Look Up, Head Raised High

Look up, head raised high,
Beauty hides plainly in sight,
Not just a blue sky,

In modern rushed lives,
Head oft down, in phones we drown,
Wake up! it’s a choice.

 


I recall a conversation with my mothers husband when I first moved to London. We were driving and walking around the city. My mothers husband has fond memories of walking around the city when he was younger. He has an eye for detail and was looking up at the buildings as we walked around.

When you walk around a city, it’s easy to only look straight ahead.

Even easier to look at your phone.

But when you look up a whole new world opens itself up to you. Not just the sky. Little details; ornamentation, gargoyles, feet hanging out a balcony, a lady drinking a cup of tea at a window.

This is what inspired me to have a go at a Haiku about this.

These pictures are quite striking examples of the detail to be found looking up; framed beautifuly by the sky. But even in day to day life I am often surprised by what I see just walking around the streets.

So try it out, put your phone away and look up, with your head raised high!

 

Through the Window (On The Bus In Bangkok)

Young or old,
Is there anywhere you want to go?

Look out for them,
Charging around, in a bright flash of red or blue.

You have to share,
But a sense of community can be found their.

Relax in your seat,
A moment of freedom is found.

Books, music, snooze or chat,
What will you do?

I will simply sit back and enjoy the view.


During my trip to Thailand this year, I became slightly obsessed with the buses.

Two things caught my eye, the beautiful bright colours and all the little details. The flaps on the front, the expressive lights and grills, the thai flag stickers, the coloured wheel nuts. It’s a visual feast!

As I was walking around the Wat Pho area I saw one bus waiting. I noticed how the passengers were together, but still alone. As I looked on from outside I realised that people lose their self awareness when sitting on the bus. You could openly see people lost in their own world: talking to a friend, listening to music, daydreaming etc.

‘On the bus’ is it’s own little world. People from all kinds of backgrounds, at all ages, come together and spend these moments together, but yet still alone.

I thought, how lonely it is to drive around in a car on your own, when you could be on these wonderful buses.

Autumn Leaves and Haiku Thoughts

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as autumn leaves us,
so do green leaves, goodbye with,
a final flourish.


I’ve been on an unnoficial search for the perfect autumn tree. I was starting to lose hope following a couple of weeks of pretty cloudy flat grey skies – that kind of weather just doesn’t bring out the colours. But alas today was bright and blue and I went to Green Park in West London. I found this beautiful tree. I think this is one of the prettiest I have seen in terms of colours.

I recently finished bloggingU writing201 poetry; my first foray into poetry. And the first form I learned was ‘haiku’. I came across a book in the Japanese language section of the bookstore on ‘haiku’ accidently yesterday. I read a few pages.

I’m almost at intermediate level in Japanese. The first thing I wanted to share with those that may not be aware of it is the pronunciation. Japanese doesn’t have consonants and vowels and syllables in the same way we do.

So for ‘haiku’, we could mistakinly think it’s close to hi-ku. But the sound is really ha-i-ku and that ‘i’ is like our ‘ee’ in cheese. So pronounce it in three parts; ‘ha – ee – ku’ at an even speed and tone.

That may not be the perfect instruction, but just to give you an idea.

Some observations from the bookshop. The haiku syllable counts 5-7-5 were never syllable counts, they were counts of the japanese sounds, which don’t match syllables, so you don’t really need to get exact syllable counts correct if you are writing in english.

The other thing is that haiku were supposed to have a positive message or thought traditional; oops – so far some of mine were about sad things!

Friends or Not

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is it only me that
friends leave like seasonal leaves,
falling out of reach.


At university I loved the TV show ‘Friends’. At the time I had three close friends; Ruxi, Clive and Serene. We used to watch the box sets as a relief from studies and exams.

In those days I felt my friends were like ‘Friends’ friends. Afterwards I realised that such a close group of friends is rare. I also realised quite quickly that normal people don’t have such beautiful apartments. Life’s real story arcs don’t always end in smiles and laughs.

I left uni a year before Ruxi and Clive. I started work in a stressful graduate job. It changed me. When I went back to my uni town for visits I couldn’t connect well with my ‘still studying’ friends.

They would never know this, but one of the ways I got through the hard days and nights of my first job was by keeping pictures of my uni friends on my desk wall.

