Progress

Apparently I should know

the difference between an I-pod and an MP3

and how to catch up with the latest series

of Mad Men

on the Xbox. By voice command.

 

 

It’s outrageous

that I prefer to feel paper

when I read Lawrence, or Tolstoy

in the middle of a war, to plastic

staring at me with backlit eyes.

 

 

And yet- of the hundred authors

that cosy up to me in piles

in every room, I suspect that most

would have preferred

to use a laptop.

 

The Clock

The Clock     

                                                               

The clock has stopped.

When I look at the hands

They stare at me,

Raised to the heavens.

Not an old clock, with pulleys

And a pendulum

This one takes batteries,

But not the rechargeable kind.

The ones that usually run out

At three in the morning,

Like the smoke alarm

And the remote control

For the central heating.

Which raises the question

Is it the clock which has stopped

Or the batteries?

And if I leave the clock

And go to my day

Will it still be ten past ten

When I come home?

And if it is

Has time stood still?

 

A K Foxwood

For, and after, Seamus

I found you in Iowa

in a blizzard. Then you took me with you

West, I think it was

(but I could have been mistaken).

 

You made me question

the consequence of melting glaciers,

and taught me words like ’tilth’

(now I have something to rhyme with ‘filth’).

 

I learned about Granard

and whispering schoolboys falling foul

of a sally rod

(not allowed today, of course).

 

You taught me history;

even put Sophocles into poetry.

And I loved it when you honoured Auden

(with mass and majesty).

 

Dorothy will always remember you

with Mary, Pablo and me.

You will, after all, be in our words

(in front of your house of life).

 

 

 

For Seamus Heaney, written on his day of departure, 30.08.13

 

 

More rain

We need more rain

in our dry lives. Beauty

does not want cracks; air

should be humid, moistened

 

by soft cloud. To flourish

we need grey. Roses would not

be flowers of love without it. Red,

in all its flavours, needs a backdrop. Parsley

 

needs a white sauce to

create a smile for fish, a compliment

would be nothing without understatement.

 

But must there be chaos, to find peace?

 

A K Foxwood   2013

 

 

 

Interruptions

No-I don’t need Viagra.

Or cream that lifts and tucks.

Or a holiday in Scotland

for a mere one hundred bucks.

 

I’ve not been mis-sold anything

or slipped or had a fall;

these unrequested adverts

drive me up the bleedin’ wall

 

I’ve got enough shampoo to wash

my hair for two more years

and no, I don’t need soap to use

until my acne clears.

 

I don’t need mature dating sites

for those ‘a little older’

Or holidays for singles

if I feel a little bolder.

 

I’m happy with my weight

so I don’t need you diet plan.

Don’t try to sell me anything-

I’m okay as I am.

 

 

So please, please Mr Cookie

stop intruding on my day

and bother someone else instead;

so there. I’ve had my say.

 

 

A K Foxwood     04.08.13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insomnia

First class stamps.

A book of six? No-twelve;

it is nearly Christmas. What

was it that he asked for,

some book I’ve never heard of.

I hope I can look into his eyes

on Christmas Day

without thinking about where we

will be in six months;

if we will be able to take

the cat. Most landlords

don’t like cats. And if

they do, they have laminate floors.

I hate laminate- so cold.

Not to mention the tumbleweed

of dust which normally gets

hidden in the corners

or under piles of University books.

I think I’ll finish the assignment

for Tuesday, if I start tomorrow.

But there’s a Governors’ meeting

and cubs, so no time to write.

Did I write the meter reading down?

I can’t afford another rise

after paying the gas bill

And why does the boiler make

such a racket? And why is

it even on at 3am? The radiator

is cold- it must be the bloke downstairs.

He doesn’t even need it-

he works nights.

That’s why he switched

to Economy 7, cheaper for the washing.

I’ll need to wash the sheets

this weekend, but there’s

no fabric softener left.

I used the last of it on

Monday, so he would have

a nice fluffy towel, one of the big ones

from Debenhams

that attracts cat hair.

I think that’s the cat using

her tray. Great- I’ll have to

clean that when I get up

after I’ve made his packed lunch.

Did I put the theatre trip money

in his book bag?

I’ll need to sort that out.

In the morning,

if I can force myself out of bed.

I hate this duvet.

it always seems to fold

up and now my feet are cold.

And the pillow is lumpy-

maybe I could get some new

ones from M&S.

I think they are £7 each

or two for £10.

Maybe if I get a new pillow

I’ll be able to sleep.

