This is my last blog post for November. For this one, I have chosen an easy poem to understand – this is because I think some of our students here in Japan are also interested in reading some of my writing.
This poem is inspired by my friend Lily, the last time I saw her this summer. She’s four (nearly five now), and when I came to Japan, I didn’t see her for four or five months. When I came back, she didn’t hug me, or kiss me, or even say anything special. She just wanted me to play a game with her. For her, it was easier to imagine I’d never left. But then, after 3 days, I left again:
Children Never Say Goodbye
Children hate to say goodbye,
They think that if they don’t,
the leaving friend will have to stay,
but (by and large) they won’t.
Perhaps their attitude is right
for other reasons though,
for if you never say “Goodbye”,
or “Sad to see you go”;
don’t mark the change from here to there
from near to far to gone,
just “see ya” is enough for me,
“I’ll see you later on,”
this may sometimes feel like a lie,
but then, you wait and see,
sometimes the days and months just fly
before more you and me.
It’s not my best poem, but it is simple, and it rhymes, and I like it.
Also, here’s my last haiku for the month. It’s getting cold here (though of course not as cold as England), and sometimes I see the big plastic ice cream cones outside shops:
Funny now to think
of those hot summer days when
I lived for ice cream.
I’ve been away from home. Nothing new there, as in the last month, I’ve been to the Cotswolds, London, the Cotswolds again, Eccleshall, Leeds, Edinburgh, Eccleshall again, Manchester and now I’m off to London again.
I’ve also been sick. Not the trapped in bed unable to move sick, but the grumpy, fed up with things (especially my parents) kind of sick.
And then, to top it off, my computer overheats (yes! Overheats! In THIS weather?), so it’s off getting repaired. This edition is being brought to you by the Letter O, for Office Computer, that my father usually gets cross with me for using. There is a Farming Program open called Gatekeeper, and there is information about Winter Beans on the Hillwicket Field, not to mention Potatoes Early and Potatoes Maincrop. I shall try not to mess with them.
So this post is all about the Links on the sidebar on the right. The “If you like this…” section of the blog that I’ve recently posted.
I’ll start with Lomo y Queso. This is Spanish for Pork and Cheese, and is dead tasty in a baguette, eaten in Barcelona. It’s a blog posted by my flatmates in Barcelona, and sometimes I feature for a sentence or two. If you’ve not heard from me for several weeks, check there for the report on my funeral after the freak yachting accident. My flatmates are an English husband, a Chicagoan wife and their adorable 3 and a half year old daughter, Lily. They often post amazing Youtube videos where I feature for a second or two.
Second up is Mr Brown, a blog that has only just started but is sure to take off soon (nudge, nudge, Steve). Steve is a muser, a storyteller, and an excellent photographer, and his photos often tell stories that he can muse about, so that all links in pretty nicely. I’m sure if you all pop over and have a look, he’ll be encouraged to keep up the good work.
Angelic Dynamo, eh? What’s that when it’s at home? Why, it’s a Poetic Democracy! 3 poems by amateur poems go up each week, often with a similar theme, and we the readers get to choose which one makes it to the edition. Fun, although sometimes frustrating when the bad poet gets all his friends to vote for him. Like the Le Pen of poetry. Political commentary for you there. I’ve posted one poem there, once, and it didn’t win. I will post some more soon, so watch that space and this for notification of this.
Finally, there’s Ten Bandits. Not actually ten, but the work of one comic book artist, who up until very recently was posting a new comic book sketch every day. He has an excellent archive of pictures, and often takes requests, so give him a look up if art is your thing. Or superheroes. Or both.
There will be more links to come soon, when I get my computer back.
Hopefully, I’ll see you soon, but I might be away in London ’til Sunday afternoon, so don’t expect my next post ’til Monday.
Hey all. It’s Saturday, and I’m putting a blog up. Yes, that’s right, a day earlier than I said I would. I think this is in part due to the cooler air up here in half-sunny half-cloudy Galicia. I’m based in La Coruna – check your maps, it’s the north-west corner of Spain.
In the last week, I’ve taken buses from coast to coast of Spain, and hopefully, there is a poem on it’s way about that. I also got a nice poem started sitting in a park in Madrid. Madrid has some lovely parks, by the way. But it was 39 degrees Celsius.
