Forever Puzzles – Features – 18/09/2011

Forgive me, the features are a couple of days late. I forgot, got mixed up with all the cleanup going on.

Sometimes things are fragmented, you’re not quite sure where everything is going and try to find an anchor or a map. This is what today’s features are about.

This image seems so simple when you first look at it, but there’s a world of meaning in the faded red glory.

Fading Passion by © Laurie Search

Fading Passion by © Laurie Search

The words seemed to fit perfectly what I felt when I saw the image.

Venus Goes Retrograde by © Jenifer DeBellis

It never quite goes back to the way it was.

What was once healthy and taut has been pulled
and stretched and ripped, pushing the limits
of what nature’s elasticity was intended to contain.

Life-giving veins are overrun with toxins,
circulating bile and sludge in this river of blood.
Scrambling hands hold fatty piles of neglected flesh
as they droop and dip in their chaotic imbalance.

There’s nothing the latest fad plan can do to fix
the acute symptoms that have been ignored.
There’s nothing modern medicine can do to fix
malignant growth left too long to its own devices.

Surgically, most things can be repaired or altered
to appear as they once were, but to fool a heart
that knew every crease, crevice and flaw?
To restore years of neglect as if it never happened
is an impossibility within a sea of improbabilities.

Yet there you stand, with my heart in your hand.
Seems such a waste of a vibrant, potent organ.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could bottle up our love and ‘bathe’ in it whenever we want to?

Love Itself… by © Tracey Mac

Love Itself… by © Tracey Mac

And here it is – the things you can do, the things you can stand and the things you survive if you have love.

HAVE YOU EVER by © cosimopiro

Have you ever danced naked
on the tip of a flame
or skipped on ripples
of a butterfly’s wake,
have you ever rode bareback
the wrath of a hurricane
or swam the molten rock
of a volcano’s lake?

Have you ever leapt blind
from a shooting star
or slipped down the throat
of a crescent moon,
have you ever touched
the screaming of a devil’s scar
or be trapped
in a spider’s cocoon?

Have you ever flown
in a hungry vulture’s eyes
or walked in a nightmare
of a lonely ghost’s dread,
have you ever drank
the sobs of a whale’s last cries
or desperately held
a heartbreak in a madman’s head?

Well…. have you ever?
I can’t say I’ve had such days,
but hell,
some moments feel like it!
If not for you
and Love’s caring ways
I’d crumble in a heap
bit…. by…. bit.

But things don’t always go smoothly and the devil will have its way and put obstacles in front of us we have to overcome, and rarely do we realise that it was those obstacles that helped us grow until much later.

Me and the Devil by © Jessica Walker

Me and the Devil by © Jessica Walker

The friends we make and lose and re-make along the way…

Catharsis, or, Ode to Former Best Friends by © singerchick

I.
I wonder,
If I wear my argyle knee socks
And the chunky-heeled Mary Janes you adored,
Will I miss you?
Will I miss singing Journey in your kitchen
While helping you pack?
Will I miss the inside jokes, the giggling, and the feeling of belonging?
Will I miss biting my tongue because I don’t want to hurt you,
Or the ensuing drama when I fail to hold back?
Will I shed a tear because I believe you hate me?
Or will I simply smile because we once shared space
In one another’s lives,
And try to be a better (not bitter) person because of
The things I’ve learned about myself in the process (of knowing and losing you)?

Thanks for the memories …

II.
If there’s ever been one constant in our relationship,
It’s definitely inconsistency.
You floated in and out of my life (and good graces) as though brought in by an erratic tide
Or the prevailing winds—
At times carried on a light zephyr, and at others swirling tempestuously—
But always you come back, and for that I love you.

III.
I was truly bewildered by your good-bye,
Yet grew accustomed to the subsequent silence.
Once the self-righteous anger (and pain) subsided, I mourned and moved on
Only to be stunned by your out-of-the-blue apology.
(It’s okay, blue is my favorite color!)
Now we’re somewhere in the limbo between forgiveness and friendship
(Only I don’t know how to limbo. I’ve never been that agile!)
And I don’t know what the future holds,
But I know Who holds it.
I’m cautiously trusting…

Sometimes too much is just too much and we have to keep it at bay and ourselves distant.

