a blog to share my word-whispers and nearly seventy years of poetry

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The dear departed ...

I hope this is legible as I could not
get my scanner to work
I'm in something of a state today and can't settle to anything. So I resorted to sorting papers and dividing all the notes and scribbles into folders; and then subdividing the folders into 'work' and 'play', and couldn't decide what to do when they overlapped. Cross-referencing is always a pain; but photocopying and filing duplicates just proliferates paper. 

One of the pieces of paper was this poem-spill, undated but probably from sometime in August when I was writing about ancestral influences. This was one of those moments when words fell on the page and I did not alter a single one. 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Outside in the dark evening

It doesn't always happen this way, but tonight it did - and I had pen and paper handy. A magical moment, and the first flight heralding the passing of summer.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Out on the road

Early on Monday morning

It's almost a month since I posted in this Spilling Words blog; so often when I am writing full-time I lose the personal plot and poem-spills and word whispers do not fall into my mind or onto the page. Such has been the last three weeks - and now I think this post may be a mistake. 

First signs of Spring

You see, on our way to Malvern and the Spring Gardening Show build-up (for a preview on the blog I am engaged to write for the Show), I took my usual 'through the windscreen' photos, and a couple of poem-spills came into my head. I wrote them down instantly and they are here - no change of words, just as they were when scribbled down, though now typed and formatted.

These hills (The Malverns) constantly inspire me
But I am also posting three images of the landscape along the way. Now here is my dilemma; it was not any specific shot or view that inspired me to write but they convey what I was feeling at the time (Monday 23rd April, 2013).

Please tell me which you prefer; words alone, or words and images. Does the inclusion of images destroy your concept of what the poem-spills convey to you? Thankyou in advance of any comments you may leave.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

This could be fun ...!

I am re-focusing today, sorting projects - those on-the-go, those impending, and some about which I had forgotten. Like this idea that for some reason came to me almost two months ago and was filed away (the page on which I wrote it was scanned, and that was that).

I think at the time, I must have been thinking of the new booklets I will make for this year's Warwickshire Open Studios (beginning of July) when again I will be exhibiting in our caravan, sat in the courtyard outside our door. Time then to play, and think of Autumn projects ....

This is the word-whisper I wrote when the spark came, and an explanation of how I would create the booklet. I've now moved it into my WOS 2013 box along with many other possibilities. Eventually, they will all have to be prioritised.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A strange post for mother's day

This year, Mother's Day happens to coincide with a sad and poignant occasion in my young life, and one I never forget, as 10th March arrives every twelve months. I vividly remember the occasion, and even in writing this 'word-whisper', remember too my beloved Mummy, who even with all the problems in her life, of which I gradually became aware, she always believed in me. Though never in a demonstrative way, I knew she cared.

So this image of her hugging me is all the more special to me, for I cannot recall another.  Eventually, I understood; but that's another story.

Not sure how old I was here, as I don't recognise the dress, around two I think, and before she had to make what must have been, for a mother, a difficult decision; to leave me with my grandparents whilst she accompanied my father on a concert tour of South America. They were out there when war broke out (World War II).

Friday, 8 March 2013

Not spilling, but floating

I have not had a good two weeks, work-wise; feel totally drained and incapable of writing other than necessary prose. A terrifying experience; though they go in waves, my poem-spills. Today, as we drove across country for feed for the chickens, and food for ourselves, it was as if a shutter had fallen; my head throbbed and R. talked gently to me of my fears, and of what was going wrong.

And then, oh blissful then, a trickle. Out of my bag I pulled a bank envelope - all I had to write upon; dug into my pocket for a pen .....

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Found on my iPad

Been playing around with my iPad and found this whilst I was searching through my photos - a scan from my Poem Spills notebook
And I don't think the iPad is that good at publishing blog posts, so I may have to do it again when I have access to my laptop and NEC WiFi. Here goes. Oh, the poem and the sketch were written and painted in the Cotswolds, somewhere near Stroud, about an hour or so south of our part of these beautiful hills.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Today -1980

Searching thorough old computer files, I discovered a backup folder of some of my earlier poem-spills; and this is relevant to today. Clearly the weather that year (1980) was much more benign, and springlike than it is this year, or indeed in recent years. Hope you enjoy it on this special day.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Epic verse for a grand-daughter

Today our 14-year-old grand-daughter, who was once so afraid of water she screamed even when having a bath, achieved one of her ambitions - she became County Champion for her age-group in the 800m free-style. 

I once wrote an 'epic' poem for her - and her story appeared at the time on one of my other blogs. I wrote during the final leg of her 'Crossing the English Channel' fund-raising event she had thought up herself for her school. That was in June 2011, and I have to admit that today when I received a text message about the championship achievement from her mother (our daughter), I cried. And I remember sitting at the side of the pool as she finished that 2011 swim, writing all the while.