Anyway, enough faffing. I have a theory that the oft-promised short story will appear as soon as it’s not promised, so it definitely won’t be appearing for at least two weeks. Things will come when they come.
Luckily, I have a trusty co-author who I can turn to in times of need. True, Lily has now disappeared out of my life for a couple of months (and I will miss her dearly, as demonstrated my how much I kept hugging and kissing her before they left), but before she left, we got a story done.
Continuing on from the huge media storm after her first literary success, Lily has petitioned me to once again co-write a masterpiece. This time, like all great authors who wish to make each of their works stand out, she has chosen a different subject matter, and while some of her themes remain the same, her new approach to these common threads present a stark and astonishing new light on the nature of human life; its joys, its fears, and doubts, but also its transience, and futility. Yes, that’s right, she’s tried her teeth out on a tragedy.
Dog This Big; A Tragedy
Once upon a time, there was a girl called
and her friend HANNAH
(spelt with an H) (Lily is spelt with an L)
There went on holiday to France. in a town called Bookmarks. They had two bookmarks. One for Lily and one for Hannah.They went to the town in a big van, with big bookmarks.
The kids were on their own, coming home.
Lily was holding Baby Sam.
They had a cochecito. (little pram)
Lily was pushing the cochecito with Baby Sam in it, and she was happy.
There was a naughty doggie in the town.
A big big old doggie, like this (arms stretched wide)
He was blue and white and yellow, and his name was… Clarjoo.
The dog was chasing them. He was scary.
And the doggie tried to eat Lily and Hannah, and then he got them.
Then they got eatened.
And he ate Hannah. And then he went to sleep, and there was no more Hannah and Lily, because they died.
And their daddies looked for them everywhere, but they couldn’t find them, because they
got eaten. Because they died the doggie’s tummy.
The dog was very giant, like this much.
“Where’s Lily gone?” said Daddy. “Where’s Hannah gone?” said Hannah’s Daddy.
“Where’s Lily gone?” said Mummy. “Where’s Hannah gone?” said Hannah’s Mummy.
“And where’s Baby Sam and the cochecito?” said Yaya Lisa and Poppa Ray.
Then, Mummy and Daddy and Hannah’s Mummy and Daddy and Yaya Lisa and Poppa Ray said “Where’s
Lily and Hannah and Baby Sam and the cochecito?”
And then, they saw a big dog, the woofie, he had a really really big belly,
because he’d eaten Lily and Hannah and Baby Sam and the cochecito.
“Oh no!” Said Mummy and Daddy. “This dog has eaten Lily and Hannah and Baby Sam and the cochecito!”
“What a NAUGHTY doggie!”
“We want our children back”
“We’re going to make new children.”
“How will you make new children?”
– “But if we make new children, they would die again.”
“Also new children, won’t be the same, and we love Lily and Hannah and Baby Sam very much.
And we quite liked the cochecito too.”
And all the mummies and daddies and Lisa and Poppa Ray got eaten too.
I’m afraid I’ve broken Rule Number One of Writing, which is perhaps not coincidentally Rule Number One of this Blog. DO you know what that rule is? It’s WRITE. Doesn’t matter what, doesn’t matter when, or why, or especially how well (although I suppose it sometimes matters where) Write Write Write Write Write. It’s practice. It’s learning.
Something I realised recently is that there’s nothing you start good at, and to get good at anything, you need to be able to make a fool of yourself before you can learn how to improve. Old dogs can learn new tricks, if they’re not afraid of embarrassing themselves and setbacks. Kids are good at learning because they overcome these. They pick themselves up and try again. And this goes for learning to cook, learning to do stand up. It goes for my adult friend who can’t swim, and my other adult friend who can’t draw. It definitely goes for learning a foreign language, which I can tell you from both sides of the fence about, and it goes for writing.
Self-Lecture over, on to writing. As I missed the Mid-Week post (I have literally 6 excuses, but I won’t bother writing them), I’ve got two things for you here today. One of them is co-written. And is definitely full of grammatical mistakes, inconsistencies, and an underdeveloped plot, with a conclusion that makes no sense with the rest of the story. It was difficult to keep up with the creative genius that is my co-writer. Let’s post that one first. I will call it, for now, “Coconut Together”, by Matt and Lily. See if you can spot which bits are mine, and which bits are Lily.
Once upon a time, there was a girl called
and she had a friend called
and they had lots of adventures together.