Let Your Hand Do The Talking by © James Leader

Let Your Hand Do The Talking by © James Leader

At the end of the day we can only be who we are and not the faces people put on us.

You don’t make sense, why should i? by © DominicSavio

if i
bathe Your
feet
in
tears
will You call me Mary and
remember my
face?
will you embrace me
if I left
my
limbs
in the past?
can
You
stretch out my love
like
elastic to make it
last?
will
You touch me because i dance?
[am i lego
because You always
take me
apart
and put me back
together
again
but You said
this isn’t a coincidence
when
i begged You
“please
no more coincidences
i just need
to
heal”]

There are always dreams…

Dreams by © Matteo Pontonutti

Dreams by © Matteo Pontonutti

And when those dreams are shattered there are the fragments of self, floating around, trying to find a place to settle and become.

Fragments by © ShadowDancer

I come to you in fragments of a dream
pieces & stems
& half chewed morsels of flesh
alive, dripping with honey
bittersweet
my eyes an awkward attempt
at seduction
digging my way down to your open
wound
to lick away your tears

Only sometimes the puzzle pieces can’t be put together again and we have to try and forget.

Trying to forget him… by © Eliza1Anna

Trying to forget him… by © Eliza1Anna

And we start the long process of renewing ourselves, of becoming whole again.

Unraveling by © reindeer

My mind needs an unraveling
a transformation
a disentangling
a freedom from complication.
I am
a reflection
of all that is in it.
What does everyone see?
Engage my mind,
affect my mind…Holy Spirit.
Please
resurrect
and clear
my mind.
Might I have
a mind
like
His?

Hope you liked today’s (belated) features. Please say hello to the artists and writers and let them know you enjoyed their work. xo

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Touched by Fire – Features for the week of August 7, 2011

Hi everyone, a few days ago I chose this week’s features. An interesting mix of drama, visual metaphors, sensibility and overall statements. Please congratulate all the wonderful and talented artists. Duffboy

 

“its paradox” by robinellenlucas

ever emerging
all sides
of you

choose the
one in your now
who is
in between
your dark night
your early dawn

rising
because it knows
what to do
…next

is it the
mystery
u n f o l d i n g
its view
its paradox
that chooses
without limits
to protect you?

© r.e.l. 7/20/11

“Your spirit looks a lot like the fog but boy do I know the difference” by DominicSavio

Oh God
Your
spirit
in
vades
my
person
hood
like a
spiral
around
my
spine and
You
wrap
around
my
spirit
man
like a choker
with black
ribbon
and
precious
gems
like
replicas
of
Your eyes
and I
am
ice
without
You.

“The Loop” by RC deWinter

It does no good to say “Forget,”
what is experienced burns in the brain.
It does no good to say “Move on,”
what is within simply follows along.
And not looking back doesn’t alter
the past or wipe away memories, feelings, intent.
If buried, these things resurrect
doggedly as surely as some claim Christ rose from the tomb.
But they appear not miraculously
restored but as ragged skeletons clothed with shreds of flesh,
now grinning, exhibiting their
fragile framework for what it ever was –
a wish, a hope, a dream, a curse –
to accompany silently down all the years
the unfortunate pilgrim who
struggles to make sense of misplaced affection,
unfounded trust, perception
colored by desire and losses that could not be cut,
but must be paid for again
and again with the rising and setting of the
eternal sun.

