Sunday, 20 August 2017

Up here: a poetry post


I don't seem to be achieving much at the moment. I'm trying to write a synopsis for the Rose book, and in doing that I'm losing confidence in the story (which is me, not the story). My youngest stressed me out by tumbling all the way down the stairs and hitting her head (she seems fine if sore), and my middlest child is out of sorts, which is constantly worrying me. I am finishing up with very little useful brain. 

Anyway, I saw that Sara at Mum Turned Mom had suggested the prompt 'High' this week, and it reminded me of the song of the same name by New Model Army, which considers how irrelevant all our concerns are when seen from the top of a hill. There are lots of other songs with a similar feel, but I like New Model Army, so I headed to the top of my local hill to see and hear what I could see, singing to myself another one of my favourites by them - I Love the World

I've ended up with a poem inspired by I Love the World (for the structure), and (High for the message), but using my different viewpoint, looking out over the Firth of Clyde on a windy spot with gorse all around me. The bird was there, but to be honest there was neither heather nor bilberries. They're from other high places I've taken to in the past. I've borrowed a few words here and there from New Model Army and other influences (my friends will spot them I'm sure), but this poem is mine.

I was hoping for something uplifting, but I see that what I've written is quite dark in places. The truth is that whatever we do, however much we mess it up, it's ourselves we're hurting. Gaia/Earth will adapt and continue... quite possibly without us, for a very long time.


And I will be getting on with submitting the Rose book... any moment now.



Up here

Up here on high we over-look
our tiny lives. Foes are mistook
for friends. Enmities overlooked.
From here it all seems small.

The little boats we over-see:
the tiny people they carry
to little places 'cross the sea:
they're no concern at all.

And all of our society;
our business and our industry;
the institutions that we need:
just tholtans of power and greed.
Those buildings crumble into dust.
Time turns the metal gods to rust.
Up here there is no might or must.
Up here it all seems small.

And heather blooms and gorse does grow.
The rain it falls and wind does blow.
And up here life goes on the same
in sun, in thunder, and in rain.

A little bird takes to the sky:
a shrill alarm sounds from on high,
distracting from a nest that I
am not concerned about.

And if a god sits overhead
just as my daughter's teacher said;
for us he might as well be dead
for he can't make us out.

And women suffer in childbirth.
Men die without knowing their worth.
And children sicken and are hurt.
And some lead lives with sadness cursed.
But still the gorse will grow its spikes.
Bilberries ripen, small and bright.
And people fall and people rise.
Up here it all seems small.

And if one day should come our end,
to Gaia it's but shifting sand,
up here the life goes on the same
in sun, in thunder, and in rain.


© Cara L McKee 25/5/16

Please note, a version of this poem has also appeared in The Ham magazine. 





mumturnedmom    Writing Bubble

Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Potential: a poetry post


Sara at Mum Turned Mom has chosen the word 'potential' as her latest prompt.


To be honest, I was stuck there for a while, but then I was thinking about gravitational potential energy and Wile E Coyote, and I came up with this poem, which I've also done a reading of on Facebook live (click here for that):


The Potential


This poem,

poised on the precipice
has potential
to kill you dead.

To whistle its way down

to a million-mile-away valley floor
landing in its own
mini-mushroom puff.

But it won't.

You'll just beep, and run on by
or maybe pause for a moment

wondering why it's poised just so,

was it put there on purpose?

Or has its context 

been whittled and abridged away?

Perhaps you see my design

in balancing this poem here
with all its potential.

Pause a while longer, 

and you'll see yourself in it.


Ⓒ Cara L McKee 27/4/17




mumturnedmom

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

You know what it is: a poetry post


Things are not going to plan for me today. I've had a hectic morning (I even forgot to eat breakfast!!!), a very poorly girl (Miss 9, it doesn't seem to be anything serious, but if you'd like to nag her to drink something for me that'd be great) and I do not have the oasis of peace and quiet I'd been desperately looking forward to. Well, that's cheeky, Miss 9 is pretty chilled on her poorly sofa, but I'm trapped here! Anyhow, I've been working through some prompts provided by the lovely promptress Jena Schwartz on Instagram. Here's a poem which she inspired, and I'm pretty sure everyone has an 'it' that it's about.

You know what it is

You know that it's here.
Turn your head, quickly, catch a glimpse,
and there! You've found it.
Your heart is filled full-wide,
your throat closes and
your ribs tighten. There. There.
Now are you ready
to let it hide away?

Ⓒ Cara L McKee 8/8/17

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Web-logging July 2017


My irregular round up of what's going on with me and mine.


