Saturday, July 28, 2007

Life by the bridge

There has been a Grimpenpound working this bridge ever since it was built, but I’m the last. Slubby Grimpenpound, that’s me. I used to enjoy my job. Making sure the ropes were sound and the boards solid. Never got to see any of the clients properly though, even though we heard them plenty, trip-trapping across the top.
It’s not been the same since my Treegirth went though. She left our filthy little house under the bridge to go out for an evening with ‘the girls’ and never came back. She was lovely. Uneven teeth, fat as a fresh-baked bun. Even had the same curranty little eyes. And her hair … I loved those straggly green strands. Great for dragging her around by. Do you know, the council put up one of those new modern art statues and it looks just like her? Appeared overnight it did.
Since she went I can’t be bothered with the maintenance, so a few of the planks are missing and the ropes have been better. I even heard one cheeky little toad call it ‘the rickety rackety bridge’ the other day. If it hadn’t been daylight, I’d have flipped his warty brown face over the side there and then. And believe me, it’s long way down into that gorge. I know. I’ve been down.
Well, I manage to make a living. See, over there’s the town, and on that side there’s some pretty lush Grass. Don’t fancy it myself much, but there are those who do like to roll in their own. They pay me a toll to get over there. You know, throw the odd loaf of mouldy bread or half a dozen rotten eggs down the chimney. It isn’t much, but I get by. Then, last year, I had a run in with the local bully boys. “The Gruff Gang” they call themselves. Ugly-looking bunch they are. Four legs each. Curly horns and eyes like the devil himself. Father and his two sons. And all called by the same name – Billy.
Then one night I heard it. Little feet on my bridge right in the middle of “East Neighbours in the Street.” So out I leaped and faced him. They’re not supposed to go there at night, see.
‘Who’s that walking on MY bridge?’ I said. I’ve got to say that. It’s in my contract of employment.
‘It’s me. Little Billy Gruff,’ came this voice. ‘I need some Grass.’
‘Not on my watch, you don’t,’ I said, and I glared at him. Not to frighten him, you understand, just a warning. And off he trotted into the night. In I went, and I was just sitting down with a cup of tea when I heard middle–sized feet on my bridge. So out I leaped again.
Who’s that walking on MY bridge?’
‘It’s me. Middle-sized Billy Gruff. I need some Grass.’ I had to glare a bit harder to get rid of this one – make my eye glow just a bit brighter, but off he went without a word, and I was just going on in when I heard thundering footsteps coming in my direction. Mind, there were one or two choice words as he missed his footing on the broken planks, but suddenly, there he was, Big Billy Gruff, the daddy of them all.
‘Who’s that …’
‘You been stopping my boys from having a bit of recreational Grass,’ he says in that deep voice, eyeballing me with those yellow slits of his. And before I knew it, he had me up on those horns and over the side. I thought I was a goner then. Next thing I knew, I was pulling myself out of the river at the bottom of the gorge. Luckily, it had been raining a lot and the river was high. Took hours to get back to the top, but the mud was lovely. House hasn’t been so filthy since my Treegirth was here.

Posted by S. Grimpenpound

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Here is the news

Koi are swimming up the High Street.
Overwhelmed by inundation,
The river has broken through the concrete.
Koi are swimming up the High Street.
Everyone is sick of wet feet,
Or, trapped in houses, incarceration.
Koi are swimming up the High Street,
Overwhelmed by inundation.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Your Universal Mother Reads You Your Rights

…mankind owes to the child the best it has to give.
from Declaration of the Rights of the Child*

You have the right to live.
Nurtured deep within; my miracle.
Your name forever entwined with my name.
Your body, butter-fat and berry-shiny
Nursing at a full breast
Cooing in contentment at life unfolding.
But I see questions hidden behind your eyes
As insects plague your face.
You are too weak now to cry. Too small.
A numberless child in a teeming world
Today I can only dream a future for you.

You have the right to play.
Safe in your castle, my princess, all dragons slain.
Explorer, boldly seeking out new worlds.
Your imagination stirred for no purpose.
Soldier, swaggering, wooden gun held high,
Laughing as your friends fake death.
But your games have become grim reality
As together we trudge along the dusty road
Our few possessions wrapped in a bundle too heavy to hold
Fleeing the knives, the flames, the rapes.
Today I seek sanctuary for us.

You have the right to a father.
Proudly proclaiming his children to the world.
Bouncing his infant son upon his knee
Jealously guarding his precious daughter from all harm.
Unable to withstand the wasting from within,
The pressures from without.
But as I sleep alone, unloved.
I recall those undarkened days,
Entering into my emptiness where he once lived.
Deserted through disease, poverty, war
Today I have only my memories of him
Tomorrow …

*Proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 1386(XIV) of 20 November 1959Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Geneva, Switzerland

Friday, July 20, 2007

Things to do when you don't feel like...

Above anything else, I'd like to write for a living... probably not much of a living, admittedly, but why not? My words are the same as everybody else's. Just not necessarily in the same order.

Well ..

First of all there's the daily but necessary tasks of walking the dogs,come rain or shine, (I think even the Labradors are getting fed up with water) making sure we have clean clothes, feeding us, occasional teaching... you know, general domestic chores that in themselves take no time at all!

There are the other daily essentials - like checking my email hourly (Why? No one ever sends me anything truly excting and my junk filter gets rid of the seedier ones) and seeing who else is online at the OU First Class site, playing solitaire, visiting Club Penguin ...

Then there's thousands of other would-be writers trying to do the same. Yes, we all encourage each other, get excited when they have a success, however small - and that, probably is the real reason why I and most other writers of my acquaintance don't actually write...
We all think everyone else is much better than us.
...and that may not always be the truth. How often have you got to the end of a book and thought 'Well that was a complete waste of a few hours of my life' ?
So, why do some good authors get rejection after rejection, and the bad ones still get printed? Answers, please on a postcard.
And until the right answers come along, I'll keeping writing and revising and printing stuff to send off, and then putting it in the recycling bin.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Race For Life

Way to go girls... We couldn't quite work out why Nivea were providing Factor 50 suncream that day. At the time of entry, it seemed like a great idea - a Sunday morning jog/walk between Bournemouth and Boscombe piers. Anyway, the usual good naturedness overruled and we did it, cheering on complete strangers who were on their way back soon after some of us had passed the start line.

OU A215 Survivors nationwide have run, walked and crawled to raise awareness of all types of cancer, and because it was something we could all do for one of our number. We have smiled and cried at the tributes worn on backs, and, I guess, more than one of us has promised to go again - much leaner and fitter next year. Yeah, right.