The sun tricks the flowers to bloom with its false brightness, low shine that hits the glass, lights up the smears and makes dust motes dance, as winter sneaks back in.
I am a thermal floater ,
A finger flutterer,
Calling for a takeaway treat.
I am an alarm screecher,
A lesson teacher,
you know I am near.
A rampant rodent scoffer
A gliding hunter
Keeping farmlands clean.
I am an Auditory mesmerizer,
With my soaring cries,
I am a sorcerer in disguise.
I am beauty,
I am a Red Kite.
By Ellen Best March 2021
Picture from https://pixabay.com/
I took the childlike kenning and inserted the concept into a freestyle poem, I believe it made this creature come alive. Another new route for me inspired by Lynn Whitehead from the Suffolk arts link. I like to play with what I feel safe with and try new forms, at least I try, … but did it work?. How do you push the invisible boundaries? I would love to know, talk in the comments below I will respond double quick.
Where has the time gone?
It seems like, in a blink of an eye or a twitch of a nose,
Our shape alters and our skin unfolds.
All at once looks take on a different role,
Putting us on another journey, aiming us towards a new goal.
Only now, at this late stage of life do we find out,
if we have worked hard enough on the true us.
For now we rely on what we have on the inside.
Our kindness, personality, empathy and fun.
Can we attract others to us because we are,
Good to be near, have something worthwhile to say
Have we worked hard on ourselves over the years,
Accumulated knowledge that others can’t wait to hear.
Where has the time gone … in a blink of an eye.
Will I have done enough, before that last goodbye.
To be remembered for what I became.
Not a face with wrinkles,
some long forgotten name.
By Ellen Best 2021
This came from me finding the above photo, it seems like a few weeks since it was snapped but the mirror tells a different story. I held my face in both hands and wept.
Age is nothing but a number, and our looks are only skin deep, these are well-worn cliche’s but they are the truth. Who we are is what carries us through to the end. Men are beginning more and more to do the same, work on their outward appearance. Women especially, work and have for centuries, on how to present themselves. Learning about the best clothes for our shape, which makeup will cover our flaws. After all first impressions count, we have friends to make, Husbands to attract, jobs/positions to win.
Should that be taught? How to work just as hard on the inside, maybe from infancy? Self matters, the substance of you will one day be all you have left. I am not suggesting that things are not changing, there is a lot of work being done in schools and homes aimed at teaching self-worth, and bravo to that. But the way we look needs to be … something we do secondary to the way we feel, think and express ourselves. To become a good human being is to love who you are. So when life has taken that youthful glow, stretched once supple flesh and slowed us down … we can still hold our own, we will be worthwhile and have something of value to offer. Getting us to believe that is what needs to come next.
I would love to hear your opinions please leave a comment I will answer them all.
You are the smile on my face, the tears cooling my tea,
you are the hot bottom snuggling up next to me.
You fill me when I am empty and feed me funny lines when I am sad.
You make me laugh when I say, love you as I kiss you goodnight,
You answer jolly good and put out the light
You are the one that said “You’ll do” On a beach in Oahu.
and they my love, are some of the reasons why
I am still so in love with you.
Inside a tiny house, nestled in the suburbs of London. Emma looked up at her Mum. “Mummy the sunshine in my picture,” she said pointing to the drawing on the fridge door. “It is sunshine colour, isn’t it? The grass, with Daddy and Mummy, it is grass colour… isn’t it?” A frown shaped her face as she waited for an answer.”That Orange” Emma poked the pencil into the paper, “It Is an orange Orange isn’t it.” Emma’s neck was stretched to its full length, her lips pursed and a chubby hand holding a colouring pencil was pointed at her drawing. Mary dropped to her knees beside her daughter. Intently, she looked into her eyes and explained about colour and how a few had the same name as the things she drew; like Orange and lemon. Emma and her Mother drew and labelled a colour chart, while her little brother straddled Mary’s hip. They learned the colours of the clothes in the laundry bag and the cushions on the sofa; though Emma’s wings threw in some confusion. During the day they sang songs and told stories, together glued tissue paper rainbows to add to the already crowded fridge door. Mary and Joe Carpenter, went to bed that night almost as tired as the children. They were both happy, knowing that tomorrow would be Christmas. The anticipation of the excitement on their children’s faces, the reactions to the parcels beneath the tree. Though not many, each one had been chosen with love, and need in mind.
