The Last Winter recedes…

We walked to heal our hearts and minds. The wind cut through like glass but the sunset set the ripples alight on the water. It was spring and a time of birth and regeneration. New life blossoming all around. But we walked with heavy eyes.

We walk often, it gives us chance to talk, or not as the moment requires. We walk to fill our souls with the soothing spectacle of the distant mountains and listen to the gentle lap-lap and let it wash over us. We are losing a loved one who is between the autumn and winter of his life and the knowledge that he is slipping away is becoming more than a whisper on the wind.

Spring blossoms slowly

Sunset cuts through the anguish

Life melts like glacier.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse.

Spring lingers long….

It feels as though it is winter that has lingered. I look around me daily and wonder at the daffodils just peeping through and everything seems to be a month behind where it was this time last year. The order is the same, but the flowering has been delayed, the rosy red tulips are only just nodding their heads toward the sun and yet April is past midway and almost done.

Then just a sprinkling of sunshine and an early evening stroll and we have stolen moments of pleasure to treasure as the daylight lingers and the smell of spring scintillates the soul.

Pebbles underfoot

Ripples of lingering spring

Sunsets in the west.

 

© Alsion Jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse haibun monday.

 

 

The sinking of the Michael Griffith, Fleetwood 1953.

She set sail from Fleetwood with 13 hands on deck

The fishing trawler Michael Griffith, for Scotland her course was set.

Skipper Charles Singleton made the ship return to dock

A faulty pump valve changed their course and caused the trip to stop.

Repaired and ready to be on her way as Friday morning dawned

She put to sea in stormy winds so the journey was not prolonged.

The storm was brewing in the north and forced the tide to rise

The seas were rough, the night was long, and no-one heard her cries

The winds were wild the waves washed high up on the deck

And soon after midnight the mighty Michael Griffith floundered and became a wreck

The last message was received just eight miles south of Barra Head

Will some ship please come help us, full of water, no steam. Am helpless is what it said.

Lifeboats searched in heavy seas but no wreckage could be found

All lives were lost without a trace and in the storm they’d drowned.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson

 

This is for Day16 of Napowrimo and is in memory of the lives lost in the storm of 1953.

The image is of Fleetwood and is from Wikimedia under CCSA licence:

Dr Neil Clifton [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The thirteen lives lost-

Skipper  Charles Singleton, Mate Leonard Grundy, Bosun J T Wilson, Chief engineer Harry Anderson, Second Engineer Thomas Burns, Firemen W Hargreaves and R Bodden, Deckhands J Tucker, S J Johns, J Cryson, C Murdoch and G Palin. Cook A Bidle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Storm…reflections on the storm of 1953.

It was England’s worst natural disaster of the twentieth century. A combination of a winter windstorm and high spring tides brought disaster and flooding to Scotland, England, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Between January 31 and February 1st a storm tide in the North Sea raised the water level by as much as 5.6metres above sea level in parts of the East coast. There was catastrophic flooding on a massive scale and huge loss of life.

In the Netherlands there were approx 1836 deaths, In England in the east coast counties of Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Essex 307 lives were lost, a further 19 in Scotland and 28 people lost their lives in the Flanders region of Belgium. A further 230 people lost their lives at sea, on small craft, fishing vessels and with the sinking of the MV Princess Victoria. Many of those on shore were drowned in their beds as they slept. Thousands of people were made homeless.

The entire crew of 13 from the fishing trawler the Michael Griffith from Fleetwood were lost to the storm along with two crew from the Islay rescue lifeboat. They had set sail on the Thursday from Fleetwood under skipper Charles Singleton with the youngest crewmember being the deckhand George Palin. The boat vanished south of Barra Head in the early hours of Saturday morning following a stark radio message in morse- “Full of water – no steam – helpless”. Eleven women were widowed and 20 children were left fatherless.

The car ferry MV Princess Victoria, travelling from Stranraer to Larne was also lost of Saturday 31st January. Just 90 minutes after she left Stranraer a wave burst through the stern doors and despite all efforts the car decks were flooded. There were 44 survivors but 133 others perished. Not a single woman or child survived the disaster. They had all been put together in one lifeboat and it was lifted by a wave and smashed against the hull of the ship and they were all lost to the water. Portpatrick, Donaghadee and Cloughy lifeboats all made attempts to locate and help rescue those aboard. The Donaghadee lifeboat, the Sir Samuel Kelly joined the frantic search for survivors after the ship went down finally at approx 13.58 with her Captain still bravely at the helm. Its crew eventually plucked 33 men to safety. Bravery medals were awarded to many for their valiant rescue efforts that day.

