Poem: The Light Never Fades

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When pain clings like ivy, when my mind spins a cyclone,

When I want to retreat and when I want be on my own.

When I try to ride it out and make sense of what I want to say,

When I feel lonely and I know I just can’t stay.

I know these times reduce me to shadow, but I hold on to that flicker of light

That just needs time, just needs time to burn bright.

So, no matter what’s fighting me, conquering my mind, body and soul

I’ll try to feed that flame daily, so, in time, I’ll be whole.

Forgive me if I’m casting a low glow – this is sometimes how it gets.

I promise you I’ll return for my sun never truly sets.

Poem: First Train Journey Since Lockdown (A Joyous Reunion)

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Cloudy Monday morning, it’s 10 am.
I’m jumping back on the train again.
Lockdown: a four month gap gone at last.
Now I settle into my seat donned in face mask.
Some people, like me, look warily around,
Others are maskless and wearing a frown.
Still, on this first train there’s a respectful distance
Between all of us wishing to extend our existence.


I’m on the connecting train now to my destination,
Beginning to brim with anticipation
At seeing my daughter, it’s been ages
As I reflect that lockdown couldn’t contain us.
Video chats where we played, had meals and laughed,
Kept us bonded together as the time past.
And as the train now snakes through countryside once more,
I look forward to what the day has in store.


In this train carriage there’s hardly a soul about,
So when will we return to normal with no doubts?
I step on to the platform scouting a rest room to wash my hands,
Recalling I’ve got paper towels as part of my hygiene plan.
I’ll use my own cutlery in the pub for now, but that’s okay,
If it means we’re safe and healthy for another day.
I see my daughter in the car park with a smile and wave,
To you all: if you travel, have fun, be responsible and safe.

ABOUT

Wherever you are in the the world, I hope you get to see your family and friends soon. Please travel safely and responsibly.

I’d love to know what you think of the poem. If you have any comments, it’d be great to hear from you.

Peace and love, Everybody 😊

Prose Poem: Bird Man

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As the sun rises and sets casting it’s pink and golden hue across the city,
I while away my days perched atop this building:
This building I’ve long called home, far above and far away
From the people who scuttle on, oblivious to one another as I am to them.


But I prefer it this way, maintaining my own space.
I’m no bother to anybody save the birds who vie for my attention.
They’re my friends, after all, and they keep me on the narrow and straight,
Seeking my wisdom in all the ways they consider me wise.


A few centuries ago (before the time of cars and planes or when the smoke of factories filled the air)
They gave me a gloriously feathered coat.
Up to that point mine had been an unsettled existence
As that of a Lone Traveller is fated to be, lost between all realms in Time and Space.


I always enjoyed the dream of a solitary existence, just not to be lonely.
My avian friends answered the cries of my heart, respecting my independence when people did not.
And my cape of feathers brought me unbridled freedom, then:
A cloak of invisibility to pass by undetected.


As Time and Memory bounded on I settled my weary bones in this World.
And in this city with its noises and lights and colours
My heart beats strongest as I march through the hordes and the throngs without trace
To carry out the business of the birds – for they have needs like you and me.


How grateful I am when my work is done to return and share my rooftop with the sparrows and the magpies and the robins to name a few.

*********

About

I wrote this inspired by the character Old Bailey in Neil Gaiman’s book ‘Neverwhere’. He’s an old man who lives on top of a building in London with birds to keep him company.

Having also watched a YouTube video about people who preferred being alone, I was able to expand on the themes of the poem. I also wanted to highlight the therapeutic qualities of the pets and animals in our lives.

I hope you liked reading it. Please feel free to leave a comment below – it’d be great to know what you think of this work.

Flash Fiction: Mr Nighty Night (An Insomniac’s Dream)

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The hum of the fridge and the tick-tock of the clock sound off in my head. My eyes are too heavy to close. I’ve stared blankly at the telly for the best part of an evening, hoping to lull myself away in front of some mindless show.

Tick tock! Tick Tock!

I’m trying to sleep in the living room because as soon as I go to bed I fully wake up. But trying another room has little effect; there’s just different distractions.

It’s been like this for four solid weeks now. I’ll drift off at some point, only to wake two, three or four hours later and that’ll be my quota of sleep for the night.

TICK TOCK!

It’s not funny. I’m grouchy, snappy, overly emotional: all things that I’m not usually. I can’t be bothered with people at work; I’ve no energy for family or friends either. My personality has completely altered. I don’t have anything particularly bothering me to keep me awake, except now, obviously, I just can’t sleep. I’ve lost the ability to care about anything due to exhaustion, anyway.

Remedies, cold showers, no technology before bed…. you name it, I’ve tried it. I. Just. Can’t. Sleep.

TICK TOCK!

Do I want a sandwich? Or a beer? Or to read a book? No, they all involve actions that may stimulate my brain too much and induce this insomnia more.

