January 2012 Archives

The Photograph Album

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There I am in my christening robes

In Auntie Nessie's arms,

In camel hair coat and pixie hood

Petting a Frisian cow

And in new Easter dress

Handmade by Nanny

Feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square.


There's Dad grinning at the helm of the April

On the Salford River

Mum, with Nick starting to swell her belly

Peggy hanging out the washing

As she did every Monday,

 Siamese Victoria in the wigam,

And Mosby the tortoishell

Sitting between teddy bear

And Skippy, my toy fox terrier.

Katy in the apple tree

Little girls skipping in the yard

And children on the seesaw

In front of octagonal summerhouse

Timmy, Kay, John and Livy

With a curly-haired Becky

 Balancing in the middle.

Look, here we are in Leicester Park,

Cheeky Lindy and Nick playing on the ruins

Wearing their little duffel coats,

 Here with Mum,

Looking for signs of spring.

And see!

 A priceless shot of Fingal's Cave

Taken by my Baby Brownie.


Visions of family

In dinghies, ferries, tents, rockpools,

Or snuggled in the back of Blue Bessie,

Our little Morris Minor.

Happy children making calendars, building a boat

Playing in snow,

Decorating Christmas tree.

My childhood self is alive here

In that elusive garden

Whose sorrows and joys

Have made me what I am.






The Delicatessen

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We visited your shop every week

For cheeses and Polish sausage.

You made much of me

Gave me nibbles of cheese

Reached over the counter

To pat my head

And fill my hands with bonbons.


You were magical and foreign like me

The child with oval eyes

And Yiddish-speaking family.

Great-Granny came from Poland

We had a secret bond.


I didn't know of your sufferings

Under first the Nazis, then Stalin

Or why you and your compatriots

Lived in Nissen huts on Sandy Lane

Outside Melton Mowbray.


For a child in the aftermath of war

The Polish camp was a part of my world

Perplexing, but simply there.

I went with my mother to sing carols

And cheer up elderly residents.


Your life was marked by tragedy and displacement

Great-Granny's too.

So many stories untold

Deemed not fit for children's ears.

I hope my weekly visits

 Brought you joy.

Fragments are all I know of you

But I will not forget.









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 written for the naming of an Afro-Jewish baby

Mighty Hava

Mother of all the living

Great black woman

Striding the plains of Africa

The Motherland

Your origins swathed in mystery

Birthgiver of our race

Be present here.


Holy Hava

Dweller in the garden of innocence

Luminous mother

Bestower of the light

Of human consciousness

Be present here.


Bless this baby

Of the two covenants

This daughter of Sarah and Abraham

This child of Africa.


Bless her who bears your name

May she truly be

A second Hava

Chooser of the fruit of life.

May her mighty soul unite

The riches of Torah and Motherland

May she walk in power like you

Gentle and strong

Peaceful and confident

May she help to birth the Light

Into our troubled world

And may she ever live

Held in the arms of love.


On the Moor

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On the Moor

For Rosalind


This is what we have always loved

Battling through bitter wind

Head doon an' bash on

Rain stinging our faces

Sheep fleeing as we approach.

We hike, soaking wet

Through a watercolourist's fantasy

Ochre, umber, burnt sienna, viridian.


We walked bog and moor together

When I was nine and you were three

Hopping from tussock to tussock

Your tiny hand tight in mine.


You've made your home on these moors

And I among ponderosa pine

And tallgrass prairie.

Today you stride ahead

I follow

Two sisters in January gale

Doing what we have always loved.



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Blue-black wings

Flash through iron-grey sky

A lightening storm of birds

Whirls through falling light.

We watch, shivering

Dansk: En stærefolk danner fascinerende format...

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Rain lashes us

Cameras and glasses mist

Sea boils and roars.


An hour before

We saw them gather

Circling Bontnewydd fields.

Now they rush in

From North, South, East

Squawking, chattering, swirling.

Black sun sinks beneath pier

Midwinter moot.


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    This page is an archive of entries from January 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

    December 2011 is the previous archive.

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