Thursday, 13 June 2019

WEP Challenge - CAGED BIRD June 2019

It's time to join in the WEP Challenge for June 2019. 
JOIN OUR PARTNERSHIP! WEP/IWSG!


To see the rules and guidelines please visit:
http://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com


Here is my entry: 

CAGED

Her mother looked after her father, she cleaned, did the laundry, did the cooking, did the dishes all without any help.  Hetty would rise early, rake out the embers from the bottom of the Rayburn*, relight the fire and get the water boiler ready for the day.  She would knead the dough for the bread placing it in the bottom oven to prove before baking it later in the day to ensure that there was fresh bread to go with Fred’s dinner in the evening when he came in from work.  Fred did the heavy work, digging the garden, fixing stuff in the house, he was quite the handyman.  She’d relegate him to the shed at Christmas to pluck the turkey, or to gut and skin rabbits so that she could make rabbit pies and Christmas dinners.  He drove her everywhere. 

She knew where the lines were.

He knew where the lines were.

Her daughters should have known where the lines were.


Eileen wasn't going to be like all those other wives, nope, not her.  Her husband would bow to her commands.  He would show her respect, love and admiration.  He would do his share in the house.  She would not expect him to cook, nope.  She would do all the cooking; she wouldn't trust his cooking anyway.  He could do the dishes, put the hoover round when he wasn’t working.  He should help her even when she told him there wasn't anything he could do.

Charles was a good earner, a man with prospects.  She would have a good life.  He provided all the nice things she wanted for the home and hearth.  He would buy her nice jewellery but she would choose it herself, he had no taste, it was much better if he was shown what she wanted.  Not like her engagement ring he sent to her in the post!  OK, so what that she’d chosen it from the catalogue, ringed it, dog-eared the page and left in his uniform pocket as he boarded the train to London before he travelled on to join his ship at Portsmouth. 

He should know what to do.

She knew what to do.

She taught him what to do.


Maggie wanted fun.  Ray was her husband, useless as an earner, always had an eye out for a bargain but didn’t give her enough money to feed them and their three kids.  Maggie worked part-time, field work, bar work, scrimped and made-do until one day, the fun had gone.  Life was a drudge.  She felt caged in until she escaped in to the arms of another.

He was the love of her life.

She was the love of his life.

They both found pastures new.


Now Eileen and Maggie’s daughters and sons lead different lives, some better, some still fighting for release.  All the offspring have different views on life and partners, husbands and wives.  Some tried the traditional route, felt trapped.  Some tried the hippy life, still trapped.  Some even tried same sex partners, caged in.

They were taught to be better.

They thought they had better.

Was it really better?

Who can tell? 

What will their children do with their lives, how will they live with others? 

Is everyone caged in some way or another?   

Will a second, third or any chances come their way?  Only time will tell.

Will we know all their secrets or are they caged in the hearts as well?

*similar to an Aga

A Victim No More

Too nice, she won’t mind

She’s always kind

Too laid back

What does she lack?

Manipulated by another

Abused by others

Too afraid to tell those who want to know

Hidden so deep

Too hard to keep

The tears come and the face dries

Nobody knows the pain inside

Kept inside the strong castle walls

What does she do when she falls?

She makes time for others

Listens to their troubles

Then it’s turned and doubled

In on her to spite her love

Nobody believes her when she says what she feels

Don’t be stupid they say

You are wrong they are right

So, she has another sleepless night

All she wants is to love and be loved

The tears flow when she is moved

Pushing out from the heart and caught

With no forethought

Tossed away like discarded paper

No use for the wrapper

Put the lid on it don’t let anybody see

The pain and love that is a divorcee

Deep, deep down

Unplumbed depths under the sea or space

A mind full of grace

Grinding out the race

Finding a way through the story

That she wrote before she was born

Making the mistakes, choosing free will

Living her life in a wonderland full of illusions

Trying to stop the agony, the pain, the hunger

Knowing she’s not getting any younger

Emerging through a rebirth of love

The second chance coming from above

She grabs it with both hands

And feels like she’s playing in a band

Joy and laughter, contentment and bliss

All sealed with her loving husband’s kiss.

