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Hindsight

October 2, 2020

Yesterday was National Poetry Day in the UK, and I do hope you enjoyed reading, writing, sharing and reciting favourite poems, old and new. The theme this year is VISION. You may remember that I wrote a new poem called Dreams for this year’s NPD.

Hindsight, my theme for the morning after the day before, is another form of vision. It comes too late and might have changed our views or opinions or, indeed, our actions. So I hope, as you continue to look at the theme of Vision, you will enjoy this poem.


Hindsight

If only we’d known
but we never imagined.
If only we’d thought
but we hadn’t a clue.
  Now we look back
  it’s as clear as daylight:
     Hindsight’s a wonderful thing.

The signs were all there
yet we failed to notice.
We all meekly followed
or turned a blind eye.
  Now we look back
  it’s as plain as our faces:
     Hindsight’s a wonderful thing.

History’s torchlight
foreshadows so faintly.
Late recognition’s
a blindfold too far.
  Now we look back
  the sad mission’s accomplished:
     Hindsight’s a wonderful thing.

                 © Celia Warren 2020

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International Talk like a Pirate Day

September 18, 2020

On 19th September 2020 it’s the annual International Talk like a Pirate Day. (Why? Don’t ask me!) Pirates attract a lot of questions, such as

Q: Why are pirates called pirates? A: They just arrrrrrrrrrrrre!

In celebration of this occasion my blog closes with a couple of my own pirate poems, two of many, but, before that, start writing your Christmas list after you read this book review of a humorous new poetry book called Barmy Ballads by Colin West ISBN 978-1-83859-518-0

No matter what your age, you’ll be laughing at Colin West’s joyful cover illustration before you’ve even opened the book. On the brink of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, I turned straight to Percy the Pirate and laughed heartily, me hearties, at Percy’s secret weapon. As with all the author’s traditional rhyming ballads, the rhythm swings along with never a buckle and ever a chuckle.

Classic characters appear throughout – the best kind of stereotypes – where P.C. 47 is an old-fashioned bobby, while in his tale’s telling, warlock wonderfully rhymes with door lock, and sandwich with man witch. Such is the light touch of Colin West’s equally charming words and pictures. There are unexpected characters (and a bit of social history for youngsters): a love story dating from 1964 when the mods met the rockers at the Battle of Brighton, and magical story-poems such as The Dreamer’s Favourite Hat, Mary the Mixed-up Mermaid, and many more.

This delightful hardback has 124 pages of pure joy. No propaganda, no preaching, no ‘issues’ – social, environmental or political. Children can share with their parents and grandparents (a blissful escape from politics and all the worries of the world) some essential and ever-welcome escapism, appealing to boys and girls from age 1-101. Now, don’t forget to add the book to your Christmas list for all the family to enjoy! ISBN 978-1-83859-518-0

And next for a couple of my pirate poems! Read them aloud in your best properrrrrrr pirrrrate voice, me hearrrrties!

OOOH-AAARRRGH-HA-HA-HAH!

Oooh-aaarrrgh-ha-ha-hah!
That’s my evil laugh;
It sounds best when it echoes
So I practise in the bath.

Oooh-aaarrrgh-ha-ha-hah!
There I go again;
I sometimes even scare myself
Every now and then.

Oooh-aaarrrgh-ha-ha-hah!
Why don’t you join in?
Bare your teeth and squint your eyes,
Now, with an evil GRIN:

OOOH-AAARRRGH-HA-HA-HAH!
What a wicked din!

© Celia Warren 2020

And a brand new pirate poem to finish off:

Polly the Pirate

Polly was a pirate
but she didn’t look the part.
She didn’t have a parrot
on her shoulder, for a start.

Polly was a pirate,
but it was a little weird
that her voice was high and squeaky
and she didn’t have a beard.

Polly was a pirate,
but her flag was pink and square
with – instead of skull and crossbones –
a yellow teddy bear.

Polly was a pirate,
but she’d never been to sea.
“There’s lots of time for that,” she said.
“You know I’m only three!”

© Celia Warren 2020

Please note that the content of this website, words and pictures, are copyright © Celia Warren 2020. Please ask permission before reproducing any of the content for commercial purposes. Thank you.

Looking to the Future …

September 1, 2020

In just one month’s time on 1st October 2020 it will be National Poetry Day in the UK, when this year’s theme is VISION. It’s a theme open to wide interpretation, and over the next few weeks, perhaps the muse will visit many poets, who will write new poems. Doubtless, we shall also find older poems that fit the theme, but more of that in due course. For now, here is my newest poem:

                   Dreams

Dreams, visions and prophecies
lie cold on a biblical page

or, perhaps, belong to wizard and witch
from a bygone, magical age …

No, I have dreamt dreams of the future,
words spoken and actions – precise –

that the following day truly happened.
For me, that has occurred twice –

not often enough in a lifetime,
to consider all dreams a warning

out of the few I remember
in the clear light of morning

but enough to make me stop and think
and keep an open mind

about visons and dreams and prophecies
of a personal, meaningful kind.