On Christmas morning Emma skipped into the Kitchen. “What colour is today mummy?” Mary lifted her head, wearing a huge smile. Her eyes crinkled as they met that face. Her five-year-old was clutching pencils and pursing her lips. Her hair knotted from sleep; her giraffe under her arm. Mary’s pride shone from her face, as she wiped her forehead with the back of her flour encrusted hand and bent to her daughter’s height. “What colour do you think it is?” Emma screwed her brow and as if contemplating the world and left the room.
Within the hour Mary had worked her magic, children clean, fed and playing nicely. Food cooking nicely and preparation almost complete. Mary wriggled and hummed to the music on the radio as she cut the last sausage roll. She wiped her hands on the tea towel stuck in her waistband. Throughout the house, the air was thick with the scent of pastry and cinnamon and the sounds of happiness. The little girl’s question forgot; in the excitement of the day.
Tom crawled up the hall chasing his new train blowing spit bubbles; giggling as he went.
Dad burst through the front door stamped his feet and brushed a light dusting of snow from his hair. Joe’s nose was red and he rubbed his hands briskly to warm them.”Kisses” he called as he smacked his lips and waved mistletoe above his head.”Kisses I want kisses” he roared. Emma and Tom rushed to be lifted in a sloppy lip smacking embrace.
There were lanterns, twinkling lights and paper decorations dangling from every space in the little house. Carols rang out from the kitchen radio and sparks snapped against the guard on their open fire. It looked a perfect Christmas to him.
Dropping everything Mary ran to join Joe for a kiss; Singing as she went. Flour covered kisses ended in chuckling and tickles. With all four sat breathlessly on the floor. Emma looked up into her Mother’s eyes and quietly said
” I think the colour is Christmas mummy.”
During the weirdness of 2020 when the world went a little bit mad, and I admit during the lockdowns I did too, and needed a way to refocus like many did, I took to Zoom.
I joined the Theatre for my first ever virtual workshop. With guidance of our creative director, actor and teacher Lynn Whitehead We wrote scripts and radio plays.
Some of us narrated, some were characters and others of us wrote. All of us worked as a team. We made soundbooths under duvets, in wardrobes, or padded dens. Tim our ( on loan) sound magician, stitched and spliced the recorded voices, added the backing tracks and effects. He worked on it for days to transform our groups efforts into a complete piece.
The writing, producing, directing etc, all happened in different places. Not once did we leave our homes or meet in person. ( To be rectified at a later date)
We fulfilled the remit set to deliver a 45 min recording for people to listen to over the Christmas period,( possibly, huddled around a snapping fire). We planned to finish with a collection, something for everyone, and let people see the Theatre still came alive, despite 2020s pandemic.
A group of tales linked in a framework that visitors to the Theatre website, and the local radio could log on and listen to. This story became one of the tales we turned into a dramatized piece.
Below is the finished article I hope you take the time to enjoy it. Tap the next three words to listen.
Here I raise a glass to you all, co-co-conspirators, followers, friends and visiting readers. Supporters of the arts.
Do leave me a comment I love to chat.
The twelve things of this years Christmas are in picture form above.
My favourite ornament, it has not changed I just stupidly adore my thoroughly modern Angel. An angel in a red coat with a swanky bag. She watches down from above my books, keeps an eye on me. When Christmas is about Angel takes up a different spot. Overlooking the whole affair, smart with tidy dark brown hair. Her coat a ruby shade of red, like santa’s, it has been said her wings and heart shaped bag glisten in the Christmas lights. She is my favorite ornament by far. If Christmas was still to be Christmas she simply must be there.
Charlie. Is a poem I wrote and love it so much.It encapsulates the spirit of kindness of which this weird year I have seen quite a lot. So for your delectation, get the tissues and be prepared to weep.
Charlie wasn’t keen on Christmas, because of the paper, the lights and all the waste, He didn’t think it good to eat so much, when others went hungry, It soured the taste.
Charlie loved wearing Granddad’s flight jacket, the best ever Christmas gift, Grandma said he wore it each day, walking back from his overnight shift.
The coat was cumbersome and heavy, if zipped it came way past his throat. His arms needed to be longer, the leather smelt of tobacco, the wool a dirty old Goat.
But, Charlie could fit mucky Ethel, underneath it when the rain soaked all her card. Or the snow made her fingers go blue … as she sat in that old butchers yard.
He could fit a curled up ham sandwich and an apple from Grandma’s dish, Deep inside the wool lined pocket. So Charlie, he made a new Christmas wish.
He wished that all people had bedrooms, a place to rest their head. That mucky Ethel could have a bath and a coat to hold over her own head.
