Friday, 22 March 2013

Today - A Meme

Lorna phoned to cancel our poetry meeting;
I am relieved that I don’t have to go out.
Is this winter never going to accept defeat?

Outside my window 
a scene out of Brueghel, and the leaden sky promises no respite.
Trees bow their crowns before the bitter east wind,
and sleet and snow drive all life to seek shelter.
Even Millie refuses to go out.

I am thinking
of last night’s play, Allan Bennett’s ‘People'
brought to a screen near you by ArtsAlive,
straight from The Lyttleton Theatre in London.
Aston village hall was packed. 
not a soul under fifty.
If it weren’t for people like us,
incomers all,
there would be no art in England’s provinces.

From the kitchen
comes the rumble of the washing machine.
There’ll be a line of laundry
marching hand in hand with poetry.
all is silence.
Hungry birds came to feed early today.
their busy flights stilled again,
holly hedges and yews their haven from the storm.

I am hoping
stray dogs and rough sleepers
will find a helping hand before nightfall.
That generosity of spirit
will succour those in need.

I am reading
the strange fiction of W.G. Sebald,
the man who described, like no other,
the eternal search of the dispossessed, displaced,
for a place to call home,
a place to belong.
Listen to him,
as he writes about waking up to the sounds of the city
intruding through his hotel room window:
"That then, I thought on such occasions,
is the new ocean. Ceaselessly, in great surges,
the waves roll in over the length and breadth of our cities,
rising higher and higher,
breaking in a kind of frenzy when the roar reaches its peak
 and then discharging across the stones and the asphalt
even as the next onrush is being released from where it was held by the traffic lights.”

I am planning
a simple supper for the two of us.
Some fish perhaps,
a medley of vegetables,
a dish of fruit for dessert.
Elderly stomachs sleep better on light meals.
Perhaps a glass of wine will further aid digestion.

will end in peace and harmony,
if it is up to us.
Music, a book, a poem, a story on a flickering screen,
should there be one to please us both.
And now and then,
a look, a word, a question,
the offer of a cup of tea perhaps.
And as night falls
if we remember it,
we may just breathe a heartfelt sigh of thankfulness.

The lovely Cait O’Connor at her blog of the same name has introduced me to this  meme, she may even have invented it. Cait’s versions are infinitely more lyrical than mine, sheer poetry, but I thought a meme can equally well apply to the humdrum days of lesser mortals, the days when nothing much happens but days which have, nevertheless, a gently poetic rhythm because of their uneventful nature.


  1. Well, I think I know much of your current life through your poetry, and I'm not sure you needed your poetry group today -- this is beautifully and eloquently stated.

    Except the elderly stomachs part. I don't know how old you guys are, but your photo doesn't show an elderly face! Don't sell yourself short, my dear!

  2. I have just come in from the kitchen after scrubbing down the stove and refrigerator which were beyond disreputable. Before that, ventured out to the compost bin, wishing the skies would clear up a bit and the air turn warmer. Sat down to see what is in the e-mail, etc., etc., then came across this, which has turned my mood from grumpy to almost serene. Which is all to say I like your meme very much.

  3. This is one of my favourite sorts of posts. Yours is restful and even poetic. I love to read it and picture just where you are, in the kitchen, at table or in the green leather chair in front of the flickering screen. It's restful - as is the scene around me as I wait at the dock for the boat home.

  4. hoping those that need find help as well....we are due snow here as well...starting tomorrow...just when i was loving on spring....glad you got to stay in you know...and we should preserve the arts...

  5. I am not a fan of memes generally but I am a fan of your blog and of Cait's. This one is an exception. I love the rhythm of it and the insight into your world.

  6. I Love this post. The poetry in the everyday is so beautiful. I love this: "There'll be a line of laundry marching hand in hand with poetry." That describes most of my days, that simplicity of life mixed with seeing the beauty even in the so-called mundane. What a wonderful way to capture these days.