© 2011 RC deWinter ~ All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

“inVisible” by wildwomenlove

As a receptacle for your rape and pillage
i remain invisible
to your lost sense of humanity

As a middle child to the nuclear family
i remain invisible
to your parental nurture

As a daughter to women who cherish men
i remain invisible
to your favouritism

As you label me a person with some kind of incapacity
my achievements remain invisible
to your boxed-in concepts

As an artist in a world motivated by greed
i remain invisible
to your economic rationalism

As a child in a world of responsibility
my childlike wisdoms remain invisible
as they fall upon deaf ears

As a mother waiting tables of bloodline
i remain invisible
to your gratitude and recognition of value

As aging attempts to put all my eggs in one basket
i become invisible
in a society which romanticizes youth

The flame of my Self burns brightly
whether it is seen by others or not
it lights my way

on my death bed I will meet my Self
and all shall be visible
Once and for all

Blessed be

© wildwomenlove poetry

 

“Uncontrollablefailure” by Nathan Emery

She
fell down so far,
out of my reach
but not out of my sight.
I watched her
crash and burn
in the bottom of a bottle of crown
and I tried to reach down
but she didn’t even look up
to see my expression;
the red in my eyes.
I didn’t want to let her go
but she was never
really in my grasp.
So maybe I’m the one that fell;
into a bottle of vodka and vicoden,
to drown her out
to drown the world out…
to drown me out.
She split and spilt in every direction
except the one I was standing in;
just trying to catch her,
trying to clean her up
but missing every single drop.

“lay down now, little sister” by greeneyedlady

i still see him
walking up and down the darkened street
he held a shotgun in his hands
he held our lives as he always had
and two faces too little to be seen
were peeking over the edge of the windowsill
and i was whispering hollow words
lay down now, little sister
it’s just some cats running through the garbage cans

and for the fear he brought down
a father’s raucous shouts and a mother’s terrified cries
shatter the quiet of the night
would he shoot the gun?
she knew very well he might
and she waited
for the night to edge a little toward the light
and when the neighbors said settle down
or we’re calling the police, man
i thought
they’ll take you in and dry you out
and i hope you never get out of the can!

but for any of you who have ever tried
to reason with a wickedly drunken man
well, you know the decision to put the gun down
wasn’t made out of love at all
he just stepped wrong took a little fall
and it dropped from his unsteady hands….
now i don’t know how we ever did it
how we managed to pretend it never happened
our eyes would meet but we’d just look away
and two faces, too little to understand
but never too old to pretend
to be sleeping
in their beds
in that house
in the way that only scared little kids can
lay down now, little sister
it’s just some cats running through the garbage cans…

Artemis by Lynnette Shelley

End by Matteo Pontonutti

White Light by Lissie Rustage

Porcine by Lynnette Shelley

The Pecking Order by Glitterfest

4 Eyes by Paul (Quixote) Alleyne

sticks and stones… (by Alenka Co)

When I was little I was told
that sticks and stones may break my bones
but words will never hurt me
yet words can stab the heart, my friend,
incite fear and hate and suspicion …..

When I was older I was told
the pen is mightier than the sword
but pens run out of ink, my friend,
and all the words that were ever writ
will never bring back the dead
and yet ….
words can heal,
soothe a grieving heart,
reach out to the lonely soul
share the pain we cannot bear alone
express the love we feel for one another

sticks and stones....

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Features for 27th March 2011 – Psychological Landscapes

I recently launched a challenge called ‘Psychological Landscapes’, so in continuation of that theme I’ve chosen 12 artworks which depict an imaginary scene and use symbolic elements of the scenery as metaphors for an internal state or and introspective narrative. (I’ve had two feature sessions in a row now where I’ve just featured images and no writing, so next time it’s my turn I’ll make a point of focusing on written pieces!)

Possibilities by Tara Lemana
I like the serene simplicity of this piece and its dreamlike quality, while it also gives a sense of loneliness and grandeur.
Possibilities by Tara Lemana

Cold Comfort by Graeme Hindmarsh
This surreal and minimalist piece explores “isolation and alienation in the modern world” (Graeme Hindmarsh). Despite its simplicity it contains many messages and it’s the sort of piece that you could look at for a while. Interesting and original work!
Cold Comfort by Graeme Hindmarsh

My way by Jacky
This image along with its title conveys such a dramatic sense of directionality, with its use of leading lines to the vanishing point on the horizon both in the skyscape and the landscape. It’s striking in its energy, boldness and richness.
My way by Jacky

