poetry and prose

My poem El inquilino (the lodger) was a runner up in the MsLexia poetry competition this year and has just been published in the magazine. That should have made it easy to find something to write for the blog today, but although copies have already been delivered to subscribers, the terms of the publishing agreement mean that the poem can’t appear here – or anywhere else – until after the official publishing date of September 1st.

That said, the poem was inspired by the wildlife at the house en el pueblo when I lived in Spain, so here is a rather different account of “the lodger”, adapted from notes for the fictionalised memoir I eventually hope to write.
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in a pickle

Well, not really in a pickle, as the spices in the picture are not yet even tied up in muslin. And, anyway, they were to be used to make chutney.

Which leads me on to wonder what the difference between chutney and pickle actually is. The top results in Google don’t help much; I think they are biased towards the States, where things like gherkins, which are preserved without cooking, are classed as pickles, while vegetables and fruits cooked in vinegar with spices are called chutney or relish.
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veiled thoughts

Thistledown and spider silk;
standing on the kitchen step
she combs sunshine
through her early-morning hair.

 

squaring the circle

The problem with taking photos at a classic car gathering is not just the hordes of people who jostle your elbow or wander absent-mindedly into the frame.

Even when you get there before anyone else, there are far too many polished surfaces: you end up as the main feature of at least half the pictures you take, which might not be quite so bad if the surfaces didn’t act as distorting mirrors.

Another problem is that too many of the cars there are altogether too familiar and you start to reminisce…
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star feature

It’s that time of year again, when the Earth passes through the tail of a comet and our skies light up with shooting stars. (They aren’t stars in the photo, of course; I don’t think they’re even moon daisies: but daytime weeds are a lot easier to photograph than the sky at night.)

In the village in Spain, you only had to step outside onto the lawn and look up, and there was the Milky Way speckle-splashed across the sky as if someone had flicked a paintbrush from one side of the valley to the other.
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looking for guinea pigs

True, the small furry rodent in the picture is a squirrel, not a guinea pig, but surely that further justifies the post title, which says I’m looking for guinea pigs.

I need them because I’ve just published an online video course – The Essential Poet’s Toolbox for Readers and Writers – on Udemy and I need some students. (If you don’t know about Udemy, it’s got lots of interesting courses in all sorts of areas from lifestyle to business to technical, some free, some not. You need to create a user account, but once you’ve signed up for a course you have access to the content for ever without paying any more.)

The Essential Poet’s Toolbox for Readers and Writers takes a non-technical look at modern poetry, grouping the tools into five main areas: metre, form, rhyme, layout, and sound. It’s gone on sale at £35 (for 2.5 hours of video lessons) but I’m giving away discount coupons.
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out on a limb

I was wondering: do adults still ask small children what they want to be when they grow up? And if they do, what are the popular answers?

When I was a little girl, boys still wanted to be train drivers and girls wanted to be ballet dancers. True, one of my brother’s friends was reported to have said he wanted “to be a computer”, but then, we’d always thought he was a bit odd.
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