Still dancing

Elspethdancing girl

 

My artist friend is now 96 and has dementia but a few years ago she gave me some of the doodles and sketches she used to make in preparation for her major works. This is an extract from one of them.

Somehow this dancing girl just captures Elspeth’s own attitude to life.

You can see some of her work here.

 

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The wonder of life – potato skins

Oh the wonder of potato skins
Rooting on my window sill!
The tuber, meant to sustain new life
I have eaten.
Its atoms, calories, molecules
Are part of me.
All it has left are the skins I discarded
With their green patches and
Growing eyes.
All I give in return for my plunder
Is water.
Water and access to the sunlight.
And I watch
Day by day and hour by hour
As the growing eyes put out roots
Each time I return
To the kitchen sink
The roots are longer
The Water needs topping up
More and more frequently
And I wonder
How does the water turn
Into these white threads of root?
And the leaves
Well, we have a name
We call it photosynthesis
And think we understand.
But again, I wonder.
If I want to separate hydrogen from the oxygen
In water
I need a chemistry lab
I need an electrical current
Can the potato skins extract
These elements to use
In constructing its own molecules?
A mere potato skin?
Does it take carbon
From the nothingness of air?
Oh, the wonder of potato skins!

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Happiness

I observe myself
And see
At this moment
I am happy.

And I am glad
For Happiness and I
Have not been well acquainted
In the past.

Hello, Happiness
What brings you my way
Today?
And I wonder…

If Happiness could reply
If it would say
I’ve always been there
Just waiting for you to notice me.

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The Time of Your Life

I recently joined a creative writing group and wrote this piece following my first meeting.

The Time of Your Life – that well worn phrase
Favoured cliché of my mother
Kids happily playing – yes they’re having the time of their lives.
But what does it mean to me, now?
I recall a time I felt, well, betrayed – almost
Perhaps that’s too harsh a word.
I’d gone to a meeting in good faith
With people I knew and trusted.
I didn’t expect such a question.
Meant as a challenge? A taking stock?
Draw a clock, we were told
Mark on it where you think you are in life.
Stark reminder of mortality
Of ageing
Of things I didn’t want to think about.
The Time of Your Life – a time of enjoyment
That was my mother’s meaning
Sounds good. And positive.
And yet, there is this subtle hint
That this one time can never be surpassed.
This is THE time
No other can ever be so good.
But every moment passes
The way of every other.
Some with relief, some with regret
All future is fleetingly Now
Then gone.
Gone, but not quite gone
For some lives on in memory.
Gives colour, texture to the now
The me that relishes this moment
Would not be me without my past.
The time of life
Is now.

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A modern psalm

I don’t suppose you have to be particularly ‘religious’ to have heard of the hymn How great Thou Art. A song where the writer pours out the feeling of their heart and soul at the awesomeness of creation and anyone who sings it is caught up in that sense of wonder.

I was pondering the way the ancients did something similar in songs we know as psalms. They talked of creation in terms of water separated into that above the sky and that below the earth. Not a notion that exactly fits with the science of our day yet a powerful image and one that can be adapted, perhaps?

spiral-p1010064Lord God of creation
You, my God, sustain me
Sustain my life, all life.
You pluck energy, matter
From nothingness
And leave black holes.

The ancients talked of separating
The waters above the firmament
From those below.
And water, to them, meant chaos.

They knew you brought order from chaos
And order means existence and life.

The science of my generation
Is different
But the principle is the same.

Matter and anti-matter
Would fuse and cease to exist
If it weren’t for your sustaining power.

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Eight

Just eight posts in 2016
Not the way to influence the world!
Do I aim to?
Now there’s a question
Reminds of a story someone once told me
– I’ve a feeling they might have got it from Jonathan Sacks originally

There was as man who set out to change the world
When he realised he couldn’t,
he thought he’d settle for changing his county
When that proved too much
he decided to focus on his town
That too, was beyond him
But surely he could change his family
Eventually, he realised
The only person he could change
was himself.

A story of defeat? Or of realisation?

If everyone set out to be the best person they could possibly be
and devoted all their effort to the task
together, we would make the world a better place.

 

 

 

 

 

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Not a resolution…

… more of a dream

One day
Perhaps there will be time to write again
To write as I always longed to write
For the pleasure of creativity
Not simply as a tool
Conveying meaning
That must be conveyed
But dreaming dreams
Of far off worlds
Exploring life in contexts new
Finding insights
This world hides
Uncovering hidden truths
In lands of fantasy
Bringing treasures to the human race
One day
Perhaps
Dreams briefly glimpsed
Will materialise upon the page
Unworldly wisdom captured
Shared
And lived
One day
Perhaps

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