Rainy Day



Yesterday was a rainy day. And unexpectedly so. Bad start, worse end. Trying to put it in context today (with Bach loud in my ears to block out someone else’s toddler), I googled ‘into every life a little rain must fall’ to find the source…

And the wise words of the final verse Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s ‘Rainy Day’ seemed very wise indeed:

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Chin up, buck up and step up is the answer. The ‘middle years’, viewed from one perspective are one long list of unreasonable and irreconcilable demands. But that’s the price of being at the centre, and fulcrum, of so many people’s lives. 

Watching an older man limping awkwardly in front of me this morning (as I rushed from one kid’s activity to the next) was a reminder there’ll be plenty of years when I’d kill for this life. And those years will one day run out. 

I feel better for a hot chocolate, some Bach and some writing. There is no point ‘repining’; behind the clouds the sun is still shining.

More Sun than Shivers

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Rainy day
Heading away
Patch of blue
Half way through
Arrive at the coast
Prosecco toast
Beautiful view
Before Barbecue
A day on the beach
Tasty Cornish pasty
Bucket and spade
Castles made
Splashing in the surf
Sun kissed
And wind tousled
Uphill hike
Chilli spike
Before a greyer day
To harbour throng
Ferry wait
Great escape
Walk in the dunes
Steep hill conquered
Happy son
New sword won
And the day is done
Bright again
Beach beckons
Serious boy splashing
Brave girl surfing
She manages standing
Despite hard landings
My job’s to potter
From one to the other
Wiling away
Another sunny day
The next is duller
Overcast overhead
Family fun and games
On steam trains
Boating and putting
A fair few laughs
Despite it being naff
Final day
Clifftop ramble
Among pretty brambles
Perilous steps
Precipitous edge
Stunning view
Sea more black than blue
Then
Footling around
Stomach grumbling
Waiting for orders
Before
Late lunch outdoors
Sword fight
With small knight
Fish on the beach
End is in reach
Sun sinks
A sky of all pinks
No more drinks
Pack up the car
Final hurrah
More sun than shivers
Cornwall delivers.

Deux Mille Treize

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Early start
Car packed out
Road hit squarely
Awake barely
Channel tunnel
Bridges and viaducts
Coffee machines and petrol stops
A1 French roads
Reduce down to
Salt pans and mussels
Over water
Paradise lost
Paradise found
Dream campsite
Canvas, clams and camp loos
Washing up and hammocks
Sun, sea and cycling
Then en route encore
To sunflowers and cooling towers,
Overnight stop in
Rural splendour, with mozzies and Aussie
Toulouse trek
Arizona valley
The long and winding road
To
Swimming pool, shutters and searing sun
Pain, cheese and ham
Bendy roads and supermarkets
Barbecues and rosé
Hot and bitten, but not bothered
Splashing and laughing
Pink, then pinker then browned
Before lassitude and food fatigue set in
Le depárt
Massif drive and sick bags full to
Paris, pool and parking
Kir, Cupole and walking
Metro, dodo
Tour Eiffel and boat trip
Montmartre then long marche
Auchan, duck and Chunnel
“I spy something beginning with…”
Cars.
Blighty, black clouds, driving rain
Before Home, sweet same old Home
Triumph, acclaim, then bedtime
A fine vintage
Deux Mille Treize

Hmmm

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Half me, half her.
Qualities mine, faults hers.
Hmmm.
Some things about him aren’t either of us?

Ok.
Quarter her folks, quarter mine.
Makes sense.
Hang on a bit,
Her folks aren’t all bad.
Some of his qualities might be theirs?

Ok.
One eighth my paternal grandparents,
One eighth my my mum’s parents
Hmmm.
Right old mix there.

The truth dawns.
He’s not half me, half her.
He’s one hundred percent him.
Unique.
A joy.
A beam of sunlight in our lives.
But his talents and shortcomings are all his own.