Right now I'm:


Sitting on a train into Glasgow (like I was last time I wrote a weblog!). This time I'm off to meet my Dad, and I've bagged myself a table seat. Across the aisle from me is another woman sitting by herself at a table seat. I'm all in black with red hair, she's  colourful and on trend with blonde hair and well shaped eyebrows. Her makeup is way more careful than my slapdash effort, although I'm happy to be wearing my new favourite makeup product - Studio 10 Glow 2 Go Youth Lift Glow-plexion (terrible name, horrible price, great product) and a red eyeshadow. I love red eyeshadow.


Today I don't know anyone on the train, and I spend the whole journey writing.


Currently reading:


I'm coming to the end of How to be a Woman by Cailtlin Moran, which I am mostly enjoying, although I think I must be a different kind of woman.


I've brought my next book on my journey for while I'm waiting in the station, and that's Bitch Doctrine by Laurie Penney because Moran's book has made me get my Women's Studies vibe on again and because feminism remains essential IMHO. I've only read a few pages of it so far, but there was so much to inspire and intrigue in those pages.


Listening to:


Every day on the news there are more people (mainly, but not wholly, men) doing terrible things which I do not have the power to do anything about, so why stress myself with the news? I will trust in those who can take action to do so and I shall keep voting for and talking about a brighter, less-hate-filled future. Meanwhile, I'm very excited about Game of Thrones arriving on Monday and listening to lots of fan chat about that as well as Behind the Scenes stuff.


I've been listening to lots of pop music with the kids being on school holidays. So my brain is full of that nonsense. Our current giggly favourite is Attention by Charlie Puth because of mishearing the line "throwing that dirt all on my name" as "throwing that turtle on my knee". Honestly, check it out!




The most recent tracks that I've downloaded are:

video
Having fun:

We had a gorgeously lovely day over in Millport - a wee ferry ride away and perfect for an old fashioned beach day. We've been having a chilled summer holiday so far, hanging out with friends, and having family to visit.


On Instagram:


I tried taking part in Allison Sadler's #freeupmyinsta challenge, although I've not managed every day. However, it's been so nice to get back to using Instagram for fun. It was starting to feel like a chore. I'm thinking of just dropping the prompts and doing what I feel... maybe!




and here are three accounts I'm loving at the moment:

  • @mrsconstancehall Constance Hall is a contentious Australian blogger and a Queen (she says so so it must be true), and I think I'm a little bit in love with her. I am definitely in love with her style, her grace, and her attitude 👑
  • @georginagrogan Georgina Grogan runs the fantastic She Might Be online magazine. She's lovely, collaborative, and she has absolutely superb hair. Plus the lass can write.
  • @terribletumbles Em is my favourite fashion blogger because she's tall as well as plus size and she makes everything look amazing, plus she's from Yorkshire so she's just brilliant.
Perving over:


I Love Dick on Amazon. Oh my word! This story raises so many questions and really makes you think, plus it is so very very very sexy. I must admit I've never fancied Kevin Bacon (still don't) but I was certainly caught up in the story arc. Also, Roberta Colindrez was absolutely gorgeous Devon, and that dance at the end! Fabulous.


Planning:


I have a list of days out which the children refuse to go on, but we're managing so far, and we're getting things in place Miss 6's birthday party next week. After that I'll panic about our holiday in the Lakes.


Discovering:


This month seems to be about rediscovery. Rediscovering:

  • the joy of doing very little
  • Pimms
  • the motivation to do 10,000 steps a day for the prize of a tick in the Google Fit app

We have also been looking after a friend's pets and have discovered a love of guinea pigs. 



A post shared by Cara McKee (@caralmckee) on

Watching:

  • I Love Dick (see above, and trailer below)
  • Can't wait for Game of Thrones
  • Watched Girl on a Train last night which was actually surprisingly good and interesting, but Jeezo I'd love a film with less 'beautiful' people in it.


Creating:

I've had a few poems published lately (see an up to date list here), and I'm sticking with the poemy stuff, I might not be following the FMS Photo a Day prompts for photos, but they're still in my calendar so I'm trying to write a tanka a day using the prompt. Today's prompt is 'out the window' and it's making me think of Girl on a Train, so here's my tanka for today:


She watches for them

out of the speeding window,
searches for a kiss,
a kiss she can remember,
one to take her breath away.

Ⓒ Cara L McKee 14/7/17


Why am I equating a kiss with a hit in my head? And will anyone else get that? Do you get that?

I've also been debating with myself about some poems I've written using the idea that God is a fictional and oppressive character. I am worried about causing offence but feel like perhaps I shouldn't censor myself so much. I guess it's because the God I believe in is a fictional character, and not worse for it. Again, what do you think?


Parenting:

Sometimes my kids are awesome. We bumped into my MIL and her friends the other day, and the kids were friendly and polite, impressing everyone (apart from me - I didn't even notice! 

