144 words. I try to add some precision to my vague memories.

My grandfather was a bit of a war hero, apparently. But that may only have been in the memories of his children. But it is only in the memories of children that heroes really exist, don’t you think? I knew his children, of course. One of them was my father…. and he was, without question, a war hero. I have all the medals locked away somewhere in case I have to prove that to anybody one day. But why would I have to prove that? Certainly my father had no particular interest in proving it.

But neither my grandfather nor my father were killed in their wars (they took it in turns not to be killed, in fact), and I am very grateful for that. They both came back from unimaginably horrific experiences of human conflict and told jokes for the rest of their lives. I still tell some of their jokes and pretend that they are my own.

Anyway …. when D’verse suggested 144 words based on a particular quote from a D.H. Lawrence poem I tried to think about the possibility of my grandfather killed in the war that did not, as it turns out, end all wars.

***

We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of time, as slowly he moves further out of focus. Little reflections bouncing off the walls catch our attention, but vanish before we can capture them and treasure them secretly as memories of our own. So we paint pretty pictures of him in our minds and pretend.

An innocent little boy writing love letters to his mother from kindergarten.

The joy of a toddler introduced to his new baby sister.

The nervous little hero in his army uniform.

The lens becomes misty in the fog of our collective recollection. Or perhaps is it a tear in our eye that distorts the picture.

For now he is forever gone. Taken by an enemy that he never really knew or understood.

And suddenly we realise that we never really knew or understood him, either.

***

Incidentally. The first few lines of this (as required) come from the D.H. Lawrence poem ‘Hummingbird’. Coincidentally, a very close friend of Lawrence, Henry Miller, wrote a book entitled Stand Still Like the Hummingbird, and I commend it to you all.

5 words about spiders. A few times

Esther asked for a 5 word story about spiders. I didn’t think it was fair. Spiders deserve more than 5 words. They are creepy but misunderstood. A bit like me. So here’s a few 5 words in a row.

***

Spiders have too many legs

Crawling secretly on uncovered skin

Under your clothes and within

Places they should never be

Or see. In the dark

To park. And wait. Late

Into the night. All eight

Of those legs. Suddenly awake

You scream. At the unseen

Where those legs have trod

Delivering an octopod love letter

A lobster might be better

***

The Final Frontier

There’s no Captain Kirk stuff here, sorry. No fiction at all, in fact, let alone science fiction. A dose of reality instead. I just used the Star Trek reference to attract a new audience. I doubt that it will work.

Below is what sprang from a ‘death ballad’ written by Kate. Creepy, eh? The inspiration originates with d’verse, but since they asked for a ballad this doesn’t really qualify. Kate’s contribution is a sort of tribute to her mother with whom I had a sort of …. never mind … so – its a bit sad, really, but at the same time sort of hopeful.

Recent medical experiences have given rise to me contemplating my own approaching final frontier (I’ve been going on about it for years, though, as everybody knows. Nothing to worry about) and so here are a few thoughts.

***

There ain’t no guarantee about the thing that’s coming next

But I think I’ve got a pretty fair idea

There ain’t no nothing special at the ending of the text

So there ain’t no nothing frightening to fear

There won’t be any answer when my maker makes a call

There’ll be no parting messages from me

I won’t be getting judgement when the curtain starts to fall

No applause. ‘Cause it’s just me. Ceasing to be

Thanks for being with me on this roller coaster ride

It’s been special for me holding dear your hand

It would have been so clear if you had casted me aside

But I’m glad you chose instead to understand

I don’t know if you recognised the turning of the tide

But when I’m gone, I don’t suppose you’ll really care

But please don’t come a looking for me on the other side

‘Cause I can guarantee to you I won’t be there

***

I tried to make it cheerful. The sort of thing you might sing along with friends after a few drinks.

That would be nice.

Bad poetry is becoming my thing

A friend and I have been practicing bad poetry (you know who you are) and have discovered that it to be not as easy as it sounds. No matter how hard you try there’s always something that slips in there that elevates it to a point just above terrible. Some people, by my observation can create terrible poetry without even trying. Or perhaps it’s brilliant poetry that goes over my head.

Lots of things go over my head. I went to the doctor yesterday (I’m going again today, too. It’s what I do these days) and he informed me that I am getting shorter. Quite a bit shorter. That’s weird, and slightly alarming.

Anyway ….. poetry …. When I try to write good poetry (let’s just call it poetry, it will never be ‘good’) there is always something in there to drag it in the direction of terrible but still never quite taking it all the way to the bottom. So whether I try to be good or bad the result is more or less the same. I am consistent. That’s what my teachers used to say at school. Only one of them, actually.

Am I rambling? I thought so. Sorry. What I am trying to lead up to is that a quadrille is (allegedly) a poem of 44 words. Subject to such restrictions how could anyone produce something good? I couldn’t anyway.

This one comes via A d’verse prompt and has to be about a blanket. I think.

***

This night is young, we’re doing fine

Pour another glass of wine

Warm before the fire we’ve made

Watch the embers slowly fade

Like memories this fading light

Let’s hold them close into the night

And underneath the blanket lay

Tomorrow is another day

***