As it is a poem, it warrants a place on this blog. I could have just reproduced the words, but I had posted with images at the time, so here is a link so you can read the verse epic as it originally appeared: Just click on this link. 'Swimming the Channel'.

And if you like it, and what it represented, perhaps you might like to read the rest of the story. The links for which are here (first part) and now an interim leg. No posts for the second leg as she swam it during school hours and we could not be there. But you have the whole story, even though these two posts are not in verse, but at least if you read them, you will know what it was all about.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

A long while ago ...

Two verses written especially for today, which I am pleased to be able to share. More images are posted on my 'personal' blog - Wild Somerset Child - which I am equally glad to be able to share, as there have been times when today might never have been.

This (on the left) came to me as I was thinking of the anniversary to come; just before speaking to our elder son, on his 52nd birthday.

And this was written on this Thursday when I realised that snow was again forecast, as it was 55 years ago, and if I wanted to add flowers to the morning tea-tray, I would have to pick them the night before. The miniscule posy is tied with a scrap of ribbon and sits in readiness in a tiny wine glass. Now to make the tea!

As always, please click on any image if you cannot read it at these sizes.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


I knew it was going to be a busy - and a significant day - and so my dear husband made the early morning tea. And I indulged, and was tempted ...

But then changes are afoot, to make for a more productive life, and the brain needs feeding, does it not, if the goal is to achieve? But maybe fresh fruit would have been more sensible.

N.B. These hand-written spills are presented exactly how they fall on the page; they are not scribbled and then copied. Poem-Spills that start there life as a scrawl have to be typed before they are presentable; often because, depending on the size of the bit of paper upon which I am writing, I decide to alter the line endings. Part visual and part sound, actually.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The days move on

This is how I 'compose', most of the time, straight onto the page
with a note as well re what I will do with what I wrote

Almost all of the things I am doing at the moment stimulate creative thoughts. Poem-spills continually slide into my mind and onto the paper page. But this one needs no tweak or typing before appearing, so it is here, 'as is'. Yet it is significant in more ways than one; so please watch this space.

And for those who can't wait, it was triggered by a piece of work in the latest issue of 'Quilting Arts' magazine, not an article, but an image .... and that set me thinking in more than one direction.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Written for a Herbal

The title of this is 'Ground-Ivy'
I'm sorting through my computer files to find which have already been typed and converted to images, so that they appear bright and easy to read. It's a five-part process: type and save as a word document; go to file - print and save as a .pdf file; open file and crop; save as a jpeg and check size, resolution etc, then save and import as needed. Somewhat time-consuming when you have many to do, but this was all ready (actually, the original is longer but was not relevant to the magazine feature I was working on at the time, though the plant was).  This, or the full version, will be integrated into one of my upcoming textile works as yet not quite ready for the planning stage, but I have some perfect old herbal pages in a book I bought second-hand, and that will encourage me to distress and sketch. It will all have to wait awhile, though I have many poems in my notebooks, which seem to have gone missing!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Weather Sequence

With January now past, I had been going to add all the poem-spills and word-whispers that I had written during the month relevant to ongoing textile projects. I am building a portfolio of completed work in readiness for this year's Open Studio event at the end of June and have little new completed work. 

But as many of these poems are not yet typed and it is quite a procedure to do so and then convert them into images (for that is how all the poem texts are appearing on this blog), I decided instead to present a sequence that are ready for fusing into a project already 'on the go'. 

The challenge was to produce a piece of work entitled 'Weather' for the December meeting of our local Embroiderers' Guild (Cherwell Valley), of which I am a member. 

Being contrary, I decided that mine would not focus on embroidery, but that I would create one of my mixed-media paper and textile 'journals' using paper-napkin motifs and words, to convey a feeling of how weather affects the seasonal feel to our enjoyment and mood. It's a technique that I have perfected over the last two years, and one that I actually demonstrated a couple of weeks ago at the January meeting of the Guild; though on that occasion, my theme was 'Florilegium' and that little journal WAS finished!

Back to 'Weather': my layout was planned; I trawled through my various notebooks and selected a couple of suitable poems that already existed, and wrote the others to fit the feel of the thing. Stitching IS involved in the making of my booklets; I stitch a frame around each poem once it is fused to the fabric page, and also prepare and attach a textile cover, stitched title, and a tie to close the book which will be a zig-zag.

And that is as far as it got with the Weather project as I was then ill and sent to bed for what seemed an endless period of inactivity, and then there was overmuch to do work-wise when I recovered. So I missed the meeting when the finished projects were to be presented. In fact the meeting was cancelled because it snowed!

