Currently I am fascinated by doorways and have been pursuing the idea of doorways to a post Covid future. Which bits of lockdown would we keep as improvements to our lives!p? What might we change? I have completed the first draft of a pamphlet of 13 poems on these ideas, mostly in sonnet or haiku form but not exclusively. I thought that my followers might want to take a look.
Here is the first draft of Doorways To The Future
DOORWAYS TO THE FUTURE
Taking a look at how things might be beyond Covid-19
How will our world look? How will we feel?
Once Covid steps down
from being our chief concern
New doors will open
What will we find there?
New ways of living our lives,
Changing our future?
There will be choices
to make. Stay as we were, or
forge a new pathway…
A greener future,
A kinder society,
Love to all people
What will you choose then?
Will you campaign for what
you feel strongly about?
Pause, take a fresh look
at all possibilities,
Make up your own mind!
DOORWAY TO KINDNESS,
‘Love Thy Neighbour,’ Charity Work, Community Initiatives
Each day she walks to work past his old house
Through smeary window panes she often sees
An old man in his bed, still as a mouse,
His features masked by overhanging trees.
Clearly he’s sick and desperate lying there
Alone in bed, no relatives around.
She pauses, waves to him to show her care –
He could be dead and waiting to be found?
Today’s the day she takes a chance to post
A greeting through the door, to wish him well.
It plops down echoing in the hall, where ghosts
may find and keep it, read it, who can tell?
Next day, surprise, he waits there like a child
with nurse and wheelchair, just to see her smile.
2. DOORWAY TO HONESTY
Telling it like it is, Avoiding the Blame Game
We know we should report with honesty
the things which happen causing malcontent
The easy option’s lying, being free
with truth, believing that it’s kindly meant.
But such behaviour stores up trouble ahead
The truth will out at some point, causing rage.
When lying we don’t sleep easy in our bed,
We should all speak as one from the same page.
The latest ruse is ‘gaslighting’ I’m told,
A cunning plan, a sensory assault,
Disguising truths with schemes and lies so bold
We start to think that we’re the ones at fault.
The liars must dig a hole to hide their guilt
But truthful men can keep the house they’ve built.
3. DOORWAY TO WORLD PEACE
Arbitration, Campaigning, Promoting Pacifism
Dark skies pervade a land in deep distress
Perhaps the clouds are mourning a lost love?
A sombre mood prevails, a deep darkness
The birds of peace have flown, no turtle dove
Now nests within the city’s ravaged walls
Where once so many cooed and raised their young;
The atmosphere has changed, the landscape’s soul
Is etched with grief, the victory unsung
Of heroes, warriors who have fought the cause
Now slain and buried deep within the earth.
Their quest was futile, tyranny and wars
Prevail, sweet peace is gone, we await the birth
Of justice, when the dead shall once more rise
In hope, as victory flares light up the skies
4. DOORWAY TO HUMILITY
Accepting help, Swallowing pride, Apologising
We fail to notice how our little lives
(Apportioned masterfully), run their course.
We may pretend that we are in control,
But in effect man’s choices have a source
Beyond him, which is only part revealed;
A tantalising glimpse of what might be
His future, if he follows surely on,
Towing the line and waiting, just to see
What hopes may reach fruition given time,
Ambitions realised, avenues explored,
Imagining that he has willed it so,
Whereas in truth his plans have been ignored.
A hidden compass is our willing guide
Success comes when its message is applied
5. DOORWAY TO RESPECTING BOUNDARIES
‘Me too’ issues, Personal Space, Respecting Free Will
Do not paint my portrait,
for I have a changing face
that alters with age
Do not declaim me in verse,
for I am a fledgling poet
not defined by genre
Do not photograph me,
for I am a free spirit
not confined to time and space
Do not dance my dance,
for I am a swirling ribbon
unrestricted by routine
Do not sing my song,
for I may have a new one
not yet composed
Do not aspire to know me,
for I grow in wisdom and change….
Allow me to be ME!
6. DOORWAY TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES
‘Gather ye rosebuds….’ ‘Strike while the iron’s hot’
Gently she carries us, floating downstream
Rhythmic, hypnotic, tempering the mind
Gliding in measured flow, wrapped in a dream
Past fields, trees and banks where reeds intertwine
Coot, moorhen and mallard paddle alongside
And dab chicks dive under the boat for shade
The pumping house chimney commands the sky,
Behemoth of bygones, whose pomp never fades
We squeeze under bridges, scars etched on walls
from past times when horses pulled boats along,
Then drift to the aqueduct, briefly pause,
Observing the wild life’s enchanting song…
What pleasure is ours as the world ripples past
Come then, ‘carpe diem’ – such bliss will not last!
7. DOORWAY TO COMPASSION
Supporting refugees, the homeless, the displaced, the marginalised…..
