By Palak Tewary
Today is my last Showcase and as March ends, we stand at the verge of spring. The days are lighter and brighter, bringing a cheer to our hearts, yet the chill and rain make it confusing… is spring here or not?
In this time, there are contrary themes at play, keeping us on our toes and dancing to find our beat. There’s joy to be had in this confusion.
The first poem today is my take on the collision of nature’s different themes and when we find ourselves pulled in two different directions. However, I always find, where collisions occur there can still be real beauty to be found.
The Beauty Of The Human Mind
In springtime’s dawn, oppositions reign,
As ice and warmth, sun and rain,
Collide in nature’s grand display,
A dance of contraries in play.
The thaw starts, the ice gives way,
As winter’s clutch begins to sway,
And yet, the chill still lingers on,
An enigma, oh, so strong.
The earth awakens, buds appear,
A time of growth, a time of cheer,
And yet, the storms they do not cease,
A puzzle, oh, inner peace.
The spring’s conflicts do persist,
A paradox of sorts, that we can’t resist,
For life is made of opposites,
Of joy and ache, of likes and dislikes.
So let us embrace the birth of spring,
With all the challenges it brings,
For in the paradox we find,
The beauty of the human mind.
© Palak Tewary, 2023
Julie Dexter gives us two poems on spring, both blooming with feeling and vision.
My heart sings,
Sun shines gently on faces,
And leaves on trees so green,
Spring is the coming of the cyclamen’s
velvet magenta petals,
oil slick patterns, kalaedoscopic in streams.
Fertile brown earth;
Sowing food for us to eat;
cereals, of barley and wheat.
Golden flowers, and bleached stone,
world weary people
now feeling hope.
It is the season of positivity, of strength
time for a fresh start,
for giving thanks
for interminable earth.
The first signs of spring bring smiles and joy to us all,
With longer days, lighter nights,
children play outside, sink heavily in their beds
sleep deeply, play spent.
songs of territory,
feasting on seeds, nuts,
Flower buds form, though still yet
like a fist that won’t budge;
some yield and show their
shoots afresh as leaves unfurl.
Smell the scent of the tilled land,
of manure and hark!
The resounding of horses’ hooves
on the thawed ground.
See the rich colours,
earth reds, cartoon blue skies,
occasional bees and butterflies sail by.
Frogs and lambs appear,
Our earth is a cacophony of sound,
and wondrous smells.
© Julie Dexter, 2023
Next, Thomas Nixon gives us an interesting flash fiction, A Matter Of Time, and I’m also sharing the first chapter of Ashlie Miller’s IHTDR Chapter One Grammar-leed. Both leave us wanting more, as we imagine what would happen next. Just as we keep guessing at each day’s weather as we stand on the edge of spring.
A Matter Of Time
“Your average distance travelled is two kilometres in the last 17 minutes,” the passenger stated briefly. “Underwhelming.”
Shen twisted in his seat, swallowing hard and pushing the rim of his spectacles back up the bridge of his nose. “There’s traffic,” he said, his voice rising in a stuttering breath. “What do you want me to do?”
“I don’t make the choices. I may only decide the outcome.”
Shen felt the passenger’s glove crease and tighten, his thumb squeezing down on the hammer of his semi-automatic pistol.
“But if you really valued your family’s lives, you’d start by going a little faster…”
© Thomas Nixon, 2023
Connect with Thomas on Twitter: @Tnixon98
IHTDR Chapter One Grammar-Leed
I heard the door ring. Two girls from my school entered the room. I knew their names by heart: Charlotte and Zoey. Charlotte was on her phone, probably messaging that footballer boyfriend of hers. They walked up to the counter.
“Hiya! What can I help you with today?” I smiled.
Zoey looked at me. “Hey, you’re that girl from school, right?”
I laughed. “That’s me, May Hearthbrooke!”
Zoey beamed. “That’s perfect, we thought this was your bakery. We’re inviting all our friends for a sleepover. Do you think you could come?”
I dropped my jaw in delight. Friends? I’ve only been hanging out with them for the past couple of days, but friends? I nodded. “What time will it be?”
“Make it at Charlotte’s house at any time possible for you. Preferably after your bakery closes!” Zoey giggled.
I began to cough. Not my sickness acting up again! “I have to go for a minute,” I muttered.
I rushed into the bathroom and coughed into my hand. As I took my hand away from my mouth, I noticed blood leaking through my fingers. I have a sickness where I cough up blood. My mum died when I was little and I had no one to hold on to but my brother, Kaleb. My dad has never been with me, so it was hard for us siblings. As we both grew older, we found out I had Hemoptysis. I had to take antibiotics but my brother and I could never pay for them. I’ve been unable to rid myself of it since then.
