Howling at the Moon

The world has seemed more than usually crazed. And I have been feeling nauseous with the persistence and insistence of it all. One country determined to alienate itself from the only truly special relationships it had, another tearing itself apart and taking the rest of the globe and the weeping Earth with it. And, while our own hands are full of all this rotten fruit, that we’d like to surreptitiously discard but we can’t because someone will see us (and we went noisily to market for this fruit after all), others laugh and mock as they manoeuvre and make-merry, seeing our hands too full to slow their dance, and marvelling at how the pieces of fruit all fell so according to the grand plan. The same grand plan there ever was I suppose. There was always someone at the market determined to knock over someone else’s stall and steal the proceeds. What a history book we are busy making. What a calendar we are capturing for the years ahead.

And meantime, it has been Christmas (for some), and very hard (for some of those and others) and heart-breaking (for many, many more than it should ever be). As the few make their determinations for what the many deserve, and decide … “well actually, I don’t think I want them to have their dignity today. Or tomorrow. There we go. Now, is it lunchtime yet?”

And meanwhile the weeping Earth is showing its teeth, as its anger erupts and seismic waves traverse all the oceans, and no-one quite knows why. And who is it that suffers? Not the few to be sure. And can we really be surprised, when they make determinations to plunder the Earth’s wealth in order to inflate their own. What kind of wealth is this, that can buy us gold but turn our hearts to ash?

And the creatures of the Earth … What did they ever do but try and live? They cannot have their dignity either. Because … well … that one is in the way of progress, or this one belongs to me and I will have it because you say I can’t. The whale and the wolf have only gold at their hearts, but the ash will catch up with them too. We will see to that.

And today I am small. As I am every day, but today I feel it deeply. As the wind howls and blows the sleep from my eyes. Neither me, nor whale, nor merry-maker can stop the wind when it chooses to howl. And I swear the wolf will howl with it at the end of the final day. It will not be us. We will be long gone. We will be ash.

 


Copyright © 2018 · Forty and Everything After

 

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Being Me, In My Own Eyes, For My Own Sake

Today I have tightness
A tightness in my head
A tightness in my heart
A tightness in my soul
An anxiety. An annoyance
A shimmer of violent energy
It has to be released onto a page

I am drained by all this ”Proving”
All this proving “Who I am”
Proving “I am worthy”
Proving “I can match up”
Proving “I am clever enough”
“I am sociable enough”
“I am trying hard enough”
Proving “I am worthy of your/their praise”
Proving “My thoughts are valid”
“I am moving fast enough”
“Sharp enough”
“Outspoken enough”
“Tell it like it is enough”
“Chatty enough”
“Quiet enough”
“Sharing enough”
“Caring enough”
“Well read enough”
“Cultured enough”
“Bubbly enough”
“Have enough friends”
Proving “I have fought enough”
“I have felt enough”
“Have lived enough to know the things I know in my heart”
“Have been hurt enough to feel the way I feel today”

Proving I am enough of every damn thing that every damn person expects of me every damn day

What about “Being me” enough?
Just that
Just being me

No, it is not you
I am never going to “Be you” enough
I shouldn’t have to apologise for that
I won’t apologise for that
I shouldn’t have to try, and fail, so you can feel better …
That you “Did you” better than my ill advised attempt
But I have a really good shot at being “Me”

I care deeply, but I won’t measure my emotions on a scale for you
I share what I can, when I can, how I can
It is not always enough. It is not always eloquent
But it is what I’ve got to give in the moment, and I will give it as honestly as I can
Sometimes it is just hard to share,
Like handing someone your innards on a plate
I won’t do it with a filter applied so you find it more palatable
And I won’t tie my value as a person to a “Like” button – so you can ratify my soul

I have valid ideas. I have strong opinions
Sometimes I can express them well (sometimes)
Sometimes I choose not to and that is my choice
I have a lot of thoughts (a lot, a lot!)
Sometimes they are overwhelming
Sometimes they are overwhelmed by the weight of others
Their strong characters, their voluminous opinions, their …
“Do you understand?” “Do you get it?” “Because I said it and you didn’t?”
“If you aren’t being as vociferous as me, can you really think it?”
“Do you really think at all?”

I love being sociable, sometimes, for a short time
Sometimes I like to be quiet.
Please let me
Even in a room full of people.
Please let me

I don’t like to be outspoken so much
When it happens I spend days analysing and berating
Is that what you want for me?
Then can I just “Be me” in my way, not your way?

I don’t like to state all my lived accomplishments every time I meet a person
Or go online
Or sign up for something
When did meeting someone,
I mean TRULY meeting someone, involve a CV?
Can’t we just be? Together?

