Posted in 52 Poems, Poetry

52 Poems – Week 5 – An animal

This week’s prompt was to observe an animal and write about it. I was in the garden when I read it and my dog was lying on the lawn next to me, so this is what came out:

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Kia

Sometimes, I envy my dog. I envy

her ability to idle on the grass

without shame nor guilt. I envy

her knack for loving fully,

unconditionally, judgement free. I envy

that the mere prospect of a walk outside

excites her beyond the code of good manners.

I envy that the sight of any member of our family

throws her into a frantic celebration. Most of all,

I envy the gift of being so easily pleased.

Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – Week 6

UK Cases: 152, 840 – Recovered: ? – Death Toll: 20, 732

Portugal Cases: 23, 864 – Recovered: 1, 329 – Death Toll: 903

Worldwide Cases: 2, 982, 647 – Recovered: 875, 299 – Death Toll: 206, 342

It makes more sense now naming these entries after the week we’re in than the number of days, since this is day 42. Somehow week 6 makes it sound less apocalyptic.

On the world gone weird

Yes, the world is a little weird at the moment. And although the Coronavirus is in everyone’s minds and taking over the news around the world, I don’t think this is the worst thing going on in the world right now, or the weirdest, rather. In fact, the world was already weird before this virus started forcing people into action, in my opinion.

Firstly, the president of one of the most important nations in the world has suggested this week in his briefing at the White House, that making injections of disinfectant to treat the virus was a good idea, as the disinfectant kills the virus . The internet went crazy with it, big companies suppliers of cleaning products issued statements advising the public not to inject or consume their products in no circumstances. I could comment on it, but I don’t even know where to start. I have said in the past that he has the logic of a 5 year-old, but I feel that it’s not fair on 5 year-olds. As a result of the response caused by his comment, he’s now sulking like a spoilt child and decided he won’t be playing-daily-briefings anymore. What is really weird is that this president was elected in a free country, I mean a lot of people really believe that he is the right person to lead and represent their country. For real!

It’s also weird that most people can’t take joy in staying in the comfort of their own homes with all the gadgets and commodities available to most of us. It’s sad that so many people can’t take joy in their own company or the company of their families. In a world where most of us spend the time with our faces on a screen of some sort and most relationships are remote anyway, even when we are in the same house or same room even. I’ve seen groups of people in cafes, bars, restaurants with their gaze fixed on their phones rather instead of interacting with each other – I have been on of them. And now when we all have the chance to do exactly that all day without feeling guilty, we’re all complaining. So, suddenly everyone wants to talk to each other face to face? That’s weird, man! I could go on with this list, but I suppose I should leave something to moan about next week.

Mood changes

At the end of the previous week, I was starting to feel a little wobbly in my mood, but on Monday’s counselling session I was thankfully brought to reality and my mood was lifted. Then in the afternoon, I got a phone call of a dear friend who works at the hospital to say that she had tested positive and was recovering at home. She sounded very positive, but it was a bit worrying for me to see it so close to home and my first thought was if she could get it doing admin work, what about my sister in close contact with the patients. Reason showed me that the staff in contact with the patients wear much more protection than the admin workers. In the end, everyone is in the hands of God and that’s the truth.

The Artist’s Way

I started the ‘morning pages journal’ on Monday and have been doing it everyday since. I am loving doing it and have found it really liberating and helpful. This morning I finished week 1. I have written two poems, which I think the morning pages helped shaping, they still need some work, but at least it was a start. I have spend a lot of time in the garden Friday, Saturday and Sunday I am using that as my first ‘artist’s date’. It’s amazing how much of a workout gardening actually is. My muscles are tired, but my mind is very satisfied. I didn’t do the first week as it should be done, because I didn’t read the correspondent chapter of the book before I started, so now I have a couple of tasks I should have done and I will be catching up at the beginning of week 2.

Family Time

Week 6 was a good week for family time, we ate twice together at the table as a family and had a BBQ on Thursday again. Phil made the Creme Brule Cheesecake and Romina ordered a box from Roscoe’s Cakes. Sunday morning Phil made croissants for breakfast and Romina made another one of her delicious roast dinners for lunch. We played Uno and Monopoly this week as well as enjoyed time in the sun together. We’re still enjoying each other’s company, eating well and most importantly, we’re all still talking.

