Tag Archives: Poem

Manchester 22.5.17

23 May

I Looked At Evil

 

I looked at Evil: it wore a suicide vest

My cause is just, it claimed

your murdered children my price

Kill me, and a thousand martyrs fall in behind

You cannot kill me, it smiled

for I am dead by a tug of this cord

 

You cannot kill me, Evil declared

You cannot buy me off

You cannot reason with me

Don’t bother to plead with me

for my ears are closed

my mind bankrupt

my heart already a corpse

You cannot kill me

for I am already dead

 

You cannot defend your children

for I am Evil

and I wear a suicide vest

 

 

 

You Lerner Something New Every Day

22 Dec

Sorry!  Sorry!  I know I owe replies and visits for more than one post but at the moment my life is hectic; I can offer no reasonable dialectic, simply that my use of time by default must be selective; in truth, it is somewhat eclectic…hence this frantic pseudo-poem.  Oh no!  Must you really be going?

I also apologise that this poem is catalectic*

*adjective:   (verse) metrically incomplete; especially lacking one or more syllables in the final metrical foot 

Right, now that I’ve got that out of my system, I really do apologise for being so neglectic.  If I believed in New Year’s Resolutions, I’d make one to blog properly i.e. stop being so rude.  Fortunately for me, I don’t; so I won’t.

Kidding!

I want to wish you all a Happy Christmas so I’ll do that by shamelessly promoting Alex with videos from his last show, Lerner Without Loewe.  Alex sang twelve songs with Matthew Malone’s 35 piece orchestra, all with lyrics by Alan J. Lerner (Camelot, My Fair Lady, etc.) and music composed by someone other than Frederick Loewe.  Breathe, dear reader…I won’t post all twelve here, or you’ll be watching until next Christmas.

In this first trailer, the first speaker, Professor McHugh, is a leader in the academic field of Broadway musicals.  I confess, I’m not certain how big that field is, but the man really knows his stuff:

Alex appears halfway through this next one but the first song is worth listening to; Lerner’s brilliance with lyrics really shines through – listen for how he rhymes ‘rhododendron’ with ‘friends’:

A quick one, in rehearsal:

This next one makes me simultaneously proud and queasy – Alex sings so sweetly but the song is from what amounts to Lolita – The Musical, and the lyrics reflect that:

More rehearsal:

And more (Alex is halfway through again):

This one, also in rehearsal, has Alex singing a song that was written between 1936-1938, words & music both by Lerner, which has probably not been performed since, meaning that Alex is quite possibly the first person to sing it in eighty years.  This is also probably the only recording of this song, so, just like the secret mentioned in the lyrics, here’s a secret from me to you: he fluffed one of the lines.  Heehee!

This song was written for three parts but Alex sings it all:

Another good one sung by Debra Finch:

Last one, from rehearsals.   The final song is the only one I’d heard before, and it turned out to be my least favourite because there were just so many great songs on the night:

You deserve some eggnog after that marathon watch. 

Merry Christmas!

 

Now I Get It

8 Feb

Before I begin, let me just say that this is the first time I’ve used the new-look New Post feature and I HATE it.  It’s all white space and missing or moved buttons.  Wassup with that, WordPress?

I’m in a bad mood.  I have discovered the point of philosophy, a question which has puzzled me since the summer of 2003.  That was the first year of my Open University degree.  I attended summer school in Manchester – seven minutes away from my house by train; and I chose it for just that reason, having a sick husband and two young children at home.  Plus, I was a wimp in those days. Travel alone in such a lawless country as Britain?  Forget it.

It was a glorious summer (the sun always shines on happy memories) and I had a blast, spending all of my time in lectures and learning, singing in the choir that was composed of almost the whole cohort of students, and playing Medea’s daughter in an amusing stage parody.   I was disappointed not to get two weeks, à la Educating Rita, but loved any break from my adorable family.

I attended a lecture on the piece of music which was the subject of my next assignment and it was so good, all I had to do was transcribe my notes into coherent sentences, giving me one of my best marks that year.  It’s not cheating if you’re just paying attention in class.

Music was not my best subject but Philosophy was definitely my worst.  I just did not get it.  I remember sitting in a tutorial that summer and asking, What is the point of philosophy?  The tutor looked startled and then annoyed, and he didn’t have an answer.  I rest my case.