Mostly though I am letting them stay up too late and have too much screen time (because seriously Scotland, you're a lovely place to live, but you could have WAY less rain), anyway, I like staying up late and going on screens - I'm on screens now! But too much screens and too little time equals lots of strops. Sigh.


My lovely husband is away for work a lot at the moment, which makes me realise how much I appreciate his input while he's here, even his annoyingly neat tendencies!




A post shared by Cara McKee (@caralmckee) on

Anyhow, how's it going with you?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Barcelona: a poetry post


Last summer we gave our neighbours a gift and swapped homes for a little while with a lovely family who lived in Barcelona. They had a great time exploring Scotland and getting to know our neighbours while we enjoyed being hot in Barcelona.

It was incredibly hot, there was a reason the Barcelonians wanted to escape to Scotland, but we enjoyed making friends with their kitten and chilling out in their gorgeous home in the day time, going out in the evening when the heat was more tolerable to explore gorgeous Barcelona.



Things we loved most were: 

Seeing La Sagrada Familia - we didn't go inside because the kids didn't want to, but there's a great play park behind it where we watched parrots fly and admired the building.


Shopping around Las Ramblas - so much fun and lots of silly little shops. The area has a reputation for pickpockets but we were fine with our purses tucked away.


The CosmoCaixa museum - this was a fantastic visit, we adored the museum which had so much to do and to interest the kids and us. BTW it's a science museum with some awesome live animals too.



Anyhow, with all that time that we were hanging out in the house waiting for the temperature to come down a bit I did bucketloads of writing, including writing Sonnet 404 which appeared in the first issue of 404 Ink's Magazine, and writing this poem about our experience of Barcelona which appeared in Allegro Poetry's travel special in December last year.



Barcelona
Cosmo Caixa


Clearly a mistake
to leave the cool green,
admittedly wet,
summer of soggy,
beautiful Scotland.
Exchanging our home for another
in August heatwave-heavy
Barcelona.

We lived like vampires.
Hiding in shuttered rooms
from infernal sun.

Emerging at dusk
to a city alive with people:
hearts beating fast
as sweat evaporates
in sweltering dark.

A gorgeous mistake.
Catalonian colour and vibrant lights.
Layers of truths told
in art and architectural splendour.
In the light of the fountain
the kids danced
for wind, for green,
for the rain's sweet kiss.
Home.




Thinking about it now, I'm wondering how I managed to get all that writing time. There's always more time when you're in someone else's house! Today I've been trying to write this and get the house tidied up and I've been distracted by one thing or another all day! Tomorrow will have to be the day we get the house tidied up... or I could just pretend that I'd tidied it and the kids have trashed it again - it's going to happen anyway!


I'm sharing this poem with Prose for Thought (I'm afraid I can't find the picture link thing), because I haven't joined in there for ages (for so long that I've lost track of when it is!) and with The Prompt, because although our Barcelona experience was odd, it was very happy indeed, and happy is the word of the fortnight.



mumturnedmom

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Crash: a poetry post


I gave a workshop yesterday about poetry, about inspiration and communication. I talked about being part of this thing here in the wonderful world of online wherein different people can come together to write their responses to a prompt (I use the prompts set by Sara at Mum Turned Mom) and encourage each other, inspire each other, big each other up.

I love it. 

After the workshop I realised I hadn't found anything for the latest prompt yet. This morning I sat down and thought about crashes, about women being told they're a car crash waiting to happen, about my beautiful friend with her dangerous decisions, which I must admit I resented. But I was there anyway.

This poem is for her.


Crash

You turn, twirling
and I hold on to your petticoats,
layers of tulle rendering you
the only woman worth seeing.

You spin, darling, dancing,
all eyes on you

and when you crash down 
in some strangers room
it is I who will guard you,
who will barter over bodies.

I carry your flat shoes
for the slow walk of morning.


Ⓒ Cara L McKee 25/6/17




mumturnedmom

Friday, 30 June 2017

Embrace: A poetry post


Hello there, I'm sharing a little poem today which was written for #theprompt back in February. I seem to spend a lot of time messing about with paperwork and submitting work to places, and not enough time doing other things, you know, like writing. I'm trying to write a little poem every day, usually a haiku or a tanka just so my brain stays in the zone, and I love this haiku type thing.

It might seem a little bit miserable, but actually I wrote it after a lovely day, walking with friends in the morning, and busying my brain with preparations for poetry events that were coming up. I guess it's speaking to the importance of self care. Something I've been doing again today, going for a massively long cycle ride which was just gorgeous (although if anyone has some spare knees or a bum I'll take them).

Good news today too - one of those poems I've been submitting has been accepted. I keep the poetry tag up to date with what I'm getting published where, so have a look there if you're interested. I'm now including the date I last updated it in the title so you know if you've missed anything (and I put the most recent at the top for you).

mumturnedmom