Monthly Archives: December 2016

So here it is…

Merry Christmas!

I wondered whether I would write my blog this week, it being Christmas day. But the season is no disrupter of sleep patterns and I was still awake at 4.00 a.m. So here it is, a shorter version than usual. I’m writing it,  I’ll leave the reading of it up to you.

This has been a week of work and play. I’ll start with the work, because that makes me look dedicated.

It’s been a week of renewed energy in the PhD. I completed RD9 of the meeting with Jean and sent that off, then settled to work on the poetry analysis. I have been reading and re-reading Selima Hill, analysing her work for recurring themes and images. She uses reference to colours and smells a lot in her work; and flowers, animals and body parts occur frequently. It is interesting to try to work out what these images ‘mean’. Of course, what they mean to me in my reading might not be what she intended them to mean in her writing, but it is up to me to make my reading of her work convincing. Linking her images to Freudian psychoanalysis is interesting. For instance, she mentions teeth quite a lot; and in The Interpretation of Dreams Freud claims that ‘teeth’ dreams are indicators of sexual/masturbatory desire; and specifically in girls, to the desire for boy babies. I’m not sure what that tells me about Selima Hill’s poetry, but it is just an interesting link; and it is just a start.

I have also been reading Adrienne Rich’s Of Woman Born, particularly the chapter ‘Motherhood and Daughterhood’. Just Wow! So, considering it has been Christmas week, I have got quite a lot done on the PhD front. Finding the space and the time was the hard part this week.

On Monday I met up with the Spelks in Manchester. Four of us met under the giant Santa Claus on Albert Square. We had a cursory look around some Christmas market stalls on the way to a pub in Exchange Square where we had drinks and cocktails to celebrate Penny’s birthday; then we went on to Mowgli restaurant where we met up with the rest of the Spelks for a celebratory meal. It was a lovely afternoon in my favourite company. How fantastic it is to have like-minded friends and to be able to share something as special as poetry with them.

I moved my book-keeping day to Tuesday this week to free up Wednesday to go to Peterborough with Bill and Amie to meet up with my elder son, Richard, and friends. We had a meal in Carluccio’s restaurant in the city centre. Before we went I thought it would be a chain establishment trading on the famous name; but I have to say the food was fantastic, worthy of the Carluccio name. And the company was fantastic too. It’s always good to spend time with the offspring; and especially so at this time of year. We all went back to a friend’s for drinks and yule log; and an old episode of ‘League of Gentleman’ as it had been the unusual focus of Amie’s Christmas jumper: You’re my wife now! Here is a photograph I took of the lovely Peterborough Cathedral under floodlight. The Cathedral was featured recently in Lucy Worsley’s Six Wives on BBC television, being the burial place for Katherine of Aragon. The photo doesn’t do it justice though. It’s a beautiful building, and the floodlight gave it a lovely rosy glow that doesn’t really show up in this picture.


Thursday I had to take my beautiful cat Jimbo to the vet. He was limping off his hind legs. Eighteen months ago he managed to fracture both femurs in a freak accident jumping onto the sofa and getting his leg caught in a cushion. The injuries were a result of post-neutering osteoporosis, apparently. His right leg, the worst affected, was repaired under surgery; the left leg was left to heal on its own, with the possibility of further surgery down the line. I was afraid that time had come this week; however, the vet doesn’t think he has an unhealed fracture and treated him with a pain killing injection. He was prescribed further painkilling medication and I have to take him back after Christmas for a check-up and possible X-ray to determine the need for more treatment. So far, the medication seems to be working: he quite enjoys the medicine, thank goodness. Anyone who has ever medicated a cat will understand what a challenge it can be. And his limp does seem to be lessening. So we’ll see what happens on Wednesday when he goes back for his next consultation.

That’s it for my week then. I’ll leave you with a huge wish for a peaceful and relaxing Christmas, whatever your personal beliefs; and for a New Year filled with success, achievement and good news. See you in 2017.





Where did I put my recovery discs?

This week has been all about considering my options;  and recovery. The dreaded microbe has had the upper hand all week; my body crashed. If my laptop  crashed I could insert the recovery discs, hit the right button and clear the virus in minutes. Humans invented that system for technology but not for themselves, unfortunately. I have lost my recovery discs. I have crashed!