I wish he was here now, because today I learned the answer: philosophy exists to enable desperate poets to cope with the vagaries of Microsoft.

My Word stopped working.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what version it is.  I don’t know why I didn’t read the dialogue box that came up every day for a week or more which probably would have told me.  But that doesn’t matter because of course it’s Microsoft’s fault: it is the creator, and we always blame the creator when things go wrong.  That’s my philosophy.

I haven’t been around the blogosphere much because I’m nearing the end of phase three of my second poetry collection: the editing process.  The editing process is my favourite part: the research has been done; the poems have been drafted from thin air; I don’t yet have to brutally cut some of my favourite babies, or put out for a publisher.  All I have to do is neaten, tidy and completely re-write until I’m sort of but not quite satisfied with the work that’s already done.

I edit, therefore I am happy.

I type, therefore I am busy.

I think, therefore I am using the education the Open University gave me.

I stay at my computer, therefore the Hub doesn’t have to see me.

I lose Word and my life falls apart: what am I supposed to do with my time if I can’t edit poems?  I might have to talk more to the Hub [shudder].  What if the world never gets to read my genius because Word owns me?  

Tain’t right; tain’t fitting; tain’t proper (how I miss you, Ross Poldark; please come back to my TV and be gorgeous again).

I may just be losing it…it’s only been thirty minutes since Word said Get lost and I’m babbling like a woman who just lost her Word.

On the plus side, I now have time to read your blogs.  

Sidebar: the architecture block of the 2003 course was fascinating but the only thing I remember is how to identify columns.  To this day, I have a weird finger thing I do to remind myself of whether a column is Doric, Ionic or Corinthian. Identifying a type of Classical architecture is a totally useless skill for me to have but I love that I can do it.

What’s your useless skill?  

A Poem to Mourn a Great Loss

I miss Word.
Word has gone.
How will my work be done?
I’m editless; I’m numb.
This poem is the sum of my madness.
Return, Word, and all will be gladness.  

Now you see how good a poet I am, you’ll understand why I’m going crazy here.

Of This And That

12 May

http://www.savagechickens.com/images/chickenapologize.jpg

What Should Be An Apology, But Somehow Isn’t

I’ve had a lot going on and no laptop for a while but now everything’s back to normal.  I saved all of your blog posts that came into my inbox – some going back to January – to read when I had more time.  Then  it occurred to me that I never have more time, so I made the decision to delete them all and suddenly I’m six inches taller because the guilt lifted as soon as the emails went into the trash.

https://img0.etsystatic.com/000/0/5140495/il_fullxfull.97372308.jpg

Feeling Yellow

I don’t think I mentioned I was quite ill with renal colic before Easter.  Then the tests came back and it wasn’t renal colic after all – thank goodness, because kidney stones would have followed, the doctor was a little too eager to assure me.  What I had was a severe UTI (I don’t want to say ‘urinary tract infection’ because that’s a wee bit icky).  It had me flat out for a week (the Tramadol might have played a little part in that) and it was several more weeks before I was all better.

Live From Worktown

I had a poem in an anthology published in conjunction with this year’s Bolton Festival.  I went along to the launch event.  45 minutes on the train then another 45 minutes trying to find the Octagon Theatre, which is a five minute walk from the station.  The Hub’s instruction, via Google Maps (printed out with little arrows drawn on to show me which way to walk.  He seems to think I can’t be trusted to find my own way around) was to exit the station, turn left, follow the map arrows.  What could go wrong?  Plenty, it seems.

For starters, the station had two exits.

I checked them both out and went with the one that most resembled the Google Street View image the Hub had shown me (did I mention he thinks I can’t find my way out of a railway station?).  I exited, turned left, walked and walked and walked for much longer than five minutes, not finding any street names matching my map.  I walked back to the station and started again.

I exited the second entrance, turned left, walked and walked but not quite so far this time before I turned around and walked back to the station, then around the station, then inside and around the station, then I bought thinking time by raiding the vending machine.

Idea!  Look at the wall map.  

There was bound to be a wall map.  

There was a wall map.  

