18/10/2017

TREE - a poem for Friday Fictioneers

TREE

A tree is always there –
immovable,
a living solid friend –
backrest to the solitary reader,
a shelter from sudden rain,
the hollows of its roots
a bed for summer lovers –
perhaps a hundred years
of memories.

You don’t expect
to wake one morning
and find its height
reduced to length,
the secret places
in its roots
indecently exposed,
and the unreachable boughs
sad and defeated
under your caressing hand.

When a tree falls
your whole world rocks
and the child in you
trembles.

It’s like coming downstairs
in the dark night
seeking comfort,
and hearing your father cry.
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On seeing Sandra Crook's photograph of a weeping tree, I immediately thought of this poem which I wrote thirty years ago in 1987, the year a hurricane tore down far too many beautiful trees across the south of England. As we have just had another big storm, it seems appropriate to post it here. And it has the requisite number of words!
You can see other 100 word stories via https://rochellewisoff.com/


12/10/2017

EMPTY NEST - a hundred word story

EMPTY NEST

That garden shed was a bone of contention from day one.
He wanted a man-cave to store his tools, while I envisaged a quiet retreat for writing. Grudgingly, we shared the space, each snarling when disturbed by the other.

Until sparrows converted his crusty, gnarled gardening glove into a nest. Stealthy as thieves, we watched noisy hatchlings feed and fledge. Indulgent, we brought insect gifts and wiped their crap off tools and books, naming each baby.

Then one morning they flew out to claim the sky.
We cleaned up silently, united in our grief, as bereft as university parents.
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Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog   https://rochellewisoff.com/  and to Douglas MacIlroy for the photo prompt.
I was away last week for three days, celebrating my daughter's birthday in Ireland, and did not visit as many other FF blogs as usual, for which I apologise. Must try to do better, as the teachers used to say - perhaps they still do?

04/10/2017

TROOP SHIP - a hundred words

TROOP SHIP 1939

“It’s no worse than when we went fishing that time,” Albie said, holding Bert’s belt as the troopship lurched into another trough.
“I were sick then too, remember?” Bert said, heaving up more of his breakfast.
Albie parked his whey-faced friend under a companionway and left him there while he walked the deck. The dark grey waves lifted and fell all the way to a horizon almost as grey, needles of spray lacerated his cheeks, and the deck was slimy with spume and vomit, but Albie pulled in deep lungfuls of the salty wind and laughed with sheer exhilaration.
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I believe this is the first time I've posted an extract from a book, but the mind of a writer is a strange land, and Ted Strutz's photo of a modern ferry took me to a scene from Helter-Skelter - a novel I am hoping to get published. I had to cut the little scene severely to fit, but I hope it shows how much Albie loves the wild tooth and claw of Nature.


Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  You can follow the link from there to read other interpretations of the prompt.

28/09/2017

THE TEST - a story in one hundred words.

THE  TEST

Amita’s parents were modern enough to let her choose her own husband.
Sleek Ahmed had a large apartment above his shop, while Jamel was lean and sunburned from driving his lorry all day.
Undecided, Amita said she would marry whoever brought her the best gift.

Ahmed, freshly shaved, arrived first with a delicate gold necklace, promising to smother Amita in jewels when she married him.
She smiled noncommittally.
Finally Jamel’s lorry stopped outside and a huge sheet of corrugated iron clattered to the ground. “A new roof for your parents,” Jamel said, wiping sweat from his brow.

Amita chose him.
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Here we are again with stories for Friday Fictioneers, a forum hosted by https://rochellewisoff.com/ - you can follow the link from her blog to read other takes on the photo prompt for this week, which was taken by J Hardy Carroll.

21/09/2017

SHOES - a story in a hundred words.

SHOES

We hadn’t bought a map, preferring always just to explore, so we simply wandered through the town. Most of the narrow streets were busy with locals carrying shopping, calling to each other from balconies, or sunning themselves on the pavement – the kind of scene we’d hoped to discover when booking our holiday.
But one district was eerily quiet. Outside several doors lay a pair of child’s shoes, faded and filled with cobwebs.
In a cafė we asked about them. The owner crossed herself.  “Years ago the earthquake destroyed a school – some parents still wait.”
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How could I write about anything else this week when any parent's nightmare has been brought to life on our television screens? Thanks to Sarah Potter for the photo prompt and to https://rochellewisoff.com/ for hosting Friday Fictioneers.


I have been absent from FF for two weeks, visiting family in Canada, and last week's photo reminds me vividly of my son's father-in-law's delicious home-made bread, every slice of which had a hole formed by the machinery of his bread-maker!  

30/08/2017

THE SERF - a story in a hundred words.

THE SERF

The new labourer is an odd bloke. He was mixing cement by hand till I showed him how to use the mixer. Mind you, the brickies claimed his cement was the best they’d ever used, so he knows his job.

Took some persuading to wear a hard-hat, too, and his clothes are weird, but he’s a grafter – looked shocked when we stopped for a brew-up, and can you believe he’s never tasted tea? Said serfs weren’t given such luxuries, and Den asked him where he came from.
“This place,” he said, “Before cannons destroyed it.”

Fair gave me the shivers, that did.
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I always sense the ghosts when I visit a ruin, hence this week's story prompted by Roger Bulltot's photo on https://rochellewisoff.com/  where Rochelle holds court. 
As I am flying off to Canada on Friday to visit my son and his family, I apologise in advance for a) my lack of comments on other FF blogs, b) delayed or absent replies to any comments you are kind enough to make on mine, and c) my probable absence from FF for the next two weeks. Be good while I'm gone!

24/08/2017

FAIRY LIGHTS - a 100 word story

FAIRY LIGHTS

It has been a difficult year, weather-wise, and we have to make every sunny day count. Today we were working in the meadow, racing against time to finish before the rain, and we returned at dusk to find a temple had sprung up like a mushroom!
Its glowing walls beckoned and so, carrying torches, we followed our Queen, singing as we marched.
We were passing the timber structure when disaster struck. A human emerged from the temple, shrieked loudly enough to burst our ear-drums, and sprayed us with poison.

Only four of us survived – who will paint the flowers now?
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In the middle of a busy week, here is a touch of fantasy to lighten our lives! Thanks to Jan Wayne Fields for the photograph, and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/   Follow the links from her blog to read other stories prompted by the photo.