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Whipping, whirling, writhing

As she thrashed her way across the sea

Warnings given

Listen, but its Christmas Eve

 

Festive calm, gifts of harm

Tracy was her name

Brave, they say, no not she

A powerful force tonight she’ll be

 

She hissed with venom

Spitting, blowing, throwing out her wares

Gale force took its course

Lives would not be spared

 

She waved her arms

No prayers or charms

Would save the City that night

 

Long tentacles gathering

People scattering

No City to be seen

Her wrath was vicious

Repetitious

Only rubble where Darwin had once been

 

On Christmas morning

Upon the dawning

No presents under the tree

No angels singing

No bells ringing

Devastation and frustration

As Cyclone Tracy did decree.

 

 

My poem is about Cyclone Tracy.  Radio broadcasts warned of the cyclone but the people tended to believe that it would bypass them.  The cyclone hit the City of Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia on Christmas Eve in 1974.  She flattened most of the City and took just over 70 lives with her (a miracle it wasn’t more). Over 40,000 people of a City of just under 50,000 were left homeless, 30,000 of which were evacuated.  She lasted from Christmas Eve and did her worst at dawn on Christmas Day.  Up until recent times, cyclones were always given female names!

 

The name Tracy is said to mean Brave in some cultures.

It is also said to mean “A powerful force to all whose lives they touch.”

SAM_1170It’s been a bit rocky in recent times, a few hills to climb. We’re heading on the downside now, thank goodness. During all this we made it to the top of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England.  Rocky going up and in some respects even rockier coming down, but at least you know you’re on the homeward stretch!SAM_1171SAM_1172

DSC_0724Taking some much needed time out in the garden to play with my new macro lens.  Lots to learn.
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On the 5th May we celebrated my move back to Britain to start a new life with Joe – what a year it’s been.  We’ve done so much in that year, lots of mini breaks all over Britain and a trip to Paris.  In March we went back to Australia for three weeks.  It was an emotional journey seeing all the family, especially my two little granddaughters.   I said goodbye to my townhouse which has been Henry and I’s home for almost five years.  This time I was definitely a visitor.

DSC_0231We celebrated our one year anniversary in the old fortified town of Tenby in West Wales.  As a child I spent many holidays there with my family before we emigrated to Australia.  The trip to Tenby gave us both time to reflect and to recharge our batteries.

During our stay we took a boat over to Caldey Island owned by the Cistercian Monks.  Walking through the woods amongst the wild garlic, one could not help but feel a real sense of tranquility, our souls having already been soothed by the melodious chanting of the Island’s  hard-working inhabitants.  As we meandered along the path DSC_0178 the warmth of the sun made its way through the trees, the white flowers of the garlic waltzing to the rhythm of the breeze.  I’m at my happiest during moments like this; taking in all that nature has to offer.  I can understand why people like Wordsworth and other great poets were often inspired to write from their rendezvous with mother nature.  The wild garlic reminded me of the daffodils in Wordsworth’s poem.

Writing, including blogging has taken a back seat this year.  I’ve been concentrating more on photography and am waiting in quiet anticipation for the arrival of two new lenses. Sometimes I beat myself up because I don’t commit to writing.  I have this idea for a book but after 6,000 words, the book has ground to a halt.  I keep telling myself that I don’t have an ending so how can I write the book!  Excuses are just that, excuses.

Just recently a fellow blogger came across my blog when he stumbled on my post Dancing with Daffodils.  Matthew has just written his first novel Dances with the Daffodils which is due for release in paperback on 18 June.  When I asked Matthew how long it had taken him to write his book I was surprised at his answer.  He told me that it had taken far too long – years.  He said that he had often felt overwhelmed and fearful.  Even now he feels angry at times for all the wasted years.  I can’t say that I’ve  felt anger but I have definitely felt overwhelmed and fearful.  For me, it was reassuring to know that even people trained in telling real life stories have the same fears and anxieties as so many of us who desire to write.  What are your fears and anxieties about writing?  What holds you back?  Do you fear not being good enough?