Now thirty two he’s found love, has a wife
And life has turned out better than he thought.
He learned the language quickly, though self-taught,
Did not react to bullies, get into fights
Though it was tough for him in a strange land
In early childhood, he learned to forgive,
to turn the other cheek, tried hard to live
the best he could, without a parent’s hand.
The hardship he had suffered made him strong –
To combat loneliness he’d read and write,
Became a big sensation overnight
With pithy stories, poems made into songs
Yet as a man he still missed kith and kin
And wept remembering the child within
8.DOORWAY TO A GREENER FUTURE
Caring for the Environment, our Planet, Fighting Climate Change
I am delighted with the response I have received to the release of my memoir of childhood. There are 5 star reviews on Amazon, including the one below. Copies can be bought from Amazon as paperback or as ebook downloaded to Kindle
One of my poems ‘Washday Wednesdays’, speaks about how complicated doing the laundry was in the 1940s/50s without washing machines! My Nan came to help my Mum and they used equipment which is now displayed in museums. Below you can see a photo taken at an exhibition at Lincoln Castle showing zinc tub, dollyposher ( for beating dirt out of the clothes), a scrubbing board and a tin bath. In addition ( not shown) a huge mangle was needed to put the clothes through and sting out the water before pegging out on the line. Doing the weekly laundry was a very time-consuming activity.
On windy washdays mum was stressed. Wind chimes clanked and jangled in the fierce gale. Washing flapped wildly
on the clothes line –- a string of ghostly bodies on the hangman’s gallows, bloated corpses with distorted limbs.…
In the lull between gusts you might catch the crackle of sweet wrappers in forgotten pockets, loose buttons tapping out morse-code messages.
Across the lawn crumpled leaves, as lined as Nanny Buttle’s street-map face, went chasing ceaselessly back and forth.
The tight-lipped dolly pegs swung like pendulums with each new assault. Yet their resistance proved too much
for the wind’s frenzied onslaught. He would turn on the sulking clouds with their churlish attitude… . . .
Something had to give, Someone had to bend to his will before he blew himself out.
With a frown on her face, hair tied up factory-girl style in a neat turban, my mum pushed the damp clothes through the mangle, Wilfred Pickles would often be on the radio.
I knew it was best to make myself scarce, so I would creep off to my bedroom with a book, knowing I could read my Enid Blyton tales undisturbed.
I am really excited that the great day is very close now, just 4 days away on Weds 20th May. The Paperback copies of my book have arrived and I am now taking oreders via PayPal. Go to PayPal.com and the link PayPal.me/MargaretRoyall. The price is £10.50 to include post and packing. The memoir will also be available on Amazon and Kindle, £8.99 for paperback and £4.99 for Kindle download.
It is an unusual fusion of poetry, prose, old photographs and memorabilia. It loosely takes its form from the Japanese Haibun but is updated to a modern western style.
Here is a synopsis of what to expect
The Road to Cleethorpes Pier A Memoir in Prose and Verse
MARGARET ROYALL ‘I never missed my childhood home until the tide stopped rolling in and ochre sand no longer crunched between my toes …’
Nottinghamshire poet Margaret Royall’s new memoir is unusual. It takes the form of a ‘Haibun’ – a traditional Japanese combination of prose and poetry. Margaret says: ‘I have chosen this form deliberately. The range of Haibun is broad and frequently includes autobiography. In this case the combination of prose and contemporary poetry has allowed me to really convey the beauty of growing up by the seaside in a bygone era.’ The history: Margaret was born in 1944 to the bustle of Cleethorpes. Her world is one of family outings in a tiny Austin 7, ferry rides across the Humber, and lifelong friendships that are forged in unexpected places. Family runs like a comforting thread throughout this lovely book, and it has been illustrated with many original photographs.
Readers will enjoy the nostalgia of poems about pushing damp clothes through the mangle on washdays, the smell of gas light, and eating fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. There are also vivid descriptions of steam travel to London, and the former glory of the Grimsby fishing fleet. And finally there are many powerfully subtle, heartfelt moments conveyed by poems and extracts about the lifelong friendships Margaret has formed along the way. The Road to Cleethorpes Pier is beautiful portrait of childhood in prose and verse ‐ perfect for anyone who has dreamed of growing up by the seaside
Topical: Margaret Royall’s passion for poetry began in early childhood. Retirement brought the opportunity to pursue her writing seriously, giving voice to acute experiences of loss, grief and chronic illness.
The Road to Cleethorpes Pier is published on 20 May 2020 in ebook and paperback priced £8.99 A special hand bound hardback edition is also being produced at the publisher’s studio
Love Calls Me Home A breath of cool air kisses my brow, disturbs the tangled curls on the pillow. The heady scent of opening lilies drifts up from the garden.