The first part of the week I concentrated on getting over this virus, with limited success. I did a bit of editing of the scenes for the verse drama, read a couple of PhD theses: I found Katrina Naomi’s really helpful. One chapter was really relevant to my own work, not just in its relaxed writing style, but in that is was an analysis of Pascale Petit’s poetry. I am planning to analyse her poetry for my own research early in the new year. Katrina’s thesis led me to relevant  collections, which, of course I have ordered online. I say again, ‘the community of poets: where would I be without it?’

On Tuesday, feeling like a rung-out dishrag, I went to meet Jean Sprackland in Manchester. I had a tiny, dog-toy squeak of a voice. We met in the cafe/bar of Number 70 Oxford Road, so the cup of hot green tea helped oil the vocal chords. We discussed the renegotiation of my critical work to 20,000 words and what this might look like in terms of form. Antony had told me a couple of weeks ago that the form didn’t matter too much, ‘as long as it’s doctoral’; whatever that means. So I have no mental map of my work at the moment and I find that floundering. My conversation with Jean was helpful: there is no need to see the end result as two separate entities, she said. The creative and the critical could be interspersed if that would work for me. Or it could be created that way, then presented separately before submission. We discussed the verse drama. Unfortunately, we decided it’s probably a no-no. There isn’t an expert in the Writing School who is available to supervise it, and Jean doesn’t feel qualified to advise on the dramatic aspects: fair enough. I want to put myself in the strongest possible position, it’s hard enough without putting extra pressure on myself. We discussed the scenes I had written so far and Jean recognised the strong element of ‘voice’ in them. We realised the story of the drama could make a good collection of poems in the different voices of the characters, so that is what I’m running with at the moment. The verse drama can remain a possibility when the PhD, in a genre I am comfortable with, is done.

I’m going to tell you something important now; something you’ll probably have to grapple with at sometime if you consider doing a PhD. The thing is, I faced the possibility of sacking the whole idea of a PhD while I was talking to Jean. I am almost halfway through, have spent a lot of cash, and feel as if I’m floundering in shallow water and the tide keeps changing. The easy thing would be to say, ‘you know what, I don’t need this in my life.’ But I’ve never been a quitter, it’s not in my nature. I face challenges, I don’t turn my back. So I considered giving up for thirty seconds and decided against it. I won’t cry in my soup if I don’t get this PhD; but I will be sorry for ever if I don’t give it my best shot. Giving in is not an option. So, I came away from the meeting with Jean with new resolve. I have revised my plan and am on it with renewed energy; or will be when this bloody virus stops confounding all my efforts.

On Tuesday evening I met two wonderful friends for dinner, mutual girlie support and healing laughs. A friend is an asset and I have some really good ones. I couldn’t taste the curry I ordered, but the company was spicy enough for me.

Wednesday was work day: the restaurant books. There was a lot to do, as last week I had done only the most pressing work before I went away to see friends and family. And on Wednesday I didn’t feel up to being there. But Amie was there and that made it bearable. A quick aside: do you remember that wonderful episode in Fawlty Towers when Kurt, the chef, gets drunk and spoils Basil’s Gourmet event? Well, without going into too much detail, it was like an episode of Fawlty Towers at the Black Ladd on Tuesday. Thankfully it didn’t involve the meat cleaver, but now Amie is dealing with the aftermath and having to work like stink during the busiest week of the year to make up for a staffing shortfall. Thank heaven she will be able to have Wednesday off this week when we go to Peterborough to meet up with number one son. But despite her own troubles, she insisted we have a full lunch at BL on Wednesday and sorted me a tub of minestrone soup for supper so I wouldn’t have to cook a meal when I got home. I am blessed in my children.

Thursday was all about Christmas shopping. I know, I’ve never left it this late, ever; so despite feeling like it was the last thing I wanted to do, we grasped that particular nettle on Thursday. We considered Manchester for about thirty seconds, decided we weren’t up to it and settled for Oldham instead. Oldham was very quiet: most people these days get Metrolink to the broader choice of Manchester street markets and superior shops. But Oldham did for us this year. I managed the absolute minimum I could get away with. The family is coming to visit after Christmas, so I left the bulk of the shopping until the post-Christmas sales, when, hopefully, I’ll be feeling better and so I only did what needed buying before the big day. Even so, we were both exhausted afterwards and glad to be home to collapse in the comfort of our own space. I had some printing to do for the restaurant so I managed to get that done and delivered on Thursday afternoon; but not much else.

