this was built to last,” she said.

The wolf tried without success to break into the brick house. Finally, with bleeding nose and paws, he limped home hungry.
Ten years on, there are many more brick houses. The green woods and yellow fields of corn have long since vanished beneath a vast expanse of little red brick boxes stretching out as far as you can see. No-one sees the wolf any more. They say that he and his wife and children died of starvation. The pigs hardly ever talk to each other now, because they feel safer when they stay in their houses. There’s not much left to go out for anyway. But they do feel safe. And it’s a good job that the wolf didn’t eat the little pigs. Isn’t it?

Monday, June 20, 2005


Drifting from the shore
In darkness, wield the oar
A changing wind’s blowing
But where’s the current flowing?

Where are we going
Drifting, not knowing?

Caught up in a tide
Of our own deciding
The cast-off rope dangling
Inches from its mooring.

But where are we going
Drifting, not knowing?

Thursday, June 16, 2005


A bore of ironing
Slobs in its basket.
I yawn at it.

A duty of dishes
Lurks by the sink.
I ignore it.

A potential of pages
Lures my pen.
I reach for it.

A hassle of housework
Fails to get done
While I write about it.

Where am I?

In a town that begins with a 'B'
And ends with a stone, you can see
A bee-keeper sat
Holding onto his hat
Made of stone. As is he. And his bees.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


I glanced up at the silver birch, and realised that the dark patch where the nesting box should be is no longer there. A quick poke around in the bushes underneath revealed nothing. I know the blue tits fledged a few days ago, but how did they manage to take their house with them? If only I could do the same. My eyes are tired from trawling the internet for the prefect house-to-rent. A neat pile of papers lies downstairs waiting to go to the solicitor. Our sale is moving. We are moving. Uprooting.


Last week there were squeaks
And blue-tits busy
Bearing bugs to tiny beaks.

Today a bare space
Confronts my gaze
Where their box used to be.

If only we
Could leave our home
So freely.

If only flying the nest was easy.