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  • We could forgive the lapsethe tactless insistence that less means moreor that a starving man is in less distressif he is accustomed to famine(as are those, some claimwho live in the usual geothermal hotspots)if it […]

    • Interesting examination of the blindness of privilege.

      The stoic refusal to drop into the rhythmic metre that is so close throughout, or to economise the language, is uncomfortable, but I assume intentionally so. The repeated use of parentheses really drives this home.

      Worthy of re-reads, as there’s a lingering sense that there’s more I’m missing. But in the meantime, is ‘sanitists’ a typo?

    • A powerful topic and I loved especially the first half. Because you make it a difficult read (I assume consciously so), it demands that the reader go back and forth and back and forth before proceeding, forcing one to confront the issues at hand.
      However, when you get to the ‘nonsense’ part, I feel a stuffy middle-aged preachy voice, giving opinion that detracts from crediting the reader with intelligence, as you did in the first half.
      Great questions. Well put.

  • We all have a war story to tell, so to speak, although I play no part in this one. But that should not detract from the tale. Unlikely as it might seem, my grandfather became a good friend to Lord Tredegar. For […]

    • Well I’m not a historian, but I’m assuming your facts on the dates and the wars are correct (historical fiction is such hard work!). You paint a lovely character in Thomas Thomas, full of pluck but good and honorable. I like the memoir format for this tale.

    • from he start, you had me with the voice in this piece. you lulled me in and kept my attention throughout. It stands well on its own but would also make a wonderful longer story. so glad to have read it.

  • Hi, Annettte, thank you for that.

    Your advice/observations touch upon an matter which has long interested in matters of ‘works of art’, whether the work is verse, a story, a play, a film, a piece of music, a performance etc.

    And I am one of those who strongly believes that the area is NOT, as all to much happens, divided into ‘art’ and ‘no…[Read more]

  • Ah, the pitfalls, the trickinessthe horrors and abominationsof remaining chaste.I still fear them all and still bare the scars!Brought up on fairy talesand solemn Sunday sermonsfrom pale, pious, unmarried […]

    • Well done, not sure about the “slip” prompt fitting in, but it could be not slipping into temptation. Two sort of awkward spots, the “I made laugh” maybe made them laugh, and the “girl piss ups” Not sure about what you are trying to say there. Overall a very great piece, and I can see this happening.

    • Hi,
      This has been an interesting piece to read and I enjoy being able to read your poetry because it is complex sometimes the simplest of ways and sometimes in the most complex of ways and being able to understand and make sense of it all wondering if I am making sense of it all to begin with, properly. So, thank you for your poetry.

    • This sounds like something that would be a good spoken-word piece. It has good rhythm. I would suggest that it could have been more powerful if the shift in perspective (if there was one, i’m not too sure, but i assumed so) was more pronounced or if the event that incited the change was included in the narration. As it is though, the message of the last few lines hits hard. Good job on writing this poem 🙂

      • Hi, Annettte, thank you for that.

        Your advice/observations touch upon an matter which has long interested in matters of ‘works of art’, whether the work is verse, a story, a play, a film, a piece of music, a performance etc.

        And I am one of those who strongly believes that the area is NOT, as all to much happens, divided into ‘art’ and ‘not art’ — as in ‘this is art, but this isn’t art’.

        ‘Art’ is now treated as some kind of spurious, vaguely metaphysical entity, some quality which ‘this work has’ but ‘this work does not’.

        We genuflect and bow our heads and often speak in hushed voices when talk turns to ‘art’ etc when, in fact, it is all around us, all the time and everywhere — not just is galleries and libraries and concert halls and theatres, but in charity shops, on walls, in TV ads, on billboards and gaudy 99 cent superstore magazine racks.

        Furthermore, what I’m saying is not some kind of pinko, trendy, new-age waffle, but simply a frustrated plea to ‘let’s please abandon all the hi-falutin’ snobbery and one-upmanship and try to keep it simple — because it IS simple.’

        Pertinently, though unsurprisingly as money is often involved, there are some who, like high priests interpreting the word of God, insist only THEY are able to discern and pronounce on what ‘is art’ and what ‘isn’t art. The rest of us should content ourselves with observing and accepting their verdicts. And, of course, although this is the unspoken subtext, ‘shut up’).