On Friday I had to perform the domestic goddess role; a friend was coming for an overnight stay. Every year we book a table at the Black Ladd for the Christmas meal: Friday was that booking. I always consider this event the start of our Christmas, and I got up early to decorate my little Christmas tree. It’s very minimal, but it is also damage limitation for cats: Rosie Parker would be up a real tree in minutes, she contents herself with playing with the lower branches of this one. So far.


We had a wonderful meal at the Black Ladd. I am vegetarian, and Amie does a very good nut roast with all the Christmas dinner trimmings; a glass of mulled wine, the first celebratory meal of the season, pleasant company and a Christmas hug from my lovely daughter. Altogether a good night.

Saturday, after Joan left, should have been PhD work time; but the virus took me back three days, irritated my bronchioles and generally made its presence felt. So I gave myself permission to take another day off. I contented myself with drafting a poem from the verse drama scene and I’ll leave you with that little effort. It still needs some work; but then, so do I. Where did I put those recovery discs?


 What a strange word.

It sits on the tongue like the unused wish

you don’t want to waste

when you squandered the other two

years ago.

Because wishes are gifts we squander.

I  believe she loved him once.

There was a time I’m sure

when she looked at him and found

her third wish

after she wasted the first two

on marriage and childbirth.

And now

love is a word that sits on her tongue

like salt. She drinks it up like a love leech

and still thirsts.

I have to keep trying.

I have to keep offering love.

It’s the only wish I have left.

Rachel Davies

The Community of Poets III.

I’m sure you’ve seen the scene in the 1953 film of H.G.Wells’s War of the Worlds where the ‘Martians’ – who look surprisingly like the motorway lights at the Hollinwood junction of the M60 and walk like two legged harvest spiders – are walking through town shooting up anything that moves; and everything moves because the town-folk are running for their lives, making them easy targets. Anyway, there they go, shooting for the gold medal when their knees, or what constitutes knees in a harvest spider version of a motorway light, just give way and they start to topple. Pole-axed. Down like skittles. Has there been a human fight-back? Oh no! Microbes. The Martians have caught the common cold, a killer they haven’t encountered on Mars.

This week I know just how they felt. I have developed the king and queen of colds. Pole-axed like a Martian. And that is why my blog post is a day late. I slept for ten hours on Saturday night (that’s about three nights’ sleep for me in one go!) , woke too late to write it in bed as usual; so I took my MacBook downstairs meaning to write it sometime during the day. But I dozed my way through most of Sunday as well, so it didn’t get written. And now, having hardly slept at all on Sunday night, here I am writing the blog post that has been being composed in my mind all night. I’d like to thank Kim Moore for this: this week, in her ‘Sunday Poem’ blog she referred people to my blog if they were considering doing a PhD: it was reading my blog that had encouraged her to apply. I had thought I might leave the blog this week and write a double-header next week, but when I read Kim’s blog, I thought I had better actually write a blog this week in case people popped over to read it. Actually, I don’t think I could have passed a whole week without writing it, really, because it has been going through my brain like an ear-worm.

Anyway: this week has been a mix of PhD, poetry, life and microbes; especially life and microbes. On Monday I was fine. I took my daughter, Amie, for her regular check-up at the Christie: it was all good.

On Tuesday, I should have been meeting Jean Sprackland to discuss the verse drama, but poor Jean is also battling microbes so the meeting was delayed until this coming Tuesday. I had the first signs that I was catching a cold, but I wasn’t bothered: it’s just a cold, I told myself, and caught Metrolink to Manchester to meet Rachel Mann and Kim Moore in the Eighth Day Cafe on Oxford Road. We are all three at different stages of the PhD: Rachel is coming to the end of hers; a real academic, Rach can pull sound advice out of the air. I am trying to be an academic and finding it incredibly challenging. Kim is at the stage of preparing her RD1 to get her proposal registered with MMU. It was good to chat over cups of tea and realise that I have come a long way in a year, but still have a way to go. And good to be able to reassure Kim that RD1, which seems to have all your dreams hanging on it at the start of year one is actually only a hurdle to jump, and doesn’t prescribe your next three years. Most productive of all was the discussion around acadamese: I told them I haven’t learned the language yet, that I was reading Martin Kratz’s thesis, because I know he struggled at first. His thesis shows he became fluent very quickly! I still didn’t think I could write with that level of apparent obscurity. They referred me to Katrina Naomi’s PhD thesis, which I sought out when I got home. It restored my faith: here is a (successful) thesis written in accessible language: I could understand it, it was interesting and readable