It was a shock when they suddenly stopped talking or replying to me. Some years later I discovered Clive and Serene got married; they hadn’t even told me. I still to this day feel hurt about this. I feel like a group of people that I felt at home with rejected me.

One of the biggest challenges in life is to retain trust in people. It’s required for close relationships and is especially hard to keep if people have bullied you or cut you out of their life.

And emotional damage through life is cumulative.

Let’s be honest. I am not the best friend. I get caught up in my own world. And when I lose common ground with people I tend to just stop contacting them (so I do the same thing).

Something I have read in pyschology is that we repeat patterns in life. Somehow I seem to drift in and out of friendships. Easily making new friends, but then losing them.

I’ve never had a best friend – is it a common thing or just a myth from media and stories? I don’t feel like it is something I miss. The only problem I may have is that I don’t think I have ever been 100% honest about all my thoughts and feelings with anyone.

I would never ‘lie’ to someone in a relationship, but I also wouldn’t be 100% honest either. It’s important to filter the thoughts of the human mind.

As biological beings our perfection is in our unique imperfect nature. A big part of this is that our thoughts are not always automatically right, good or kind. Sometimes we will be annoyed by anothers values, behaviours or actions. I accept this about myself. But I try to consciously use my power of thought to follow buddhist behaviours such as right action, right thought and right speech.

The other strange thing about me is I don’t have really any close male friends and I haven’t had for a long time. My only male friends are some old school friends I see very occasionaly from a long time ago.

Recently I have had some close friends that have gone through life changes and I no longer hear from them on a day to day basis. It’s not right or wrong, but I find myself in one of the periods of little or no contact with people.

It has been a strange year for me. One anecdote – I met a foreign girl studying in London. After she went home she asked me to marry her on a chat app and to move abroad to live with her. I considered moving to spend more time to get to know her better, but when I couldn’t due to financial / work constraints she went straight to not talking to me at all.

I think with friends and relationships we sometimes get caught up in our own interpretation of events and in taking everything personally. I suspect that in reality many of us go through similar things. Some better, some worse.

Or is it just me?

(the picture is from regent park in london last weekend.)

Tower Bridge

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Stately stone towers,
Stand over the Thames river,
Watching years go bye.

An iconic sight,
That sighs when misguided types,
Say “it’s London Bridge”.

Remember ’Tower’;
London’s majestic lady,
And favourite Bridge.

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Tower bridge; often mistaken for London bridge, is one of the most popular sights of London. The bridge itself is extremely central just south of the city and right next to the Tower of London; from which it takes it’s name.

Standing on the south side you can see the shiny modern glass buildings of the city through the bridge; what a contrast.

When you get up close you can also see the beautiful detail of the stone and metalwork.

I included a few haiku that I wrote. I was trying to think of a good metaphor or simile for the bridge, but I couldn’t come up with anything concrete.

When I think of the bridge, I think of it being over 120 years old, and I think of how it must feel watching all these modern glass buildings grow around it. At one point it would have been the tallest thing in the area, but now it’s dwarfed by behemoths like the shard.

And most days it’s constantly photographed by tourists, I suspect the bridge is ‘bemused’ with modern life.

Sense Perceptions, Writing201 Poetry ‘Pleasure’

Sensory perception  everywhere,  each
Day I wake with a need to seek,  like an addict,
The sights,  sounds,  taste and touch that tantalise,
High and happy,  I reach for more, and more.

Physical beauty,  let me feast with shallow eyes open you,
Soft skin,  let me lay these greedy hands all over you,
Fruits,  spices,  fish and succulent meats,  let me gorge myself with you,
Fresh flowers,  let your fragrance carry me away.

Suddenly darkness comes,  alone,  I am without you,
Nothing to see or touch, skies became grey above,
Sensory pleasure has abandoned me, betrayed by my reliance,
I’m beyond empty, withdrawal; the pain that remains.

I realise now that unchecked sensory pleasure results in pain,
Instead I stay with the ever present breathe; a simple pleasure that in its essence is me.


the last day of bloggingu writing201 poetry, today we had the prompt word pleasure, using sonnet and apostrophe. I had great intentions to write a perfect sonnet but after two weeks of poetry I’m ran out of steam so this is a rough attempt to something close.

the picture is from shinjuku gardens in tokyo this spring; I thought of it related to touch.