© Celia Warren 2020

*****

May your dreams and visions be happy, and may only life-affirming prophecies prove true.

*****

Please note that all content on this website, words and pictures, is copyright. If you wish to publish my poems or pictures elsewhere, please ask my permission first. Thank you.

On the South Devon Coast

August 18, 2020

Hope you are getting out and about this summer. Maybe some of you have been lucky enough to visit the sea, or rivers and lakes. I am so lucky to live on the coast, especially at this time of year. I am also delighted to see my poem Salmon Says on Gordon Maclellan’s blog Celebration Earth. It’s among my favourites. Click on the link above to learn more about salmon and read my poem.

Much of my writing features the natural world, minibeasts, animals and flowers. The sea and beaches are a great inspiration. Here’s a new poem – another silly limerick – with some photos that I took last week off the coast of Devon, in the English Channel.

    Compass Jellyfish
 Chrysaora hysoscella

They go with the flow, never frantic,
Round the coasts of the northeast Atlantic.
They’re both Mr and Mrs,
Know nothing of kisses:
Compass jellyfish aren’t so romantic!

© Celia Warren 2020

The symmetrical pattern on the bell-shaped, translucent ‘umbrella’ of the compass jellyfish explains its name. Very little preys on jellyfish, so the creatures are growing in number as they compete for plankton as their main food source. Though their tentacles can sting, I’ve not been stung yet, and it doesn’t stop me from swimming in the sea. Jellyfish are hermaphrodites (each is both male and female) – hence ‘Mr and Mrs’!

This week my one-year-old grand-daughter visited the sea for the very first time. She and her mum and I all bobbed around together in the lovely cool water. There were lots of wiggles and giggles. And the jellyfish didn’t come near us. We also saw lots of wasps gathering in one spot on the sand – and then a Fox Moth caterpillar that we rescued from the incoming tide. I think I might be writing more poems before long …

Please note: all photos and text, including poems, are copyright Celia Warren 2020. Please request permission if you wish to use any of these online, in print, or for commercial purposes. Thank you.

 

wasps gathering on the pebbly beach

 

 

Fox Moth caterpillar (Macrothylacia rubi)

Di-diddle di-diddle di-dum

June 22, 2020

One thousand, six hundred (and counting)
And seventy-six (number’s mounting).
These are limericks I’ve written
Ever since the bug’s bitten:
Obsessive — or simply astounding?

Yes, I have written 1,676 limericks for the Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form. At the moment, this international project has defined and continues to define words within the Aa-Gz section of the alphabet. And it’s been going for over a decade! Lots of people join in, adding their own “valentines to words” in the English language, from all over the world. Many are from writers in English-speaking countries. Other contributors are from countries where English is not their first language, and yet they still manage to create the most witty, clever verses in English. Anyone can join in — adult or younger — the main criteria are a love of language and a basic knowledge of the form a limerick takes. We workshop each other’s work, suggesting tweaks and changes to produce the best word definition (as any dictionary should), as well as entertaining and sticking to the rhythm and rhyme rules of a limerick:

1. A limerick has five lines.
2. It contains two rhymes arranged at the ends of the lines in an A-A-B-B-A pattern.
3. The rhythm of the lines is anapestic. That is they go —
     di-DID-dle di-DID-dle di-DUM
     di-DID-dle di-DID-dle di-DUM
     di-DID-dle di-DA
     di-DID-dle di-DA
     di-DID-dle di-DID-dle di-DUM
4. The stresses in each line should land as shown in capitals above.

Unlike Edward Lear, pastmaster of the limerick, we never use the same end word or homophonic rhymes, but that’s really all there is to it. Fancy having a go?

To give you an idea, here’s one I wrote (not for the project) — ooh, that makes 1,677! — composed during Covid-19 “lockdown”:

Found on our Doorstep

copyright Celia Warren 2020

If the rainbows young kids paint and draw
Could but heal, we’d no longer endure
This disease in our midst,
Seven colours the grist
Of a powerful, magical cure.

© Celia Warren 2020

Fancy reading more of mine and others, or having a go at writing your own?
If you’re under 18, please ask your parents’ permission first.

Minibeast Safari Challenge

May 20, 2020

Do you have a garden, or live near a park? Or perhaps you have a shed or a hedge to explore? You could take part in a Minibeast Safari Challenge to see how many minibeasts you can find. Then record your findings, either on camera or by drawings.

If you want to find out more about where to look, what you might find, and more about the minibeasts around us do have a look at this video-link: the Minibeast Safari Challenge for children, produced for Birmingham City Council, also features my poem Mr Snail (towards the end of the garden safari, where children can learn about the minibeasts they find).

Do have a look – especially if you are aged 14 or under – though it’s delightful viewing for any age.

Mr Snail

Quaint and quirky, never quick,
Mother Nature’s glue stick.
Strong shell, tacky tail,
Glue the garden, Mr Snail.                      © Celia Warren

NaPoWriMo2020 – nearly there!