Yesterday I messaged Katrina via FaceBook to tell her how helpful her thesis had been to me, how refreshing it was to read accessible acadamese. She said my message had cheered her up no end, made her week! One of her supervisors had told her her thesis was like she was chatting to someone in the pub. So what’s wrong with that? Why should academe be so hot-house, so elitist?  Why shouldn’t the folk in the pub also have access to academe. I shall feel stronger about defending my own accessible language after reading (Dr) Katrina’s thesis and having my virtual chat with her. The community of poets, eh? It has served me more than once this week.

Wednesday and Thursday was all about pre-Christmas visiting: sister and best friend in Lincolnshire. Two wonderful days with no PhD to bother me, the microbes becoming  progressively aggressive, but still nothing  I couldn’t cope with. I even drove home all the way from Lincs, a first long drive since my fall in July. I wouldn’t have liked to attempt it without Bill in the co-driver’s seat; and we took a break half-way for coffee; and I needed hot water bottle therapy when I got home. But at least I know now that I can do it, I know where my limits are: I wouldn’t have wanted to drive much further, but at least I know I can take myself south to visit my sister if I need to.

On Friday I should have had a day full of things to do. First thing was a visit to the dental nurse for my lovely cat, Rosie Parker. She has to have a scale and polish in January (!), a price tag of about £200, more if she needs  a suspected extraction. I got home from there feeling dreadful and cancelled everything else in my diary: the usual Friday bank run, lunch with two lovely friends, Hilary and Penny. I sank on the sofa looking like a Victorian melodrama heroine and felt thoroughly sorry for myself. I did what I always do when life smacks me in the teeth: I watch crime drama on the telly. This time it was Shetland, I hadn’t realised it was written by Anne Cleeves, inventor of Vera, my favourite detective. I lost myself in Shetland for two or three hours. In the afternoon Hilary brought me some fresh pineapple to help the voice and to return my paper trimmer that she had borrowed to make her set of Spelk pamphlets. I spent a couple of hours in the afternoon sewing a few more: we had about 25 to take to Saturday’s event.

Saturday I felt awful: no voice to speak of, or with; and the ‘Spelks meet Sounds of the Engine House’ event in the evening. I was determined to go as I had been the Spelk instrumental in getting it off the ground; and already two of the six couldn’t make it. So I dosed up with Lemsip Cold and Flu capsules and Halls Soothers and at 4.00 p.m. I met up with Penny and Keith in Coriander Restaurant in Chorlton. After a lovely meal and a couple of beers we made our way to St.Werburgh’s Church for the event. It was a lovely evening: a sublime mix of poetry and music. Ben Gaunt and Eve Harrison are alumni of Royal Northern College of Music; I met Ben through the link MMU has with RNCM in the first year of my MA and we have collaborated several times since then. My favourite part of the evening was a setting of Matthew Fitt’s poem ‘Kate O’Shanter’. Kate is the wife of Robert Burns’s anti-hero, Tam O’Shanter, and the poem puts her side of the story. Eve had commandeered an actor (male) to play Kate and to read the poem: he wore a shocking orange wig and bright lipstick, and that was just the right degree of grotesque. It was really funny, but the piece was brilliant. I wish it was on YouTube so you could click a link but it isn’t, so you’ll have to take my word for it. I also enjoyed Ben’s short, avant garde piece based on Paracelsus’s weird ideas about the body being made up of a combination of salts, sulphur and mercury.

I was the first Spelk to read; I wasn’t sure how far the voice would go, but I managed to read about five short poems before it failed me and I handed on the baton. All four available Spelks read sets of poems to be proud of; and we sold the grand total of zero pamphlets; but that didn’t matter. The audience was more music than poetry, I think, and we had very positive feedback. I fell asleep on the tram on the way home, fell into bed feeling awful and slept for ten hours. So I am back where I started, really: at the end of a hard week. Things, as the Labour Party campaign song in 1997 assured us, can only get better. Well let’s hope this time it turns out to be true!