She is a bird flying free

Landing on branches of every tree

No longer caged, restricted or barred

Her life is her own to share

With compassion and care

Kindness and respect, love and hope

Living a colourful life in a kaleidoscope

Of joy and release

Finding peace

No longer in a cage

It took her an age

Now she is free as a bird

Her voice is heard

Far and wide

Her tears have dried

Her heart is full


Word count: 929

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

WEP 28 DAYS - CHANGES



Here is my entry for WEP February 2019 challenge

28 DAYS

CHANGES
The couple sat in the lounge by the fireplace
Surrounded by wood panelling and heartache
Two souls not talking, no conversation
With each other for a long duration

The spell was broken as she turned her head
At the sound of the birds fighting over the bread
Burnt toast crumbs scattered over the lawn
Hetty broke the silence and said, look at those birds, Sean

The warmer weather is coming, there’ll be worms galore
Waiting for the hard-baked soil to warm up some more
Her husband tore his gaze away from the window
Looked at his wife’s face, her wrinkled brow

His gaze took in the years of love and happiness
Joy and comfort and of course some sadness.
They didn’t have long left in this place
Their home for many years, their base

For many long years their memories encased
In the fabric of the walls, cement, bricks and mortar
The fights of their two children, a son and a daughter

They’d turned the page of the calendar
Although the numbers were a blur
February had finally come
It was time to leave their home

The tears welled up in her eyes
Pupils dilated with her fears
A journey in to the unknown
A different part of town

New people to meet and greet
Independence slowly abating
The loss of dignity
Superseded by security
So said their family

With love in their hearts
They helped them depart
Their lovely home and abode
As the minutes sped and time slowed

Their lives past before their eyes
They gathered their supplies
Speeding up and slowing down
With a laugh or a frown
They were ready to say goodbye



Hetty marked off the last day of February on the calendar.  Twenty-eight days they had lived here now.  When would it feel like home?  Probably never she thought.  Her home was gone.  A lively, young and vibrant family of four had bought it and would make their own memories there. 


She could hear Sean moving around, he would be out of the bedroom soon, dressed in his shirt and tie, blazer ready over his arm.  Not for him the casual look of today nor her if she was honest.  She styled her hair every day, she wore clean clothes every day, used a pinafore to keep her clothes clean when she cooked.  She wasn't going to be a little old lady with grease spots and old food marks all down her front.

Sean settled himself in the armchair with the newspaper while Hetty scurried round in the kitchen readying the teapot and cups and saucers, checking the biscuit tin was full of Liz’s favourites.

Their granddaughter was a great comfort and support to them.  Always ready to take them to their appointments now they were no longer able to drive.  That was a big blow to their independence.  Hetty sighed deeply, life goes in cycles she thought and this was the start of the last cycle of their life. 

They were safe, secure in the knowledge that they had some independence but with help on hand if it was needed.   What more could she ask for?  Her youth back?  No point in looking back she chided herself, things weren't always rosy back in her younger days, two small children, none of the benefits of central heating.  Life wasn't hard just different from today’s conveniences.  They managed.  In some ways there was less stress, still stress but a different kind of stress.  

So now here they were still in love after 66 years although there were times when they weren't happy with each other – ha!  They worked through their differences and didn’t give up on each other.
Sean stood to open the door and greet Liz.  She was the apple of his eye, his one and only granddaughter, the one most like his beloved Hetty.  The generation gap seemed so small to him today as he saw hope and love and comfort in her eyes.

Settling down to their tea and biscuits Liz announced her good news. 

‘Ben and I are going to be parents which makes you great-grandparents.’  Beaming with delight Liz accepted the hugs and kisses from the two members of the older generation.

Such wonderful news to complete the first 28 days of this new phase of their lives.  Hetty was already planning many knitted outfits for this new life to come, neutral colours to begin with until Liz told them the sex of the baby.  No surprises or guesses what the baby would be for this young couple. 

‘This was the best move we could have made,’ muttered Sean in to Hetty’s grey hair.  She wrapped her arms around his thickening waist.  ‘We’ll make the best of it, you’ll see,’ came her response.

Word count: 796

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

WEP - DEJA VU or VOODOO - OCTOBER 2018



Welcome to #WEPFF - Write...Edit...Publish October Challenge - Deja Vu or Voodoo

Welcome writers! Are you ready for a spooky challenge?



OCTOBER is the month for screams and chills, ghosts and ghoulies, mystery and fear, and this month’s prompt is DÉJÀ VU OR VOODOO!.







Here is my entry –

THE WOODS


The wind blows through the trees as her bare feet graze the cushioned carpet of bluebells, her hair whips around her face, sticking to her lips with their protective covering of lip salve on them.  The breeze lessens slightly as she walks in to the lee of the *copse.  The air hangs and hovers, a feeling of peace envelopes her, stilling her mind, calming her heart.  She becomes one with the earth, grounding herself in to the soil.  The smell of the bark on the trees, the iron musky odour of moist undergrowth assails her nostrils. She breathes even deeper, ingesting the power of the ancient world. 




