Sails

The wind makes ships out of balconies –
canvas and tarpaulin flapping,
plant heads creaking and snapping;
blowing everything – sadness, anger;
fear, frustration… away.

Like my head –
barely tethered, overly weathered;
subject to a disco of light too bright
for one with so many years.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Baa Baa, Black Sheep

image
Things keep breaking inside my house
and I seem to spend every spare moment fixing them.

I seek comfort in a warm cup,
my bed, and the gentle rhythm
of two needles going clickety clack.

Slowly nothing becomes substance
until eventually a blanket appears.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Green and gold

I have nearly completed my Christmas tree and I’m so proud, waxing about her as if she were a newborn child. Given the brevity of time before me and the new terrain, the landscape of ‘different’ in which to source from, she’s a work of art. A patchwork of randomly sourced objects, lovingly put together with an attention to detail and adherence to certain rules – like each additional adornment must be serviceable all year, for life not just for December…, she presents a whole that even I with my obsessive need for perfection cannot readily unpick.

There is a velour cat with a bubblegum pink ribbon; a perspex diamond accommodating two mis-adventuring mice (one, with her purple jacket and hat, reminding me of my grandma) a child petting her pet, who just so happens to be a beautiful chocolate-brown spaniel; a hippo in a tutu attempting a pirouette; a moose holding a snow-clad tree – tiny in comparison to his rotund self; an eccentric giraffe displaying, in his outstretched hand, an umbrella (perhaps to remind me of England and all of the rain I incurred there); a felted tiger straight out of ‘Where the Wild Things are’, a similar felted fox and kangaroo, part of a matching collection; a terracotta angel painted Mallorcan style; a ceramic squirrel with a hollow centre and a rabbit carved from local wood. All that’s missing is the star.

Sitting at the very top, visible from every angle… the star cannot just ‘do’, she has to outshine. So while I’ve seen passable solutions and the occasional ‘blow me away with their beauty but also with their price’ attempts at twinkling joviality, I haven’t yet seen anything that works without breaking the budget (which is also one of the rules!) apart. But I believe… : in the solution, in the ‘right’ one, in the five-pointed declaration that is made specifically for me. When the Universe is ready (as like with everything else), she will extend her palm and yield. And if for some unforeseen reason she will not explain, she, the universe and all of the powers that accompany her… deem I am not to have a talisman, a gem to shine in the night, to ward off the darkness… then so be it. There are reasons greater than me.

And maybe it’s about being flexible in the face of restriction. Or happy amongst the uncompromising walls of limitation. Or about only seeing what you want to see.

Living from the one hastily-packed suitcase, a sitting room full of boxes it would be unwise to unpack; making do with another’s curious ornaments and furniture – a glass bowl full of plastic fruit, a black sofa with rose embellished cushions, threadbare rugs that house more beach than dust, a table and chairs with green velvet seats (seriously?), a kitchen that supports the making of tea but actively dissuades the creation of anything else, appliances that make their grievances known, usually throughout the night; bedsheets that itch and towels that scratch, tiles that bear the mark of generations and shift beneath passing feet: there is a lot of accepting and reimagining involved.

But like with boxes and randomly placed objects; unfolded clothes, decaying flowers and unwashed cups: all manner of unwanted but immovable things… After a while they cease to exist, the eye cleverly distorting what the mind lacks the conscious desire and active need to see.

imageSo really it’s just my tree that stands out, projecting beauty, colour, positive energy, fun, enchantment, love and pride. Greeting my return like a faithful friend, she adds a little warmth and welcome to an otherwise cold and inanimate space.

Learning to dance again

Opening a closed heart can be dangerous;
especially if you have not adequately prepared.
Just look at Pandora and what happened to her!
In the end though, there is no other way:
denial only prolonging what will one day find a way out.

Navigating extreme feelings –
emotions that threaten to overwhelm
the casing in which they reside –
I battle the urge to run backwards,
something external holding me to the floor.

Placing hands on parts I have for years now
happily suppressed – suffocating, starving,
ignoring… until they appeared to die –
I listen as they wake back up:
hungry, angry, needy.

Tears fall, sobs escape, screams wrench
and I keen like a mother grieving an infant: open, raw, exposed.
And while it might take a while,
for the denial runs deep:
even this small freedom is a respite.

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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Lavender, tea tree and Himalayan salt

Autumn leaves coat the pavement
like careless gems,
their silent bodies slowly rotting.

Likewise, a finger glowers and sweats,
unhappily attached to a hand so busy surviving,
it hurts more than it helps.

Days later, betrayed by Mary, Jesus, God,
lavender, tea tree and Himalayan salt,
the body interferes

insisting on manufactured
ointments, pills and plasters
to cover and protect what it cannot heal.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Autumn leaves

A table laced with mind games spans the length of the room.
Beneath, a floor of broken glass.

The walls drip with silent tears
and the windows behind are shuttered against the light.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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