Small Steps Forward

I write fiction about hopefulness and determination. About heroines who punch through extraordinary situations and obstacles, one step at a time. 

Today I’m really pleased to turn my blog over to a friend of mine, Graeme Kneale. He writes fantasy and science fiction prose and biting poetry, this is his latest work.

Small Steps Forward

Trapped in a cyclone
A never ending storm 
Of thoughts and imprisoning fears 
My mental self feels torn

It’s just one step so 
Why can’t I take it boldly 
Why have all these cares 
One foot in front of the other 
Moving to a future almost coldly 
Trying to hold against the stares

Okay so I make mistakes 
A black belted master of epic fail 
But sometimes it feels karma asks too much 
Where once I was strong as rock now I feel just shale

I fear by moving forward sometimes 
That I’m betraying things past 
And what’s the point in seeing dreams in the light 
When life rips them away so fast It’s like being shown the jackpot 
When you only won the consolation prize 
You know to see it brings more pain 
And yet you can’t avert your eyes

Stuck with so many questions 
Who, what, when, where or why 
Imprisoned behind fears and indecisions 
As time relentlessly passes by 
It’s like the road in front is deathly darkest black 
And I’m trying to drive while looking behind 
Frightened by all the might be’s that may come to pass

But I know I can’t stay here much longer
Cause I start to feel like a shade 
Passing through an existence neither alive nor dead 
As the sun ticks by the days 
So I guess I better do something 
Cause I don’t want to fade

Put one foot in front of the other till I’m off the plank 
And swallowed into the unknown waves 
Stop looking behind myself and swim like hell for the shore 
Cause it isn’t till we build a tomorrow 
That we are safe from the pains that have come before

Sunrise by nigelhowe on Flickr (cc)

Sunrise by nigelhowe on Flickr (cc)

GAK 2013.

Thank you Graeme! 

What do you think? Do you agree it’s too easy to trap ourselves in a mental cyclone. Too easy to let fears, doubts and regrets hold us in a place we don’t want to be. I know it doesn’t matter how big I dream, if I don’t take one small step after the other I won’t reach my goals.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments 🙂

The Yellow Challenge

Well the challenge was to write a poem about, or inspired by, the colour yellow. Harder than one might think! But I added an extra challenge for myself – mostly I write wordy, rambling poems, heavier on description than emotion. This time I aimed to write something short and pithy but meaningful.

A sunshine poem came to me on the morning train – making it light in word count but still saying something proved too hard so I just let that one flow.

But on reflection I starting thinking about yellow representing a lack of courage. We have all experienced fear, fear of failure, of rejection, of change. And to my surprise out came a poem unlike my usual ramblings.

Writing is a journey in self discovery, sharing that writing can be a laboured walk along a muddy track of good intentions and well aimed barbs. Here are my yellow poems 🙂

Morning Train

Morning sparkles on the river.
Harsh yellow sunlight
burns through train windows
on the morning run to the city.
Glinting off silver necklace
and pearl pendant.
Highlighting deep wrinkles
and downy facial hair.
Small woman opposite
reads king-size book.
Tall man alongside
scans financial section.
Two men behind speak rapidly
in a language harsh and high.
School bags congregate in doorways
their owners squeal in delight
behind oversize sunglasses
as each stop admits
another member of the coterie.
Four seats away, why
is that man frowning so deeply?
Eyes squeezed shut.
Window frame refracts the light
slicing his face into deep shadow
and washed out white.
All is well on the morning train!

Be Yellow

Keep quiet
stay small
blend in.
Swallow back
the rising bile
of fear.

Go along
Avert eyes
close mind.
Push down
the spreading ache
of angst.

Curl up
Switch off
numb senses.
Quell all
glimmers of light
and hope.

See yellow
Feel yellow
Be yellow.

Gargoyle Smile

English: Gargoyle at Château d'Amboise Deutsch...

Image via Wikipedia

Walk with me in the moonlight
crunching along gravel paths
skipping over clumps of moss
past fallen angels and crumbling Madonnas
unfurl your wings and stretch out your claws
leap from broken stones to crumbling mausoleums
breathe deeply the damp air of decay and neglect.

Lift up your wings and soar over forgotten tombs
around and up, looping and diving
then landing at my side
for me to clamber onto your back
and nestle in my special place
between your wings
before climbing again
into the crisp night air.

Fly with me above ancient forests and oceans
under the moon and infinite galaxies
past ruined castles on lonely hilltops
and rat-race cities eased into once pristine bays
eyes gleaming, smile untwisted, this is our time
our time until the rising sun calls us back
to our prisons of stone and wood.

Atomic Tangerine

Looking quietly in Valencia for a perfect calming sphere
peace is shattered with a smack in the head
from a misshapen myopic mandarin
shouting ‘look at me! I’m here!’Waking slowly and wobbling on unsteady legs
to the pungent odours of tikka masala
in a working mans bar deep underground
where a clear amber liquid is served from old-fashioned kegs.