No Name by Manolya F.
This piece conveys a powerful message and seems open to various interpretations. One commentator eloquently said “We either walk into despair or into hope. From the darkend sky there appears great light and energy that seems to recharge the water. Perhaps going into it will somehow recharge us in the process. You choose.” (RoyAllenHunt)
No Name by Manolya F.

without my wings by strawberries
strawberries says that this image was inspired by Britney Spears’ song ‘Everytime’. I think it’s a beautiful song and this is a fantastic, darkly stylish interpretation of it!
without my wings by strawberries

And when the Clock stops.. by Matteo Pontonutti
“…how will they remember me?” Like a lot of Matteo Pontonutti‘s work this has a cold feeling of enormity about it, with its use of huge barren landscapes – this time exploring the stark and overwhelming fact of mortality.
And when the Clock stops.. by Matteo Pontonutti

Echoes…. by Carol Knudsen
This image was inspired by the Pink Floyd song ‘Echoes’ which starts with the lyrics “Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air / And deep beneath the rolling waves / In labyrinths of coral caves / The echo of a distant tide / Comes willowing across the sand”. I love the cool melancholy in this picture. An inspired and inspiring piece.
Echoes.... by Carol Knudsen

endless solitary by vampvamp
A beautiful and poetic image, brilliant use of white space. There is something very philosophical about it…
endless solitary by vampvamp

the perplexity of L O S T by Fiery-Fire
Inspired by Salvador Dali, this surreal piece combines natural, emotive symbolism with fantastical symbolism, combining the realistic with the impossible to create a rather perplexing and intriguing image!
the perplexity of L O S T by Fiery-Fire

Cirrus by Randy Monteith
‘Cirrus clouds are cloud characterized by thin, wisplike strands, often bunched into tufts’ (says Wikipedia). I don’t know how to interpret this picture myself, but I just love its fresh, airy, bright and breezy feel.
Cirrus by Randy Monteith

Rising against…. by nanaris
This has such a feminine, earthy appeal and tells an intriguing story which can be interpreted in many ways…
Rising against.... by nanaris

Drowning in a Sea of Tears by Sandra Bauser Digital Art
I’ve had my eye on this piece for a while, waiting for an opportunity to feature it. It’s beautifully emotive and the crisp quality of the processing is sublime…
Drowning in a Sea of Tears by Sandra Bauser Digital Art

–from Rebecca Tun

First Features of 2011 – 02/01/2011

Here are the first features of the year. It is always a joy to do the features for Touched by Fire – there is so much interesting art and writing that the difficulty is deciding what not to include.

I am starting this journey off with a little house, an unusual house in a setting that seems to to draw you in.

SHELL HOUSE by © KEIT

SHELL HOUSE by © KEIT

And since the house looked like something from a fairytale it naturally lead me to this fantastic poem…

No Fairytale Ending by © kat86

What happens when you spend your whole life
Thinking you’re the ugly duckling who turns into a swan
Then you realise there is no fairy tale ending
and the hope you had is gone.

What happens when prince charming finds your slipper
But your foot is just too big
The frog you kissed goes missing
and your pumpkin turns out wrong.

Just because you dont love your reflection
Doesn’t mean the clouds will always rule
Look beyond the magic carpet, the jokers not always a fool
Don’t play the damsel, the world has enough distress

Heroes save your heart, you’ll have to do the rest.

In the neverending story of this thing that we call life
Your time is just beginning, don’t end it with a knife.
Just put on your overalls, wipe off the cinder ash
Finish your chores, steal from the chocolate stash.

Get your dress ready, dance with your bestfriend
Be home by midnight
A curfew is not the end.

There’s something special about this image. You’re not sure if she’s fleeing or running towards something. I like a bit of mystery.