So, I’ll stare at the ceiling until my eyelids are pasted shut against my eyes and hope that this time I can break the spell to stay in the land of dreams for longer.

TICK TOCK!

ABOUT

I found this piece of work in a random ideas file on my laptop and spruced it up a little bit before I put this post up. I remember when I wrote it a couple of years ago I just couldn’t sleep for weeks for seemingly no reason. It affected my creativity, so I just ended up writing how I felt at the time.

All this reminded me of how I felt early on in lockdown: like a mindless zombie that couldn’t see a way through. I thought it apt, therefore, to post it now.

THANKS FOR READING

I appreciate you reading this post. If you have any comments, it’d be great to hear from you.

Stay safe (and sleep well), Everybody 😊

Flash Fiction: Running (A Medieval Fantasy)

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‘Silently, silently,’ she whispers.

The candlelight illuminates her pale, pain-laiden face. Sweat pours over my hands as I try to loosen her bonds.

Her attempts at humming a tune to soothe me against another botched effort fail due to the undercurrent of angst I sense in her rhythm.

The candle flickers casting wild shapes against the rough stone walls. The dank smell permeates my nostrils as if a mouldy old boot had been pressed hard into my face, making it hard to think let alone talk.

‘If I hadn’t heard you call out, I wouldn’t have thought anybody else was trapped here,’ I say.

‘How did you manage to escape?’ she replies.

‘There was a loose piece of small rock in my cell. Every day when the guards untied my hands for me to eat, I sharpened that rock for a few seconds at a time. It took me a couple of weeks.’

‘Then?’ she asked expectantly.

‘This morning when I woke I found the rock sharp enough to cut through the ropes. When the guard went to untie my hands from behind my back, I brought the rock crashing down on his head.’

‘Did you kill him?’

‘No, he was wearing his helmet. But I stunned him enough to bolt past him out the door.’

‘You need to hurry,’ she says. ‘He can’t be far behind.’

‘I have these,’ I reply, holding the cell keys aloft. ‘That should hold him long enough until somebody comes to see why he’s taking so long.’

She stares wide eyed as I finally yank the rope free.

‘I thought I was the only person here too,’ she says with a weak smile.

‘There may be others…’

But before I finish my sentence we hear distant shouts far back along the corridor.

We step out into the passageway, looking both ways. She grabs a burning torch attached to the wall. Normally, there would be guards passing through at regular times, so our concentration is heightened when we see nobody. This causes a strange creeping sensation within me as we face no resistance at all as we run through the lower levels of the castle, into the catacombs and eventually down the sewer. Every part of me is on full alert as I hear her breath rising and falling in rhythm to our pounding feet.

After braving the freezing moat on this clear, chilly winter night, we turn and look back at the castle, shivering and wet.

‘Look there,’ she points.

I can see the Lizard King glaring down at us from the battlements,  malevolent and unnerving.

‘After them!’ he rasps as the drawbridge starts to lower and the chants of bloodthirsty soldiers fill the silent night.

‘Now it makes sense why nobody tried to stop us from leaving the castle,’ she cries.

‘Why?’ I inquire. My voice is dry and panicked.

‘He wanted us to leave, so he could have us hunted down. We are but game to him.’

Her words echo in my ears. I take hold of her hand and we flee blindly into the silent, dark forest. Foolishly, I grip the cool surface of the rock-knife, thinking it to be our last line of defence if the hordes that are flowing out of the castle catch up with us.

ABOUT

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that seem hopeless. No matter what way we turn there seems to be no clear path ahead. All we can do is keep running in the hope that an answer will come somehow.

I hadn’t written a medieval fantasy story for sometime, so it was nice to be able to return to this genre.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you have any comments, it’d be great to hear from you.

Stay safe and have a good week, Everybody. 😊

Flash Fiction: Fire Face

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My hare-brained ideas are normally the result of some ill thought out notion that seems to make sense at the time. One or two have led me into some close situations, but, generally, I’d come out the other side okay.

My problem is I’m too impulsive, and so despite all my experience screaming at me to stop each time my brain box goes into overload, I’ll thrive on the spontaneity of it all.

Last Tuesday evening, I started to watch a show about circus performers. Although I’d seen them before, I’d become attracted to the fire jugglers. I legged it into the garden and located a couple of sawn off branches from a spot of DIY treework I’d done a couple of weeks ago. I wrapped a petrol-doused rag around one end of each branch, then applied a flame direct from a lighter.

This was meant to be a quick tester to see if I’d like to take this up as a hobby. The first couple of throws worked quite well. I gained a little confidence and threw the makeshift batons a little higher in the clear, dark autumn night.

I started to add cheers and whoops as I threw higher.

‘I’m quite good at this,’ I thought as one of the fiery sticks came crashing down on to my face, singeing the skin on my cheek. I howled as the other branch whistled down and smacked me on the top of my head.

Expletives filled the night air as I stamped on the patio. I turned the garden tap on and sighed as a jet of water from the hose soothed my face before I drowned out the fire sticks.