Pulsing alarm beacons glint off ragged topaz crystals
crawling between safety suited legs
to a long rusted ladder soaring up
I ascend slowly cradling a pair of gold handled pistols.

Thousands of halloween pumpkins flicker
below a gorgeous low hanging harvest moon
the priestess wears an ant trapped in baltic amber
in a necklace forged eons ago, but under the same tableau.

Lit by a tawny peach and crystal blue morning sky
a handsome ginger tabby licks marmelade from his paws
on a bird bath of bronzed mexican mosaics
the sun climbs slowly and glints like a dragons eye.

Under fragrant sweet scented orange flowers
I follow each bite of sinfully smooth delicate chocolate
with a sip of opalescent cointreau over ice
and completely forget the rush hour.

Dragon Wings


With dragon wings wrapped around me
shadows disappear
I sleep in a cloud of innocence
there is nothing here to fear

The sun rises and his scales sparkle
midnight blue and pearly grey
around me his wings are the softest silk
he defends me and keeps demons at bay

We fly higher and higher
the world below becomes small
playing peek a boo with wispy clouds
far far away from the urban sprawl

We skim over treetops and a glistening lake
my hands touch the icy water
on this perfect morning with my dragon
I am mother nature’s daughter

We land in a meadow of wildflowers
surrounded by majestic trees
as I make a pretty posy
his wings make a gentle breeze

Foes may come and go
he will burn them all to ashes
or flay them with his spiked curly tail
they will flee in fear from any clashes

Climbing again into a perfect blue sky
nestled and secure
I know my dragon will protect me
come what may his love is pure

KC April 2011

Naughty Corners

A silly little poem written in jest, but i rather like it:
So often bare and bereft,
corners pose awkward questions,
if left empty to gather dust.
They are awkward to clean,
but shall i let them get dirty,
until cobwebs can be seen.
Or fill them all in,
with furniture and art,
a soft reading chair here,
corner library there.
Potted plants where there is light,
a shrine to Buddha,
in that dark spot next to the fireplace.
No bare and bereft corners here.
Do I interpret a deeper meaning,
am i filling in holes?
Surely just a dislike of corners?
Perhaps just in case, 
i should take myself,
to the naughty step on the stairs.
(KC March 2011)

Darkness Surrounds Me

Darkness surrounds me
envelopes me
a strange warmth
spreads through me
as if a quilt
from grandmothers bed
had been wrapped around me
except the heat
sears my skin

Desperately my fingers
tear at the fabric
giant quills
push their way out
scratching my hands
ripping at
my eyes and ears
bound in the shredded fabric
I twist and contort

The skull mocks and snickers
blood oozes and bubbles
as a zombie takes shape
it’s mouth dripping
putrid saliva
a lopsided grin
does not disguise
rotting teeth
or its hunger for my flesh

Blind, or is it dark
deaf, or is this thing silent
mute, as I cannot
scream for help
or in bravado
hands still bound
even the liquid
I am bleeding
does not ease the pain this time

Black is turning
to a miserable grey
the desk is here
the bottle is here
empty of course
the start of another day
in the mirror
only my dead eyes
betray the night before

kc 25/3/2011

Big Girls Cry

I wrote this in about 5 minutes one evening. A dear friend, who I had been chatting with just about every evening, announced that she would be cutting her time online back; for all sorts of reasons, none of which I could change. We were both crying, having become somewhat co-dependent it was a wrench to imagine not having each other to lean on. She sent me a U-Tube link to Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. I immediately responded “yes they do” and wrote this:
Big girls cry,
and laugh,
and dance and sing.
Big girls fall in love,
and sparkle,
and bleed.
Big girls say I love you,
and mean it,
and ache.
Big girls say let me help you,
and ask for help,
when they need it.
Big girls shine in the sun,
and glow in the moon,
and sometimes hide away.
Big girls cry,
behind the smiles,
and just get on.
I really like it, and so does she 🙂

In A Crowd

It isn’t a massive crowd,
but big enough.
Sitting at what was the edge,
in the shade,
hands stepped on.
A bicycle rode over my foot,
and a lady with a pram,
but at least she said ‘watch your hand’.

Perhaps i should stand?
Better to stay small,
so i hug my knees,
and look at the grass.
It’s fresh and long,
and very green.
Smells like grass,
nice new shoots to pull out and squish,
I remember dad,
eating the soft ends of the new shoots.

Lots of feet and legs,
fat and skinny,
hairy and smooth,
ugly and nice.
Very jealous of the really nice ones !!

Clapping and cheering at last,
presentation must be over,
lots of people milling about,
walking past and around,
will be safe soon.

(Jan 2011, KC)