The Turtle

She shuffles, head bowed

through the rain, desperate

to make it back home.

The shell on her back gets heavier 

with every step,

she pauses, 

turtles,

and starts again.

She tries not to complain, 

for this is the baggage she chose to bear

but there are days like this

when the weight becomes difficult to shoulder.
She persists.

Advertisements

Surrounding yourself with creativity

Recently, I found myself in a creative slump. I wasn’t motivated to write anything – the ideas for the novel I’m working on were still ticking over in my brain, but I wasn’t actually writing, and I hadn’t even considered writing a poem for months, other than those I had to write for my seminars, and they were turning out flat and lifeless. I lacked motivation, I lacked inspiration, I lacked drive.

And then I went to my local poetry night at the local pub.

It was like a switch was flipped; I got home and immediately wrote two (admittedly godawful) first drafts of poems, and I wrote two more today. Just being in a creative atmosphere made me want to write again. I got my drive back.

It’s worth noting as well that I think it was partially that I was so invested in writing this novel. Not that I don’t want to write it, but I think after being so focused on one thing – especially when it’s taking so long to write given my lack of free time – I needed a little break from it to allow some of the other ideas I’d had in the mean time to work their way out.

So if you’re feeling like you’re in a bit of a writing funk, all I’m saying is that it might be worth stepping back from what you’re working on, and surrounding yourself with people who inspire you with their creativity. Easier said than done sometimes, I know, but it just might be what you need.

In the clouds

Fog falls over us with misty silence,

twisting and curling its fingers around us

until we’re it and it’s us

and we can’t see our hands in front of our faces for trying, but

I can hear you, and

by hearing you I can see you,

see your laugh

lighting up your face, from

its infant stages as an impish grin

to its spread, as it contorts

your whole body in joy and I,

too, laugh,

and smile about how strange we must look,

joy making us glow

as our heads sit

in the clouds.

© Alyx Hurst 2017

Rapunzel

The bottom step is a barrier

Her boundary with the outside world.

I watch her every day, she stops

On that last step

As one would were they leaving somewhere very dear to them.

 

She waits for around ten minutes

Before a screech emanates from inside the hotel

(Difficult to hear, unless you focus

On the panic that transforms her face

As she runs back up the steps.)

 

Today is summer, and the breeze blows, gently

Lifting the curtain at the window

And the edge of her dress,

it floats up to expose her knee.

Traffic – and life – goes on.

 

But each day I stop.

Observe. Take a second.

Look at the world the way

I think she does. The bright grey

Of the outside, ripe for exploration.

 

So entranced is she that I notice

A cat, black from nose tip to tail,

Slink past her, into the hotel.

I wish him luck, and that he may

Leave more freely than she.

Find a cosy room.

 

I see in her face – just for an instant –

A flash of uncertainty. Surely she sees

How easily she could step down

Off the step, past her boundary,

And join the rest of us here, in the ever moving present.

 

Just as she raises her toes, right on cue,

Comes the screech. I hear it through

The fear that spreads across her face as she turns,

Runs back up the steps, back inside,

Her dreams of rebellion put away again, left for another day.

 

A recent task in creative writing was to write a poem inspired by a painting by Edward Thomas, to demonstrate the ekphrasis that we were learning about in our poetry lectures in a more hands on way. I chose his painting Summertime. I was intrigued by the woman in the painting lingering where she did, and this is what came of that intrigue.

 

I would recommend trying to write a poem from this sort of inspiration, as it was really interesting to see how so many of us in the class interpreted the same painting in so many different ways, despite being asked the same questions.