...come Closer…...... by © CORA D. MITCHELL

...come Closer…...... by © CORA D. MITCHELL

Assuming that she was running towards something, I wondered if it might be the new year and all the things that might be on their way.

hello new day by © hollyann

the start
of the new three six five
lucky to be alive
and hovering on this new
extension
the light looks clean
and showing me out
of the tunnel

i am moving towards
the next horizon
and when things
feel an uncomfortable
fit
i twist and turn
until the landscape
bends
making amends
for the new seeds
and the new branches
poking through
the dirt

we are on this journey
together
your hand in mine
after all this time
we take the road
together
the road
less travelled by
mostly gravel
but leading to
the open sea

with sails unfurled
and winds caught up
we move across the
white capped waves
with telescope to eye
looking for first sight
of land

But life’s not always gentle and there might be some dark days ahead…

Dark Days by © Rebecca Tun

Dark Days by © Rebecca Tun

BUT there is always hope…

Adrift by © AnniG

Tonight I cast my sins, fears, tumultuous thoughts
upon the vast inky waters of this bottomless ocean
sending them to drift along the turbulent raging tides
to wash up upon your pristine sundrenched shore
buried on a coastal beach of bleached salty sand
to shrivel under the sweltering gaze of unrelenting
sun

perhaps you will hear the primal wails in sheer agony
perhaps you will pick and weigh them in your palm
perhaps you will rescue, cleanse, hold them close
perhaps you will breathe new life in purification
perhaps, you may even learn to live with them
perhaps you could learn to love this part of
me

maybe the new year will bring release
maybe it will come in time to let go
maybe I will finally be set free to
be

I loved this image for the focus on what’s important and the hope it makes me feel.

H-K264 by © hsien-ku

H-K264 by © hsien-ku

And the next poem seems to encapsulate all that I felt when I looked at the picture.

Circumnavigation by © Kristin Reynolds

It was dark when the light came
like a memory
like a firefly
like a nerve—

like the last of the fallen angels;
like the most beautiful thought
tossed off a bridge
in the quiet
and absolute still

of stars making waves below.

I find myself in this madness,
shaded and sharp
as a moment of glory;

curved
like the palm
of the moon;

two steps behind
never-ending.

I can’t say I was surprised
when the whistle blew
my hair back
like wheat in a gale—

or when the gods
poured down like
slow golden rain

from the crown
to the sea
to the wind;

to life growing seeds for angels

to will
to union
to root—

gifts of the being alone;

or when dawn
washed through
like infinite hands

anointing
my shroud
with the currency
of a perfectly fluted memory

with which
to see
in the dark

an arc
of bodiless
gold.

This next image impressed me with its composition as well as the feelings it evoked.

Wings of Desire IV – II When No One Comes by © Darren Vannoy

Wings of Desire IV – II When No One Comes by © Darren Vannoy

The next fabulous poem makes the perfect companion with its thoughtful whimsy.

WHEN WE SLEEP by © Kirrill D’Kainn

When midnight points to the moon
With the voice of wolfs
And when all winds motion bloom

The night … she replies

In the realm of fragrant foliage
Smooth are the sounds of shadows

Flights of silver owls feeding
In fashion of rose-mooned pearls
And the scent of carrion

A little true twisted crescent
The humour of this quintessence
Shift in daydreams of desire … and

The night … she replies

With melodies
That gather the spirits of rain … and
Pain of lightning struck twice

Strange and dying winds
Where desolation
Runs in rivers of cold gray sleep

End

However I wanted to end these first features of the year on a hopeful note and this image seemed to show me all the little tendrils of hope for the year just started.

Meditation of Green by © linaji

Meditation of Green by © linaji

May we indeed “step gracefully” through the coming year.

Doors of Life…. by © SimplyRed

Stained with life’s destiny
solidly standing
but gently framed
the doors of time
always slightly ajar
are closing fast

cautiously peering outwards
a gentle nudge of passage
the door creaks softly
hinges hung with peril…..
on threadbare scent of cedar

hold tight to my forever key
unlocking…
each knot of wood…
forged in place

my right of passage
peering along time aging corridors
onwards to the rapid hands of time
forever taunting….
slow the hands on the clock

please set them free
I want to stay in the real life
so many more memories
I want to take with me

realisations of harshness
tightening hinges
too young to surrender,
more things to remember
wishes sliding through key holes
close not my solid cedar door
instead …..
knock gently
and wipe your feet
softly ….
as we step gracefully
through life

I hope your enjoy the features and have a very happy New Year.