        But as far as I am concerned — and because I dislike those who lay down the law, I shall stress this is just my point of view — ‘art’ is a ‘process’, ‘the activity, from beginning to end, of creating’. It is not a specific ‘quality’ of a created piece. Though it seems to be treated as though it is.

        Every such created piece, whether a piece of verse, a story, a play, a film, a piece of music, a performance, ‘is art’, simply because someone conceived of or imagined something and then set about about producing it.

        What distinguishes one such piece from another, though, is how engaging it is, how interesting, how thought-provoking, how aesthetically gratifying, how much it appears to us to realise what we assume were the intentions of the creator and so on. 

        Crucially, what engages me — or you or him or her — what interests me, provokes thought in me, gratifies me aesthetically is — because it cannot be anything but — subjective. A rather smudgy, dull, disproportionate, technically poor acrylic painting of a bowl of fruit by Mrs Trellis of North Wales on sale in the charity shop is as much ‘art’ as Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

        But — to make my point as clearly as possible — the one might engage, interest and gratify us rather more than the other. Mrs Trellis’s partner might well prefer her still life to Da Vinci’s, whereas others would pass it by in half a second.

        I believe it follows from what I write that is rather silly to describe this piece of verse, this story, this play, this piece of music etc as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. More useful would be ‘interesting/dull/successful/didn’t quite work/shoddy/technically brilliant’ and so on. ‘Good’, ‘bad’, they mean nothing really.

        Your comment sparked of what I have just written because I take on board what you say about ‘it could have been more powerful if the shift in perspective . . . was more pronounced or if the event that incited the change was included in the narration’. In order to ‘improve’ the piece I might re-write it, yet to be frank I wouldn’t know how. 

        Quite apart from that there were several such ‘events’, I — from my point of view though you obviously can — can’t see how the piece ‘might be more powerful’. I find it impossible to evaluate what I produce. Sad but true. Others might agree with you. Who knows?

        Sorry to rattle on, but what I have been writing about does interest me and I find I clarify my thoughts for myself far better in conversation of writing them down like this.

        And, Annette, thank you once again for bothering to comment.

        P

  • It’s unavoidable his so public certaintythat the world is fortunate to have him.Still young (and when even olderhe’ll still look younger than his years)he’s well aware of the silent envyof those about him, each […]

    • An air of superiority – what an original take on the prompt. I suspect you know this person… maybe we all do? Well pictured.

    • a beautiful picture of this man and the lady to some extent He is us, “He does not demand respect but admiration,
      for admiration trumps respect
      and that suits him well”

      these lines speaks to everyone . Thank you for sharing

    • You know this person. I expected that the man would turn mean, angry at the end, but looks like he is still breathing the air of superiority. It is difficult to live in the shadow of such people as they suck the air out of the room and the rest of us gasp to even walk behind. Good imagery, I too know this kind of person.

    • Hi pfgpowell,
      Thanks for sharing.
      As I read this poem, I read it twice. I wanted to understand this person in the poem and their perspective. Sounds like this person as mentioned in the poem is well aware of his stature and grace to the point of being conceded, but then I thought, maybe his arrogance is what has helped him along his journey in not just career, but in life, because that is all he knew since day 1. I admire that his arrogance in his view is confidence, but I also liked the line.. “…. ensures that you, too, know it
      and you, too, understand”. This got me thinking maybe he is saying something more underneath all of the words, a hidden message perhaps. 

      Great poem that grabs your audience attention and gives a reader a curiosity.

  • Thank you for that. In fact, there isn’t a ‘g’ and yin-yang is correct, but I got it wrong and added a ‘g’ where there should not have been one. Now corrected. Thank you again.

  • It’s everywhere, yes and no, up and down, black and white . . .Black isn’t a colour, white isn’t either.Doesn’t matter, it’s about opposites, twos of each, up and down, left and right, you can’t get away from i […]

    • Oh my word, what a frightening thing you’ve described, this struggle with our internal demons! I wonder if we all have this inner demon, but some have it worse than others?
      When I first started reading your story, I was thinking you should use dialogue tags and such, but as I continued reading and understood that it was the MCs inner voice, or something inside the MC he was struggling with, then it made perfect sense and I realized you’d chosen the perfect format to tell this story.
      You’re story drew me in right from the start and held me enthralled throughout. Well done on writing an interesting and engaging story.

