Introduced By Holly King
This Monday Moments, I’m taking a look back at what we’ve achieved in the last sixteen months. While Write On! Extra was not something any of us expected to be doing for this long, it’s been great for our community and for creatives, including me! In a time when we’ve been locked down and locked out of many of our usual activities, Pen to Print, and those who’ve submitted to us, have found ways to keep the creativity coming.
Despite the fact we’ve been more static than ever, there’s been this awful sense of being on uneven ground due to the ever-changing situation and daily bombardment of news from every TV, social media account and person we meet up with over Zoom. Write On! Extra has, for me, transformed the uneven ground into a flowing source of inspiration and artistry, bringing colour into an otherwise drizzly world (and that’s just the English weather!).
So below, some of my favourite features from Monday Moments. I take a look back at the joy this online digest has brought to me (and hopefully to you readers), as we transform with the world into the future.
First up is a poem that featured on my Invisible Colours page back in September 2020.
Our blue choir robes were much too old
The collars limp and sad
We felt that we must be bold
And change how we were clad.
Long black robes and cottas white
Were now what we had to wear
Alternatives seemed not quite right
I searched in vain for verve and flair.
I searched the rainbow of colours bright
The robes we might have worn,
In my mind each hue was deemed so right
How could this wealth of choice be borne?
Blue was the sky between clouds,
Of birds’ bright wings and baby’s stare.
Blue was the colour of angelic crowds,
Of sanctity, thought and wondering prayer.
Red was the colour of sun’s lingering rays
Dipping down beyond the night.
Red was the colour of fire and flame,
Of inspiration, courage and fight.
Green was the colour after the rain,
In glistening meadows gardens and woods.
On hills and high pastures, the effects were the same.
Of miracles seen but not understood.
Why was yellow never thought of for choirs?
The colour of daffodils dancing in dew,
Of dawn’s tentative fingers before day’s rosy fire.
The colour of hope and redemption, of lives, fresh and new.
There are so many colours in which to be dressed,
Dark violet, bright orange, pale lilac and pink.
How can we decide which one is the best?
Why not wear them all, make people sit up and think!
We’ll wear robes of all colours, of red, pink and blue,
Then spin around under flickering light
Making them merge into glorious hues
Until at last they become dazzling, shining and white.
Or we’ll dip our robes into dye and stir them all round
In rainbows of blue, red, yellow and green,
Then watch as the colours spiral and merge,
Until only the deepest black can be seen.
So, if you think we are wearing just dull black and white,
Imagine prisms and paintboxes completely anew
And see how we’re now clad in rainbows so bright.
When you look deeper, you see what is true.
© Jo Renton, 2009
Next is a photo from food artist Ohood Alhamid, originally featured on my Food for Thought page
© Ohood Alhamid, 2020
You can view more of Ohood’s delicious art on Instagram: @3h3h and Twitter: @3h3h
Next is a poem from the One Borough One Love Summer of Festivals poetry competition by Danny Fenn, which won 2nd Runner Up and was also featured on my Falling into Fall page:
After The Storm
I have a dream
Of a hug and a kiss
From those I love
And oh so miss
These simple gestures
We had taken for granted
A peck on the cheek
So lovingly planted
A firm handshake
No social distance
We are human beings
We need coexistence
To once more see a smile
With no mask on a face
No more waving through windows
Just in case
To go to the shops
Smile at cashiers
Take down the screens
Without worries or fears
To hop on a bus
The tube and a plane
Step out once more
Into the public domain
To go for a meal
With family and friends
Will once more resume
When this finally ends
We will once more shine
Though the struggle is long
We are one in this fight
We all must be strong
These simple things
We all so yearn
Have no doubt
They will return
God bless you all
Stay safe stay well
But never forget
Those who fell
I have a dream
To keep me warm
Of things I’ll do
After the storm
© Danny Fenn, 2020
Emmanuel’s illustration first appeared on my Standing Together page, and shows the unity we have as ‘We are one race. United we stand. Divided we fall.’:
(c) Emmanuel Oreyeni, 2020
Now we move onto a feature that I first used on my Resilience page. If Patsy’s words don’t scream good old British resilience and the resolve of a strong soul then perhaps you’re on mute:
When my mother was seven months pregnant, she fell off a bus which started her labour.
And I was two months premature. And there my accident proneness began.
My friend Mary always said I had round feet because I was always falling over.
I wasn’t just accident prone; I was always catching bugs. Whatever was going I caught it.