I stepped back into the house rubbing my face and cursing my impetuousness. Before I looked into the mirror to see if a trip to the hospital would be needed, I saw a tightrope walker and said to myself, ‘Now, that looks interesting!’

About

This flash fiction idea came to me when I was watching a show about circuses one evening. I’m quite a cautious person by nature, but fiction gives us a way to shake of those shackles and explore different versions of ourselves. This story is one such attempt at that as it reminds me to be spontaneous from time to time – but not to play with fire!

I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you have any comments, it’d be great to know what you think.

Have a great weekend, Everybody 😊

Poem: Breakfast In The Woods

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Today, my friend and I left the town

On our first rural trip since lockdown.

Concrete, tarmac and neighbourhoods

Gave way to farm fields and woods.

Stresses and strains gone in the blink of an eye

As we treapsed through fields of wheat and rye.

And in the long, tall grass the crickets chattered

As we got back to what really mattered

Out on to footpaths flanked by hedge

On a pursuit to live a little on the edge.

The last few months inhibited our freedom,

Now was the time to address this wrong.

Before we left, we’d scoped the views, consulted maps,

Checked the weather, adorned our caps,

Packed our burgers, veggies and buns

To head off to the woods and have some fun.

Stove set up, we sipped our tea

And watched squirrels leap from tree to tree.

Burgers sizzling, tummies rumbling

By the time we ate there was no grumbling.

On the way back we spied a deer

As it shot through a hedge like a spear.

What a great adventure so close to home

Now we’re back we’re gonna roam.

About

On our first joint outing since lockdown, my mate Robin and I fancied doing something different. Breakfast in the open air was great. It’s so great that our home county of Berkshire in the UK has so many adventures. It’s so great to be outside for long periods again.

It’d be really great to read others thoughts on this. I’d really welcome your comments below.

I hope you are all well and staying safe and that you can do more stuff outdoors 😊

Hello, It’s Good To Be Back

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Hi Everybody,

I hope you’re all well and keeping safe.

I’ve been off air for a couple of weeks. I’ve missed WordPress and sharing with other bloggers in this time. But it’s good to be back now.

I decided to take time out to reassess where I was going with my hiking book and I decided to do a lot of restructuring. It’s meant staying up into the early hours quite often. I’m in a good place with it now, so I’m more freed up to focus on my blog.

I’ve finally been able to go on a few more hikes in the local countryside too, so I’ve got ideas for a few posts and poems too. If the truth be told, it was good to finally be out more consistently again as lockdown eases in the UK; but I think I enjoyed it too much that it’s taken me this long to return to WordPress.

Finally, in any spare time I had to read I had my head lost in ‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman. In brief, it’s about the people that live in the murky depths under London – it’s a mind-blowing read.

Well, I’ll leave it there for now. I look forward to reading your posts in next few days – I really have missed being here 😊.

Hope you all have a good week.

Peace and love,

Wayne

Poem: Let’s Begin Again

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List of things to do

But the sky is blue.

So I put on my shoe

One and then two.

Head out the front gate

Quick walk, won’t be late.

Calm, not in a state.

Out again, that’s great.

Lockdown shut me in

Start again, let’s begin.

To see Nature – a win!

I can say with a grin.

For now respect and keep apart –

Please keep this in your heart

As we adapt to this new start –

And plot a new course to chart.

ABOUT

As Lockdown begins to slowly lift in the UK, I wrote this as we can enjoy the outdoors again. However, it’s also important to have respect for others and keep a distance as we acclimatise to this new way of being.

Wherever you are in the world, it’s my true wish that you enjoy the Great Outdoors without worry and that you stay safe.

Have a happy weekend, Everybody 🙂.

Poem: Find A Little Mountain Of Your Own

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Find a little mountain of your own,

Build a sanctuary you can call home.

The sun, the rain, the wind, the snow

Will be your friends as you go.

You do this not to isolate,

But instead to contemplate –

Those quiet moments shall enliven you

So you can re-enter the world anew.

No storm nor cloud can end this time

For all elements here align

To aid you to recuperate –

For in this place is love, never hate.

Breath in the crystal clear air

As the gentle breeze ruffles your hair.

All this must feel like a dream

As you drink pure waters of the stream.

And as you descend the rocky terrain

You smile as you see the world again.

Whenever your facing problems alone

Step back and build a little mountain of your own.


About

This poem is about the importance of retreating from the world and caring for yourself once in a while or when the world gets you down. It’s important we all have a place where we can restore ourselves. I think self-care and being able to openly talk about mental health issues is so important.

Being high up on mountains or hills is where I can restore myself.

The title of the poem is adapted from a lyric by the band Idlewild.

The photos come from mountain hiking holidays I did in Scotland (2018) and Wales and Ireland (2019).

Thanks for reading this. If you have any comments, it’d be great to hear from you.

I hope you all have a good week. Stay safe and healthy 😊