A K Foxwood

For DP Challenge

This is a poem I wrote a couple of years ago and was published in ‘Out of the Fire’ (2011) Nottingham: Jubilee Press. Hope it makes you smile:

Mid Life Strife                                                                                                

 

Some people would say “It’s just that time of life”

And decide to give in and go under the knife-

Those people conclude that a nip and a tuck

Is a far better option than hoping for luck.

 

It’s that time of life when your knees start to creek

And you find that your bladder begins to get weak

So you trot to the loo in the dead of the night

And forget you neglected to switch on the light

 

Then the air fills with screams from the cat full of pain

As you step on its tail in the dark once again

And as soon as you start to regain your composure

You realise your error of over exposure!

 

When you look in the mirror and frown in despair

As the face looking back has got more silver hair

And those soft laughter lines just like delicate lace

Have formed into trenches dug into your face

 

When it starts to seem futile at your advanced age

To find anyone single who’s on a good wage

So you join up with websites who promise your match

Where “own hair and teeth” is considered a catch!

 

When people who say “there’s more fish in the sea”

Are now just referring to ecology

So you wait for that other mid life thing- divorce

And hope that a “victim” comes your way of course.

 

When magazines show all their colourful macs

Worn by size zero models who travel by fax

And the only thing actually sold in your size

Comes in grey polyester with “extra wide thighs”.

 

When you wonder just where all the party years went

And what did you achieve with the money you’ve spent;

When you have to hold papers much further away

As your eyesight is getting much worse by the day

 

When it seems to get hotter but only to you

And the once monthly blues happen all the month through

When you phone up your Mum for some worldly advice

But the words that you hear are just not at all nice:

 

“Now listen to me dear, and don’t you dare cry

At your age your life is just passing you by

Your problems are really a great mid-life curse

But don’t worry love, it will only get worse!”

DP Challenge 2- thoughts

Happy day

 

As the Net refused to speak, I took a minute to reflect.

What had I achieved today?

Washed two loads of laundry.

Organised a school uniform.

Cleaned out the hamster.  And the goldfish.

Written a thousand words of my novel.

Mowed the lawn. Well, not quite. But it was raining.

Paid the house insurance, online.

Written another poem which I thought was okay.

But not one of my best.

Called my mother (it’s Sunday).

Looked at my e-mails.  Apparently I had won a car;

I just needed to send my bank details.

And would I like a cheap weekend?  Only £399.

Vacuumed the lounge carpet and stairs.

Emptied the litter tray.  Thought about getting rid of the cat.

Looked for the secateurs, still lost. Decided to grow a hedge.

Re-arranged my bookshelf into alphabetical order.

For the umpteenth time. Acknowledged the advantages of e-books.

Looked at the state of my son’s room.

Closed the door on it.

Damn you, swirly circle-

I’m off for a pint.

 

A K Foxwood July 2013

A little light reading…DP Challenge

Is it really a challenge to write something humorous? Let me see..

 

I could write about the ‘phone call from my son’s head teacher:

 

‘Oh, hello, is that Angela?’

‘Yes.’

‘Er, this is Jonathan, the head teacher. Just to let you know that we have managed to get Jamie’s shoe off the school roof. We’ll keep it in the office.’

Which made me wonder why I had not noticed my son hobbling home, shoeless, on a February day.

Or, the many occasions when my cat decides to bring in a small animal which she has skilfully decapitated, to say thank you for trudging to the shop in the rain when we ran out of Felix.

Or, when my son informs me that we need loo roll. Because he used up an entire roll attempting to mop up the beetroot which ‘jumped out of the fridge’. Picture a scene from Sweeney Todd.

And a week later, when he shouts from the bathroom, ‘Mum, we’re going to need a new toilet seat.’ And I really, really, did not want to know why.

Or, a rather unfortunate squirrel, which despite being one of the most dexterous creatures in our gardens, managed to miscalculate a short jump from one tree to another. This is how I discovered that squirrels can swim. And they’re scared of goldfish.

Sometimes small instances in our busy lives can give us big smiles.

 

More soon…

 

A K Foxwood

 

 

 

Happy Afternoon

Happy Afternoon

 

In this moment I see

the hanging heads of every tree

and yet- against the blue-washed sky

they seem to smile

back at me.

 

The squeals that pierce the air

from kids (with insufficient years to care)

on trampolines, in paddling pools,

now free from school

all echo there.

 

Free in the gardens, joy

in each excited girl and boy;

the sun, at last, has found a way

to wrap itself around the day

like diazepam foil.

 

A K Foxwood    July 2013