It got so bad in my teenage years that one day I said to the doctor, “do you think I am a hypochondriac, Doctor?”
“No, you’re just unlucky,” was his reply.
At an early age I realised that moping about being ill was a waste of time and so I resolved to be resilient. This attitude has served me well over the years.
I might have known that me having a baby would not be a straightforward experience.
With my first child, something went wrong. I had to have a caesarean and they pumped six units of blood into me. Baby number two wasn’t much better as it took him three days to finally pop out.
The last baby was another caesarean. So ended my foray into motherhood.
My ‘resolve to be resilient’ brought me through all this unscathed.
One thing though, I always prided myself on never breaking any bones.
Well I made up for that. So far I have broken fourteen bones.
They diagnosed osteoporosis.
Resilience came to my aid again.
The worst break was when I fell on the stairs and fractured two cervical vertebrae.
I do not advise anyone to do that. The pain was unbearable. They prescribed morphine.
It took the pain away but when my back was better, I had to wean myself off the morphine – that took three months. I persevered and now I know what a drug addict goes through.
Again, resilience was called for.
And here we are now in lockdown.
But the irony is, on the second of February 2020, I fell over once again and cracked my left Tibia/shinbone. I couldn’t climb the stairs. So I camped in the living-room on the sofa, with the TV in front of me and my computer on my lap.
By turns I watched TV, edited my current book, and wrote the occasional poem. I also signed in on Facebook Messenger where I played lots of silly games. I also video chatted with my friends.
Joy of joys, one day I managed to walk with only one crutch. But then, misery of miseries, I twisted my right foot which put strain on my right knee and an agonizing pain exploded.
I haven’t been able to have it seen to but it is slowly getting better.
So, even if the lockdown hadn’t occurred, I would still be isolated in my little encampment as I can only walk enough to get to the downstairs ‘cloakroom’.
Have you ever tried to have a bath in a sink twelve inches by eight inches? It isn’t easy. But I resolve to be resilient and manage.
© Patsy Middleton, 2020
And, again, we end on a positive (or 27). This poem originally featured on my Marching Ever Onwards page, and it still fills me with joy:
27 Reasons to be Cheerful
- Watch people when they talk about something they love;
see them come alive with joy.
- Cows have best friends.
- Rats laugh when they’re tickled.
- Dolphins sing to their babies.
- The actors who voiced Mickey and Minnie Mouse
were married in real life.
- In 1914, British and German soldiers
played football at Christmas.
- All matter is made of stars
- we drink the same water
the dinosaurs did.
everything is a part of everything else.
- A man in Australia had a rare blood type.
He donated blood every 3 weeks for 64 years and
saved the lives of
2.4 million people.
Can you imagine
a love like that.
- A woman called Marie Robinson
sat at her son’s grave and
a robin hopped on to her hand
and stayed there for minutes
until it flew away.
- Window-cleaners dress up like Spiderman
to cheer up sick kids in hospital.
- An astronaut wrote his daughter’s initials on the moon.
The newsreader said they’ll be there
for 50,000 years.
- The Russian word for astronaut
means ‘star sailor’.
- Cats purr to themselves
when they’re worried
- bring their catches to us
because they think we don’t know how to hunt.
- Being kind releases endorphins
- we want to share good news
more than bad and
- people blind from birth smile,
even though they’ve never seen one.
we are all meant to be happy.
- I saw a video where someone
fed sugar water to a dying bumblebee
until it recovered.
Just because they could.
- We are all miracles.
Links in a chain of 4 billion years.
The chances of you being you
are almost zero.
Yet here you are.
- If you are reading this,
you have survived everything.
- Bob Ross said:
“However you think it should be,
that’s exactly how it should be.”
- There are so many more
than branches of McDonald’s.
- The kid with the stutter
from Educating Yorkshire
is now a motivational speaker.
So is a man who was almost
a school shooter.
the world is full of people who said:
- Recently, I need to tell you,
recently, I’ve been reading about sea otters.
They sleep on their backs
in the water, and hold hands,
so they don’t drift apart and
- When they have pups,
they do the same for them.
A scientist said:
They embrace their young with
an affection that is barely credible.
© Matt Wixey, 2021
Connect with Matt on Twitter: @wixeywrites and his website wixeywrites.com
Next month my page is all about looking back on a ‘Summer of Play’. How will you be playing creatively this summer? Let me know by submitting your stories, poems, extracts, photos, videos and art to email@example.com
Issue 9 is out! Read it here.
This Monday Moments, I'm taking a look back at what we’ve achieved in the last sixteen months.