If you love Wordsworth’s poetry (and even if you don’t) then take a look at Matthew’s website to read about his novel set in the Lake District at the time Wordsworth was writing his poetry.  This definitely sounds like a good read.

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strawberries“Hello Sally.”  I looked up and there she was, invisible to all but me. She had long golden hair and a mass of curls; her face was smooth and pale with rose-coloured cheeks. She reminded me of my favourite porcelain doll sitting on the shelf in my bedroom. Except for my Mother, I’d never told anyone about her. They wouldn’t believe me. “Would you like to help me pick the strawberries?” I asked. She held out her hand. “Your mouth is all red” she said, smiling. “Mummy says I will turn into a strawberry one day.”

As we wandered through the garden, she pointed to the red beetles with black spots flying from leaf to leaf.  “Last week I learnt about aphids and how the ladybirds like to eat them,” I told her.

Crossing the path together we saw a round spiky creature meandering in front of us, “the gardener’s friend,” she said.  “Did you know that this little fellow eats slugs and snails and other pests?”  Head held high, I smiled, “yes, Mummy taught me that too – you see it’s about sus, sus …. um?” “Sustainability” she replied.  “Yes, that’s it – I’ve only been in school for just over a year you know!”

“This garden is full of life,” she said as bright coloured wings fluttered all around her.  I asked her if she would always be my friend.  She smiled as she disappeared with the soft summer breeze.

After she left, I ran into the house eager to tell Mummy that my friend had been to visit again. She smiled as she always did.  “Do you believe in my friend even though you’ve never seen her,” I asked.  She took my hand as we walked back into the garden.  The flowers were dancing in the breeze and the sound of bird song echoed throughout the trees.  I could feel her presence.

“You might not always see her Sally, but if you listen you will always hear her.  She is your friend within; the one you trust even if you think she’s taking you somewhere you’ve never been before. Follow her and you will soar.  Be a friend to her and you will have a friend for life.

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This story is the result of a writing prompt challenge between myself and my friend Sue at Sneakers in the Dryer.  Sue, you’ve taken me out of my comfort zone well and truly this time.  I’ve tried dialogue for the first time as well as having a go at some fiction.  Please take a trip to Sneakers in the Dryer and read Sue’s post The Thang Writing Prompt – “the friend within”.  It’s been fun again Sue and I’m looking forward to reading yours now that mine is in the bag.

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Dear Mum

I haven’t seen you for such a long time. You would be amazed where life has taken me! I’m living in a place where all the people have strange accents even though they speak the only language I know. It gets very cold here. Sometimes I have to wear a coat. I have three now.

After being taken away from you, I went to live with Teresa. She was very excited. I slept in a small bed in a little room downstairs. There was a strange contraption in the room, which used to shake and rattle at times.  Sometimes it sounded like it was getting ready to take off into space, quite frightening to a little fellow!

Teresa slept upstairs. Sometimes a younger woman would come and stay and she would sleep in another room upstairs. Her name was Sarah. I found it quite a challenge to get up the stairs.  Teresa and Sarah would sometimes carry me although I think Teresa preferred that I didn’t go upstairs at all.

Things didn’t get off to a great start as I got quite sick not all that long after I moved in. Teresa got quite stressed over it. I spent two nights in a hospital. They said I had a neurological disorder. The truth is Mum, I was outside when all of a sudden the dark grey clouds started crashing into one another. I thought the sky was going to crash into the earth. By the time Teresa found me, I was a wreck.

After we got over that, things settled down. We used to go to the beach a lot. Oh mum I loved it, I felt so liberated on that beach. I’d run for miles never straying far. We used to laugh together and play ball. If the sea was calm I would go for a swim while Teresa paddled on the edge keeping a strict eye on me.

