Poetry, Uncategorized

Eliza Long, The Gypsy Girl

Hi everyone, I know it’s been a while. I’ve just finished drafting another book, so while I recover from that and other things, I thought I’d share a little poem I wrote for my nan’s 97th (I think) birthday, titled ‘Eliza Long, The Gypsy Girl’. For a bit of context, my nan’s always loved reciting John Keats’ Old Meg, and she used to tell me stories about when her mum was little and hid under her grandmother’s large gypsy skirts during storms. Also, my nan’s maiden name is Long, hence why it appears in the poem’s title.

Anyway, it’s just a fun bit of verse:

Eliza Long, the gypsy girl,

Danced daily atop the grassy hills;

Vibrant skirts twirling about her,

And around each ankle, chains of bluebells.

The townspeople, far below,

Whispered and muttered behind their hands:

“Hark, there’s that bold lass again,

Ignorant of how she endangers our lands.”

“Tempting the wrath of fairies

With each idle flick of her feet;

One day they’ll come swarming

And magic us away in a single beat!”

Jigging merrily between bush and tree,

Eliza heard their gossip on the wind,

But their worries did not trouble her,

For she feared no such thing.

True, the delicate bluebells’ ringing

Was said to bring unfortunate events,

For it alerted the fairy folk to any

Who might disturb their woodland dens.

Yet it was for Eliza’s loyal service

Of healing countless sacred animals,

That the Fairy Queen herself, no less,

Had gifted the girl her very own set of bells.

Talismans granting swift protection

(Should she wear them every day),

Against any who followed her home,

Or strived to put her in harm’s way.

Eliza Long, the gypsy girl,

Danced daily atop the grassy hills;

Calling upon the Fairy Queen’s aid

Whenever strangers tried to exert their will.

“How many have been spirited off now?”

The townspeople hissed over the years.

“Caught by scores of terrible fairies,

All due to those bluebells’ peals?”

Ignoring their suspicious chatter,

Eliza sang their curses away over the hills,

For she had not the heart to tell them

Every single victim had wished her ill.

Poetry

Lullaby (to the tune of Frozen 2’s lullaby)

When the dreamer is close to waking

there’s a secret place of their own making.

Stay a while longer, do not run,

for once your eyes open, all is gone.

 

In your imagination, bright and true,

hide new places and a choice for you.

Immerse yourself deep into its sands,

but be wary of ticking hands.

 

Yes, it will create whatever you wish,

and in this world, nothing is banned.

But can you release your bound hands?

Are you ready to explore these lands?

 

When the dreamer is close to waking

there’s a heartland of their own making.

Come now, be brave, don’t turn around.

Let yourself go; make yourself proud.

Poetry

The fading of memory as time closes in

It runs, feral thing, clawing its way to the corner

where it dives into the carpet and hides there

in the swirls of moth-eaten flowers and turquoise gaps.

The pathway it came down disappeared

and left it abandoned in the ruins, watching the stairs

it once so loved to climb

crumple into wisps of doubt.

What did the house look like before?

Does it still exist? Did it ever?

Poetry

Powder puff

I stare out at the breeze lifting the fushia flowers from the plant, seeing

only fairies with puffy blossom skirts

and skinny legs dangling out beneath.

When they fall to the ground, I think, ‘Oops, there goes

another one who was too weighed down by her dress.’

Visions like this come often;

bursts of another world thrown

at me like powder at a colour festival.

I drink them up and let them buzz inside me for the rest of the day.

Poetry

Shuffle Huffle

It’s been a while since the spark of my mind

and the images it carves in the grain of my imagination

have wanted to come freely out through my fingertips

and drip into inky life on the page.

Usually, I have to drag them. Wrap my hands around their horns and heave

to get them moving. But of course, that only makes them more stubborn.

I show them pictures of the tumbleweed rolling across my notebook,

pick up handfuls of dry soil

so they can see how barren it’s become.

Guilt-tripping them all the way until they grumble into a slow shuffle

one by one, and cause ink blots everywhere as they do so.

But today they danced out to a waltz,

a festival of colours and gowns and painted masks

because I chose to let them take control of my fingers

and make the shapes they wanted to,

and not force them to bend into mine.

Poetry

Thoughts I had while eating chocolate spread from the jar

Scraping the bottom of the barrel,

those threads and fibres of ideas.

They’re no good, they say.

So I counter; I’m not scraping, I’m shaping,

crafting not a barrel but a watertight embrace

that I can shelter in as society’s laughter stampedes.

 

In my cave of solitude, while I wait for quiet,

those threads have been plaited into prose.

 

Like Tolkien, like Rowling – it’s all just the same.

 

No, it’s all just me. They may only see words,

but their children will see worlds.

Poetry

Candy land

Let’s imagine that clouds taste like candyfloss

and grass is mint.

Bright red post boxes are hard-boiled sweets

and sea spray is bursting blasts of bubble gum.

We could skate down hills of ice cream

and collect raindrops in their hundreds and thousands

only to stumble into a wall of cookies,

laughing as they crumble around us.

Poetry

Make a Wish

Do you think if I hit the bell,

it’ll open up a portal to you?

That’s what I’d wish for, in this wishing well

that occupies one space

but is in two places at once.

 

I wonder, will you hear the bell ring?

I think you would, and you’d know it was me

because who else

would use up every spare penny in their purse

to try,

on the off chance that you’d be passing by

on your side

and discover its peal?

 

You might not see me,

but you’ll still see  me.

My image, try after try,

my pout every time I fail,

my delight when it finally hits.

 

It may not open an actual portal,

but maybe, for now,

this is enough.

Enough for us both to cling to,

until our paths shift indefinitely

onto the same track.