Mixed results for the boy at school this week. Some parental adjustment and effort required. But the big penny which is dropping, is letting go of the ‘me’ in him and truly embracing him.

Not hard – he is wonderful. But he is ‘he’, not a mini me.

Half past Eight

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Sat in the car
Ferrying daughter,
A thought came to mind
So tell her I oughta…
“For the first time in eight years
I’ve had enough sleep.”
“Why’s that Dad?”
“Cos you’ve stopped waking us up!”
“In that case it’s nearly nine years.”
“Actually.”

It’s true. Yesterday morning at 11am, I found myself bright, alert, jolly and thoroughly well rested – for the first time in about nine years.

My daughter has decided she can entertain herself, when she tumbles out of bed at 6.45am sharp every day and no longer needs a parent until 9ish.

So no early morning ‘meerkat’ staring alertly into my sleep filled eyes demanding company. Wow! After a holiday week of lie ins, I felt truly great.

It wasn’t to last. The eve of my return to the coalface of work today and who should arrive at 5.45am – why it’s the Boy Wonder. Ho hum.

Dearth of Verse

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A dearth of verse
Makes me wonder
Whether my inner life
Is playing second fiddle
To putting myself on the stage

I’m living in interesting times
And putting my shoulder to the wheel
Leaving precious little time
For introspection
Or verse

But I’m bottling up less
Speaking up and plainly
Maybe that’s why verse has subsided
Perhaps some inner tension
Has subsided too

Poets die younger
Performers live longer
To my surprise
I’m currently happier performing
Than turning terse into verse.

An Ordinary Day to Remember

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Scooting around
Nothing profound
Passing the day
Having a play
Boy and his dad
Momentarily sad
I’m in my prime
His smile is sublime
But time is finite
One day will be twilight
And then away
So remember this day.

I was talking of death with my mother-in-law this week. A relative is very ill and her cohort is slowly dying around her. She seemed a bit troubled, so we talked. I think she wants to talk about death sometimes but not many people want that conversation.

I’m ok with it though. I feel I’ve created my two time capsules nurturing two beautiful children and left them some thoughts and ideas with this blog. Let’s not tempt fate, but if a bus smashed into me tomorrow I’d have a second of pique – b@llocks – and then rest.

I’m happy with who I am and what I’ve done. Opening an improving mortgage statement letter, booking a college reunion, scooting about and making pizzas – a humdrum day. But what’s not to like. Life is good – and both quite long and quite short. So make sure to enjoy the ordinary days, I say.

Jubilee Camping

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Jubilee camp
Periodically damp
Some sun
Decent fun
Well fed
And some early beds
Good group
A sizeable troupe
The final night
Clear and bright
By the fire side
A beacon spied
And a firework spray
At the end of the day
But this is Devon
And so opened the Heavens
A pouring morning
Puddles forming
Packing up completely wet
Always was a likely bet
Home James
Back to the Thames
Unloading
Unfolding
Hanging
Draping
Of sodden stuff
That’s quite enough
So a glass of red
And an early bed
A good time it’s been
God save the Queen
But let’s not do it again
Until she’s 110.

Terse Verse

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If music be the food of love
Is poetry a bowlful of life?

A question crossed my mind the other day – do I only spontaneously write poetry when I’m cross about something? I’m sure I’ve written happy poems, but the impulse to bash out some verse seems to come more often than not through irritation, stress or annoyance. And often banal and mundane at that – from flat tyres to ineffective dishwasher tablets. Take this one:

Duzzit doesn’t

Rare to see such disinformation
In a modern formulation
Dishwasher tablets are all the same?
But Duzzit is to blame
No discernible cleaning
A film all over my pots
Unilever and P&G may be pricey
But their brands leave no spots.

This set me thinking. I read a few months back that musicians live longer, poets die sooner. Is it a bit like comedians? Making people laugh is – by all accounts – a sad person’s trade.

Perhaps it varies from person to person. But, for me, I think poetry comes more often as a venting of steam than a bucolic breeze. Still, better out than in.