April 25, 2020

How have you got on writing a poem every day for the month of April? It’s not too late to give it a go at least for the last few days. I’m pleased to say I’ve not missed a single day, though I haven’t shared all my first drafts. One thing I can say about this April – a month renowned for rain showers – is that it’s provided lots of lovely sunshine. It’s been a blessing during this prolonged period of Covid-19 lockdown.

Sunbathing is frowned upon at present, so perhaps it’s unsurprising that this poem requires a …

Sad Ending Alert

Banana had spent
so long in the sun,
the poor thing had started to peel.
She hadn’t a notion
on how to use lotion,
and began to feel slightly unreal.

Though her deckchair supported
the skin she’d aborted,
Banana still felt very bare
as, after some hours,
the birds and the flowers
and bees were beginning to stare.

Now, I have to admit,
she made a fine split,
filled with ice-cream and sweet vermicelli.
And as for her skin,
it’s chopped up in the bin,
making compost while I watch the telly.

© Celia Warren 2020

Please note this poem, photograph and all content are copyright Celia Warren 2020. Please request permission before reproducing anything from this site for commercial purposes. Thank you.

NaPoWriMo2020 – Week Two

April 8, 2020

We’re now into the second week of National Poetry Writing Month 2020. So far, I have written a new poem every day or, at the very least, the first draft of a new poem. Have you written any? Sometimes ideas come from very ordinary, everyday things, but how far you take those ideas depends on your imagination. Here’s my poem for today. It began when I was brave (or foolish?) enough to put my hand …

        Down Our Sofa

The button off a shirt Tom grew out of last year.
A spare family cat? (Well, at least, enough fur!)
A coin called a shilling, with the head of a king.
From an old Christmas cracker: a red plastic ring.

Shedloads of glitter and biscuit crumbs, too.
A brush that’s still sticky and pasty with glue.
Granddad’s old pen that he lost years ago.
A brittle brown crocus bulb, starting to grow.

An envelope, empty and folded in half.
From Abigail’s farm-set: a black-and-white calf.
A soft, dusty crisp and two brown rubber bands.
A bottle of lotion to soften Mum’s hands.

A tiny pink dinosaur half in its egg.
A hairy tarantula minus one leg.
The horn of a unicorn, shiny and gold.
Some words from a story that’s never been told.

A wish that was granted, but then left to die.
The happiness held in the glint of an eye.
Part of a dream that someone forgot.
With my hand down our sofa, I’ve found such a lot.

© Celia Warren 2020

Did you notice how the things I pulled out from down the sides and back of our sofa became more and more crazy, imaginative and surreal? If you’re stuck for ideas for a poem, try putting your hand down your sofa and see what you find. Or look inside a drawer, a cupboard or a shed, real or imaginary. See where your ideas take you. Write a poem. Perhaps you might make it rhyme. There’s still lots of April left if you want to join in the daily poetry writing challenge. Good luck!

Please note that all the content of this and all posts on this website is copyright. Please do not reproduce any poem, text or illustration without permission from the author. Thank you.

National Poetry Writing Month 2020

April 1, 2020

April has been chosen as National Poetry Writing Month in the UK, the US and Canada, and encourages people to write a poem a day throughout the month. I’ve made a modest start with a haiku, inspired by a walk along our nearby section of the Devon coastal path. (I am very lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world, during this time of crisis, when we are staying at home, except for essential shopping and daily exercise.) The bright yellow gorse blooms all year round, but its flowers are especially vibrant in the spring. Today some small bluebells added their first colour of the year.

First day of April —
first Devon bluebell in bud.
Birds are building nests.

© Celia Warren 2020

Meanwhile, delighted to see an old favourite, Cake-o-Saurus being beautifully perfomed on video, shared by English Hubs – Ruth Miskin – Training Centre. Click here to watch and listen to Elly reciting my poem.

Why not have a go at writing a poem each day of this month? To start you off, pick a favourite flower, food or game — write about how it makes you feel.

Keep Safe, Keep Well!

March 12, 2020

As I write I’m getting over a heavy cold and cough – but that is all it is – what’s commonly known as A Stinking Cold. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s almost to be expected at this time of year. What nobody expected was the sudden onslaught of a worldwide epidemic of a new coronavirus. It is worrying as, although it can be dangerous to older people, some younger people, and children, may carry the disease without showing any symptoms. This is why it is sensible to wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face (as germs can enter your body through your mouth, nose or eyes). So it is wise to take precautions. It will help protect you and also avoid infecting others.

The situation called for some ditties, so here they are, fresh off the keyboard.

This is the Way

When you wash your hands,
Remind your dads and mums:
Backs of hands and palms,
And don’t forget your thumbs.

© Celia Warren 2020

… but just in case people you meet aren’t as careful over washing their hands …

As Covid-19 strikes all lands,
For a while the whole world understands
To bump elbows, salute,
Maybe bow (that looks cute!);
We’re advised it’s not wise to shake hands.

© Celia Warren 2020

(Maybe no hugs and kisses either – except with family, pets and teddy bears!)

If you have a dry cough (one that hacks away but produces nothing), or feel feverish with a temperature, or are short of breath, stay at home.