But Santa, he did not come calling, to the people who lived on the street. Instead he hoped they would have their own Charlie, who would give the shoes from their feet.
My favourite Christmas coat, I feel like Christmas is here when I wear it. I secretly long to be the Angel in number 1.
Christmas Horror stories, These Books, ‘Horror Anthologies’ are the perfect introduction to short snappy stories to be told around the fire. The fact that they each carry one of my own tales inside, makes them even more special. I hope to scare family over zoom this year, but of course, you could buy them as gifts if you wish. A new book is on pre order coming soon Wings and Fire.
Snow! Writing Merry Christmas in snow, building a snow man and sharing it even if it is only on Zoom; would be magical. It will be in the lap of Mother nature but I have asked Santa and I have been good.
CRACKERS! Yes I know but I do not mean me, or the ones with Cheese. I mean who could have a Christmas weird or not without a cracker to pull, a joke to read and a tacky prize. No they are in my Christmas 2020 regardless of weird.
A TREE. no matter how big how bright or how simple, a decorated tree is simply a must. As is a glass of cream brandy liqueur, Michael Bubl’e on the speakers and plenty of giggles. It is just what I want to do and so should you.
The grandchildren, We can not have them all so we will have none. But Christmas without there faces would be the unhappiest place for me. The one above is Ivy. we have two expected in spring and the chronological list is this.
Merlot 15, Flynn 14, Ivy 5, Mabel 4, Matilda 4. Penelope 3, George 18months. How could we have Christmas without all of these. So we will eat breakfast together and I will tell stories and jokes and we will do this while they open our gifts under their own trees.
Santa and this one is special, another will never do. Santa has stuck by me and taken me through the bad times and delivered the goods. He will be with me at Covid-19s Christmas. We on a normal year have a tradition. We find a day where we can get as many family together and have our ‘Best’ Christmas celebration, 2018 we managed 19 guests. We have, food and drink, crackers and silly hats, music and laughter. Our tradition of the table game, secret santa. Each household brings, a male gift and a female gift, two children friendly ones each for under £7 each. each plainly wrapped with M,F,C on the package. After dinner the pile (to which I have added extras), is put in the middle; with my santa for luck (santa guides the dice). The die is rubbed and kissed the air thick with anticipation. Each of us take turns to throw, you need a double 6 to collect a gift. This continues until the pile has gone. At this point you can donate, or stick. Players usually donate (if a child has not won a parcel) then we begin again. This time, any double thrown, of any number can now steal. The packages have treats, silly things, and booby prizes inside. We laugh until we all have wet faces and gasp for breath. Not covid appropriate, or safe for 2020, so this year it will be sorely missed.
A phone, TO call up Mother, and people who do not have mobiles or wifi. yes they exist and I will not leave them out.
My bird feeding regime begins in earnest usually with a poem about feeding the birds, With no children to share in the feeding this year I will video myself singing Mary Poppins famous song (I can not sing) Feed the birds and send one to each family household so they can see the birds get fed and Grandma Duck is still bonkers enough said.
My rock/pebble painting, represents a song and the year where saying I love you has been there to replace hugs and kisses that we all are still missing.
Which is your favourite of my #12Christmas2020Things did you like best and what will your celebration miss. answers in the comments, I am dying to know.
For all the people facing the dread,
standing tall making it possible to stay home instead.
For The packers and stackers
the fund raisers and the backers.
Clap for the Teachers for all they do
for the frontliners and vulnerable kids.
For those that are shattered
but still turned up to assist.
The cleaners and porters,
their sons and daughters.
The refuse collectors
the postie delivering parcels and letters.
The Care workers holding loved ones hands.
Together on Thursdays We’d clap.
The trades that are on standby for
emergency plumming and heating.
The door knockers with boxes and
a happy greeting, ready with smiles
For the people they are meeting.
The aged alone, some scared isolating.
The police the firemen the ambulance drivers,
To the paramedics, the nurses, doctors and cleaners, we give thanks.
To the politicians who try to sort it all out,
We clapped for the Vets who cared for our pets.
The chemist the grocer the butcher the baker.
We are proud of the Mums and the dads,
Temporarily wearing teachers hats.
The home workers that keep the economy fed,
For the corner shops, serving, doing their best
Clap for the garage mechanics delivering goods,
With no engines to build or MOT’s to test.
To Morticians and undertakers, the funeral directors.
The Churches and councillors stepping up to the plate
The volunteer groups working till late,
Those building temporary mortuaries and hospitals,
To pick up the slack, without you we couldn’t see a way back.
We clapped for our Forces who stand up for us all,
always prepared to answer the call.
