We Celebrate Another Year

It is my wife’s never-you-mindth birthday today, here is this year’s poem/song:

We Celebrate Another Year

We celebrate another year
Of your treasured presence here
On this day, we’d like to say
How much you truly mean

To this energetic family
That’s blessed with musicality
And lots of fun; you are the one,
Our most beloved queen.

Can there be a greater life
Than to have a mum or wife
As awesome as our quorum has
Declared your soul to be?

It’s your birthday, and we’ll find a way
To let you know you’re loved like no-one else
So sit back, enjoy, your sweet girl and boys
As they do things that cause your heart to melt.

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In Defence of Motherhood

In stark contrast to the glowing review by Marina Fontaine, another review of Beyond the Mist appeared at the Publisher’s weekly website last week. The review contains a large number of spoilers and is a mixture of muted praise and sharp criticisms. Some of those criticisms claim that there are structural flaws in the storytelling and weak characterization. Perhaps those are justified, perhaps not, I am too close to the text to be able to be unbiased in that regard – I leave it to those who have read the book to decide if the reviewer is being fair. Other complaints seem to flow from political disagreements with the themes and concepts in the work. One issue in particular I would like to respond to without giving away too many spoilers. Continue reading

When Seventy Has Called Upon

I am currently in England at my parents’ house, where on Friday we flew in to surprise my mum for her 70th birthday, with further surprises including a massive party in a beautiful walled garden with more than 60 guests. I gave my mum a copy of my poetry collection, together with some Czech crystal imitation flowers that my boys bought for her. My dad privately joked to me that he should have hired me to write a poem for the main event. These sorts of jokes are dangerous, because it got me thinking and I didn’t sleep well, with lines occurring to me in between the bouts of sleep. For the first time in my life, I gave in to the muse completely and got up in the middle of the night, sneaking into the lounge to scribble down those lines and add to them, then filled out the rest and polished it in the morning.

This is the result, which I recited as the finale of the event, after at least twenty people had stood up to talk about the wonderful ways in which my mum had helped them and been there for them in their hour of need. It went down very well, lots of people asked for a copy of the poem and a number told me they were going to buy a copy of Selected Verse: Friends and Family later. I hope you all like it just as much.

When Seventy Has Called Upon

When seventy has called upon us to commemorate,
Lie in wait with piled-high plate, surprise and celebrate
A life that’s given so much more than it can ever know;
So many wounds she’s helped to heal, so many lives to grow.

When seventy has called upon our minds to be revised,
We see so many of life’s treasures to be grasped and prized;
So many moments of pure fun, so many lessons learned,
And many talks and punishments that we so sorely earned.

When seventy has called upon our bones to be denied,
Will we still have such energy when we get in our stride?
So many projects worked on, gardens dug and sown,
And so much bounty harvested when all those plants have grown.

When seventy has called upon our eyes to be admired,
We see so much to emulate, so much to be desired;
So many lonely stomachs filled and broken hearts made whole
Through simple acts of kindness from this ever-loving soul.

When seventy has called upon our souls to be inspired,
How will our eyes be opened, our imaginations fired?
We’ll see the needs around us that we ourselves can meet,
Sadness we can turn to joy when broken souls we treat.

When heaven’s glee has called upon our souls to be revived,
Will we have won so many over to the angel’s side?
Will our wakes abound with those so full of gratitude
For a life so generous with such great attitude?
Will the Good Shepherd welcome us and shout aloud, “Well done!”
As heartily as he will do for my amazing mum?

Mum to Be

The talented artist who did the cover and internal artwork for Nobility Among Us has a birthday tomorrow and is expecting her first child after many years of longing for such a blessing, so here’s to you, Anna! (I don’t know if it’s going to be a boy or girl, so if it does turn out to be a girl, please replace all instances of his/him with her.)

Mum to Be

Mum to be at thirty-seven
Waiting for a piece of heaven
In human form to join the world
His beauty slowly here unfurled

Days of discomfort, restless nights,
Aching backs and little frights,
Hormones toss and turn your moods,
Grant appetites for curious foods.

At times you’ll feel you cannot cope;
Those storms will pass, do not lose hope.
Pain like you’ve never known will come
But then at last you’ll be a mum.

A look upon your baby sweet
Will fill your heart with love complete
The challenges have just begun
As you walk down the path marked “Mum”

Adventures, joys, discoveries
An album of sweet memories
And messes, tears and nappies piled
All worth it when you see him smile.