She touches the gnarled bark of the closest tree with her finger tips, lightly running them over the contours.  She loves the tactile feel of the living plant, her palm caresses the roughness of the wood, sunlight filters through the upper branches and bathes the ground in dappled splashes of yellow.

Her heart starts to beat faster as a battle of men against beasts begins. Spears are flung.  They find their mark grievously wounding a wild animal.  A horde of men dismember the flesh, tasting the warm inner organs, a delicacy, thanking the gods for the bounty they have had the fortune to receive.  The hunters prepare to remove the carcass ready to transport it to their womenfolk.  The meat, once prepared, will feed their tribe for many days.

She places her other hand round the side of the tree, pressing her body against the girth of the tree, too wide in diameter for her fingers to meet.  Through her thin garments she becomes aware of another scene.  This time she witnesses the birth of a young child and her heart is filled with joy and love.  She feels the pride of the father, the love of the mother and the relief from the helpers in the tent.   It is a precious boy, a long awaited male who will take his rightful place, in due course, as the leader of the clan.  A few minutes later the bonny, baby boy emerges through the leather flaps and is held aloft by his father.  The baby opens his eyes as the sunrise peaks over the hilltop.  The encampment let out a great cheer, he is their hope for the future.

She presses her cheek against the bark, it scratches her, marking her skin.  She pulls back, recoiling at the sudden shock of the pain.  Where did the peace go?

Stepping back she looks around her.  There.  Movement at the edge of the wood.  The shrill notes of a mobile phone disturbs the air, discordant, dissonance sounds, a baritone voice answers the insistent instrument.

‘I’ve found her.  Yes, I’ll bring her back to the car, don’t worry, she’ll be fine.’

Michael steps in to the line of her vision, he holds out his hand, encouraging her with a smile to come forward in to his embrace. 

Jane shakes her head.  ‘I’m not ready,’ she whispers, ‘I need more time.’

Michael pulls her gently away from the tree, lifting her up, supporting her as he strokes her arms, strokes her hair. He pushes strands of her hair behind her ears, kisses her forehead.  ‘I’ll stay with you.  You know I love you so much my darling.  I’ll always love you but you know we need to get back.  The doctor is waiting for you.’

Jane nods in acknowledgement.  They think she needs help.  They think she is going mad, maybe she is but she knows what she feels is true.  She does see things.  She does feel things.  Michael thinks all he has to do is to love her more each day and she will get better.

She knows his love will help her to find peace, she knows she will love him until the end of her days.
Another vision fills her mind.  It is too abstract to make any sense of.  She starts to tell Michael she needs to go back to the tree.  His hold is firm on her arm as he leads her to the car park.  He seats her gently and straps her in.   The seat belt is strangling her, she desperately pulls the webbed strap becoming more and more agitated. 

She wants to go back.  She wants to feel calm.  She want to feel peaceful.  She wants to feel love surrounding her.

The doctor greets them both at the entrance to the home.  He welcomes Jane with his kindly demeanour.  He knows how hard this is for her and for Michael.  A nurse settles her in her room as Jane curls in to the foetal position on her bed.  Michael’s tears flow while he watches his wife succumb to the drugs the medical profession deem necessary to bring her back to an ordinary life.


Unknown voices always in my ear
Is that what I hear?
Visions in my head
Is that what I read?

Dreams that disturb my nights
Such ugly sights, such pretty sights
Remembering in the morning
As the fresh day is dawning

Troubles to leave behind
Answers still to find
From the depths of my mind
As yet to be divined.

Searching and seeking my soul
Looking for the loophole
Caught inbetween, stuck in limbo
Is it a friend or foe?

A feeling of peace envelops me
Calmness wraps me warmly
As my angel sits among the flowers
Slowing down each minute of each hour


Will this fog ever lift?
Can I use my gift?
They don’t believe me
They treat me like a baby
They think I behave badly
They can’t let me be

He can’t let me free
He is so loyal and true
He loves me with all his soul
We’ve tried parole
I end up back here
Never to be free
Every year
I still hear
The voices in my head
They invade my sleep
As I weep
Tears of frustration
Unable to take action

*copse – A small group of trees, thicket, grove, wood.



Word count: 991 - NCCO

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

WEP - A CHANGE OF HEART AUGUST 2018




Welcome to #WEP - Write...Edit...Publish AUGUST Challenge -- CHANGE OF HEART

Hello there beloved writers!

It's time for our AUGUST challenge, CHANGE OF HEART.

This month, we welcome writers from the IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) who are joining the challenge. Some are already regulars and I'm hoping many more will become part of the WEP team as well.