One day, HANNAH and LILY were at Buckley House. It was summer, and it was hot.
Let’s play Hide and Seek, said Hannah.
Okay, said Lily. You hide first. I’ll come and find you.
So Hannah went off to hide, and she found a big bush to hide in.
She climbed into the bush, and suddenly she heard a voice, “OW!” said the voice.
“Who’s there?” said Hannah.
“My name is Philip”, said the voice, “and I am a rabbit.
“Hello Philip the Rabbit, said Hannah. I’m Hannah, and I’m a little girl. But we need to be
quiet now, Philip. Lily and I are playing Hide and Seek, and she’ll find us.
“Ok”, said Philip, but there was dust in his little nose, and he felt like he was going
“I’ve found you!” said Lily, who heard the sneeze. “Is that you Hannah, sneezing?”
“No, Lily,” said Hannah, “It’s my new friend. His name is Phillip, and he’s a rabbit.
“He’s a very loud rabbit,” said Lily.
“Yes”, said Hannah, that’s how you found me.
Let’s play again, said Lily, only this time, I’ll hide.
Can I play too? said Philip the Rabbit.
No! says Lily,. You can’t play.
Why not? says Philip
Coz your naughty, and you pees in your house, on the floor, and the police get you, out of the garden.
I’m not naughty, said Philip. I used to pee in my house, but now, I pee on a potty.
You’re still naughty, said LIly and Hannah together
Why? said Philip.
Cause your naughty and the police will get you.
Suddenly, Lily and Hannah heard a police car coming. NEE NAW NEE NAW went the police car.
“They’re coming now!” sadi Lily
“Run, Philip!” said Hannah.
and Philip the Rabbit ran away. hoppity hop.
He ran into Buckley House, past Papa Ray, and up the stairs.
Then, the police were in the garden.
“have you seen a naughty rabbit?” said the police to Lily and Hannah.
“Yeah,” said Lily. “He’s in the house!”
And then Lots of police went into Buckley House.
They saw Papa Ray. “Where’s the Rabbit?” said all the police to Papa Ray. Lily and Hannah followed the police.
“He’s in the house! said Papa Ray. “Come and catch him. He went to…. his dance class with the other bunnies and the other pigs. In dresses.”
Thje police went into the dance class, and there were lots of bunnies and pigs in dresses.
Which bunny is the naughty bunny? they said.
And they heard a noise.
It was Philip the sneezy bunny, all covered in bogies.
We’ve found you! Said the police.
And then they threw the bunny in the air!
They threw him out of the window! And then he stayed in the air, and started to fly. with wings!
WOW!!!! said Lily and Hannah, “he’s got wings! and
And then lots of bunnies started flying all around Buckley House. Mummy and Daddy were very surprised.
The pigs in dresses were flying too!
And Hannah and Lily got some wings from the pigs, and they started to fly with the pigs
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO said Hannah
And the Yaya and Papa and Mummy and Daddy and all the family were flying in the air.,
And the police couldn’t fly. so the police got in helicopters and planes, and they flew too, but Lily and Hannah and Philip had wings, and all the different animals had wings.
And Philip dies. but he’s still flying, even though he’s dead.
And Lily flies to Plaza Trippy with Hannah and they had lots of warm milks and juice. And Lily had yoghurts.
Hannah had a yoghurt too. Coconut together.
And now, to extend this special edition post even longer, here’s a poem I’m trying to improve. It’s a riddle, so the first thing you have to do is solve “What am I?” If your name is John, Raoul, or Carmen, or if for some other reason I’ve already told you the solution, don’t post it at the bottom. If you have suggestions to improve it, however silly, then tell me, because like writing, swimming, drawing and cooking, giving criticism to writing is something that you don’t improve at ’til you try and ’til you’re ready to make a fool of yourself.
This is how I am.
I tempt and tease
at the surface, wavering,
a persistent challenge,
your growing unrest interfering
but presenting an innocent front.
Your approach is expected,
I see a reflection with your eyes.
You think you can take me,
while I, half eager for
your teeth to sink
through my skin, bite,
your tongue against my side
I bounce away, unready, unsure.
Do I want you? Deep down?
Or just the thrill of the chase?
I bob in the shallows,
my purpose undecided.
My core as elusive
To me as to you.
– – –
Violence or gentility;
Hot from the shame of defeat,
most do not care to try twice.
I wait for one who does.