Snowscapes

I recall the flickering screen
my mother moving the aerial
attempting to halt
a trapped snowstorm.
Black and white
our first television set
or at least the first
I could remember.

This snow was forecast
colourful warnings
of amber and red,
though it arrived at night
as a good thief should,
stealing the colours
before daylight arrived
in a monochrome snowscape.

Just as night-time poured
itself into the day’s cup
the careful balance shifted.
Yin and Yang swam inside
their never-ending circle
and chaos floats on top
laughing at us sliding,
shivering and disoriented.

As we walk between the trees
I dream of capturing this magic
in charcoal and chalk,
each branch delicately covered
dusted with frosted icing sugar,
dark trunks and boughs
cut out white paper shapes
with a smudge of a blood-red fox.

© Copyright 2013 Abigail Baker

Icebergs

We do not fall or tumble
slip or stumble

instead we jump and dive
plunge and bomb

or hesitate
dipping the tip of a toe

and wait
watching the ripples flow.

Be the wave
allow yourself to be carried

follow the form
relax into the queue

fall and rise
once more in timely fashion

believe those before,
feel the impending mass

invisible in its darkness
embrace the moment of impact.

© Copyright 2013 Abigail Baker

Preservation

‘Once bitten, twice shy’

One of life’s ironic jokes
or a lesson that takes half
a lifetime to be fully understood.

In self defence, a crime
may be committed.
Protection of property
of life, limb and dignity.

Self preservation
wrapped vacuum tight
stifles both retch and emotions.

Memories buried
absorbing bruises in
a mental pin cushion.

The blow flies rise
buzzing angrily against
such selfish thoughts.

Then settle once more
on the dead dog’s corpse
lying crumpled on its side.

 

© Copyright 2013 Abigail Baker

Quiet

Quiet is a quite different beast to silence,
silence is all-encompassing and complete.
Quiet roams the high plains of indistinction
its shadow cut out of every tone of grey.

Alone within a herd of quiet moments
each thought jostles loudly against its neighbour.
A strange backdrop of unaccompanied time
stretching languidly out into secluded hours.

Loneliness meets self-contained isolation
they reason that while the sun still shines
you can relax in the warmth of this happening.
The world and its song will always return.

 

© Copyright 2012 Abigail Baker

Hitting the wall

Today I hit the wall again.

What do I mean by this?

I mean the quitting point, the part I am so good at, the part that I hate about myself. What I am really good at is quitting, I excel, I would have got a first in a degree with honours and be well on my way to a PHD.

So what is it all about today?

Today is only 4 days after New Year’s Day 2013, which is exactly 2 years after I first committed to being a poet, rather than just writing poetry on random occasions on scraps of paper that never make the light of day to be shared.

Why am I thinking about quitting?

Because I am not as good as I want to be and fear I will never be good enough. Perfectionist tendencies are common in serial quitters. It is also the main reason for not even attempting other things. What if I am never any good? What if I mess up? What if I end up quitting on it? These are enough to put some people off ever even trying certain things.

The tell-tale warnings of an impending crash (into the wall)

When you find yourself making excuses for why you aren’t participating as much as you used to. You hear yourself saying things like ‘Life is too busy’ or ‘I was too tired’.

Now both these things may well be true but what makes your other life commitments different from anyone else’s? The truth is twofold. Yes we are all different but no, other people’s lives are not always so much easier that it justifies you quitting.

Why am I writing this?

Because today I want to change how I see myself.

Yes in the past I have quit on many things but I have also stood by many other commitments that I somehow choose to ignore when thinking like this.

I have worked full time in my current job for the last 6 and half years, before that I worked 6 years for my last company (in the same industry) and before that my working record isn’t shoddy.

In 2004 I bought a horse; this July I will have owned her for 9 years. That is 9 years of DIY looking after a living, breathing, defacating (and yes this is relevant) creature, that never grows more independent or learns to muck out its own stable. All that happens is she gets older and like us she sometimes gets injured or sick and needs more care, not less.

In 2006 I took the monumental step of moving nearly 200 miles to the other side of this island country I call home. I will not say there haven’t been days when I have not wanted to run or drive for home screaming, but I am still here and visiting home has got easier. I appreciate the time I spend with my family more and they feel the same, we don’t take it for granted.

In 2008 I got married to the man I love. Now loving him isn’t always easy and he would definitely say loving me isn’t always a picnic either. Life has thrown us some real curve balls and brick bats since we met in 2005, but we have managed. Sometimes not looking or sounding pretty but we are still standing together and I can honestly say New Year’s eve this time was one of the best evenings we have ever spent together, it was wonderful.

Admission and acceptance

I admit the following:

If I let myself I will quit when the going gets tough.
I have self-confidence and self-esteem issues that lead me to believe quitting is a good thing.
I have perfectionist and pride issues that often stop me even trying new things.
I fear mistakes and failure because of the above, even though I know they are the way to learn.
I am lazy and procrastinate.
I feel overwhelmed sometimes by everything my life encompasses and it can paralyse me into doing even less.

I accept the following:

I have quit in the past, this does not make me a failure as a person.
I have reasons in the past for low self-esteem but my past does not dictate my present.
I am never going to achieve perfection it is an illusion there to keep us trying not to stop us starting.
I am going to make mistakes; it is getting past the cringe part that will allow me to learn.
I know I am not going to change hard fixed habits overnight but I aim to quit lazy and procrastination and I am good at quitting, right.
There will be days when I feel overwhelmed but there are far more days when I manage just fine.

Where do I go now?

The reason for writing and sharing this is for me. It is my commitment to myself. It is my logical thinking put down on paper, well on computer anyway.

I love poetry, I love writing poetry when I am not tying myself up in knots about if it’s good enough or have I blogged often enough. When I am not stressing over have I read everyone’s latest offerings and commented.

So I am not going to quit writing poetry. I am not going to quit reading other people’s poetry.

What I am going to quit is beating myself up for not being good enough.
I quit worrying what other people think of my poetry or me for not being online 24/7 and always being involved.
I quit playing the ‘you like mine and I will like yours’ game, I never wanted to be in that anyway but for some it’s the only way they play.
I quit feeling obliged to go on Twitter every day and reply and thank every last tweet that mentions me.

In conclusion

To quote the wonderful poet Mary Oliver:

‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?’

My answer is to do what makes me happy. This includes looking after those who’s happiness makes me happy. I love my family and my friends and want them to have a happy me to be around.

If other people don’t approve of my methods to achieve this, that is their problem. My new mantra for dealing with this is ‘Other people’s opinion of me is none of my business’ but that is fine as my opinion of them is none of theirs. I don’t know who first wrote this but it’s a mighty fine quote.

New Year’s Day

Shining white clean light
the land and sea awash
clearing away December days.

Sparkling on puddled sponge
ground saturated, fat soil
compacted clay retaining

the torrents of tears shed
for each blood let in 2012.

 

© Copyright 2013 Abigail Baker