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I feel the need to write about why I’ve been absent from cyberspace for almost a year.

First of all, three apparently unrelated incidents:

  • A statistical survey I did in a Maths class back in the Eighties.  One girl told me that each member of her family of five had a TV in his or her bedroom, which was also where they took all their meals.
  • A report that Simon Cowell can’t use an ipod.
  • A short story, written by E M Forster called The Machine Stops. In this futuristic fantasy, all the inhabitants of the earth live in a honeycomb of cells below the earth, where all their needs are provided by the Machine. Communication takes place through a round, hand held plate which glows before lighting up to reveal the image of the caller.

I like to think that I’m pretty savvy when it comes to digital technology; I bought my first computer in 1999 so that I’d be able to e-mail my daughter in China.  In that instance, having a computer was a good thing. I don’t own an ipod, although I can see that they are handy on a journey or when out jogging. Like Cowell I sometimes find ipods intensely irritating and I preferred the days when  listening to music was more of a social activity.

I was, however,  horrified by the image of my pupil and her family sitting in their individual ‘cells’, eating their meals and watching TV. Also back in the Eighties, the daughter of a close friend told her mother that our families were the only ones who still  sat round a table to eat a Sunday roast. I suppose that by removing watching television from the social sphere prevents rows over which channel but it also rules out the pleasure of shared social activity. In the twenty-first century we can now watch whichever programme we like, catch up using devices like BBC iplayer and watch DVDs; all without leaving  our laptops.

Forster wrote his story before the First World War, well before the era of Facebook, Skype and ichat. The woman in the story, Vashti, knew thousands of people, but not face to face. When her son, who lived underground in the northern hemisphere – she lives in the south- wants her to visit him, she’s horrified:

“But I can see you!” she exclaimed.”What more do you want?”

Now don’t get me wrong, I love having from all over the world, but I did start to feel the need for more face to face communication and social interaction. Many people manage to get the balance right, but looking around me, I do see society  moving in the direction of Forster’s dystopia.

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Watermaid’s return

I’ve been absent from my site ever since completing a poem a day with ReadWritePoem last April. I decided I was whiling away too many hours at my computer and life was slipping by fast. I intend to return soon but to try to be less obsessive.

Watch this space!!

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kreativ_blogger_award_copyKimberley at The Possiblity of Being (cool name for a blog) has given me  the Kreativ Blog Award. Until now I have been too busy with NaPoWriMo to formerly accept it. Kimberley is one of the talented writers I  discovered over the last month.

The award comes with a few responsibilities:

1.  Post the award on your blog and link to the person who gave you the award.

2. List seven things you love.

3. Pass it on! List seven blogs you love and let those people know you’ve given them the award.

Seven Things that I Love

1.  My family.

2.  My cat, Jack.

3. Chocolate. It’s best that I don’t get the taste of it as once I start eating it I can’t stop.

4.  The great outdoors which includes my garden, the New Forest and the sea (both close by), lakes and mountains.

5.  My computer. I wouldn’t be without it and I’ve written a poem dedicated to it.

6.  Holidays in faraway places which I came to late in life as the result of having wandering offspring. To date I’ve visited China, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and  Malysia.

7. Oh dear! I’ve come to the end and there are still lots more things that I love. I love writing, which means I also love reading…and, of coure, poetry.

(I realise that I’ve cheated and crammed in far too many things).

Now I don’t know who has already received this award and please feel free to turn the Kreativ Blogger Award down if it isn’t your thing.

This is my opportunity to flag up the blogs I enjoy visiting.

Blogs that I love

1. David King at Pics and Poems. Dave’s blog is a mix of art  work, fine poems and (sometimes controversial) topical posts.

2. Kay McKenzie Cooke at Made for Weather. Kay is a published NZ poet.  Kay illustrates her posts with wonderful photographs.

3. Andy Sewina at Sweet Talking Guy. Andy is the creator of the Naisaiku (or was that Wendy Naisaiku?) and the American Sandwich.

4. Linda Jacobs at Linda’s Poems. Linda is an American High School English teacher who writes some very original poems and co-hosts Totally Optional Prompts.

5. Elizabeth Enslin at Yips and Howls. I ‘met’ Elizabeth through NaPoWriMo. She  is a writer and anthropologist who claims not to have written much poetry before.

6. S. L. Corsua at Unguarded Utterance. A pen name for a blogger who writes powerful poems as an antidote to the law. She is based in the Philippines.

7. Wayne Pitchko at POGA…Poetry. Wayne writes poetry and paints. I also ‘met’ Wayne through NaPoWriMo. His poems are quirky (I like quirky).

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Thank you Read Write Poem for mentioning that Carol Ann Duffy is joint favourite, with Simon Armitage, to be the next poet laureate here in the U.K. I used a phrase from her collection Rapture in my collage poem on day 22 of NaPoWri Mo. The present laureate, Andrew Motion, has done much to promote poetry with the Poetry Archive, but although there are some female poets, Duffy and Jackie Kay (also included in the betting) are not included. Both, however, can be found on the British Council site and Famous Poets and Poets, which also features American poets.

Today, I have written a list poem using Andy Sewina’s American Sandwich, which is based on Allen Ginsberg’s American sentence (17 syllables like the haiku). Andy lives in the Manchester area of the U.K., which is where I have my roots. The prompt at Read Write Poem is ‘seeing red’. I’ve given my American sandwich a British flavour by making it red white and blue. If I had more time, I would have worked at the rhythm more.

Red blooded, ruddy, robust, violent tempered, bolshie, leftie, Marxist
White skinned, Caucasian, bloodless, blanched, ashen, pure, clean, whitewash, coward
Blue blooded, patrician, profane, racy, risqué, dejected, down, sad.

P.S. I couldn’t make the ‘white’ white as you wouldn’t be able to read it.

And my Naisaiku, also with a red theme.

the last day of April
with thirty blossoms blooming
A RED LETTER DAY
with thirty poems written
the last day a party

japan-2009-045

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#24 Sounds of silence

NaPoWriMo #24 and I’ve just received an acceptance for one of my poems – ‘The Cloakroom of my Childhood’. I will add a link to it on my  ‘About’ page in due course.

Today’s prompt at Read Write Poem is noise (or silence).

Silence

In my room
a fan whirrs
my computer clicks
and it sounds as though
I’ve put a sea shell
to my ear.

Outside
I hear
the hum of a tractor
the drone of an aeroplane
as it rises to a crescendo
and then diminishes
car wheels screech
on the tarmac.

In the garden
my cat meows to be let in.
The busyness of birds
in their aerial arena
hits me like a wall
of sound.

In my head
conversations
with people
real and imagined
what my kids are doing
what I need to do
what is urgent
what can wait
who is coming
who is going
a re-draft of
a short story
or an idea
for a poem

Is there such a thing as silence?

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Day 18 of NaPoWriMo with Read Write Poem.  Somehow or other I missed Carolee’s lexical prompt on Thursday. I had fun with this, although it’s only a fragment which I hope to develop later. The word I chose was ‘fugitive’ and I think the following  quote from Shakespeare may have been in my mind as I framed my first line:

Shylock: … you call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,

(Shakespeare: ‘A Merchant of Venice’)

Fugitive

The locals call him drifter, hobo, bum,
apostate, absconder, escapee,
renegade, rebel, runaway,
I favour émigré, exile, political refugee.
Interrupted, disjoined, divorced, unplugged,
cleft from a branch of an ancient tribe;
ephemeral, short-lived, a shifting silhouette;
a canvas for fantasy.

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