Flavour of a Kiss – Writing201 ‘Flavour’ Poem

Never much liked to kiss, but I found something in the taste of your lips,
delicate and sweet and light,
and yet full of your depth,

Now you are gone, how can I go on?, I can’t even describe my feelings,
fleeting and elusive and subtle,
and beyond words and yet deeply real,

Dream like memories, reality had overwhelmed all my sense,
Days and months and years pass, alone
Now I find I yearn for your kiss


I wrote this poem for day 8 of bloggingU writing201 poetry course. the prompt word was flavour; I decided to stretch away from food towards the taste of a kiss. In reality I guess a kiss doesn’t have a tangible taste exactly, but it carries so much depth of sensation it’s like it does. But personally I found an enjoyable kiss to be a rare and special thing.

The format was elegy, which use elegiac couplets. I actually tried to stick to these but I’m not very good at picking apart stressed vs. unstressed syllables so I doubt I got it write.

The device was enumeration using and / or etc. conjunctions to create lists, which I have tried to do in the shorter pentameter verses.

Picture was taken at a street market in soho london last year.

A Coastal Harbour Town in Scotland


Fishing boats in wait,
Metal clangs, a seagull calls,
But otherwise still,

Fishermen resting
In cottages, a respite,
From the cold hard seas,

Wire mesh, wooden slats,
Lobster pots piled by the side,
Waiting for their bait,

A visitor walks,
Taking photos, fingers numb,
Scotland’s winter coast


These are a few photographs I took in Anstruther; a small former fishing village on the East Coast of Scotland. They were taken last winter, it was super cold and my fingers were numb holding the camera 🙂

Nomadic – Writing 201

Nomadic, that’s my habit,
Never in one place, that’s my taste,
Mario running from a koopa shell,
Never afraid, just need my space,

No static, life is dramatic,
Had a childhood home, but not for so long,
Like a fable, hardly remember the dinner table,
Now, alone like a high flying drone, nowhere to belong,

Nosy neighbours, and small minded drama,
Social welfare, socially they just don’t care,
I wanna fly away; like an angry bird,
Don’t need no neighbourhood, they never treated me fair,

On the move, you know my groove,
Collecting passport stamps, that’s my jam,
Travels beauty, a call of duty,
What you got ‘no hood’? don’t worry that’s my life plan,

“Ain’t no sunshine when your gone”,
^^ Cause I take it with me,
Like zelda searching for my princess,
Never rest that’s my life’s test,

But travel ain’t always rosy or cosy,
I even spent a night in a Russian jail cell,
Wasn’t grand theft auto,
Just some incorrect documents; I don’t dwell,

Sometimes I get lonely,
Without a neighbourhood; social comfort food,
Like I’m questing in world of warcraft, with a staff,
on horseback, with a wizards hood, I don’t mean to be rude,

But I heard, that home is where the heart is,
And my real neighbourhood,
The people close to my heart,


I wrote this poem for wordpress bloggingU writing 201. The idea was to write a ballad. A ballad should be emotionally charged, dramatic and include a larger than life character. I don’t think I really hit those, but I tried to make this poem quite strong and fast at least.

Ballads traditionally use a ABCB structure with 2nd and fourth lines rhyming. I also found that there is a defined meter; they traditionally alternate between 4 met feet / line and 3, so you would have syllable structure 8686. I definitely didn’t meet that, it would take me a lot longer than one day to figure out how to write it that way.

The device we were using was assonance, which is the repetition or pattern of vowal sounds. I played around with trying to get a lot of ‘a’ sounds into the first and second stanza / verse.

The keyword was Neighbourhood. This was kind of difficult as I don’t feel like I have had a neighbourhood for so long. I remember some when I was very young. And to be honest, I remember mostly bullying, gossip, nosiness etc. As I was growing up I also stayed in homeless accomodation with my father and then in welfare kind of accomodation and the people around us were the worst of society. So, I guess I have forsaken neighbourhoods and community in my life to a certain extent; I don’t have any trust there. So this was my theme together with my passion for travelling and moving around. It’s easy to feel jealous of people that travel a lot, but I do miss the cosiness and safety of a home base and if you saw some of the places I have stayed you definitly wouldn’t it romantic.