Challenge winners – “Monochrome, but not B&W”, December 10th 2010

“This challenge is for artwork and photographs which pretty much only involve one colour, but we are not looking for black & white or grayscale photos or drawings here.
For example…
It might be a monochrome photograph in the sense of being e.g. sepia, ambrotype, cyanotype, either originally or through a post-processing filter.
Or it could be any sort of digital image which has been given a hue, colour cast or some kind of filter so that all the colour in the images consists of different shades of one colour.
Or it might simply be that the subject matter of the photo, painting or drawing involves almost or completely one colour.
Or it colour be any digital image which has been so reduced in saturation, brilliance or contrast that each shade barely differs from grey.
I am taking the word ‘colour’ to mean not black or white. Black and white can be thought of as the darkest and lightest shade of any given colour.
Monochrome means almost the same thing as duotone!”

We have two winners for the “Monochrome, but not B&W” challenge: Berns, with A Blue Day, and Ivy Izzard, with The Web.

A Blue Day by Berns
A Blue Day

This beautiful image of Oliva Beach, Valencia, Spain is a great example of how the use of one colour can give a calm and dreamlike overall quality to an image. The subtle variation in the blues of the distant mountains receding into the mist is perfectly complemented by the sharper light and dark contrast which captures the crispness of the waves so effectively. And the simple, silhouetted figure in the middle distance gives the image a story.

The Web by Ivy Izzard
The Web

This is a lovely example of how choosing one narrow part of the colour spectrum and working with that can produce a stylish and evocative image. The masterful use of bluish greys for the soft but fine shading in this picture is part of what gives the image its mysterious feel, as the figure seems to be literally emerging from the foliage. I think this is a beautifully romantic and charming picture.

Congratulations to both our winners, who are now featured members for a while!

TBF features, week of September 12, 2010

This weeks features brought to you by Duffboy!

10th Sonnet! The Thrashing Crowd by lilynoelle

The heavy ache of longing binds man near
to the relentless march of tired souls
who pass by Paradise in secret fear
that it won’t be as sweet as God extols

They hurl their silent armies in the gloom
and man draws ever nearer to their chants:
a siren’s song too dangerous to consume –
a poison of the heart one ne’er recants.

What makes the souls of men so full of grief?
What potion hath young Circe fashioned now?
There is a need for love and true belief
yet all the world is caught on Sorrow’s bough.

Oh, world don’t join the throngs of grim despair;
Set all your pain aside – and leave it there!

Impotent Sentinels by Tom Newman

A Walking Advertisement For Camera Companies No Longer by Raoul Isidro

This morning, I got myself a very large high performance Artline 100 xylene free black permanent marker.
The one that grafitti artists use on walls.
Back at my desk, I proceeded to black out all bright colours and logos of the camera name brand that was stiched and embelished on my camera straps.
There were quite a few of them to do, as I own several camera bodies.
Off they went for one wash cycle to remove any excess ink that might rub off on to my shirt or jacket, then a slow drip dry beside the radiator.
I am no longer a walking advertisement for these camera companies.
My camera neck strap no longer shouts to the world: “Steal Me!”
I now wear a simple, dull, dark and daggy neck strap.
I like that very much, thank you.

Wither by Randy Monteith

wither by randy monteith

Art Exchange by BrightThing

I have often been to shy too say the words …….

“Please could I paint your portfolio piece..(add title) “

But like the sign that often appears with a “please don’t ask” request, says……

“Refusal can upset”……

So I have never asked “you” if I can use your photo for my oils…..

Here is one I DID pluck courage to ask the artist…..with nervousnessI have to say,
The Lady was very kind indeed!


Brothers in Arms
by rodeorose

If you would be really happy to let me paint something…… please paste in your reply your piece of work…… And I will write to you privately if I wish to pain the specific
piece……

Reasons for painting or NOT wil be personal interest choices…..and not
artitsic comment or judgement AT ALL….

Best wishes to you my friend….

In hope of some lovely ones…..

