Thursday, July 30, 2009

The grandfather and the child

'Creep with me,' she said - Little Miss Tippi-toe,
Her tender features yearning for the game to be played.
The little mouth dipped as she saw your shoulders hesitate.
'Please,' little blue eyes asked, and how could you now say no?
And crawl you did, beginning a simple game,
' I'm a cat - meow,' her face lighting up with joy.
It's a memory I would not give up for the world.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why didn't she just cut off her hair in the first place?

I mean seriously, waiting up there to be rescued (by a man, of course); in reality waiting for anyone really. It's just not going to happen is it? Not in my world anyway. I quite liked the story of Rapunzel as a child. I adored the notion of being rescued from evil; no longer trapped in the towering prison. It just doesn't happen in real life. In fact, in real life, it's much worse, because sometimes you're purposefully left there to squander, and sometimes a whole lot of people help put you there in the first place! The subverting of the plot was my cheeky feminist touch. I loved that the Rapunzel character rescued herself by using her hair as a rope. What was the point of bringing the prince up to the tower? She needed to get out, and you can't climb down your hair if it's still attached to your head - so off it came. It suits me really. I loved that I could take a well known story, and change it to say something dramatic, something much more powerful than the original fairytale.

Warning: personal content following.

Ask yourself - how well do I really want to get to know 'Little Miss Wave'?

'Rapunzel' is a poem of anger. An 'in your face' to people who think that it is not their responsibility to do something for others. That every time you ignore a child, render them useless, you put up another block that separates them from the world they are supposed to dwell in.

'Rapunzel' is a story of survival. It is inspiration; acknowledging that it is possible to overcome adversity. 'Rapunzel' quite aptly describes my teenage years, a living hell I would not curse anyone with - made much, much worse by meddling, ignorant individuals who saw only what they wanted to see.

It is a redraft of a poem I wrote in 2003. In fact, it has quadrupled in size, but I am happy with it now. I also enjoyed 'helping' my hubby to photo shop a picture that I took of the Taj Mahal. Clearly I chopped out a few bits and pieces here and there, and changed the colour totally. Now it fits my poem ♥

The silent figures are a group of adults in my life, who allowed themselves to be misled, and assumed that I had nothing of importance to say. The 'insightful libertarian' is Lady Justice , the irony being that justice was so often not served by the adults in my life, who allowed the metaphoric blindfold to stop them from seeing my point of view. These people would seek guidance from each other, and congratulate themselves on being able to 'see' past the untruth that had filled my family's life. How wrong they were. Instead, they forced lies and cover up to become an integral part of life, something that scorned, and burned, and continued to demean everyday.

As a child, I waited for someone to help, my siblings waited for someone to help. There were a few people who were told of our plight, but many others who continued to perpetrate the myth. To make matters worse, other adults joined in the game, knowing that the old excuses would cover them too. In the end, most of the adults who had been told of our plight, decided not to act, or believed the untruths that they were told when they confronted the accused. And so began a cycle - the victim become the accused, and the tower grew taller.

There was always light though, from a small open 'window'. A window, that offered a glimpse into another world, a life that was possible. An inner voice telling me that I would survive, that it wouldn't last forever, and that I would get out eventually - I just had to do it for myself.

And so I did. I prepared, I planned, and one day I had enough. I just left. However, I left behind three others, three wonderful people who had helped me in the battle of survival, three wonderful people who have now all escaped their own minarets.

A lot of people say I am pessimistic. They don't know me at all. you can't live like that for twenty years and not have optimism coursing through your veins. Next time someone tells you something, actually decides that you are the one who can help, make sure you listen. It is important that children are not left to rescue themselves.

Thank you for reading my poetry, I understand that a lot of you wait for the explanation before you comment, and I appreciate that. Please feel free to leave your comments either here or on the actual poem. I welcome you comments, and look forward to the feedback.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Do you want a cool way to waste time and do something good?

How about donating rice for words?

What on earth do I mean?

Go to Free Rice and test your vocabulary knowledge. For every word you get correct, 10 grains of rice will be donated through the UN World Food Program to help end hunger. It's easy!

I wouldn't mind if the rice was just given anyway, but ... I am happy to do this too. Now I know 10 grains of rice isn't much, and to be honest the 430 grains that I've 'donated' today isn't much either, but it all adds up. There were over 15 millions grains off rice 'donated' yesterday - that is HEAPS.

It's a shame we need gimmicks, as it is so important to keep focus on how we can help the world in which we live. This is really just a grain in the silo. I suppose every grain helps though - right?

