Sing a song of ninepence.

Sing a song of ninepence,

we’re all going to die

Mummy caught the budgerigar

and baked it in a pie.

 

Whilst the pie was cooking,

she made the kitchen clean

and served it up for dinner

with custard and ice cream.

 

Dad was in the garden shed

Sharpening his tools

The kids were in the bedroom

Polishing their shoes.

 

The cat was in the dining room

and stealthily- I kid you not

Upon the table it did leap

and stole the blooming lot.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson

 

So for d’verse poetics we were challenged to write a Kafka-esque children’s rhyme????? Oh my.

I chose this phrase for inspiration-

I am a cage, in search of a bird

The Ghost of Christmas Past.

The ghost of Christmas past

Came knocking at my door,

He took me to the time

When my little girls were four.

 

We knelt before the Christmas tree

Presents crudely wrapped but there,

A plate by the fireside

With Santa’s festive fayre.

 

We walked into their bedroom

As quietly as you can,

My two small girls were sleeping there

In Ramsey, Isle of Man.

 

In the muted light they seemed peaceful

Asleep and safe and warm

In a home filled with love and family

To keep them safe from harm.

 

The stockings on the bedposts

Were filled with treats and toys

Hung there by their Daddy

To bring them hope and joy.

 

Christmas was extra special

In that one particular year

As Daddy had come home safely

From military conflict fuelled by fear.

 

I thanked the kindly ghost

For reminding me that night

That despite the hours of darkness

Christmas is about recognising the light.

 

May your Christmas time be peaceful

Filled with memories that shine,

To keep your heart warm through the cold

And lonely times.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson.

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The Ugly Grubbly.

Once upon a yucky time lived a grubbly gringly monster groo

He jiggled in the midnight sun

and feasted on wibbly bungaroos

 

He gribbled beyond the wobbly fronds and bumbled in the forest froo

He wimbled with the flowersong

and with the frimbles flew.

 

Once upon an ugly time when gringle monsters knew

That clovely bubbly mischief makers

Made life worth living true.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson

For d’Verse poetics.

 

Fifteen years on…

Fifteen years ago we were at a child’s birthday party in the Church hall at Bride with our girls, when Dave revealed that he had received in the post that morning compulsory call- out papers to serve in Iraq. It was completely unexpected, he was a serving member of the Territorial Army but we had always been assured that they would never serve in an active Theatre of War, and yet here we were and my then 41-year-old husband was given less than a month to sort his affairs out before being whisked away at the end of May to Basra Palace.

We had only just moved to the Isle of Man with our girls and the whole situation was like some complete nightmare and it was a day full of sadness and grief, and as the children played party games I spent most of my time crying quietly in the corner. In so many ways that moment, that letter, that situation changed our lives forever, and in a sense, I think even at that moment we knew that things would never really be the same.

In fact it almost feels like fifteen years on, we are only just beginning to put it all behind us, the path it sent us down was not an unhappy path but it was a path that was less travelled and it is only now that we find ourselves walking back to the crossroads in an attempt to rediscover some of the life and lives we left behind.

This weekend the sun shines. We have taken a road trip to Harrogate to spend a night at the Old Swan Hotel. A beautiful place that used to be called the  Harrogate Hydropathic and is infamous for providing Agatha Christie with a safe haven during a troubled part of her life in 1926. Unbelievably we have been given the room she stayed in as our room for the evening and I feel very privileged.

We stopped off in Skipton on the way through and enjoyed watching the Tour De Yorkshire. They were also celebrating down on the canal and the Accrington pipe band put on a splendid performance and they must have been sweltering in their uniforms. The canal barges looked inviting and the post-industrial landscape told a story of reinvention and rejuvenation.

We came to Skipton quite a few times before the girls were born, we even used it as a stepping stone and caught the train to Leeds a few times when I was having my IVF treatment there in 1998. So it is a place of memories, the last visit the girls were about 2 and in the double buggy, we stopped at what was Woolworths and bought Ellen a toy Jake from the Tweenies and Emily a Mopatop. I think she still has Mopatop, but Jake got lost in the Mcdonalds at Llandudno junction in about 2001.

After Skipton, we drove on to Harrogate where we are staying at The Old Swan Hotel. What a joy, it has its own character and sense of self and here we find ourselves in room 253 which was the room that Agatha Christie stayed in for 11 days in December 1926 when she went missing. It feels a little like serendipity, it has been a dark and deep week and the cracks have been showing and I could happily have disappeared myself on Wednesday and if I had found myself here I am sure it would have been a positive and healing thing to have done. I  would like to think that she may have found this too. She divorced the following year and rumours about her mental state at the time of the missing 11 days vary from the concept that she was suicidal, or in a fugue state, to the fact that she was making it difficult for her husband to continue with his affair and he claimed she had amnesia following a car accident. I guess no one really knows. I hope she found peace here. The room doesn’t feel tormented so perhaps she did.

©Alison Jean Hankinson

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How little can we live off?

Fragile strands of hope

Adrift at sea, lifeless, mere driftwood in the doldrums,

Dear God deliver us from this desperate dream

Have mercy-throw us a line.

 

Lift us up above the relentless rips that ride us roughshod across the sands.

How little can we live off?

Give us some crumb of comfort

Let us know that tomorrow will bring new hope on the horizon.

 

It is a wild place

No comfort for those who care.

We are foreigners in a flawed landscape

Fettered by our need to belong.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson.

We have been through much this last year, and it seems like each day brings some new horror but we have no choice but to walk forward still. It is wild and a little unkempt and uncaring and I wonder if it can ever be any better, any less wild.

This is for d’Verse poetics.

 

 

Death washes over us…..

The sun set slowly

reminded us of the glory days

When we had youth and fortitude.

 

We cannot all age well

Yet we all remember our youthful ways,

when we danced playfully at the murky edge of maturity.

 

This body frail as it is now

was a totem, an emblem of our love and lives together,

hallowed in the summers of our spiritual enlightenment before we had children of our own.

 

The sun sets slowly.

Death washes over us,

creeps through the open window in the dead of night.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson.

napwrimo 18 Day 29 the penultimate.

This is for d’Verse open link night.

 

 

 

 

Liminality….

I miss lavender

It attracted the bees and reminded me of home

When home was half a world away and beyond the realms of reality.

 

I miss home still, not a place or sense of belonging

But the physical space that keeps us safe from the rest of the world

The place where it is okay to be nothing to nobody in a non-descript kind of way.

 

I miss being valued and making a contribution that is deemed worthwhile

Beyond the futile measures of a financially strapped world or work.

Where experience, age and wisdom lies currently forgotten alongside dandelion dreams on the kerbside of parsimony.

 

I miss the bright star of hope and the sense of celestial justice

That came from the certainty that there was some unwritten moral code

Whereby staunch steadfast endeavour would be rewarded with reciprocal remuneration.

 

I miss being able to do what I do best

Taking my place in the workforce

Having my tools at my desk to bring the world alive for the future generations.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for Day 28 Napowrimo