in #poemlast year

The little ones are quarreling over whose biscuit is bigger -
Craig is weeping as his has broken in two -
'there there,' I mutter, 'the others only have one each.'
His 3 year old eyes narrow, calculating......
I manage to sweep the swarm of them into the garden to 'play'!

The shell arrived in a box in the post.


I take it out of its tissue imagining the hands who wrapped it so carefully.
I caress the rough exterior, feel the weathered points, smooth the silky inner surface with my finger.

I put it to my ear as I did then
and the familiar quiet roar of the imagined ocean works its magic.

My senses are glutted.

The halo of the sinking sun gilds the sea with a molten, golden sheen.

My nostrils fill with the scent of salty bodies straight from the waves.

The taste of the shared melting ice cream is fresh on my tongue,


I hold the hand sized shell hard, to anchor me in these acute memories,
pressing the weathered points until my finger tips hurt, to ground me.

The ambient sounds of the sea roiling about in that enclosed hard shell are so real
that I hear the plaintive mewing of a gull.

My senses reel and I am drunk with memories.............. two stolen days that I have hoarded
like treasure to be savoured in small doses.

The children are giggling in the background...occupied for now.


I press the shell to my ear once more and allow tears of longing to dim my eyes.
I lose myself in the soft hiss of shallow waves that wet my feet and hide my toes.

Our hands meshed as we held this shell you found for me.
I couldn't take it.
I lose myself in the warmth of memories, the stain of that dying last day forever stamped there.

The shell in its tissue paper is a reminder of the choice I MUST make.

I am breathless and drowning in sights forbidden brought on by the evocative sounds this shell makes.

The reality of those out there, my home around me, work in the morning, weigh me heavy.

The pain is excruciating.
I can't bear it for another second
so I release the shell from my ear to break the spell.

The clatter of pots in the kitchen and the rapid chop of onions on a board with Brian's deep voice humming
brings me sharply back to what is familiar.

'Tea, mum?'

And the joy of what is real and what is now,
even with the heaviness of responsibility
makes me put that shell in the box, shoving in the pale pink tissue, specially chosen, on top - FAST.

I put it in the yard, by the dust bin to go out tomorrow when the truck comes to collect the detritus of my household.

'Coming Sal,' I call and slam the door.


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How such sweet memories are brought to the surface so easily. Lovely story @justjoy.

Thanks angiemitchell so good to hear from you.

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ahhhh ... detritus!

to collect the detritus of my household - awesome! I saved it for my own future use.

From a tiny girl I loved words. I would roll them round my mouth and savour the flavour (still do) and then say them with expression. My mother encouraged me to act.
Somehow the word dessicated as in coconut appealed to me - the word and the taste of it. My dad promised me a whole packet to myself as soon as I could spell it! I was 4 at the time and managed it......all those ssss's and a hard c ending in a final d! Excellent word.
I marvel at your hunger for and enjoyment of, words.

Did you say you came from England as a young girl? Were your parents Brits?

So you loved the language from the cradle. Interesting... Did you study linguistics at a university?
I understand you've worked in a newspaper. It sort of coming through. Your style is what one would call journalistic.

Well, I finally spent some time to write a program to save all the fine words and expressions that I gather from your writing, fostering hope to enrich my vocabulary. At times I feel impoverished going along the same exact language path over and over. I feel so claustrophobic if that concept could be used in reference to once's language limitations. Thus I have to make some conscious efforts to improve it. )))

This is an interesting video about the origin and the history of the English language

I am busy sewing, this is another hobby of mine, and I enjoyed some the the history of the English language...........it is a l o n g video and very interesting. I didn't realise that English threatened to die out a few times. Also how many French words there are!

Yes, I am a Brit but born here in South Africa. My engineer grandfather landed in Durban as a young man in 1895.
I was a high school English teacher but I produced a school fun magazine with the help of the students called The Green Elephant.
The uniforms (all girls wore the same style outfit every day) were green and the elephant was featured on the school badge. (I think the founder hoped they would retain information much like the reputed elephant - you know of course that he never forgets!
My mother in fact was a reporter for a newspaper and I also was published from time to time in a small way.
You express yourself in a unique and stylish manner so give up on feeling claustrophobic. I find myself smiling at the different and quaint way in which yuo sometimes use words - refreshing....eg 'going along the exact same language path'.
I am a visual person and see with amusement a path being deeply scored into the earth from overuse!
the only things I would say to you is:
Read English as much as you possibly can. Novels if possible because the language will be more relaxed and informal quite often. If you tell me what you like reading I'll be able to suggest an author. John Grisham writes a drama that is clever and well written with a sense of humour peeping out now and then.....essential in this thing called LIFE.
The other is - when you edit your writing, deliberately simplify some of the slightly more formal (over correct) sentences or phrases that you might have used. Too many big words etc can sound stilted (awkward).
Above all keep on writing - you are doing well.

Thank you! It's interesting to read and think about another life, life in Africa for God's sake! I worked with one person from South Africa, but he was Dutch. He made a deep impression on me as working as an engineer in an American company, he took a six month off and went to work pro bono in some forsaken South American country - Guatemala. When I asked him "why did he do it?" he said that "life gave him so much and he feels he needed to give back". He wasn't a big talker, in fact, he was stuttering and had a special device that helped him to overcome this obstacle. It's his high moral attitude, walking the big walk, that impressed me so much.

As far as English (American) literature is concerned I like several authors: Twain, Dreiser, London, Hemmingway, Heller, Shaw, Maugham and science fiction authors like Asimov, Bradbury. But this all was in the past. Then there was a long period of me reading only computer literature and now it's a period of reading psychological rag.

To simplifying formal one can do only if he or she knows that what they use if formal or complex. ))) My main problem is that I know more complex words than simple ones, especially those that native speakers use in their everyday life.

John Grisham? Ok, I never read him. Will try to fill the gaps in my education.

Thank you

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