Friday, July 24, 2009


Blocks of polished, black marble hauled by an endless procession of silent figures -
Who, guided by assumptions and rhetoric,
Mistook the blindfold as a gift from the insightful libertarian.
Wordlessly, they built the turret around the child.
The towering walls subtly adorned with a decoupage of lies,
That mirrored the litany of grievances chastising her intellect.
She watched, eagerly at first, as the figures began to recognise her presence -
Realising, too late, that they saw no reason to place a ladder within her reach.
The barren soil, cultivated by the disregard each stonemason had allowed to flourish,
Swallowed and gulped at her tears, leaving her soul weak.
Unbarred, the window taunted her with laconic persistence.
"Break free, break free," myriad incantations, worthless without the means.
Rapunzel waited, but none that she saw stopped.
They looked, and contemplated, but walked on -
Hoping that as a distance grew between their heels and the moral burden,
Responsibility would fade.
The air around grew silent as people ceased to pass by.
It was the window who continued to beckon -
A haunting dirge that mocked with an unyielding lucidity.
Over time, the masonry's edge grew jagged and notched.
An understanding burgeoned within and prompted swift movements -
Lest her courage should retreat and leave her truly lone.
She tore her braid, back and forth - across the lip of the fortress,
Separating her hair from the nape of her neck.
The loosened tendrils offered footholds to soil
That had grown salty and wretched under a torrent of anguish.
"Get out, flee, be gone," emancipation solicited with enthralling force.
It was only as she looked around, relishing her new found freedom,
That Rapunzel saw that she was not alone.
Forming a desolate quadrangle, in conjunction with her prison,
Were three other, identical minarets.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Can you write without the letter e?

It was a task that I asked my Year 12 class to complete today. They will be working on their one and only creative writing piece for the year, and I really wanted to push them into understanding the importance of description. It was a hard task, and they groaned and moaned when I asked them to begin.

They did, however, complete the task, and did quite well. I especially loved how one student, desperate to use the word enemies resorted to villainous shadows. It was more than I could have asked for, and was an apt example of the power of words. It was a marvelous way for the class to see the power of language - as they realised that enemy did not do justice to the concept that he was trying to put across. They reflected that the image of villainous shadows was significantly more menacing and evoked much stronger negative emotions; that his original choice (enemy) seemed weak in comparison.

Just to see if I could also do the task that I had set, I wrote one sentence describing a shipwrecked vessel. Here it is:

A rusty hull lay jutting with diabolical abandon.

It's a lot harder than it sounds, writing without the letter e; I'm glad to have it back in my life ♥

I would love to see your attempts at writing without the letter e :)

PS - Rapunzel poem coming soon. It's in the final editing phase.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Now where did that idea come from?

On my many travels through cyber space, I came across a very interesting point. It is here that I must apologise to the person whose blog I read, because I'm not able to find it now, so can't link to it.

I haven't done anything untoward, so please don't let your imaginations run riot and assume (you know what 'they' say about making assumptions ...) that I have been engaging in that awful crime plagiarism - 'cos I haven't. To cut a tedium length story into a really short one, the blogger in question discussed how she was really fascinated by the idea that all women were born with, in fact grew in the womb with, all of the ovum that they would ever use during their lifetime. With this in mind, a woman, pregnant with a daughter, can essentially hold many generations within her womb at one time. She likened this idea to the Russian Nesting Dolls (Matryoshka Dolls - Thanks Big Frank). I will have to go on a bit of a hunt, but it is only fair to link to her blog, so I will do that as soon as I can find it.

I loved this thought, and it seemed so fitting as I had a daughter. I loved that I had held so much inside my womb for that time. I loved that my mother would have also held Emily, in that when she ( my mother - not the cat's) was pregnant with me, my little foetal body already had inside it the egg that would grow to be Emily. It was such a wonderful idea. I was really glad to have something nice to write about, and saw it as an opportunity to thank my mother. 'They' ( 'They' really do come up with a lot of sayings), say that after you have had a child you thank your own mother, because you finally have an understanding of what it was that she went through.

If my poem was going to be a thank you, I also needed to thank someone else, My Aunty Linda, who took me and my siblings in - on and off, together and separately over a period of 5 years, after our mother's death. No-one else did that, and just after Emily was born, it was my Aunty Linda who I wanted to thank. At 32 she had four children of her own, one of whom was only 12 months old, and it was she who took in four motherless souls. I was always grateful for what she did, but did not understand the magnitude of her act until I had Emily. This poem is dedicated to her. I hope my cousins don't mind that I feel that I have something to thank her for, and to be honest I should thank them too, for sharing their mum with us.