I don’t have a poem to leave you with this week, but I’ll try harder next week. I still have some microbes to kill. See you next Sunday.

‘well used after significant trauma’

I started this blog to reflect on how a PhD would fit into an already busy life. I was worried I would have to give up stuff I love in order to make room for it. Since I started fifteen months ago, I have had to deal with ligament damage to my foot, and all the physiotherapy that entailed, plus a fractured spine that kept me away from my desk for several weeks; I had a bad case of norovirus in the spring and several holidays and poetry short breaks; I have continued being involved in all the poetry events I ever was, plus I have fitted in two poetry festivals in the year. And I’m still here, still keeping up with all the work a PhD requires. So I am really pleased this week because ‘PhD’ and ‘Poetry’ have been one and the same thing. This week I started writing my verse drama. Oh how good it feels to be doing the front crawl in creative writing instead of doggy paddling in the depths of the critical.

I think it helped that I cleared my desk on Sunday. I had lots of half drafted poems, left-over poems from poetry groups, print-outs of chapters that had been read, marked for editing and left on the desk. I had a shred-fest, emptied my office recycling baskets, generally cleared my workspace. It felt good, ready for productivity. I spent the rest of Sunday planning the verse drama, deciding what the dramatic arc would look like, what characters would be needed, what the characters would be like, speak like, what each scene would contain. Of course, like all the best plans, it’s open to change as it goes along, but I find it helps to have an outline.

Monday was all about creative thinking. My brain was somewhere else, mentally chewing away at the drama. I did the ironing: always a good way to spend time thinking my own thoughts. I rarely have telly or music on when I’m ironing; and I had a lot of thinking to do on Monday. For the first time since my fall in July, I got the ironing up to date: I’ve only been able to do about five items before my back was too sore to continue. But thinking is anaesthetic, and I emptied the basket on Monday. Admittedly I didn’t iron bed linen, gym gear, some of my jumpers: I folded them carefully and put them away un-ironed. But the rest is done. I needed the comfort of my hot water bottle after, but this is another milestone on the road to complete recovery. On Monday afternoon we decided to forgo our usual session at the gym and opted instead for a gentle stroll along the canal from Uppermill to Grandpa Greene’s at Diggle (more creative thinking time while I walked). It was a lovely wintry afternoon: cold and crisp with clear blue sky. The canal was like a mirror, with wonderful reflections of the sky, late autumn trees and walkers on the opposite towpath:

img_0308    img_0321

Tuesday was the day I started to write. I realised I didn’t have to write the drama in chronological order as it will appear in the finished piece, I could write a scene at a time, especially the stand-alone scenes involving the one appearance of a character, for instance the doctor or the coroner’s assistant. So I chose two of these scenes to work on on Tuesday to get me going. Making a start is often the hardest thing. Once you begin to invent characters, the continuing development of them is easier. So I made a start. By the end of Tuesday I had two scenes to share with Jean Sprackland when we meet this week. I had to force myself to remember it is a ‘verse drama’ and not just a ‘drama’ that I am writing; that it has to be poetry as well as a play. These two scenes are probably the furthest away from poetry of anything else I will write in it; but I revisited and revisited to draft the poetry in despite this: nothing rhyming, but rhythm and sound. I was quite pleased with them by the end of Tuesday. Yesterday I added a third scene, a confrontation between mother and daughter which enabled the ‘verse’ element free rein. Another scene to share with Jean; and I have had the most incredible idea about the finished piece, which I won’t share with you here but I’ll discuss with her on Tuesday: I’ll keep my powder dry until it’s needed for firing.

So, a good, productive week on the PhD front. I love it when it revolves around poetry. Poetry figured large in other aspects of life as well this week. Tuesday evening was our monthly East Manchester and Tameside Stanza meeting. We meet at the Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar on the last Tuesday of the month, 7.30 to 9.30–just in case you live close by and fancy dropping in. Now I’ve said that I’d better tell you we won’t be meeting in December as there’s a clash with Christmas, our next meeting will be on January 31st. Details here:

Anyway, this week we read and discussed Charlotte Gann’s poetry collection Noir (Happenstance Press). If you haven’t read it yet, really you should. It is mysterious and unsettling poetry. We were never sure what point (if any) she was making, but oh, my it is a book you can’t put down if you’re a poetry fan. Fascinating and troubling. We all agreed we loved it.