Threads of childhood long ago weave complex webs behind closed lids. As the fuse catches and smoulders the kaleidoscope shifts into focus
Floating through the open window on a chill sea‐breeze in late Spring I sense invisible hands supporting me – ghost hands, male and female
I watch myself on mornings of promise wandering bare‐foot along the beach, catching the fishermen on the jetty, struggling ashore with their haul of cockles and shrimps.
Clambering down the slipway to the breakwater, I quietly stare out to Spurn point, waiting for the revolving light to flash again, for the incoming tide to fill the gullies.
The film scene plays on in my head, reliving that childhood magic, my brain erasing negative scenes between then and now, no second takes possible.
Startled, I wake again on the cool side of the bed in sheets like shrouds. The silence is deafening. Yet just for a tide‐span I was there again, back in that safe cocoon.
Bibliographic data: Published by Crumps Barn Studio, Syde, Cheltenham GL53 9PN http://www.crumpsbarnstudio.co.uk Paperback ISBN: 9781999870577 178 pages 46 black and white photographs Release date: 20 May 2020
This is my latest project – a poetry memoir of childhood and adolescence growing up in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire.
I have been looking out old photographs from the late 1940s /early 50s and I was forcibly struck by how “ Victorian” they look. Everyone seemed to wear a hat and suit, even on relaxed occasions. The pram in the photo looks ancient. I remember that my mum pushed me around in something called a Tansad – a cross between a pram and a pushchair, made by the Tansad company, hence the name, and widely in use at that time.
ON THE BEACH WITH MICHAEL.
The adverts for Cleethorpes boasted
five miles of glorious golden sand –
no mention of the biting East wind!
The Meggies*were always a hardy bunch –
a daily dose of mind-numbing fresh air
an absolute must for the health-conscious locals.
My mum and friends believed in bracing walks.
She would push me in the old Tansad**along the Kingsway –
fine when I didn’t have to share it with Michael!
Oh how I hated him, loud, impatient, whiny,
sharing the pram with a boy was humiliating.
The only recompense a choc-ice at the end,
bought from Mr Oliphant’s open-all-hours shop
crammed with buckets, spades and kiss-me-quick hats
exuding cheerful optimism on the sea-front
Familiarity breeds contempt, they say. How true!
It is only now, living as I do in a landlocked place,
that I find myself frequently craving the wildness of the seashore
*Meggies – folk originating from Cleethorpes. The origin of the term is disputed. **Tansad – a type of pushchair with adjustable footboard in use in the 1940s/50s. Tansad became a generic name for a baby buggy
At birth displaying gentle tangerine
With inner bell of warmest apricot pink
Upward majestically it toiled
Striving towards the weak light of first Spring
Much bolder then the shades became
Blood red tendrils interspersed
With splashes of coral and ruby red
Then all too soon the glory starts to fade
Yet still a nuanced cadence is perceived;
The withering petals glow defiant crimson
As though they’re holding back a loss of blood
And clinging to last vestiges of life
This sweet enchantment warms my heart
Dispelling gloom, enlivening March’s chill
Sweet memories of this colourful profusion
Locked deep within my soul’s eternity
Forgotten, abandoned, Mother Earth is sleeping
Hidden away underground in pensive solitude
Accepting her role of prisoner under Winter’s rule.
Soft brindle cattle with questioning eyes
Huddle together In rough-hewn stalls
They do not complain at their sad loss of freedom
Their bodies take shelter from deep, piercing cold
But their souls yearn to roam through buttercup fields
Patiently waiting, their hooves stamp out
The long-lost memory of a summer dance.
Gossamer cobwebs like shrouds in the hedgerows Weave tales from the goddess of maid, mother, crone The shivering threads whisper close-guarded secrets Cast far on the wind for the wise ones to hone
My breath catches quick in the sharp, frosty air I shudder and zip up my Barbour coat tightly A battle with Jack Frost requires some cunning! I flip up the collar and fumble, white-fingered In over-crammed pockets for mittens and headgear – And find – Emma’s beanie from Nursery school days! Complete with its fox ears and button-bead eyes I pull it down snug over frizzy, damp curls Its jaunty ears bobbing in time with my steps
Oozing mud clings to these Doc Marten boots My hike through the fields becomes clumsy and slow The moaning wind wrestles the trees in defiance No audible birdsong …….yet, bravely nearby A robin observes me from high on the hedgetop His head cocked bemused as I plod on my way
Beyond the wood a welcome cottage beckons Smoke rises, and I long for the cosy cheer of home A steaming bowl of hot broth, buttered crumpets by the fire Toasting stiffened fingers and stretching aching limbs Once safe inside, the howling Winter storms Can rant and rage at will – they hold no fear for me! For now is the time of rest and quiet introspection But soon Earth will don again her cloak of green perfection