To experiment with the idea of making poetry more fun, I created an anthology entitled ‘Poetry, Comedy & The Modern World’ for a recent project on my English Literature degree. I thought I would share the twelve poems that made their way into the final anthology here on my blog! I hope you enjoy exploring and, hopefully, having a bit of a laugh along the way…
Celebrate with me Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for and its 1 year anniversary from its publishing debut on Amazon. Looking at war from the perspective of all those sucked into it, civilians, soldiers, military working dogs, MWD, and eve belligerents, Silent Heroes is a narrative about the value of life and the necessity of combat; the terror of dying; the ordeal of seeing your loved ones and your platoon-mates killed in front of your eyes; the trauma of taking a human life.
“What I tried to convey through Silent Heroes is that all those impacted by war are, at the end of a fighting day, human being with dreams and families. A war’s consequences, like the shadow of a nightmare, reach far beyond the battlefield. Perhaps being a woman that writes about war I couldn’t ignore my inner voice speaking for the daughter, the wife, and the mother in me.”
On the book itself and on how it came to be, read below.
For this week’s Look Closer, What am I, from details to the big picture, I chose green, or it rather chose me. It is winter here, in South Africa and it feels wrong (to the Northern hemisphere born self) to still see so many green trees around, and roses blooming in our rosebushes, the Bougainvillea with its regal magenta flowers smiling at a clear aquamarine sky – forever depleted of snow.
Yet green it’s good… When I look at this patch of green I can see the veins from my wrist and the lines of my palm, my life and my future are in it.
A whisper of wind can make it shiver, yet the leaf does not break; it bends under its strength, pretend to bow at its will. Yes, I hear you, it seems to acknowledge the wind – but does it really?
Leaves are building blocks, nature’s shards of stained glass windows.
Leaves are past and present and future, a memory and a warning.
Leaves are nature’s collection of rare moments.
Leaves are the reminder that the vain will pass and perish and the youth will, eventually, decay.
Leaves are the reminder that all that’s different to the eye is, elementary, similar.
Look Closer, What am I, Green… for nothing is what is seems. See with your mind, not with your eyes.
I’ll leave you with a short poem:
Three salmon shade hens Dance. Feathered feet, ten toes each. A bright green worm stretched.
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The vast majority write out of a desire to share their experience with other people. Sharing something imparts a feeling of usefulness. Some people say they write for pleasure, others that say they write out of a desire to inform their peers. Others say they write for the sake of competition.
Nothing in this world is done without a reason because in addition to existential needs, people need much more.
But can literature change people, providing that people want to change?
We are rational beings, we socialize and we need to express our feelings and to see them echoed in others. We need to leave a mark behind us, footprints in the sand. So we write. Some of us.
Perhaps all the reasons why people write are based on the simple pleasure of writing.
So, why do people write?
Writing is therapeutic. The white paper listens to you and does not judge you. It accepts everything you want to give, the countless revisions too, without getting upset. It doesn’t matter if you write well or bad, the simple fact of putting your thoughts on paper frees you and gives you clarity and peace of mind. At least during the present moment. When it counts.
Writing clarifies the mind. If you can’t explain something to others, then you don’t understand it very well either. As you write, you reveal the knots in your thinking and force yourself to untangle them. I know I do.
Writing helps you learn. When I research for a book I need information in addition to what I already know. I have to document myself on so many levels, setting, politics, weather, customs, folklore, lifestyle, language, so I write everything down. Doesn’t all research go like this?
Writing helps one become more creative. As I try to express myself better I think of metaphors, comparisons or examples that sometimes link different ideas, feelings or situations. An exercise such as this, done for years, helps creativity, because it becomes easier to make unexpected connections.
Writing improves the memory and sprouts new ideas and thoughts. If I go back to stories I wrote five, ten years ago, I recognize the seed of an idea I developed only recently. But also anxieties I put out of my mind, because I wrote about them. Or events that I remember differently now, in a somehow detached way.
Writing urges you to read. As Stephen King said,’ If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.’ And reading comes with its long list of benefits.
Writing teaches you to receive criticism. From mischievous comments to justified feedback, I got used to digesting everything and taking the essentials. While keeping some thoughts (and a smile) to myself.
Writing helps one become more empathetic. When I write something, anything, I have to put myself in the character’s skin, be it human or a doggo. It’s experiencing a second life while, at the same time, teaching me to take a step back and see things into perspective, while in my own skin.
Why do I write?
Writing bought me a cup of coffee, although I traded the security of a medical career for it. But it gives me the satisfaction of creating something with my own two hands (and with my mind and soul). Like baking or carpentry. Like architecture (my first love). Writing has never disappointed me and I have never felt drained, used up in an emotional way after writing. Exhausted, but energized at the same time. Okay, there are moments of despair here and now.
I write about people so as not to forget them, so as not to forget the good vibes they made me feel.
I write about people just to keep those parts of them that have managed to change certain parts of me or that have made me feel more than I thought I could feel.
Do animals experience emotions, do they show this by spontaneous changes in their behavior? And, as a result of the emotions they experience, do they have feelings?
The Incredible Friendship Between a BEAR, a LION and a TIGER
It was the beginning of the 21st century when three cubs were rescued from the home of a drug dealer where they were kept illegally as pets. Severely malnourished and scared, the salvation for an American Black bear cub, an African lion cub and a Bengal tiger cub came through Noah’s Ark Animal sanctuary.
This is when the cubs’ true friendship revealed itself. As the bear required an emergency operation, the lion and tiger cubs became agitated while their friend was gone. They refused food, paced their enclosure, vocalized and only stopped when the bear was safely returned to them. After this, the three cubs spent their entire time close together, clinging to one another for comfort and safety. They were named Baloo, Leo, and Shere Khan.
The bear, the lion and the tiger soon matured, yet they continued sharing the same habitat, playing, eating together and grooming one another. And they did so for 17 years. Sadly, Leo and Shere Khan passed away in 2016 and 2018 respectively, and Baloo was there for them in their final hours.
In the wild, Asian black bears and tigers do share the same territory in the Far East, but when they do meet, one of them is sure to be badly injured.
The Heartwarming Friendship Between a CHIMPANZEE and a DOG
There are quite a few cute chimps that struck lovely friendship with dogs, an undeniable proof that social connections between animals do mimic those between humans and their pets.
Often, when a chimp and a dog became friends it was the puppy who came to the baby chimp’s emotional rescue. Too many chimps are slaves of the illegal pet trade, and when they are finally rescued are found to be orphans.
What would happen, I asked myself, if a dog and a chimp met in the wild? Would they still play? Would they play fetch, perhaps? Pull faces at each other? Share naps?
The Unbelievable Friendship Between a CHEETAH and a DOG
Yes, cats and dogs can be friends. What about a wild cat and a canine? One such incredible pair were Kasi the cheetah and Mtani the Labrador. Mtani means “close friend” in Swahili.
What if the cheetah and the dog would meet in the wild, on the African planes? Would the mama-cheetah allow? Would the dog have human friends who would interfere with their unusual friendship?
The Amazing Friendship Between a LION and a DOG
A cute, brown Dachshund dog called Milo struck a remarkable friendship with a massive lion named Bonedigger when the latter became disabled due to illness. Somehow, the canine made its way to the sad lion’s heart and took the beast under his wing and the two remained the best of friends, even five years later. None of them cared that one weighs 11 pounds, while the other 500 pounds.
Enjoy their beautiful friendship evolving throughout the seasons:
The Loving Friendship Between an ELEPHANT and a SHEEP
Albert the sheep and Themba the elephant live in Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in South Africa. Sadly, the elephant calf became an orphan after his mother died falling down a cliff. After a rocky start… the pair’s relationship blossomed, and they became the best of friends and Themba the elephant calf blossomed.
You can follow and enjoy their adventures in this book:
Green are the leaves that grow between birds Outside my window, playing hide and seek with the sky. And green are the last of my vineyard’s hopes too, Among rusty leaves, the last of a summer of grapes.
Green are my thoughts, the ones you see through my eyes – Is my soul green? I surely hope it still is. And green are the thoughts I keep in my heart, For they are not ripe-green yet.
For green is good, I think, As long as aplenty green things there are. The singular green frightens me, envious and cold, Therefore green is good in a bunch.
For green were the seas of my childhood tales Of maidens who could and princes who dared, a tad. And green were my teen years, When I thought I could do it all, like them.
Green are the spines on my bookshelves now, And a magic green pencil lays on my desk For the times inspiration fails me, I pick it and its energy handwrites me new tales.
Green are my hopes that end one more decade, And I think that’s pretty cool too. For green speaks of more springs to come, Of harvests of hopes, and a future in green.
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