My sister, Mon, went to Russia last year, and bought Emily and I set a set of the dolls each. This was another lovely little link to the poem, and you can see the dolls in the photo attached to the original post. I love them, hence the linking of the colour red to the character in the poem.

The poem is essentially about me, even though I have siblings, it is my personal tribute. I am the little red doll. My Aunty Linda is the blue doll. The colours represent a genetic link, and Aunty Linda was not linked by blood, but by marriage. To me that made what she did all the more important. The third line relates to the idea expressed in the other blog. The idea of a woman, pregnant with a daughter, essentially nurturing her lineage in the cocooned safety of her womb. The fifth line links in the scientific knowledge of mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down through females only. That is, each of us has the mitochondrial DNA of our mother. If we are a female, we pass this DNA on to our own children. If we are a male, our offspring have the mitochondrial DNA of our partner. Yet another link to the Matryoshka theme, and runs smoothly into the next line which discusses the strength of the mitochondrial bond, as opposed to the surnames people have (more often than not passed down from a child's father). It is interesting to note, that when looking for familial ties, scientists and archaeologists look for mitochondrial DNA, which is a better way to determine decent and much more accurate than tracking genealogy through names. I particularly liked the irony of this, living in a society that sees men as the stronger of the two sexes, yet it is the DNA passed on from females to her offspring that is the most enduring. It is this genetic link that I see as a pledge. A pledge to look after the offspring of those in your family, should the children's mother be unable to do so any more.

The second stanza brings in the idea of thanking your mother after you have given birth to your own child. The first line asks the red doll character (me) who I would thank now that I can see a child of my own. The dilemma is that I had lost my own mother, so looked to thank someone who had offered something of value to me. That person being my Aunty Linda.

I hope that you enjoyed the poem, and that the explanation wasn't too long winded. I would love to hear your feedback, so feel free to comment. ♥

Monday, July 13, 2009

Russian Dolls

Little red Russian doll,
Temporarily housed within a blue.
A lineage of women; generation upon generation.
Tenderly nestled; reciprocal shelter within a maternal cocoon.
A sorority reliant on mitochondrial ties,
Bequeathing sanctuary to myriad daughters.
An invisible pledge stronger than the paternal names adorning each.

Who will you thank, little red doll?
Now that you can see you own?
The one you would like to acknowledge is lost.
Yet the hand of another was extended.
It was she who took up the oath that others forsook.
It was because of her that you did not break,
Inexplicably protecting daughters not yet borne.
And for that you must be eternally grateful.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Some questions for you ...

Firstly, a disclaimer. I wrote this post for a blog competition, but it wasn't chosen, so I am using it here. No point letting it go to waste, and I am quite interested in what you all have to say about the ramblings.

The Russian Dolls poem is still coming. It's been a tough week, as you can imagine, but I've been working through a fair bit of stuff, so it's been good in that respect.

Here is the 'actual' post.

Why do you write? I mean really. Is it just to become famous, to purge your soul, or is it for yourself? The answer so many people give is that writing is for their benefit only. However, they are secretly hoping that fame and fortune will come, that someone will realise who it is writing away in that little room down the back of the house, extend out a hand and an invitation to the top of the pile.

Why don't you get published? Excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses. A myriad really. I can't find an agent, I'm too tired, I've probably written a load of rubbish anyway. They're not excuses. They are a set of golden mantras to live by, and live by them is what so many do. There are hundreds of unknown writers, of which I am one. What can I do to make myself stand out from the crowd? How can I write 'the one'?

Uuh. Too hard. Too scary; and so the mantra starts up again, filling the void that should be recognition.

The hardest question of all ... What right do you have to keep it to yourself? A new train of thought, a new direction to take. What right indeed?!?!?!?! It's my writing and I'll hide it if I want to.

Why do you write? Let's get serious now. To answer that question truthfully, without rhetoric or fabrication, you really need to answer the question - why is it that you read?

I read to experience life. I get a tickle of delight when I come across a wonderfully profound way of expressing an emotion or image. I read to expand who I am; to be challenged with new thoughts and ways of living. I read to delve into the psyche of another human; to break through the cryptic messages that are contained within the string of words placed delicately across each page. I read to see the world in a different way; to take a step back and reflect on what has been said by another, and marvel in how effectively things have been given a life of their own. I read to find out who I am, to push myself into being Gandhi's 'change in the world that I would like to see'.

What sort of world would we live in without Dickens, Bronte, Shakespeare, Rowling? What sort of person would you have been without the printed word? That is why it is selfish to write and to keep it hidden away.

This is why I write, because something I say might just make a difference to someone's life.

After all, isn't that what we are here for?