Wednesday, 13 June 2012


I have just received an email from a girl (now woman) that I went to school with nearly thirty six years ago and became close friends then sadly drifted in our 20s.

When I told her that I was now writing and that I have had some poetry published recently she said "I'm not surprised, you always were creative, I remember that poem you wrote 'REFLECTIONS'." I couldn't believe someone not only remembered  that I used to write poems but could remember one of them clearly enough from circa 1980 to remind me about it! It just goes to show the power of words. I wrote something all those years ago that resonated with her and her teenage life which has stayed with her ever since, indeed, she told me that she had used the first lines in a letter to someone many years later!

I'm re-reading 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. Some of those lines are so precisely etched in my memory that Jem and Scout's scorched days brought back so clearly my own sweltering classroom where we took turns to read their adventures aloud. Just the names; Jem, Scout and Atticus are enough to conjure up the heat of unnecessary school blazers and BO.
Whoever had this copy from the library before me seems to have a shared love of the words and phrases used by Ms Lee, as the borrower has underlined many throughout and far from being irritated at someone's graffiti I am fascinated that, on the whole, they are the same ones that I remember being mesmerised by. I'm fairly sure that this author understood completely the power of her words, but not all of us do. 
At this point I would love to insert that long-ago penned poem that my lovely friend remembers so clearly - unfortunately I can't remember much past the title! However, I do remember another scribbling, written after someone else's words had completely devastated me! 


Kissing my neck so sweetly
You pushed me through your door
And crushed me so completely
Another of your angels crashes to the floor
Free-falling, Earth-bound
I crack my head on the bannister
Then realise your words were brimstone
When I’d thought they were lavender.

I suppose what I am trying to get at is the power of words, our words. How we talk to others and how we hear what others say to us. In writing I choose my words carefully I just hope that I am as careful when I talk. Written or spoken words can either delight and entertain, congratulate or commiserate or degrade and destroy! Of course, for story-telling purposes go wild with your words but when dealing with the fragility of the human soul, especially those you love, tread lightly, speak kindly. 

I know the adage 'actions speak louder than words' but I disagree. But then i'm a writer not a mime artist!!


  1. We never know how what we leave behind in the form of words affects peopl--both good and bad. I had a student once wrote a poem about a lesson we did in class and how it liberated her wriitng. I was never more proud. Congratulations on receiving this incrdeible feedback!