(I would be happy to consider your requests of me in return.)

Best wishes
Simon

Takeoff by Igor Zenin

Waste Away by Tycatz

You wanted a partner in crime,
Someone to do your bidding.
I let you scrape your boots on my face
As you fed me dirt, sweat, blood…
Never did I let you see me cry.

My voice was weak
And I was stoned.
Your pathetic attempts at throwing rocks
Cut my face
But you would not break my skull.

A mistake it was
For you to underestimate me.
Your childish claims of vampirism
Only made me laugh later.
A disgrace you are to my people.

How dare you ask for my help.
You will never breach my security,
Don’t forget
That I was the warrior,
And I’ve only increased my training.

Show your face at my door,
With one glance I will rip you to shreds.
You may need your hands to fight
But I will not stoop to your level
And choke you as I wish.

These deep pupils are my weapons,
Don’t be so cocky not to fear me.
One glance and I will make your eyes bleed,
A thousand deaths inside your head
Screaming, I will haunt you.

You can not persuade me this time.
The fire in me is lit and burning,
I could control you, consume you,
Send you to your knees.
Not the way you had me on mine.

Do you not recall my power?
Of course not, you gave it no thought,
I wouldn’t hurt you,
No, never,
I would never hurt you…

I never warned you of my demons.
Maybe if I had you wouldn’t have
Given me reason for revenge,
Wouldn’t have been so careless.
Maybe you should be regretting that.

If I wanted, I could destroy you,
Summon a million maggots to eat you alive
And watch them devour you
And you would beg and plead for my mercy
While I sit back and laugh at your crumbling ego.

But you are not worth it.
You are not worthy of entering my thoughts
Or the torment I would bring you.
You will not forget me though,
And you will waste away.

Inner Flare by SuziTC

Her Last Days by Charmiene Maxwell-batten

“You’re here, you’re here,” she said with a childlike smile that always warmed my heart. Hurriedly bringing my luggage into the hospital after having just arrived from America, I dared not miss even a second of being with Mum.
Her blue eyes sparkled as I walked through the door of the hospital room where she lay; my sister was sitting close to her – helping Mum to eat a small spoon of yogurt.
I sat with her after that, not wanting to leave her side. That evening she sank into semi-consciousness and her blue eyes took on a familiar softness.

Every so often she jumped as though frightened, crying out in her sleep “Help – help!”

It worried me, it concerned me. I felt helpless. What was distressing her I wondered? I held her hand and comforted her. She wasn’t able to tell me what happened or why she was frightened. I could only soothe her each time she awoke. Next day I discovered what had occurred in the last few days. A ginger haired nurse had forced powdered medicines down her throat without mixing it with any liquid; it was not easy to swallow and mum choked. The nurse who had been very edgy with Mum, seemed unable to express the gentle and loving receptivity towards people who are ill and frail, it was clear that her heart was not in her work.

That same nurse grumbled at us for sitting around our dying mother in those last hours, she said that there were too many of us and instructed us to take it in turns to sit with her. It seemed that we as a whole family, were a nuisance to her. I wondered whether the nurse herself had a lonely and loveless life.

In spite of the disapproving looks – we all stayed together quietly sitting with our mother as she lay in a peaceful sleep. She didn’t wake up. It was a rare moment where five children sat silently in unison – each conveying our individual goodbye. We did not feel any need to separate. It was a moment in time that was deeply sad; we each had our own thoughts and feelings as we sat as one. Our mother had loved us unconditionally; no words could describe the emotions we were experiencing, but the loving stillness that surrounded our tender sanctuary, said everything.

Within minutes of our Mum’s death the same ginger haired nurse tried to hurry us all away so that she could ‘get on with her work’. We weren’t permitted to sit silently and say our final goodbye in our way. I had felt that the moment of Mum’s death was sacred and I needed to come to terms with what had just happened. The nurse was keen to get the bed ready for the next patient and she made no attempt to hide her impatience. With a face that revealed an imprisoned heart she had no sentiment for such a rare and consequential event. She attempted to steal our moment of love and our poignant farewell to a beloved and cherished human being. I often wonder to this day what caused this nurse to have relinquished her own feelings of sensitivity towards others. I felt aggrieved, I felt powerless and I felt abused by the nurse in a moment of profound and personal vulnerability.