I hope that today's poetic offering brings you joy - and that explaining how a sequence of words has been created adds something to your enjoyment. Now I have to finish the project which will take far longer than the writing! And of course, as these words of explanation are provided as an adjunct to what I am rabbiting on about, they are not intended to match the actual verses. You can click on any poem to read it at larger size.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Layouts using verse

First I took the image top left, then I wrote the words
not sure of the source of the lower pic
I wasn't intending to produce another post today, but the catalyst for so doing was a comment by one kind person on wanting to see more verse with my artwork, and the second was that, having nothing better to do this evening, I was trawling through back-up devices from defunct computers to re-catalogue and sort hundreds of document and image folders. 

It's the same tree, but distorted to fit the column height
And I came across one from four years ago when I began to think about combining my photographs into a themed piece, and writing verse to accompany it. It is all very amateur and I have moved on since them. The experiments were more about transferring text and images onto fabric than worrying about the words; and then the products I was using were altered in composition and I had to move on. 

Actual experiments; the text is transferred onto muslin, and stitched
onto an old paper bag stamped with text to 'distress' it.
The photographic image, too, was transferred and stitched into place.
This gives a better idea of how a layout can become a finished piece.
This was to be part of a winter quilted journal utilising my own painted papers; and it was the last very hard winter prior to this one - 2009 when there was snow and ice for weeks on end and we could only stay warm in one room. This post will perhaps enlighten you as to why I compose what I need for a project. Sometimes the images come first; at other times, I write the text and go out looking for images. I can assure you that the perfect image to fit existing text is much harder than the writing to suit a photograph. So this is the most recent phase in all these years of writing 'poetry'. Though actually it forms a very small proportion of my overall output. Oh, how commercial that sounds. I write when I write and never mind the why or wherefore.

I am not sure whether the photographed words will be legible; the photos wee only ever intended as a record of the layout. Try clicking on them and see what happens; apologies if you are bewildered or frustrated.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Keeping a promise

I promised to write a 'thank you' poem-whisper for my first follower - and almost immediately I had two, so hello to Shena Meadowcroft and Susan Ernst and indeed all those who are brave enough to read the work of a word-spilling old woman. I kept my promise and wrote this as soon as I awoke this morning, though there was an interruption to the flow of words, as you will see.

Please click on the image to read it at a larger size.

My posts will continue, probably grouped by topic and time of year. Some will have images if I wrote to accompany pictures taken for a project; others will tell you why they were written, or where, or what we were doing. Some you may have seen in my other blogs, but I personally think it will be good to bring them all together (I warn you there are thousands!) - and if you are reading this blog for the first time, please scroll back to the first post, written yesterday, as that explains why I have created this.

At the beginning ...

In 1946, a year before I left London and started high school, I discovered poetry. A book given me by my beloved godmother had me captivated - an anthology with verse from different centuries, and in no way pandering to a child's lack of years or understanding, though it was called, I think, 'A Child's Garland of Verses'. Twelve months later, by then aged nine, and together again as a post-war family, we ventured 'up north' following my father's orchestral conducting appointment. I felt lost and out of place, and a year younger than all my fellow form-mates.

My  English teacher for the next five years (and in view of what has followed she became beloved, too), realising my fascination for words, encouraged me to write, and published my first attempts in the school magazine. Ballads at first, for we were studying poetic form and genre at the time, and later blank verse. She nurtured my passion for the poetic form; my words became a deluge and subsequently a flood. I am still writing.

Shelves are lined with filled notebooks, boxes overflow with scraps of paper, words are even stitched onto fabric; for I will write on anything, from supermarket bills to the surface of a stone. Whatever falls to hand as the words spill. And as there is no other logical place to create an anthology of decades of poetic writing, I will do so here, and remember dear Miss M. and how I became so enthralled by the beauty of language and the emotions that poetry can generate that I cannot stop.

Here are three of my latest pieces, written for a paper and textile 'Quilted Garden', all specially written for the January fabric pages. Click on any image to view it at a much larger size.

Sometimes the poems are written to fit images I plan to use in textile or scrapbook pieces, sometimes, as here, they are part of a series. Often they are just observations, or to celebrate a particular occasion or commemorate and event. 

I have been known to ‘write to order’ as a challenge, and, to tempt you to follow my new blog, I will write a poem-whisper for the first person to appear as a ‘follower’. Wicked of  me, I know, but at least you can test my competence that way!

I find that writing word-whispers and poem spills are a great relief in times of stress … they arrive uninvited and unbidden … and become a part of me, a record of my life, and of who I am.