    • Well done….your created anxiety for me as I read. Your pacing was well done.

    • Hi,
      Interesting story. I am not sure if the MC has a troubling super ego, which he struggles with, or if it is separate from the normal superego. The internal struggle of the MC and the way the story is written was done very well. I would like to encourage you to do another reread as you forgot the g in the first ying yang. Well done!

      • Thank you for that. In fact, there isn’t a ‘g’ and yin-yang is correct, but I got it wrong and added a ‘g’ where there should not have been one. Now corrected. Thank you again.

  • There is no danger, dear, no none at alland don’t believe the slander put aboutby those intent to do us down, besmirch our nameand sabotage, destroy our patriotic quest.They speak of freedom, hope and l […]

    • Whew! That is the truth! A very powerful piece of writing.

    • Hi pfg

      Well, this comes from the heart. It’s such powerful, personal writing, and I am honoured to have experienced it. You have some wonderful repetitions to keep hammering the point home and the rhythm is relentless,

      Very moving.

      Martin

    • Hi What an intriguiging ‘ where did that come from’ piece – but beautifully written and impactful.

  • WE CAN rarely know what goes on between a couple, and if either offers an account of a disagreement, we’re best advised to take it with a pinch of salt. The more unpleasant and vicious the argument, the more the o […]

    • Hi PFG Powell. This is a sad story which captures the trauma children go through when there is strife in the home. There is something very frightening about zealots, probably because they are so convinced that their stance is the only right one. It’s a pity that they are unable to make room for different beliefs. I felt for your MC and her dad. It really did not matter if Dad did do something as everyone’s life at home was like a pressure cooker. Thanks for the touching story.

    • Quite a blistering tale from childhood and I was not prepared for the violent end especially as the way you begin telling this story you lay it out as a general discussion about couples. Zeroing in on your own experience as a child is a clever way of getting into the story and the deeper theme emerges. For me this is as much a story about religion as anything else. The violence of different opinions leading to violence and death. It feels very pertinent to the world we live in right now. Good story (from the sounds of it – memoir) and well written. Intriguing. Well done.

  • PS Can you send me the link to the Facebook page when you have posted the poem? And I should clear up a possible confusion – I have two identities here, pfgpowell and Francis Gerd (which are my middle two forenames), so that I can write two stories and two poems a month. Sometimes I forget who I am signed in by and leave comments which seem to…[Read more]

  • Of course you can share it Karin, I’m flattered. And thank you for your comments.

  • What I like especially is what I call the musicality of the piece. I should say that I’m not great fan of overtly ‘personal’ verse – gut-spilling ‘this is me’ poems – so it is always refreshing to come a across poem (verse? I have no idea what the difference might be) which is more ‘about itself’ and tests what might be done with words.

    The…[Read more]

  • Yes, Dianne, I did and corrected it just now before reading your comment, for which I thank you.

  • The shadows are too longfor this time of day at this time of year.The middle-aged have seen it all before,the young are curious, the old are worried. There are no blazing dragons in the skyno two-headed sheep, no […]

    • Perfectly expresses the feeling of the times. A really good read. Thanks for sharing it.

      Just wondering if you meant too or to in the first line? You might have meant ‘to long for’ or ‘too long for’ I just wasn’t sure.

    • Hi
      This could well be interpreted as a climate crisis mantra, one we need to hear and heed, but most of us hold our ears and hum.
      CA

    • Yes, Dianne, I did and corrected it just now before reading your comment, for which I thank you.

    • Quite Ominous in tone…a slightly creepy sensation found its way beneath my skin. Well done.

  • Charles, I think it best to tell you, but this must be between you and me, i.e. not a word to Martha who would kill me. Briefly, if something else comes up for the 30th later this month, go for it. I really […]

    • Hi PFG, this was really good and the format was wonderful. You got the information about who these people were and how they fit together. It was from a great perspective of the unreliable narrator. You wonder if they are right or if the couple in love will get to marry after all. Whose perspective is right? Great work. Thank you for your story.