I washed my hands under the tap and dried my mouth with my sleeve. Then I walked back down the bakery steps.
“Hi, sorry about that. I went to check my calendar,” I lied. I hated lying about my illness.
“Oh, that’s fine!” Zoe grinned. “So, can you make it?”
I nodded gleefully. My first sleepover with friends. Exciting! Then I realised I hadn’t asked them if they wanted any baked goods.
“I’m sorry, I forgot to ask! Do you want brownies or anything like that, or maybe a coffee?” I was hoping so much that they would say yes. I needed the money. When I didn’t have enough money for my antibiotics, I went to a man who helped my father get out of debt. Kaleb told me that, although it may not be entirely true. His name was… it makes me grimace saying it. His name was… Jacob.
I told him I needed antibiotics. He said he would help me, but only in exchange for money. This is why Kaleb and I opened ‘Brooks Bakery’. Though I’ve been taking the antibiotics, my Hemoptysis still hasn’t been cured. Despite this, Jacob has demanded £50 pounds from me by the end of this week; difficult, as the bakery isn’t doing that well.
“Oh! Yes! Can I please have a coffee cake?” She looked over to Charlotte. “Charlotte?” No reply. Zoey elbowed Charlotte in the stomach.
Charlotte finally pulled her face off her screen. She nodded. “Ah! Yes, I’ll have a slice of banana bread and a whipped cream coffee.”
My heart leapt with joy. Altogether, the order had added up to five pounds and 45 pence! “Coming right up!” I smiled. Their money would add to the sum I was saving for Jacob.
“Thanks,” I said. “You don’t know how much this means to me!”
Zoey nodded. “No problem.” She waved. “See you at the sleepover!”
I grinned. “See you at the sleepover.” I waved her goodbye.
I heard the door hit the bell and close. It was almost closing time. I was leaning on the counter when I heard the bell ring again. It was Zoe.
“Hey, May. I forgot the tip! Here. Charlotte told me to give it to you.”
She handed me five pounds. I did a quick sum in my head. Adding all this up with my past payments, I realised I had just about enough for the antibiotics!
I began to lift my head to say thank you but, just as I did, the bell rang and she was gone. I checked my watch. 6:59. One minute until the shop closed. I flipped the sign over to Closed and sat in one of the wooden chairs, which was covered in crumbs from the toddler who’d been sitting there earlier. I checked the money and smiled. Thank you, Charlotte.
Suddenly, thump, thump, thump came from the stairs. “Kaleb!” I laughed, but he didn’t look so happy.
“I saw the blood on the bathroom floor…” he began.
When I told him Jacob charged me money for antibiotics that might not even be real, he was fuming. He said it was unfair and that I shouldn’t have to pay him when I had no money to get them in the first place. When I told him they were cheaper than buying them from the hospital, he cooled down a bit.
“I can’t do anything except take Jacob’s antibiotics, you know that,” I murmured.
“I know. If these don’t work for you in a couple of days, I’m gonna smash his face in with my fist!”
Although I laughed, my eyes glistened with tears, as he wasn’t naturally a violent person. Then I remembered.
“Kaleb! I’m going to a sleepover tonight. I’m gonna go pack! See you in a minute.” As I brushed past him up the stairs, I felt a vibration in my pocket. I knew it was Jacob. He always calls me on a Friday if his money is due. I was tempted to hang up, but that would just make him angry and he’d shorten my payment time.
I grabbed my phone and swiped to answer. “Hi, just wanted to check in. How are you?” he said sarcastically.
I coughed and blood sprayed onto the floor.
“Antibiotics working for you, May?” He laughed.
Horrible. He’s just horrible.
“Just get on with it.”
“Well, sorry to say, but I’m shortening your payment time,” he said, pretending to be sad.
I dropped my phone. Kaleb must’ve heard it hit the floor. I heard him yell: “May, everything OK?”
“Yep… just fine!” I couldn’t tell him. I knew I couldn’t. I bent down to pick up my phone. I won’t let this ruin my sleepover day! “Fine, tomorrow or something?” I suggested.
“Nope, in one hour,” he said and snickered. “You’re not my only client, you know.”
I walked into my room.“But I have plans, Jacob.”
“Do you want consequences?”
I took the phone away from my ear. Kaleb had told me that, three years before I was born, he heard Dad on the phone with Jacob. He heard Dad say, “What kind of consequences?” and that was the last time he heard or saw Dad. My hand began to shake. I was afraid to ask the question but I wanted to know what he had said to Dad.
“What kind of consequences?”
© Ashlie Miller, 2023
Goodbye, dear readers – until next time.
I hope you enjoyed these pieces as much as I did!
Connect with Palak on: www.palaktewary.com or Twitter/Instagram: @palaktewary
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