Play date

Play date

Into my tea I sigh and moan and whine
that I am fine, no really, I am fine.
I just wish that there were time
to clear away the daily grime.

Long hours, up so often, drying tears,
soothing pains and calming fears;
these endless days drag on like years.
I’m waiting till this brain-fog clears.

Your nod and sympathetic sound
shows that we have common ground
that this is just what you have found:
you too are stuck on this merry-go-round.

The centre of whirling cacophony,
we sit here in perfect symmetry.
Next time, why don’t you come to me
and I’ll do the tea and sympathy.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2013

Linking up to Prose4T over at Helen Braid’s All at Sea.

Prose for Thought

He knows the plans he has for me

An old one today. A lesson I need to learn over and over.

He knows the plans He has for me

I tried to sneak a look
but he replaced the lid.
His hands deftly diced carrots,
onions, garlic.
“Why so much onion?” I asked.
“Why vegetable stock? Chicken is nicer.”
He smiled.
He peeled and chopped
his movements a blur
sleight of hand
I couldn’t follow.
“Is that coriander?” I sniffed,
“I’d use thyme, myself.”
The knife flashed
steam filled the kitchen
a fragrant mist
I blinked blindly.
“What are you making?” I pleaded.
He gave me some potatoes and a knife
I peeled them and my hands
got covered in dirt
I couldn’t match his speed
but he was infinitely patient.

At last,
he stirred one last time
and held out a spoon:
“Taste and see,” he said invitingly,
“Isn’t it good?”

(c) Judith Kingston, 2008

Linking up to Prose for Thought at Victoria Welton’s blog.

Prose for Thought

Are you still there?

I am living in my childhood holidays – except I’m not. When I was a child, England was our destination of choice for most summer vacations (because of the lovely weather of course). We would rent a little holiday home in a village somewhere and go for walks through the woods, climb over stiles, jump in brooks, go for cream teas, browse second hand bookshops and visit stately homes.

Now I live here – paying a mortgage, finding work, bringing up kids – I sometimes struggle to see how this is the same country I knew from those summers in my youth. This is the topic of this week’s poem.

Our front garden - recreating an English country walk

Our front garden – recreating an English country walk

Are you still there, England?

I remember stone cottages
on windy roads hemmed with hedges,
dogs barking in the yard at dawn
a village shop, red phone box outside.
We ran without fear, without thought,
down the road, flip flops flying,
summer clothes, always grubby,
cricket in the garden and afternoon tea.

There was a stillness that settled.
You were but the scene, painted
as backdrop for childhood adventures,
no one moving or laughing but us.
Shopkeepers waved paper hands,
painted smiles from the hikers,
they knew their role and their place,
any words tightly scripted to brighten our day.

Twenty years on I have jumped in the picture:
the cars set in motion, the volume turned up.
Outside the shop is a shattered red phone box,
the winding lanes hide speeding cars round blind bends.
The chatter is ceaseless, voices cry for attention,
each one the centre of their own universe.
I can’t hear the birds now, the rush of the river,
no one wants to play games or run after geese.

Oh England,
Is it you or my youth that has fled
in the whirl and confusion of life games
insurance and taxes, politics, violence
and final demands?

Then I step out of the front door
the dewy lawn, tall purple flowers,
a child by the hand and one on my arm
and I see them gaze in joyful wonder
at bees and planes and diggers and cats.
Bills are just paper, traffic a game,
Their eyes reflect your beauty,
England,
I look at their faces and find you again.

(c) Judith Kingston 2013

I am linking up, like every Thursday, to Prose for Thought on Victoria Welton’s blog. Click through to read some excellent poetry from fellow bloggers!

Prose for Thought

Embarrassing Moments in my Life

A poem I wrote a while ago – it speaks for it self, I believe.

 

Embarrassing moments in my Life

 

Remember that diary that wasn’t in Dutch

like you thought it would be?

How you opened it, just at the page

that said “I LOVE HIM!!!!”

in desperate, gawky letters

not meant for eyes other than my own

and how you laughed and laughed

and I went cold inside?

 

And remember the tent?

When we thought they’d be gone for hours

so we could – you know –

but they weren’t

and your little brother –

it wasn’t even good.

 

Or remember the time I lied

or the other time I lied

or all those times I said something dumb

those little splinters sticking

in the pin-cushion of my mind.

 

I’d invent Life Tip-exx if I could

if only that were possible

not to see your mocking face

or relive my shame

 

You do remember all that

don’t you?

 

(c) Judith Kingston, 2009

 

Linking up to Prose for Thought, hosted by the excellent Victoria Welton.

Prose for Thought