I know what I know
I’ve lived what I’ve lived
I’ve achieved so much!
And other things have brought me to my knees
And you know what?
I am proud of how I’ve come through it all

So, I make a commitment today and for always
I am going to be me
To the very best of my ability
And try and curb the contamination of others judging my success whilst I do it


Copyright © 2018 · Forty and Everything After

A Book About Shame

He told me I should read the book
He thought I might enjoy it
It was a book about shame
His favourite book he told me

I avoided the book
I hid from it with knowing intent
He inquired if I had read the book
I had not. I was ashamed

No reply came the reply
And so, the chain was off
Now I could, should, read the book
This favourite book about shame

What an uncomfortable read
What an uncomfortable life
What a familiar discomfort
I shy from my knowing this plight

I don’t want to meet this person
I fear to be near that demon
And yet I know her inside out
But let us keep those insides in

Far too close for comfort
A girl I once knew
A girl who terrorised my days and nights
Oh, if those insides were to come out …

And how could I help such a soul
What made me think that I might?
With such a creature as this inside
This phantom that shares the same shadow

And yet perhaps I am ideally placed
Perhaps this book a mirror faced
Who is the most ashamed of us all?
Come, let us light a path away from that thrall.


Copyright © 2018 · Forty and Everything After

Purple

It is a spiritual colour he says

The colour of the Crown Chakra 

The height of your self knowledge

Enlightenment

Connection to a higher power

And that I can appreciate

But to me it is more

To me it is the colour of youth

Of freedom

Of ‘Me’dom

Of seeking and speaking your truth

It is the colour of magical skies

Of eyes, those eyes, oh those eyes!

It is the colour of my heart

That terminally conditioned part

The part that fell apart

It is the colour of pain

And a certain sort of rain

And a broken heart again

It is the colour of April snow

And I will not let it go

 


Copyright © 2018 · Forty and Everything After

This Is Not My Pot

This week I found myself having to justify the dichotomy between what I do to feed my bank account and the things I do outside of work which feed my soul. And this was with a person who has already had to work hard to make the thing they are passionate about their job.  So they really should know better than to assume that what someone does in their day to day to make money automatically defines who they are as a human being.

But I guess we are all guilty of this on occasion. We probably all have asked a new acquaintance “So what do you do?”, and then we layer all sorts of assumptions on them as a person, based entirely on their response – when really “What matters to you?” would be a far more revealing and insightful question. If the person in question is incredibly lucky or has always had a laser-beam focus on achieving their dream career, the answers to those two questions may align. But more often than not they won’t.Read More »

Sunshine Seat

I found this poem recently that spoke to me of a particular time, a particular place and a story not yet told. A place I encountered and instantly knew was one of the ‘Thin Places’

A place that turned me into a Catherine wheel. And, though fireworks will always burn themselves out, as is their very nature, they leave their colours in your soul, to take with you when you are elsewhere, and fireworks aren’t appropriate.

And while that untold story is being formed, I leave you with a view of this sunshine seat. Your own may be anywhere, you may not have visited yet – but you’ll know it when you arrive.


SUNSHINE SEAT

On sunshine seat we find our feet
and get to feel the heat of love,
the numb warms up and the frozen leaves
for this seat wakes the sleeping buds;
it wakes them all, the big and small
the fearful and the tightly closed,
on sunshine seat we greet the heat
and open, like the thankful rose.

The clouds go by, we hear a sigh
coming from our weary hearts,
and sense a change, a flaming wave
of quite delightful charming sparks,
that turn us into catherine wheels
fizzing through the shifting hours,
on sunshine seat we’re strong, not weak
we see us as the great empowered.

On sunshine seat the word ‘defeat’
is not a word that’s ever heard,
but ‘gorgeous’ is, along with ‘bliss’
and the views go far beyond superb,
for sunshine seat sits on the cliffs
looking out at sea and sky,
and all souls leap on this old seat
for it always takes the spirit high.

~ Andrew Hobbs

 


 · Forty and Everything After 2018 · Poem by Andrew Hobbs  · Artist Unknown

 

The Gold In The Gaps

So we’ve seen some breakage
There are cracks in these jars
We have inflicted some on each other
Water seeped from those scars
We watched solemnly as it ebbed away
Fearing it may never again flow
But that water, it was stagnant
And we had to let it go

We are now filling those gaps with gold
Where would we have fitted it before?
If we hadn’t given in to those holes
We had choices to make in those chinks
We might have crumbled to dust
We almost did
But instead we chose to let the sun light through
And now we are capturing gold from the dew

Yes, there may still be drafts we cannot resolve
But that air brings with it oxygen
And we had to learn to breath again
These bowls have seen much harm
Dropped from sad and weary arms
Those shards we once watched fall
Let us take them up and gild them
And with those same arms now rebuild them

What porcelain person was ever not made more whole
When they finally acknowledge there are flaws in their bowl
They are fragile and imperfect and require careful carriage
We now witness new strength in this clay and gold marriage
As integrity returns to this broken vessel’s form
We can clear up the debris from the retreating storm
And this crazing in our glazing marks our journeys’ map
As we honour the strength of this gold in our gaps

 


Copyright © 2018 · Forty and Everything After