    • I read this with a very British voice in my mind – imagining a middle-aged woman sitting at her desk during afternoon tea, with a long cigarette in the other hand, legs crossed pausing to think of what else to dish on the couple. You set the tone perfectly (even if you imagined it differently) without even having to explain the details. Loved it!

      • Hi Jodie,

        thank you for your interest and your comment. As for the details, I should admit I try to be as non-specific as possible. I hope it doesn’t show, but I try to make the reader do the ‘work’, use their imagination, fill in the ‘details’ read the story ‘they want to read’. In your case it seems to have worked (though the note is from ‘Rupert’ to ‘Charles’, though perhaps Rupert was relaxing in drag. Not at all impossible.

        I have this persuasion that in a – admittedly theoretical – way the ‘reader’ is a ‘second agent’ in the existence, almost the creation, of a story. The writer writes the story, the reader ‘completes’ the process by reading it. Without at least one reader, a story in a sense doesn’t yet come into existence.

        I shan’t, though, bang that drum too hard as it is only one way of looking at reading and writing, and there will be many others. I’ve always disliked folk ‘laying down the rules’ and declaiming ‘this is . . .!’, especially when various, self-appointed expert ijits pronounce on ‘this is art’ and ‘this is not art’.

  • I have NO idea who Eric Laithwaite is. I just wanted to write something to convey total bafflement. I’ll have to look him up now, too. Was he a DIY guru? By the way, the builder in question, lovely, lovely chap, salt of the earth, but he NEVER makes a loss.

  • Well, it’s going pretty well and looking fine,and just a few more tweaks to get it all in shapeand keep the bloody building bodikins off our backs. We’ll have to replace the French laithwaites, I’m afraid […]

    • Whoa. I was riveted by this, stopping to look up laithwaites, which introduced me to Eric Laithwaite and that was a fascinating read, so… thank you for this wonderful poem.

    • I have NO idea who Eric Laithwaite is. I just wanted to write something to convey total bafflement. I’ll have to look him up now, too. Was he a DIY guru? By the way, the builder in question, lovely, lovely chap, salt of the earth, but he NEVER makes a loss.

    • Who wouldn’t be drawn in by the title of this poem and accompanying pic. I have done a couple of building /renovations and I can hear my builder’s voice in there somewhere – such an original piece! Loved it!

    • Loved it! Carried me right along to the end. Almost musical. wonderful voice. Thanks for sharing.

  • I have to say that my sympathies lie wholly with the mother and especially her son. She has had a shitty life: raped, kicked out by her supposedly Christian parents, taken for granted by one man, eventually suckered by another . . . Agreeing to appear in porn videos was not the wisest thing (but then why are women condemned far more in sexual…[Read more]

  • EILERT DIJKSTRA told the counsellor at school it was the worst day of his life. In his first few sessions he could hardly say a word about it. When he did eventually open up, his counsellor got a fuller picture.
    . […]

    • Ah, the regret that will hit when that comes out!

      I hope that they get to laugh about it.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • I have to say that my sympathies lie wholly with the mother and especially her son. She has had a shitty life: raped, kicked out by her supposedly Christian parents, taken for granted by one man, eventually suckered by another . . . Agreeing to appear in porn videos was not the wisest thing (but then why are women condemned far more in sexual matters than men?) and she is perhaps not the wisest. But which of us can honestly say we haven’t – repeatedly – behaved very stupidly, though only realised in hindsight? And which of us hasn’t given into temptations against our better instincts?

      The character who deserves all our sympathy, though, it the 16-year-old son. It must have been horrific to come across a porn film starring his own mother. It would be awful for any child of any age, but for a mid-teen, between childhood and manhood, a little of this, a little of that, and one finding his way in a world he still barely understands and which might bewilder him is for many of us – sadly not all of us – incomprehensible.

      The shame his mother felt when she discovered what her son had discovered must have been unbearable (poor woman) and I doubt very much they will later on have a laugh about it.

    • Quite a story. You tell it from a distance and I think I longed for a little bit of dialogue to get to know the characters better, but the story is good, if sad, about the plight of a woman trying to do the best for her son. The ending came as a shock and I could only imagine the fall out from the son seeing his mother in some porn site. Well done.

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pfgpowell

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@pfgpowell

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