Books

Apart from the The Artist’s Way, I’m still reading Normal People and I received two other poetry books, The Art of Falling by Kim Moore and Magnetic Field, The Marsden Poems by Simon Armitage. I bought these two books inspired by Ben Wilkinson in Poems for the Lockdown. I’m discovering a lot of new poems with these daily poems and also rediscovering others I had already come across but forgot about.

I have also listened to The Railway Children, by E. Nesbit, free audio book on BBC Sounds, it’s one of those classics I always wanted to read and it didn’t disappoint. I need to see if is there any others I would also like to read/listen.

So this was my week 6 in lockdown. Stay safe everyone!

 

 

 

Posted in 52 Poems, Poetry

52 Poems – Week 4 – An invitation

This poem is about my mother who I lost almost 4 years ago and who I miss now more than ever. I have not cried a lot for my mother, because I don’t cry as much now and always struggled to cry in funerals or when people die, it’s a very strange feeling. But I suffer so much with the feeling of missing her and not being able to speak to her or hug her one more time. I’m constantly haunted by the fact that the last time I spoke with her I had no idea it would be the last time.

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

An Invitation 

I’m inviting you over,

not because we’re in lockdown,

or because I can’t visit anyone,

or receive anyone. I’m not lonely.

I’m inviting you over

because I miss you terribly and

the thought of never seeing you again

hurts too much. My chest is so tight

it could be this disease, but I know

it isn’t. I know it’s the pain of missing you.

If you come to visit, I can hug you

one more time; but this time I will

hold you for longer.

Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – First Month

UK Cases: 108, 692 – Recovered: 344 – Death Toll: 14, 576

Portugal Cases: 19, 022 – Recovered: 519 – Death Toll: 657

Worldwide Cases: 2, 231, 438 – Recovered: 564, 718 – Death Toll: 150, 836

As I gather these numbers every day, I find myself reflecting in the fact that these numbers, might be greatly unrealistic. Firstly, there is a massive lack of testing around the world which means that there in no way of knowing exactly how many cases are in total, it could be twice as many or a third more or who knows? With regards to the number of deaths, for example in the UK, only the deaths occurred in hospitals are being recorded as covid -19 deaths and I suspect that is the case in some other places too, plus when someone dies at home as the result of the virus, but has never been tested, how do we know the cause of death? It is very difficult to know exactly what we are facing here and this is something that scares me if I stop long enough to think about it. I try not to.

Lockdown extension

This week, the government extended the lockdown as we have been doing for at least another 3 weeks. The furlough pay has been extended until the end of June now. There has been a lot on the news about economy versus human value. In my point of view, humans are more valuable than the economy, if not for anything else, simply because you can’t have an economy without people. Also, I am sure there is enough wealth in the world to get us through this. It’s just a matter of management. For example, I believe that the government pays a compulsory minimum living allowance to everyone instead of disability, universal credit, etc which people have to be tested and assessed for; it would be much more beneficial for the economy, as the population would have much better physical and mental health as well as economic power. They would be saving on the cost of assessment for benefit eligibility, health, businesses rescue measures, etc. This is a utopian view, some might say; but I do believe it. Clearly, things have not been working otherwise, anyway!

First month’s balance

So, I have been at home now for just over a month and I must admit, I am not as cheerful as I was a few weeks ago. There, I said it! I have been feeling my mood getting lower and a shadow of depression looming over me. I am still going for walks every day, which I am still enjoying and exercising at home, but not as much as I was at the beginning. I am still losing weight and still reading and writing most of the time, but I know the spark isn’t here like it was before. The good thing is that I can see this happening and I can fight it.

This week, I finished both Later Emperors and Joyful. Currently, I am reading Normal People, by Sally Rooney and The Result is What You See Today, poems about running edited by Paul Deaton, Kim Moore and Ben Wilkinson. I always like to have a poetry book on my bedside table. Joyful was a really good book, but I was missing reading a novel. I like these lifestyle books, but in the future, I think I will put a time in the day for this type of reading and keep a novel on at the same time. In my first month at home I have finished 3 books, could have been more, but it’s not bad.

Two days ago, I received The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, with the workbook, Morning Pages Journal, but I have not started yet. I will start tomorrow. I think I’ll set some time in the morning to read it and to do the morning pages. I watched an interview with Julia Cameron on Russel Brand’s podcast and ordered the book the same day. This is something  I am really looking forward to.

I have also finished the crochet blanket I started at the beginning of my isolation, I was thinking of giving it to charity, but ended up giving it to Romina. She said she’d like it, and she had just rearranged her bedroom, so I gave it to her. I have started now a rug for my office, this should take less time as the wool is much thicker. I’m looking forward to have it finished.

Writing

I have been writing everyday since I started staying at home and I have written about 4 poems and also have been editing other work I wrote before. I am taking myself more seriously as a writer now and I am also doing writing exercising every day. That is something that has helped my spirits and something I hope will continue after this crisis is over. I have started posting here the poems I wrote with the 52 poems prompts, on the days I don’t write the diary. When I am up to date with these poems, I will start writing posts with writing tips and ideas.

I had a lot or response from the Creative Writing Group on Facebook and have been enjoying reading the members work during the week. I can’t wait to see how this is going to progress. It means so much to me that other people are participating and thanking me for creating the group. I just love how it is turning out.

Family time

This Wednesday, the 15th was Romina’s birthday, the first of our family in lockdown. It was a lovely day, my sister came round with the children and they sang happy birthday to her on our front garden, while we all stayed inside. It was the first time I saw the children since it all started and it was so lovely seeing them, but sad at the same time as we couldn’t hug and kiss each other. The weather was beautiful that day and we stayed most of the afternoon in the garden. She made pulled pork with potato wedges for dinner and Phil bought her a chocolate cake, after dinner we played Uno. I wish she could have gone out with her friends, at some point in the day, I could sense she was sad and I wish it would have been better for her. But at least, I can hope that next year for her 30th she can have a proper celebration.

We bought her a cake, but the only candles I had in the house, were my 50th and Lucas’s 18th that had never been used, so we put them on the cake as 81 just for a laugh.

On Thursday, the day was glorious and we had a barbecue in the garden. It was our first barbecue in this house and the first we made in a long time. It was a great day!

Highlights

The highlight of the week, or even the month, was when we saw two deer running in the field on Tuesday, it was a magical moment. We were on our morning walk when I looked and saw these two bambies playing in the woods. I was in awe, couldn’t even process it for a while, so unexpected and beautiful. I will remember that moment and treasure it for a long time. Then the following day we bumped into a chicken on the street, I think it sneaked out from a nearby farm. These little things we take joy from make all the difference these days.

And I am still counting my blessings. I am deeply grateful for everything I have and for having my family with me, despite missing my son Leonardo, his girlfriend and my grandson too much. At least I know they are well and when I speak with Leonardo he sounds positive.

Posted in 52 Poems, Poetry

52 Poems – Week 3 – A Journey

This should have been week 2, but I got these two weeks mixed up, it doesn’t matter. The prompt was to write about a journey. So I thought about a journey in search of happiness, I thought about looking for what is already inside oneself. I’ve spent a lifetime looking for love, acceptance, reassurance, all in the wrong places because I was looking for these things outside myself. So I wrote about going on a journey looking for what you already have. Does this make sense? I hope so.

photo of person walking on pathway near rocks
Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas on Pexels.com

Finding home

I set off on a journey, hunched

by a heavy baggage. The path

wasn’t smooth nor wide. Nor

was it certainly, without obstacles.

I trekked up and down hills,

mountains. Crossed over

bridges – short, long, straight,

winding, firm and wobbly. Often

I turned around, often

I stopped to rest, often

I looked back wishing

I had never left home.

I’d been on the road

far too long, longing for home.

But when I stopped looking back,

I learned that I had arrived already.

 

Posted in 52 Poems, Poetry

52 Poems – Week 2 – Body

Here is my week 2 poem, this poem has had a few different versions already, but I’m still not sure this is the final one. It started as My Scars, followed by a version of mind versus body, then I remembered that I already wrote that poem; so I saved that version to go and edit the other poem. I also saved part of the scars, I might used it for another poem, who knows? In the end I decided to express gratitude to what I have put my body through over the years and for the fact that it never let me down. I don’t know if it comes across as I wish it would. Feedback welcomed, please!

 

In Praise of my Body

My body has always been there for me, but

I have not always been there for my body.

My body was there for me when I first discovered

the joys of walking and falling – getting up and

trying again. When I learned what comfort was, the sun

on my kin, the refreshing sea on a hot summer’s day,

sleeping in freshly washed bedding, resting.

My body was there for me, when I discovered love, the

excitement of another’s body against mine. Pure joy,

endless sensations kept in unforgettable memories.

My body was there for me at childbirth, when a life it created

exploded into its own existence. Miracle repeated, despite my

inability to take in the succession of life’s serendipities. It gave

me strength to carry on when I didn’t have the courage.

My body was there for me all through my long working life,

day after day, week, month, year, forever. Long shifts, adverse

conditions, sickness, accidents, successes, achievements.

Never letting me down, never letting me quit.

And how did I pay it back? With criticism, judgement, neglect.

Until I learned to love it, because I am one with my body!

 

Posted in 52 Poems, Poetry

52 Poems – Week 1 – How to Tackle a Year

This January, which feels like it has been in another life, but was only just over four months ago, I decided to start writing a poem a week. I follow Jo Bell‘s 52 for prompts. This is my week one – How to tackle a year attempt, still a work in progress and feedback is very welcome. I stopped for a while as other things got in the way, but I am currently working on week 5. From today, I will post them here, hoping for some constructive feedback. Thanks for reading!

writings in a planner
Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

 

Entering 2020 

Give 2019 a big hug before sending it home,

say thank you and wave goodbye until it’s out of sight!

Close the door behind you, roll up your sleeves,

tie your hair back, you’re going to get busy. Start

with a good declutter! Sort all your stuff in two piles –

‘to keep’ and ‘to go’. Make sure you pack

all insecurities and anxieties. Let go of fears

and frustrations. Don’t hold anything back.

In your ‘to keep’ pile you want determination,

motivation, lots of patience and resilience;

as well as joy, self-confidence and assurance.

But don’t forget to add a good blob of fun!

Only then will you be ready to tackle

the next twelve months. Sit down and enjoy!

Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – Days 27-28

UK: 88, 621  – Death Toll: 11, 329 – Recovered: 344

Portugal: 16, 934 – Death Toll: 535 – Recovered: 277

World: 1, 888, 906 – Death Toll: 117, 585 – Recovered: 438, 176

Easter Weekend

On Saturday, my sister sent us some photos of flowers she’s picked up from the countryside on her walk and I thought it was a great idea, so I copied her when we went for our walk. This is the result. The florists are closed, so this is the only way if you want fresh flowers in the house. I love fresh flowers, they bring a little bit of sunshine inside and I love the effect of some mere buttercups have on my window and my mood. One thing the lockdown is doing to me is making me appreciate the simple things.

The day started with a 10 minute exercise, followed by breakfast and a half an hour walk. After lunch, I read a little bit in the garden. We had lunch in the garden as it was a lovely sunny day.

Creative Writing in Lockdown

Saturday afternoon, I streamed my first live video to the group. It took me ages to set up and at one point I doubted that it would happen. Eventually, half an hour later, I was live and I had 12 attendees. I really enjoyed doing it. The group has now more than 40 members and I am very excited about it. I’m glad I created the group because it will motivate me to continue writing and to connect with like minded people. I really hope it works and that we can motivate each other and help improve each other’s writings. In my live video, I gave the group the first writing prompt. Taking the theme of Easter, it is to write about rebirth, any event when you felt like you were given a second chance in live. I am just about to write my first draft. There are a lot of things I can write about, I have been in that situation several times. I’m inclined to write about when I came to the UK, but I could also write about my experience with depression and anxiety. I’ve not decided yet, but I’m leaning more towards the move to a different country. I’ve not written enough about it and I have a lot to say.

Easter Sunday

Yesterday, we stayed in bed until late, I did my 10 minutes workout before shower and breakfast, than we went for our walk while Romina made lunch. Phil made dessert before breakfast, while I was getting ready. We had a lovely meal and a good game of Monopoly, this time Lucas and Phil were the last two standing while Romina was the first one to go bankrupt.

We made video calls to everyone we normally have Easter Sunday meal with and it was lovely. The only person I couldn’t get hold of was Teresa, but I had spoken to her earlier on the phone. It was such a nice day, the food was so nice. I’m starting to question myself whether we are eating better since we are in lockdown or whether we are enjoying it more because we have less distractions in our lives. It just feels like every meal is a celebration. Like our senses got sharper.

After the game, Phil and I watched Paddington and Paddington 2 back to back, with a little bit of Country File in the middle to get the weather forecast for the week. I love the Paddington films, they’re such feelgood films and I thought, they were perfect for Easter Sunday, specially in these circumstances. I also worked on my crochet blanket while watching TV, it’s getting very big and I’m sure I will have it finished by the end of this week.

I went to bed feeling quite positive and content, but more often now I feel a cloud of worry and anxiety coming over my head. So far I have managed to dissolve it quickly.

Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – Day 24-26

UK: 73, 758 – Death Toll: 8,0958 – Recovered: 135

Portugal: 15, 472 – Death Toll: 435 – Recovered: 233

World: 1, 677, 664 – Death Toll: 101, 597 – Recovered: 372, 939

sea of clouds sunrise wallpaper
Photo by Rahul Pandit on Pexels.com

So, I have been a little sidetracked with other projects and have not had much time or inspiration to write these daily posts. Therefore, I decided to change the schedule, I will do a weekday post and a weekend post for now on. I think this is best so I can focus on other things as well.

Creative Writing in Lockdown

This is the name of my creative writing group on Facebook and I have now 43 members. it is amazing, I never thought that would be so many people interested and I am so humble and so pleased. I have now posted a pre-recorded video and also a live video and I am really excited about this project. I think we can do so much with this group and it is such a good way of connecting people and distract us all of the current world’s hardship. I have big plans for this group and I am taking it very seriously.

Blog

I have decided that I am not ready to start another blog, it has taken me too much time to try and set it up, and I don’t want to waste anymore time with it. Instead, I will post more on this blog, not just the social distancing diary, but also writing, etc. I will also be using other social media platforms. I have created another Instagram account for my writing and I am thinking of using my You Tube channel more as well.

Other business

This week I lost 200 gr, which I am very pleased about since we had cake and ice cream in the week and very nice meals. We have been going for longer walks, but I have not exercised as much at home, because of the long walks. I will try to still exercise, despite the long walks during the next week.

I have not read as much as I thought I would this week, I felt a little distracted. I don’t know if it is because of all the plans in my head or the strain of the lockdown. I am going to start taking more breaks from the office next week as well.

This is all for today. Stay at home and stay safe!

Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – Day 23

UK Cases: 55, 242 – Recovered: 135 – Death Toll: 6, 159

Portugal Cases: 12, 442 – Recovered: 184 – Death Toll: 345

Worldwide Cases: 1, 410, 095 – Recovered: 300, 739 – Death Toll: 81, 010

So yesterday we discovered another walk. I was in awe of all these places we have on our door step and never knew about. It made me feel so good to go for a different walk. It’s amazing how these little things have the power to lift our mood and make our day. I was walking like I’ve never seen the countryside before, just because we discovered a different field and a different farm. Never knew there were all these farms around us. Phil is really good at searching and finding all these places. It was almost an hour walk, so I didn’t do my home workout later on.

Just look at this blue sky. It was a glorious day, we could have been walking in Monchique in the Algarve. I’m sure we will continue with our walking and exploring hobby after this crisis. It’s such an uplifting habit, I don’t think I will ever feel too tired to walk again. It is something I really look forward to these days.

Creative Writing

So yesterday, I created a Facebook group for the creative writing and a lot of people joined, by the end of the day, I think there were about 15 members. I think this is going to be something really good to stay connected in the community and I feel really excited about it. To be honest this is something I thought of doing for a while, but never thought I’d get a good response, for some reason. Even before the lockdown and the Corona virus crisis. So, I’m really glad I did it now. I can’t wait to have it all up and running. And again this could be something to carry on doing afterwards.

New poem

Yesterday morning, I wrote a new poem. It was week, started working on it last week. the prompt was to write an invitation. When I started it, I thought about inviting hope or fun or something like that, but in the end was my mother I invited. It felt quite emotional. I still want to work on it a bit more, I might share it here later.

This is all for today. Stay safe and stay home!