What you see

With thanks to Paul Brookes at the wombwellrainbow.Wordpress.com for the ekphrastic January challenge.

Picture credit Kerfe Roig ‘handeye’

Every time you look at me you glance

At your hand and I imagine

That in the centre is an eye

Because you say the same thing

I see in an all knowing way

Generally you don’t see, but it’s said

The expected comment to pretend at

Listening to what’s being said

Instead of what you want it to mean.

A shell described becomes a butterfly

A key a lop eared rabbit and so on

Until my heart says why share the acorns

That grow into truth trees

Or rose bushes that hold thorns

And not everything is neatly packaged

As a diamond ring

The sky doesn’t only hold pretty birds

Or the sky hold only sunshine.

All is a mix , unpicked threads that make

Something different or new

You see imperfections, ruins

Rusty keys, thorny flowers, cold nights

I look for both sides neat and messy

Both bring their gifts making up a new

Pattern in my palm to see the world

In colours swirling in my palm.

As I watch the moon shine and stars

Vie for place in the palm of the sky.

Ailsa

AilsaCawleyPoetry2021

Flame in the snow

My feet are blue with cold

As I trudge the snowy hills

To find the signs of those gone

Ahead leaving wispy wisdom

Like golden coins in the drifts

Of feather like flakes

Heart thudding as I hear a whisper

It is your turn to pick up the baton

The lit torch in your path

Forge on with it, it’s magical light

Guide for head and heart

My feet cold no longer I see

I am clad in shoes to protect

A cloak grown warmer around me

Heart steadier and surer

That my path however different

Is the right one to take

And so I shall

Head bowed I thank the ancestors

The hills, and wind

The quiet now gone and a bird sings

Heralding my newness.

Ailsa

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2021

Flickering

It’s small but it’s there

That glimmer from the hidden

Fire that burns deep in my

Belly

It tells me determinedly that

I can do these things that

I dream of and it’s not

Idle dreaming, wishful nonsense

Distracting me from

Reality

The nagging whisper that

Refuses to be put out

Despite naysayers and laughter

Raised eyebrows that say

Dreamer

Smirks that say put it away

The glimmer that refuses

To be extinguished

The magical light that

Even as a tiny almost unseen

Flicker

It keeps on flickering

Glimmering and will not

Go out because the spark

Is hidden away in my soul

Untouchable.

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

Climbing

I see the hill to a hard road ahead

Slippery climb through earth

Wet, sliding and falling

Hit the ground, teeth grinding

Against pain as I force myself on

Enduring to win and take back

My power , my path.

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry 2020

Dr Butler

He preens in preparation

For the next adoring patient

That will bow and scrape

At his little polished feet

His moustache waxed in exact points

Pudgy flesh over stubby joints

He sees it a necessity

Definitely not a vanity

To have the latest silken cravat

Hiding from the public his newfangled

Words set to confuse the people of the day

As he sticks out his chin indignantly

And waits for you to pay

Ailsa

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

Ekphrastic challenge with Paul brookes at wombwell rainbow

Apparition

Apparition

I see you standing on the stair

Feel the chill that takes the air

Cold fingers run down my spine

Like the nail trails a line

I see you standing at the door

Watch you standing evermore

The touch familiar on my back

My mind is beginning to crack

I’ve seen you daily for so long

I no longer think that something’s wrong

Accepted that you are dwelling there

The space is large enough to share

Do I see the features,? you have enquired

Is it something all in your mind

I have accepted that this apparition

Has passed the life and death transition

I wander out to see the sun

To tell myself that you are gone

I turn to see you behind the pane

Window steams from your breath again

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

Ekphrastic challenge November with Paul Brookes @PaulDragonWolf1 thewombwellrainbow

Learning to have peace

I came to the island a city lass

Something clicked and moved

Into a place

An empty space

I didn’t know was there

But I started learning

Some said the island hooked me

But it didn’t hurt

More like wrapped in nana’s arms

Being told I’d found my peace

With vast seas and

Seas that crash or whisper

I kept learning

Many scoffed at this silly dream

After all it’s life on an island

Things are slower here

Because everyone knows

That to hurry makes you deaf

To nature’s teachings

And you never stop learning

Never stop learning.

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

Do you see me?

Do you see me, really?

Not who you want me to be

Or think I should be

Would be if I shaved my edges off

So you could see what you want

And I would be what you’ve desired

All these years your vision skewed

Have you ever once seen me?

Looked at me closely without distaste

Because I’m not who you envisioned I’d be

When you first started pushing, pulling at me

Trying to remove my awkwardness

Angry that what was there wasn’t desirable

I’ve noticed you still trying to cut

Little bits off when you think nobody sees

But here’s the thing

Even those who don’t know you have it

The vision to go beneath your veneer

They see you too and you’re blind to it.

Ailsa

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

The woman of the hill

She lived there alone, but not lonely in her home on the hill.

It was nothing fancy, no frills adorned the door. Only the old Rowan tree that curved over it.

Her years seemed to have gone on forever and she knew that one day soon, they would, as with every other creature end. People named her the wise woman and it was not her wish. For names held power, or danger, depending on whose hands held them and whose mouths spoke them.

Few words passed old Elspeth’s lips. Morning greetings, or asking after someone’s health, an offer of a prayer for the return to health or a painless end to their life. A blessing offered for a newborn. The same as any other person in the village did.

The difference was Elspeth lived outside the village. Elspeth lived alone. Elspeth was a woman.

Her garden bloomed with flowers and vegetables , herbs and berries. She grew as much as she could because she liked it that way. Her life was a life lived for many years alone.

She had lived as a young woman and lost both child and husband in quick succession. She had dug the graves herself, being without family or friends willing to help her. Elspeth had been alone many years and was content in her own company. Safe in her solitude, she’d thought.

Until now.

Only today a man in a tall hat had sat astride a horse, calling her outside in the howling wind to answer questions of a curse she’d supposedly uttered over a child.

She stood tall. Told him she’d uttered no curse over any child and had said she hoped the child was blessed.

He spat at her, saying that the child was gravely ill and he’d been called to investigate the possibility of her witchcraft. As he left he disdainfully called her Cailleach and spat in her face, hissing he’d be back for her. Sooner or later.

She went inside her home, closed the door and for the first time, bolted it. Her anger and fear made her shake.

As she went to bed she knew one thing, she had to be careful as the man wanted to come back. He was afraid of her. Fear made men act strangely.

©️AilsaCawley2020

Artful

Hiding always hiding the skills inbred

Because they don’t pay the rent

Words, paint and music not for us

Learn the practical stuff

And get a nod of acceptance

If you’re different we’re afraid of you

But we won’t say as that would encourage

What we term your airy fairy ways

And high falutin ideas of a better world

We learn to hide until the mask slips

Artistically artful and cunning

In our way of showing work until

We cannot hide any longer

Don’t care if anyone gets it or laughs

At our need to show ourselves in the open

So when you say you kept it quiet, think

Did you ever tell someone they had ideas

Above their station?

Did you help teach the artist to be artful?