This still remains one of the most little-known tragedies of the twentieth century. Thank you dad for telling me about it.

© Alison Jean Hankinson

399px-A_tribute_to_the_Lifeboatmen_of_Portpatrick_-_geograph.org.uk_-_26385

The featured image is from Wikimedia and is in the public domain- By Wrecksite (www.wrecksite.eu) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

the other image is the memorial at Portpatrick again in wikimedia- andy [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Guardian, the storm in pictures

From cargoes to wasteland.

The first poem that ever really grabbed me was Cargoes by John Masefield, I was about 7 years old. I think my dad could recite it off by heart and it sounded so delicious, the words were so lyrical and dripped off the page like honey and then there was the dirty British coaster and it made me so proud to be a northerner, whilst we didn’t have the opulence of the Orient, we played an important role in the world. This was when I started to write poetry but I struggled for a while as I preferred to write poems that didn’t rhyme and I didn’t know anything about structure either and had no-one to teach me.

As a teen I moved into the realms of The Wasteland and had a wonderful teacher who made the Thames maidens come alive- I can still hear the Weialala leia- and loved the references and the voices, the languages, and the tempo and timbre changes. I discovered Sylvia Plath and devoured Ted Hughes, he lived in Heptonstall for a while and I used to play there at the whit walks with the Brass Band and walk down the steep cobblestones playing my trombone. Then I stopped writing and only really started again in November 2016 as my 50th birthday present to myself, and I discovered d’Verse. I love the challenge and the words and the learning and the community. It has been a wonderful voyage of rediscovery and I love giving a voice to the past, then the stories can live on.

Winter storm

We take to the road

Spring’s adrift.

©Alison jean Hankinson

This is for d’Verse where we have been asked by Toni to explore where our inner poet was inspired and nurtured.

 

Dystopian grey….

It was a very grey holiday, there were some bits of bright blue sky and sunlight reflecting on the freshly fallen snow but the background theme and feeling was a dreary dismal dullness of the darkness felt too long,  and the sludge and slush of snow left to linger after a cold and brilliant winter.

We went to Leith -one of my dad’s favourite songs is sunshine on Leith by the Proclaimers and I wrote about it once in They Sing For Him. So we took a winter trip to see the sunshine in Leith. It is a suburb of Edinburgh on the coast and this is what mesmerised me most, the fact that it was on the coast. I had been to Edinburgh several times to the Castle and the sights and never really thought of it as being coastal. The architecture was grey and mesmerising, It was like waking up in a different time and a different place, a truly dystopian setting. It had its own unique beauty.

Shapeshifter sky

Solitary crocus speaks

Winter’s dirge recedes.

©Alison Jean Hankinson.

The Proclaimers version

2016 cup final version

Chortle- been away too long- forgot to add the link. This is for d’Verse haibun Monday. Love to all.

 

 

Refreshed and rejuvenated.

I took a short break from writing as it was important to regroup, reflect and re-energise. I return now for the onset of spring hopefully refreshed and rejuvenated.

It seems as if the world has gone mad in recent months, and I am not sure that at 51 my life has followed the path that seemed inevitable or appropriate. I do know that at 51 in the UK wisdom and experience count for very little in the current cut and thrust of an austere economic climate. I find myself overqualified and overlooked for less complex jobs and career options and “too expensive” in my own line of work. We were led to believe that if we worked hard and demonstrated dedication loyalty and good work ethic it would lead to justified rewards this appears not to be the case after the age of 50.

Anyway enough whingeing. I must cart on. I must continue to believe that somewhere someone will give me a break and continue to be thankful for the understanding and support of my two current employers for giving me the opportunity to contribute in a productive and meaningful way.

I did need to take a break though, and I have done jigsaw puzzles, walked briskly, read a book, played scrabble and gone for a winter wander in our little caravan. I return to find the crocuses blossoming and the fresh scent of spring on the doorstep. Life continues to astound in its ability to restore order through and after chaos. There is a natural order that somehow continues to exist, first there are the snowdrops, then the daffodils and crocuses, soon it will be the cherry blossom and the tulips.

Onward and upward. Tally-ho.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson