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BLOG POST #238 – CHANGES

This was written in a response to a challenge in my writers’ group to write a poem about ‘changes’.

9 MONTHS

At first 

the change

is imperceptible

A liking for something

you never liked before

Then the first flicker

Did you imagine it?

It feels like the flutter of

a butterfly wing

The clothes you wore     

no longer fit

and strangers 

pat 

your stomach

like they own it

Then

out of the blue 

one day

the first kick

takes your breath away

What a surprise

Your body is changing

before your eyes.  

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

POST #207. HOW FAR BACK CAN YOU REMEMBER?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all remember the first few years of our lives? After all, these are the years – we are told – that form us, shape us into the people we become.

Now I have grandchildren I sometimes wonder how much they will remember of the happy times we have together. Nothing special. Just the everyday things. Sharing a story. Playing hide and seek. Cuddles. Bath time. Bed time.

I wrote this next poem when I was a new mother. Every parent has done this. Watched their child sleeping.

The same feeling still comes over me when I hold our fabulous new grandson who was born less than three weeks ago.

The years are swept away and I remember this poem I wrote a lifetime ago.

I watch my son asleep in bed.

What dreams can he be dreaming

the little sleepyhead?

I want to build a wall around his cot

Shield him from the world

Instead I tuck his blankets tight

And kiss my sleeping child goodnight.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

DAY 38 – ZOOMING AHEAD

DAY 38 – WE’RE ALL ZOOMING NOW

 

Until a month ago the only Zoom I knew was an ice lolly.

Now we’re all zooming away with friends and family.  Not all of it pleasant.

I have friends who have sadly been to Zoom funerals and memorial services.

On the other hand we’ve had enjoyable chats on Zoom with friends and OH (other half) has Zoom lunches with his buddies. Most, like him, are over seventy. They used to meet up regularly for lunches and now meet on Zoom instead. They have one rule – they can discuss anything they like as long as they don’t talk about their prostates or their grandchildren!

Me – I would love to talk about my grandchildren. I would love to see them even more.  So far it’s only been on Face Time.  We’ve done baking, story time and today OH gave them a science lesson.

At Passover we had a successful Zoom Seder  – that’s the Passover meal and service. It was the first year that no one spilt any wine on the tablecloth or food on the floor.

The other week we had the pleasure – if that’s the word – of attending a Zoom Brit.  A brit or bris is the circumcision in Judaism of a male baby at eight days old. It’s not just a Jewish thing. Islamic faiths do it too. As do the royal family.  Yes, Prince Charles and his brothers were all circumcised.

The actual circumcision is relatively painless – those of us watching didn’t feel a thing! Seriously though, a special trained Jewish doctor called a Mohel performs the op. I say op but normally there’s no anaesthetic other than a lick of wine the mohel gives the baby afterwards.  The actual circumcision takes only a minute. The baby cries for a few seconds. And it’s over.

When  our firstborn was circumcised I was still in hospital because I had had a complicated birth. My mother in law felt that her firstborn grandson should only have the best so she insisted that we have the Reverend Jacob Snowman – the same mohel who had circumcised Prince Charles.

By this time the mohel – who was said to be a cut above the rest – was quite frail and elderly.  When he performed the brit his hand was shaking! But all went well. Everyone congratulated everyone else and the mohel left.  At that time (and for all I know this is still the case) the mohel asked for no set fee.  You gave however much or little you could afford.

The next morning I was standing by my hospital bed attending to my new born son when the ward sister appeared with Reverend Snowman in tow.  How kind, I thought, he has returned to make sure all is well with my baby.  But no such luck.  “Mrs Neidle”,  Reverend Snowman said to me, “Your husband forgot to sign the cheque!”

Normally, when one attends a brit, the women hover at the back of the room.  When I had my boys all those years ago I chose to not even be in the room.  However, with Zoom technology everyone has a front row seat.  You would imagine it to be impersonal seeing something like this via a computer screen.  But I actually found it quite moving. There were 65 people present (as in not there) from all over the world.  The only downside was that there was nothing to eat afterwards.  You may know that there is seldom any kind of Jewish event that does not include food of one kind or another.  This time we all went away hungry.

Tonight we are looking forward to a Zoom meeting with the people with whom we would normally play table tennis on a Tuesday night.  Zoom was originally created for conferences and work based meetings not for a group of people all trying to talk at the same time so unless someone keeps control, the whole thing just becomes a babble of voices.

Zoom’s whizzy technology allows you to give yourself a scenic background so you can be sitting on a beach, in a desert or up a mountain. You can even have a video going on in the background. Our favourite at the moment is our taking a river boat trip down one of the canals in Bruges.  It would be pretty lifelike if only it didn’t look as if we were travelling backwards.

One aspect of Covid-19 has been that very few of the people we see on TV now are actually in a television studio.  They’re talking to us via a computer screen. What I’m finding fascinating (and a lot more interesting than the news) is seeing inside the homes of television presenters and journalists. There they are sitting in their studies, utility rooms, gyms or loft extensions. If I try very hard I can even read the titles of the books on their shelves. I’m also able to see the  strategically placed photos of their kids and the art that hangs on their walls. I’m also wondering what they are wearing – if anything – from the waist down. Much more interesting and entertaining than seeing them in a bland TV studio. So much so that I don’t always concentrate on what they’re saying which, in these days of Covid-19, is probably just as well.

 

 

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

Waiting

Waiting

We are all expectant!

Waiting for news of the latest Royal birth. Kate Middleton – the Duchess of Cambridge – went into labour today!

Here’s a  poem I have posted before. I wrote it in 2011 when our daughter was in labour and we were expecting our first grandchild.

Maybe this is how Kate Middleton’s mother is feeling right now …

Waiting

I have never waited like this before

Not for me

Pacing the floor

Instead I find small things to do

Mindless silly things

Anything to keep me from thinking

I walk round and round the garden

Round and round the house

The hours stretch out interminably

I wish I could somehow

Move things along

My thoughts say hurry hurry

I go to the florist

And buy a bouquet

The biggest, bluest, most beautiful bouquet

Now it will happen I think

Now I will get the call

The phone rings

It is my husband

He is also waiting

But while he waits

He has meetings, lunches

discussions, phone calls

He is not waiting

Like I am waiting

He is not thinking

as I am thinking

I am remembering

My first time

How time was telescoped

And what – for those waiting

Was so many hours

For me sped past so swiftly

So amazingly fast

I was surprised when

they said how long it had been

how long long long

I long to get that call

I long to know that all is well

And that my girl has had her boy

8 September 2011

worth waiting for

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

Mother and Child

You give birth and overnight your life changes. Now there’s someone else who’s always going  to come first with you.  For the rest of your life.  Even when your kids are grown up, barely a day goes by when you don’t think of them.

Here are some poems I’ve written about the parent/child relationship.

I wrote this first one after the birth of our daughter.

Hannah Sleeping                               

  I watch my child asleep in bed

What dreams can she be dreaming

The little sleepy head

I want to build a wall around her cot

Shield her from the world

Instead I tuck the blankets tight

And kiss my sleeping child goodnight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When she got married in 2010, I wrote this:

I watch my child become a wife

What dreams will she be dreaming

For the rest of her sweet life

Their love will build a wall around their world

Around their lives

And as I take her hand in mine

I wish that I could rewind time.

I wrote this next poem in 1995, about six months before my mother died. 

 Role Reversal

Today, I held my mother

sobbing in my arms

Stroking her soft,  fine hair

Her chin nuzzled on my chest

And I could smell

the unforgotten fragrance

of her skin

I held her close

as I have held my children

and felt the frailty of her age

How odd and imperceptibly

the tables turn

And those that you have leaned on

lean on you

Those that you had turned to

turn to you

Now she is the child

And I am the mother

The 6 March was 22 years to the day that my mother died. It often coincides with Mother’s Day in the UK.

  

I visited the grounds at Hoop Lane crematorium – as I do every year – where her ashes were scattered.

You might think that this is a depressing thing to do. But, at this time of the year, it is uplifting. There are thousands of crocuses as far as the eye can see.

For the first time ever, I had a go at writing a haiku.  This is a three line Japanese poem.  It must have five syllables in the first line, seven in the second and five in the third, final line.

Remembrance

Scattered crocuses

Ashes scattered on the grass:

Scattered memories

 

© Andrea Neidle. My Life in Poems

Thoughts on Mother’s Day – 6 March 2016

Mother’s Day has come round again.

It is especially poignant for me this year as it falls upon the day that my own mother died – twenty years ago today.

How I wish I could tell her about all the good things that have happened in my life. Especially that – were she alive today – she would now have five great grandchildren.

The last of these, a baby girl, was born only two weeks ago. Our first granddaughter after four grandsons!

Welcome to the world – Lily Hetty Ross.

LILY BLOG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I make no apologies for reposting this poem I wrote for Mother’s Day last year:

 

Every Day is Mother’s Day

First smile, first laugh, first sweet embrace

The tender way they touch your face

Every day is mother’s day

 

First sit, first crawl, first tooth, first walk

The joy when they begin to talk

Every day is mother’s day 

 

The fun when they begin to play

The cries when they don’t get their way

Every day is mother’s day

 

The day they start to question why

And ask what happens when you die

Every day is mother’s day 

 

The climbs, the falls, the hurts, the tears

As they learn to overcome their fears

Every day is mother’s day

 

The very first day you’re on your own

You take them to school, come home alone

Every day is mother’s day

The very first time they stay out late

And you remember your first date

Every day is mother’s day

 

And then one day you’re on your own

They’ve fled the nest, the kids have gone

Every day is mother’s day

 

The love, the joy, the guilt, the pain

The more you give, the more you gain.

You know you’d do it all again

Every day is mother’s day.

20160103_180949 for blog

© Andrea Neidle

My Life in Poems