Did you play with that silly rhyme, back in the day?
Spring is sprung, the grass is riz
I wonder where the birdies is!Anon
It still gives me a tiny thrill to say it out loud, with its deliberate naughtiness. I was raised to speak proper(ly), observing the known rules of grammar at all times, never allowed to drop my ‘h’s or the ‘g’s at the ends of ‘ing’ words. As I’ve travelled around the world and encountered different English-speaking cultures, its been a joy to realise that there are different grammars that are absolutely proper in their own contexts. Scots English is especially rich in its variety. There are theories in the world of Linguistics that it was the English of the southerners, the Sassenachs—English people—that diverged, back in the 16th century, rather than the other way round.
And yes, Spring is definitely upon us. No grass in my so-called garden, apart from the odd tufts that rise up in the cracks between the paving slabs, courtesy of the wind, the birds and my neighbours’ lawns. But there are blossoms on the miniature fruit trees in their pots, just outside the front door. And inside, the Oxalis tubers I rescued from what I thought was just a pot of old soil are now in flower on the window sill. Two tiny tomato seedlings have managed to sprout in sympathy.
This week’s episode, “A Small Insurrection”, picks up on the story line which has Helen secretly writing a memoir, while Janey secretly wonders if she is capable of responding to Geogie’s challenge to write some short stories. Janey is in her mid-fifties, a time when many women find themselves wondering “is that all there is?”
Unlike Helen in the podcast story, I have written all my life, but never actually published anything until last year. Things to do in Lockdown? Gather together all those poems and stories and self publish two volumes. Why am I telling you this? Because I am all in favour of people learning life’s great lessons at a much younger age than myself. In this case, the lesson is “Stop waiting for other people to help you. Just do it!”
This week also saw me not winning a poetry competition I had entered. I detest competitions, always have done. Why did I enter? Because the prize was to have a small collection published by an actual publisher, something I still believe gives the author some degree of credibility over and above self-publishing. So now I have to live with the actual, rather than the assumed, knowledge that yet another publisher does not consider my work to be worthy of publishing.
Here’s a poem from that as yet unpublished collection.
Breathing out is good for me
but so is being held.
Not to make the sadness go away
That’s my job.
And let the hold be real
I will feel your love
within my bones
keeping me warm
while the movement goes on
so that I can keep on
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