Simple steps helped us to survive,
I composed this poem in April 2020 when the first wave of the virus took so many lives. October arrived, people had become complacent, believing themselves to be invincible. Once again, the numbers began to rise. I have posted this poem to remind us how keeping your distance, washing your hands and wearing a mask was not hard, it flattened the curve. Businesses then re-opened and Schools trickled back. People flouted the guidelines by coming together, parties were had, masks discarded like old chip-paper in the streets. Many were defiant and selfish, they screamed abuse at the ones still complying with the guidelines. Masses of people said, their civil liberties were being eroded, they caused uproar and refused to comply.
And here we are now! In our Winter of discontent. Made by covid-19 and exacerbated by selfishness and greed. But we know when we come together and care like before, we kept the pandemic from entering our door. I ask you this, “What good are jobs? if we are dead in our beds.” So this Christmas, when governments have tried to relax some of the rules … just remember, if you go too far we will pay for it in lives, not just tax.
Be kind and leave comments, but remember this is my home, and my opinions. I wish for you all to be safe.
It never hovers long does Autumn, it sweeps in; on a Poppins like wind. When kites shimmy and spin on translucent threads. Winds whip and tousle unsuspecting children’s heads. They huff and blow like the bad wolf once did, stripping summer from plants and trees. A squall of winds screech as they undress limbs and bend boughs till they break; bringing gardeners to their knees.
Autumnal lawns are dressed in luscious shades of gold and red. Acorns and nuts are shaken free in time for creatures to harvest. Rains pummel the earth as colours slip from green to burnished orange and browns. Birds wait to catch fat worms, as they pop up from the sodden earth, pink and plump ripe for the feast.
Gardens give up their bounty, Root veg for soups and hearty stews, sustenance to keep out the chill. Autumn stocks our larders with hedge picked fruit, from bramble berries to rosehip and sloes. A new darkness crawls across the face of the evening clock … as thick as a London smog.
Long walks kicking leaves and collecting cones, puddle jumps, pink the cheeks of carefree folk. Kids join the huddle before a snapping fire, where tales of spook get told. Eyes soon droop, as kicking leaves and conker fights take their toll.
But no sooner it has arrived it’s time to go, it’s job done for another year. Now, we make ready for morning frosts and white sparkling roofs, as we Kiss another Autumn goodbye.
Sweet potato & carrots lightly spiced Autumn soup.
6 large carrots cut in four length-ways.
4. Medium sweet potatoes again cut lengthways. (about the size of the carrots)
I large onion
4 oz of split soaked red lentils
A head of garlic
3 pints of stock vegetable or Chicken
One large potato cubed.
Spices and condiments. All 1/2 teaspoon. Turmeric, red chilli flakes, ground cardamom, flaked sea salt, black freshly ground pepper, ginger grated or ground, cayenne pepper, a tablespoon of olive oil, a half stick of butter.
To garnish, either kale or Cavallo Nero de-stalked and shredded. A splash of soy, olive oil and a half teaspoon of flaked salt, to barely coat. one tablespoon of sesame seeds.
Optional: garnish. Crumbled feta cheese and a sprinkle of ground red peppercorn.
Roast on a baking tray or large shallow pan with everything on the tray coated in olive oil.
Carrots, sweet potato, garlic slices.
onion Turmeric, ginger ground cardamom, cayenne pepper, until onion is translucent.
Pour fresh chicken or veg stock in a crockpot with ground salt and pepper and one cubed potato and 4oz red split lentils (soaked) and cook on med heat until the potato falls apart.
When the onions are translucent, add to the cooking liquid in the crockpot on top of the stove. and add the tray of veg soft from the oven breaking up the veg as you add it. Once stew-like add the butter and more water if required, it needs to be quite thick. Put the crockpot in the already hot oven. Cook low, 125°c in the oven for an hour.
Add red chilli flakes blitz with a stick blender add more liquid if needed.
Toss the shredded greens in flaked salt and a tiny coating of combined olive oil, soy and sesame oil, ( do not soak) Then add enough to barely coat the shredded stalkless Cavalo Nero. Put on a baking tray 150°f (not on fan cook, or it will blow away as it dries out) ten mins should have it dehydrated.
Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan and put to one side.
Watch the Nero carefully as soon as crisp put in a bowl sprinkle the sesame seeds over and use to garnish the soup. Serve with hunks of warm buttered bread.
It is so ludicrously warming and tasty you will want make batches to freeze.
Do any of you have a favourite comforting seasonal food? I would love to read about it in the comments.