Over the years, I saw her cry when we were in the house alone. Sometimes she used to get down on the floor roll up in a ball and just cry. I felt so powerless. I would go up to her and she would hold me. I think I helped her a lot Mum. It wasn’t always like that. There were other times when she would put music on and would be dancing around the lounge room as happy as could be.

A few years ago, a man came to our house. I liked this man a lot and he liked me. His name was Joe.  There was a piano in the house. Teresa was learning to play and used to spend hours practicing.  When Joe came, he played the piano and I used to sit nearby. My heart would sing listening to him.

The three of us used to go to the beach together. Teresa was the happiest I’d ever seen her. Joe stayed with us for about three weeks and then he was gone. Afterwards I would hear her talking to him. I could hear his voice but I couldn’t see him. My eyesight plays tricks on me sometimes. Teresa used to race upstairs before she talked to him and make sure she was looking her best, and then come down smiling. She used to pick me up and put me on her lap in front of the computer screen.  Joe would call my name. I couldn’t see him but I could hear his voice. A year later, he came back. It was as though he’d never been away. I think Joe made her heart sing too.

About 18 months ago Teresa went away. By this time, Sarah was living in the house with her man who I also liked a lot. They would take me to the beach just like Teresa did.  They also let me sleep on their bed and spoilt me all the time. Despite this I missed Teresa very much. She was gone for a long time and then out of the blue she came back. Nothing was the same though. She was sorting lots of things out and putting things in boxes. Nearly all her furniture went and other furniture came in.  We went to the beach together as we always did but I knew in my heart that she wasn’t going to stay. She kept telling me she was going far away. She said that I had to be patient because one day when she was sure everything was right she would send for me.

I didn’t see her for many months. I was enjoying myself with Sarah and Mick. They took good care of me. My life has been so blessed Mum. You would be thrilled to know how well I’ve been looked after.

One day Sarah and Mick took me on a trip to a place with big machines that looked like gigantic birds. They told me I was going on a long trip and when I got to the other side Teresa and Joe would be waiting for me. They said “be brave” and were both a little sad when we said goodbye.

I don’t remember much about the trip.  There was a lot of noise but I slept most of the way and didn’t let it bother me too much. When the journey ended, I was taken to a place where I was bathed and given food. I played outside for a while as the day was warm and the sun was shining.

A few hours later, I was taken out into a reception room and saw Teresa with a giant smile on her face.  She gave me the biggest hug and kept saying she couldn’t believe how well I looked after such a long journey. She told me I’d travelled 13,000 miles all on my own. She said she was so proud of me for being such a brave little fellow. Joe was outside and started taking photographs. I ran up to him. We were so excited to see each other.

They told me we still had some travelling to do and I had to be patient for a few more hours until we got to my new home. By this time I was feeling kind of weird, like I was floating above everything, a bit out of this world.  I started to get very drowsy.

I’ve been living in my new home for almost five months now Mum. We live near a river but far enough away not to worry about floods. We go for lots of walks just like our times at the beach in Australia. It’s been so cold here just recently. A few weeks ago, some little white flakes fell from the sky and covered the garden with a thick white blanket that was extremely soft and cold. Even a light fellow like me sunk into it leaving four little shell-like imprints behind.

I’m allowed to sit on the lounge at night when Joe and Teresa are watching television.  Joe is always talking to me. I love him very much. Sometimes he gets a bit strict if I misbehave or do something naughty. I don’t do that too often though. It’s just that sometimes, well you know mum, a little fellow just has to have some fun.

They took me for a holiday last November. We went out every day in the car exploring new horizons. I’ve never been on a holiday before. We went to a place called the Lake District and stayed in Mousehole Cottage. There were hand painted mice on some of the walls in each room.006

Well Mum I started this as a postcard but as you can see it’s turned into a letter. I don’t know where you are or how to find you. I wish I could post this letter to you. If I could tell you all these things I would. Thank you Mum for having me.  I’m having a great life.

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