I still have an ache in my heart when I think of Mum’s last days; every fiber of my being wanted it to be different. I wanted her to be nurtured and loved in her final days and hours. But now, mostly I feel that my mother is free and she is surrounding us with her love. I feel thankful in knowing that she is liberated from a painful and difficult body.

The day Mum died I noticed the breezy day outside. Leaves were fluttering in the windy air and I knew that she was dancing with the trees – her free spirit joyful and young again. The moon was deep purple that night, with a pink ring of soft cloud around it – she was close to us – her children. After that month I felt an immeasurable bond with my siblings, I didn’t want to leave England. I returned to Seattle with a heavy heart.

I will always be grateful for the treasured friends that I came to know during the years I spent in Seattle (Washington State) but in this moment, I felt lonely. An unspoken connection with my siblings was deep-rooted and difficult to leave behind.

This is a narrative from my book ‘My Reflections of England’

SEE MY BOOK

Protected by Copyright Charmiene Maxwell-Batten 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Border Security by Michael Jones

The Flight by Blake Steele

I ran down through the labyrinth of the airport, having heard the
last call for boarding my jet. The stewards smiled their professional smile, but I knew they must be at least mildly upset, for the plane had missed its place in the take off rotation because of me.

I squeezed down the crowded aisle and the air was already stale from being breathed by too many people. My seat was 47B. I was looking: 27, 32, 41… some people glanced up at me, but nobody greeted me or smiled: until I got to my place. In 47A sat a small woman, with large, sad eyes. She was beautiful to me, though others may have considered her too thin, like a spring twig on an apple tree. In seat 47C, next to the aisle, sat a seal, round and rubbery with doleful, black eyes that looked immediately right through me and called to me as if I had known it intimately, been its lover once in the blind deep.

No one seemed to notice the seal except the woman and I. When the stewardess served refreshments, the seal had sparkling water, the woman the same, but with a twist of lemon. I ordered a salted mackerel, but they were out.

The woman never spoke the whole trip. She just gazed out the window at the sky as if she looking for something. The seal spoke constantly, but never with words. I felt her warm soul, like chocolate.

After a while I closed my eyes, and images filled my mind of sea birds and barnacles and a thick, muscular shark moving quickly in murky water.

The plane landed, and the moment the seat belt light went off, everyone erupted from their seats and began frantically gathering their stuff, as if they were all late for a wedding, or a funeral. But the three of us just sat there, content to be the last ones off, not in a hurry to be anywhere other than there.

It was then the woman finally spoke, but not to me. She leaned forward and looked straight into the seal’s eyes and said, “I saw them again.”

The seal seemed very pleased, though its expression never changed nor did it clap its flippers. It just felt happy to me.

As soon as the aisles were empty, the three of us disembarked. I left them at the luggage carousel. They had to wait for an over sized cooler of iced fish. I smiled at the small, thin woman, and she acknowledged me with a quiet steady light in her eyes and a subtle lifting of one eyebrow.

When I walked out into the warm light of day I smelled a sea breeze, glanced up at the sun and felt like the whole sky was loving me.

when she opened up to darkness, the stars came down to her by sesheshet

Zen Challenge

The Challenge: Time to get some Zen.. be free, simple, open your mind… contemplate life without thinking.. soften yourself. Let your mind wander in simplicity, blend your spirit with the vastness, follow along with things the way they are, and make no room for personal views-then the world will be governed….Chuang-tzu.

Blossom by Mieke Boynton
blossom by mieke boynton

Scorpio: mystery loves company I

Some artists just get visual metaphors… here’s Jessica Andrews and her stunning photograph. What she said about it…

Mysterious creatures Scorpios are, and as I got thinking about it realised that I wouldn’t be happy depicting them in just one photograph. So here begins my series within a series, dedicated to Scorpio and the two most lovely of them; Ryan and Jenna.