Very pretty it was, too, with a helpful YOU ARE HERE arrow.  I could even see the theatre on the map.  What I couldn’t see was any indication as to which of the station’s two exits I should use to get to the theatre, nor in which direction I should go, nor any street names that tallied with my well-worn and now a little sweaty map.  As pretty wall maps go, it was a bit of a let down.

http://www.lovethispic.com/uploaded_images/13688-Pooh-Bear-Think.gif?1

The chocolate worked its magic and it occurred to me to ask someone – a very helpful news vendor who told me, Turn right [hear that Hub & Google Maps/Right!] out of the exit that doesn’t appear on Google Street View [okay, he didn’t say that last bit but I could tell he was thinking it], up to the clock tower which is the town hall [or courts or something] and the theatre is just behind it. Which it is, if you come at it from the clock tower’s right if you’re heading up from the station, as I discovered once I had walked the long way around the town hall.

The excitement at actually arriving at my destination meant that for me, the anthology launch itself was a bit of an anticlimax, until I was given a free glass of wine.  Everything looks better after free wine, especially on an empty except for a small bar of chocolate tummy.

I chatted to a bewildered Bolton University Creative Writing student, booze making me loquacious and free with all the writing advice she could ever need – Keep a notebook!  Follow the muse!  Get critiqued!  Read my blog!  Email me if you have any questions! – until she was rescued when I spotted a fellow contributor, Julia McGuiness, who once held a writing workshop I attended, and who used a few of my piku in a writing book she wrote [see, BUCWS: listen to me and you too can write long-winded and confused sentences in just such a style].

I took photos on my phone, sure in the knowledge that I could fiddle with the phone charger lead and connect it to my laptop to upload the photos to share with you.  

I did manage to fiddle with the phone charger lead and connect it to my laptop.  

Sorry there are no photos.  It appears that I don’t know what to do once the phone and laptop are connected.

 Julia D. McGuinness Julia on somebody else’s phone.

Spud Acts Again

Over Easter, Spud was at the national Student Drama Festival in Scarborough, sponsored by The Sunday Times, in Joe Bunce’s The Nutcracker [I accidentally typed The Butcracker and I can’t help thinking I’d really like to see that play].  

A committee checks out student productions throughout the year and then invites twelve from around the country to appear at the Festival. The Nutcracker won four awards, including Best Director and The Cameron Macintosh Award.  I suspect Mr Bunce will go far.  I hope Spud is his Facebook friend because it’s often about who you know in the brutal business known as show.  

You can read a little about the festival and The Nutcracker here.  Spud sent me some photos but I can’t upload them.  Is it possible that UTIs can affect your brain?  Mine stopped working about six weeks ago.

The Hub and I are off to see Spud play Mole in The Wind in the Willows.  More of that later in the week, but here’s a teaser:

 

A Poem To Celebrate NaPoWriMo

15 Apr

It’s National Poetry Writing Month in the States; of course, the whole world is joining in, including me.  I’m writing like mad so I’ve been even more absent than usual.

By way of apology, here’s a poem I wrote eighteen months ago, which made me smile when I came across it in a notebook.  Something the whole family can enjoy.

 

Dog Walk On Bonar Park

Fresh-cut grass!

Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it
Here’s a pile – let’s wee on it

Can we go home now?
I’ve an empty ass.

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Je Suis Charlie

9 Jan

Sad Paris

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Kill twelve

Kill thousands

Kill me

Speech must remain free

or there is no democracy

Je suis Charlie

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Poets Are From Earth, Haiku Go To Mars

23 Sep

So NASA emailed me to say my haiku had arrived on Mars…

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There’s a sentence you don’t read (or write) every day.  And what’s great is, it’s true!

Truth is relative, of course.  NASA did email, as they do every day; I’m subscribed to their website.

I did write a haiku, however, and it did go to Mars…along with thousands of others submitted to their competition.  NASA put all of the entries on to a DVD in case the Little Green Men like Japanese poetry.

According to the website:

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft successfully entered Mars’ orbit at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21, where it now will prepare to study the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere as never done before. MAVEN is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars.

It doesn’t say anything about my haiku but I guess they’re kind of busy with all the, like, sciency stuff and that.  Go figure.

But hey – I can say with absolute truth: my writing is out of this world 🙂

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Nicola Hulme Author

Exploring creative writing and learning every day

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