In between all this, the Spelks are putting together a pamphlet of our poems. When we read at various events, we are asked if we have books to sell. We are all published poets, but in a variety of journals, magazines and anthologies, but we don’t have a collection to call our own. So we decided we should produce one. Keith Lander (IT expert on the team) prepared the submitted poems in A5 format, including poet biogs and contents page. We will all print out a few copies and then Hilary Robinson and I will apply the covers–plain brown paper with a title only–and hand sew them in proper book-binding fashion. We have a few completed already and they look stylish. The poetry’s not bad either. We plan to have them ready for our next event, ‘Spelks meet Sounds of the Engine House’, an evening of poetry and music at St. Werburgh’s Church, Chorlton on December 10th. It would be lovely to see you there; and even better if you bought one of our lovely pamphlets! Details here:

On Wednesday evening we went into Manchester again. We had afternoon tea in M&S then did the Christmas markets. We had gluhwein in St Anne’s Square to warm us up then visited the stalls en route to the Opera House. I bought a lovely fat, purple felted elephant for a friend’s Christmas present, but don’t tell her. We went to the Opera House for the second half of my birthday present from my son, Richard: Much Ado About Nothing. Oh my, how good was that? Even better than Love’s Labour’s Lost I think. We sat in the second row of the circle again, and no-one was in the front row, so we had a brilliant view. I got chatting with the woman in the next seat. Her husband was doing a crossword puzzle as we waited for curtain-up, and during the interval. He was stuck on a clue; something about buying curiosities from an old man. It was a cryptic clue: he thought it had something to do with Dickens, but I suggested ‘antique dealer’ and that was the right answer. This is unusual because I’m not normally good at solving cryptic clues, I’m quite a literal thinker. I can see the logic behind cryptic clues when they are solved and I can analyse them after the event. So I felt a bit smug that I had found the answer; and a bit stressed in case he asked me to help with another clue. Thankfully he didn’t.

Friday was my baby’s birthday. 45 years old: when did that happen? It was only last year, surely, that we had that dash through the Fenland fog to get to the maternity ward in time for him not to be delivered in the car. Oh my, how time does fly: we mustn’t waste a moment of it, it’s all gone too quickly. I posted his card in Manchester, in that iconic post box outside M&S that survived the IRA bomb in 1996. I don’t know why it mattered, but I wanted to post it in that particular post box. I think it earned its right to be well-used when it survived such significant trauma.

A bit like me, when you think about it.

Anyway, here’s a poem I wrote for Spelks last week. I was appalled to see the 19,000 effigies of the dead of the first day of the Somme. Why do they always portray these things as if they should impress us? That image of that square of grass with those little white souls stayed with me for a long time, and made me angry. Remembrance Day makes me angry. I donate to the poppy appeal because of the good work it funds; but I don’t subscribe to the whole remembrance thing, which it seems to me is less about remembering and more about ‘look at us remembering, see how good we are for remembering’ while we continue to send more young people to be killed and maimed in wars. If we truly remembered, surely that would mark an end of war. Enough of politics. The poem:

Nineteen Thousand Effigies

So this morning I’m looking at a small square of lawn.

On the grass, at ease, nineteen thousand effigies,

diminished white souls row upon row, column upon column.




This, oh Lord, is ten souls per year since Bethlehem.

This, oh Lord, represents the dead on the first day of the Somme.

And why, oh Lord, did you accept this sacrifice

when you condemned the golden calf?

Oh, how we wear out the cliché

they made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

See in this the abnegation of blame—sacrifice

as active verb, something those young men did to themselves.

Surely sacrifice is passive, something the sacrificial lamb

has done to it in the appeasement of gods.

And (say it) what happened on the Somme was

the sacrificial slaughter of a generation, the wasting

of beautiful youth. And what of all the other effigies

there’s no room for on this patch of lawn; all the other days?

Nineteen thousand effigies should spell the end of war.

But the young are cheap meat for voracious cannon

so we cleanse the tiny white souls of gut and gore

and wear the poppy to show the world how well we remember,

lay wreaths at cenotaphs, stand silent for a moment

on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,

talk in reverend tones of sacrifice, recite glorious poems,

at the going down of the sun

some corner of a foreign field

lest we forget

to show the world we remember

what memory can’t conceivably hold.

Rachel Davies

November 2011