Here is my entry:

MEMORIES

The cold crispness of the air

Matched her feelings of despair

Black and white no colour to be seen

Stark and bare it was obscene

When would life become bearable again?

It was such a nightmare;

She was caught in a snare

Trapped, frightened, scared, low

Caught as a doe

In the headlights, frozen

On the horizon a light, a beacon

She wanted a dream

She didn’t want to scream

How many days, months or years

When would they stop falling, her tears

Her constant companion in the dark days

Never ending, never ceasing, a black haze

She would shake and shiver

Not with pleasure.

Gradually, oh so gradually

The thaw began slowly

Month by month, day by day, week by week

Trickling back in to her thoughts, she began to speak

To say out loud

To become proud

To stand up tall

She would not fall

Down to the depths, uncontrolled

Loosening the blindfold

The mist began to clear

She began to hear

Sights and sounds

Stopped spinning around

The cold, dark space

It wasn’t a race

Her therapist had said

She was afraid of what lay ahead

Her family strengthened her

Cuddled her, wrapped her in their care

With love and comfort she put one foot forward

And proceeded carefully toward

Building her life, as nature does every season

She would never know the reason

He was taken, his life over too soon.

***************************************

PRESENT DAY:
The table was set, the fresh flowers smelt wonderful.  Alice smiled.  There was a time she thought she would never feel happy again. 

Everything was ready.  The doorbell rang, right on time her guests arrived. Kisses on cheeks given and received, a flurry of activity ensued as the ladies seated themselves, placing handbags on the floor, muting mobiles.  Then followed compliments about the table, admiration of the flowers on the table, the pretty tablecloth and the setting in Alice’s conservatory which was lovely and cool on this rather hot, summer’s day.  The blinds were drawn halfway down the glass to keep the sun from baking everyone, the atmosphere was convivial. 

Freshly made lemonade poured from a carafe, ice cubes added, tea plates and serviettes handed out.  Alice started slicing the home-made chocolate cake which was enjoyed by all with many complementary comments flowing from her friends.   Hmmm, delicious, it’s so moist, love the chocolate flakes on top, to name but a few of the murmurings.

She couldn't put it off any longer, it was now time for the informal writing group to get down to business.  It was Alice’s turn, as the hostess, to divulge her writing.  She’d chosen a piece she had written several years ago.  She had gone through her diaries and notepads and painstakingly typed her handwriting on to the computer, checked it for spelling mistakes, grammar, tenses and context.  A fight with the printer and a dash to the stationers to buy more ink for the mean-spirited machine at last enabled her to print out several copies.

While she was at the stationers she had purchased four folders.  She was taken with the pretty pattern on the A4 folders.  It had an empty birdcage, an ornate mirror, a teapot with a handle, spout and lid and a tea mug, all interspersed with bird on branches and pastel coloured simple flowers.  The design had really spoken to her, she was no longer held or imprisoned in a cage however gilded it might have been.  She was now free.  She was able to look at her reflection in the mirror without cringing at the image that stared back at her.  She could indulge in tea (and cake) whenever she wanted to. 

The branches with a bird perched on them showed her there was always a new life to be had. She could be like the bird and fly wherever she wanted to.  It meant freedom.


The group of ladies settled down, all sated with refreshments, they relaxed against the plumped up cushions.  Now came crunch time.  Alice’s heart started pounding, she was sure her blood pressure was rising as she passed a folder to each of her friends. 

Would they still be friends after they read her words?  Would they feel what she felt at that time?  Would they think it was over the top?  Would they actually realise it was based on fact and not fiction?  Should she tell them it was fact or should she lie and say it was pure fiction?

Alice disappeared to the kitchen and put the kettle on while she waited for her friends to finish reading and digesting, not only the food, but also the material she had written.

As she re-entered the conservatory holding a tray with the tea things on it she noticed her friends were all holding soggy tissues in their hands, hands that were dabbing at eyes, throats were being cleared from the lumps congealing in them. She placed the tray on the coffee table and looked up to see Lilian looking at her, followed by Daphne gazing at her with Anita joining in the collective stare.

Alice blushed as the heat rose up from her rib cage, covering her throat in a pink glow, moving up to her cheeks as her forehead glistened with a slight sheen.

Her three friends stood as one as they moved in unison to stand beside her. They enveloped her in their arms hugging her tightly.  Daphne placed a kiss on her brow, Anita rubbed her hand up and down her back while Lilian squeezed her hand in hers.

Oh it felt so good to have friends. 

It felt so good not to be judged. 

It felt so good to be loved. 

It felt so good to finally let it all go.


Word count:  960 - NCCO