  7. You made poetry out of your day. Thanks for sharing.

  8. The poetry of everyday is so real, it reaches all of us, and often teaches us, too.

  9. Strikingly beautiful and haunting. I couldn't have written it but I did enjoy it.

  10. A very nice way to to talk about the day. To this I say, "Good night and pleasant dreams."

  11. As a lover of live theatre I am always saddened how few younger people come out. When I express my love of theatre I always get a blank look or worse, a look that I must be crazy. One has to wonder what the future will bring with so many young people wanting to go the the movies.

  12. Beautiful! I love this meme, and the way you worked it…

    I'll be back!

  13. "There’ll be a line of laundry marching hand in hand with poetry." Excellent!

  14. Your meme is lovely and peaceful and honest and describes your life completely. It was nice to get a glimpse of it.

  15. This is a lovely meme, Friko, full of the poetry of everyday life, expressed in your own style. The scene looking from your garden to the castle ruins made my eyes widen - will winter ever give up?

  16. Love the meme, and how you have used it. The winter must seem endless, but I'm sure spring must be very close.

  17. Nothing you describe ever seems hundrum. Your phrases are always evocative and frequently thought provoking. Wonderful use of the meme. Have a great weekend.

  18. It is the same here it snowed again ! I think I should move to Africa. Tonight I also have a theatre play and there are also only youngsters from 50 on !

  19. This was the rhythm of your words and how you took me through your day!
    Well done.

  20. Hi Friko - I missed the Arts Alive programme - having just found it's on over in Bexhill ... so I'll add the programme into my diary notes. They're repeating some of the good films too ..

    It is just plain miserable .. we haven't got snow here - but where my mother's care home was - is the village of Newlyn, Cornwall that was swamped in the deluge ... I feel for the community - a poor seafaring part of the world ...

    I enjoy my enforced days at home getting on with things ... well that's the plan!

    This was a delightful interlude ... I can quite imagine your scenes .. but I'd love to see your warm greening neck of the woods come alive - these white-outs are just dreadful.

    Cheers Hilary

  21. Marvelous post... and enjoyed O'Connor's site also. Thanks for sharing. Also thought the snow covered castle pic is wonderful.

  22. Your writing flows beautifully. I don't give a fig that you are responding to a meme; it's what you do with it that matters. Do people think art spontaneously combusts? Because it doesn't. The world feeds us prompts and memes without end.

  23. lovely. my only attempt at poetry was with the refrigerator poetry magnet kit. I would write a line and then my sone would come and write a line.

  24. I love the hoping & reading ones best. Huh, I never think of you as having an "elderly" anything. I hope your simple, quiet dinner is a cozy intimate pleasure.

  25. First I had this feeling of: this is such wonderful English! Yes, I really really really liked your Meme Friko! " Trees bow their crowns before the bitter east wind,
    and sleet and snow drive all life to seek shelter." WOW! Then secondly I must confess, I had no idea what a Meme is. After checking on the Internet, oh well now I have a faint idea! :-)

  26. You paint a lovely picture of your 'humdrum' day . . . I find that humdrum days are often the richest in enjoyment.

  27. That's a lovely photo - although I know most people are ready for spring...

  28. Thank you for showing us your Breugel. I feel edified and satisfied reflecting on your life well lived, and I love your special way of viewing it. amen on stray dogs and rough sleepers..... bless us all another night...

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    ~ > < } } ( ° > <3

  29. I discovered Sebald this past year. Looking back, I think you must have mentioned him in a previous blog. Very interesting writer and easy for me to read. (He writes well) Dianne

  30. "Elderly stomachs sleep better on light meals.
    Perhaps a glass of wine will further aid digestion."

    Me, too! (Also snowing here, so I can't offer much sympathy.)

  31. I don't know where to begin; this is such a remarkable post, with so much captured in such simple beauty. Thank you for this, Friko. It is a wonderful post.

  32. A delightful post, Friko, summing up a particular place and time.


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