May 1, 2020 at 3:46 pm #8221LibbyParticipant
For the May competition, evoke the movement of routine travel. Portray a regular or ordinary journey. Your character(s) can be anyone; the transport can be anything including walking. This task is about day-to-day life rather than big plot turns or realisations – the familiar, written anew.
If you want, do a W H Auden in Night Mail:
Pass cotton-grass and moorland boulder,
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder.
In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in a bedroom gently shakes.
Maximum 400 words. It can be a complete story, or poem/lyric, or part of a longer piece.
May 2, 2020 at 5:14 am #8226SandraParticipant
- This topic was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by Libby.
Between 2011 and 2013, for some eighteen months, I participated in a ‘Small stones’ project; a daily moment of intense observation. Many were made during the twelve minute walk (six there, six back) to buy a morning paper. This is a 396 word selection.
Stepping stones of yellow sycamore
stuck to the rain-damp road
And the sky this morning
wet on creamy-papered wet
Paynes Grey and a touch of Burnt Sienna
Splendid pile of fungus:
griddle scones awaiting maple syrup
Two overhead geese, ten degrees apart,
noisy enough for a ‘V’ of a couple of dozen
Absence of blanketing wind
enables tiny, coloured stitches of sound
to be heard, as background pattern.
the bonnet of a turquoise car,
scattered golden leaves
rime-edged and frost-adhered.
A slew of eggshells
pale and slimy-stuck to tarmac,
adherence for a cast-off car key
Half-light. Half-dressed woman
high heels and a towelling dressing gown
searches the boot of her car
Lilac clouds this morning
and I ponder on the possibility
of purple rain.
For ten days now,
a mattress and a divan
brand new, polythene-wrapped
at the side of the house next but one.
Not, as first thought, a man up a tree with a didgeridoo
but the scrape of a branch against the hat
of a close-standing streetlight
Clouds both pink and blue,
sex not yet determined.
When the wind is in the west
noise from the trains and planes get louder
Giant strides (bigger than mine)
and an apparently levitating dog
allow me to play detective.
The upward curving branches of the ash tree
clamouring hopelessly toward the uncharitable white sky
Glorious pink promise
dish of dawn
spiced with a scattering
of silhouetted geese
An asymmetric feather, light and lying in the road,
sent me searching for the names of parts thereof.
Shaft, web, calamis, brachis and barb
Difficult to tell in the dark
whether blackness of sky
due to lack of sun
or imminent pouring down rain
Frowning to stay upright
I dissuade all morning greetings
and omit to post the letters
I diverted for
straight-sided and close-packed
along the half-dark pavement edge
An instant, urban Giorgio Morandi
A rough, tobacco-damaged, dirty chuckle,
conjured up a much-loved and delinquent aunt
who took me apple-scrumping when I was eight
Fallen small branch
or some other poisonous snake.
Fifty minutes late
and no-one says ‘good morning’
– we have not the two years plus
of graduated nodding
Darker yes, but oh the joy of striding out
no longer feared of falling.
May 14, 2020 at 11:13 am #8297JillParticipant
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by Sandra.
Down Memory Lane and Beyond
I am nine and today choose to leave for school by our front gate. I step down into Sandy Lane. The tall trees shielding the convent opposite rustle their leaves as though whispering the secrets of a cloistered life. If I walk up the lane to the top road I will pass the allotments with their topiary birds unable to fly to foreign climes. But I walk down the lane, the sickly sweet scent of privet hedge blossom wafting over me. I glance at the house of the scary old lady who wanders the lane in her nightdress. We children do not understand she is ill. I hurry past the abandoned sand pit where an evil presence is rumoured to harm any child daring to climb over its fence. I glance at the forbidden territory of the off licence on the corner before turning onto the bottom road which will take me to school. It has nothing of interest until I reach the little sweet shop with its displays of sherbet lemons which fizz on the tongue and flying saucers whose papery coating sticks to it, so I busy myself with imagined adventures.
The road bends and there is the falling down row of houses where once my curiosity had led me to explore amongst the rubble; feeling brave and nervous all at once. Had they been bombed in the war? Were people killed? I shake off these troubling thoughts and continue my journey.
The school comes into view and I wave at the lollipop lady before entering the playground where at morning break my best friend and I wave at the engine driver as the steam train puffs grandly by on the nearby railway line. Where does it travel to on these daily trips?
The school day ends. I choose a different way home, across the green and through the churchyard where one day I’d seen a tiny white coffin being carried into the church.
On the top road I scatter sad thoughts and conjure up the seaside where we will soon be on our annual week’s holiday. Then down Lowlands Avenue I quicken my pace and soon reach our home’s back gate. The long garden with its abundance of vegetables, fruit trees and flowers seems to greet me and I smile. It had been my early childhood playground which had fuelled my imagination as I played happily alone.
400 wordsMay 21, 2020 at 12:45 pm #8320LibbyParticipant
Ten days left for anyone thinking about entering the May monthly Den competition 🙂May 23, 2020 at 5:34 pm #8325SquidgeParticipant
A circuitous route – the same-old, same-old – but not so taken for granted as once it was.
Hot grey asphalt, its dull top layer peeled back by sun and tyres, glistening wet and black under, suggestive of a just-laid stickiness.
Pavements littered with the faded shadows of chalked rainbow messages to un-caped crusaders or old-fashioned hopscotch grids that beg to be hopped and skipped along, and causing a smile when temptation wins.
The comfortable familiar warmth of hand-in-hand – a rare moment of human connection in an otherwise untouchable world. Steady steps, a measured pace, talking about the little things that are so magnified under the lens of crisis.
Oversized daisies bobbing on delicate stalks. Jewel-bright bearded flags standing sentinel. Briar rosiness hanging over head.
Veering sideways to give room.
Noticing – properly – the details on buildings, the individuality expressed among a street full of the similar.
The brook running fast and low, deep in its channel, hemmed in by overgrown stingers. The heady almost-stench of cow parsley clinging to the water’s route in a swaying tide.
A rain of petals falls from gigantic conker trees, the mushroom seats beneath: empty.
Foxglove and lupin spikes pierce the soil between the wildlife-area apple trees, the branches of the latter loaded with a strange new – unseasonal? Perhaps nothing could me MORE seasonal in this time and place – fruit of woollen pompoms, attended by fir-cone birds which fly between.
A green man, previously ignored while the road lay empty, now obeyed as movement and life begins to be restored to tarmac’d lifelines.
Peonies and ponds before a last corner turned, and feet walk along familiar territory where faces are known – even if names aren’t always remembered – and a small community has grown closer and stronger through simple kindness and concern.
(Mr Squidge and I have a route we’ve walked in lockdown…)
- This reply was modified 2 days, 4 hours ago by Squidge.
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