Achieving Goals – Happy New Year 2019

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2019!

Is another year really done and dusted? It feels like it has flown by! I didn’t actually think I had written too many poems but then I looked back and I have actually written quite a few.  I lost count exactly.  My husband wrote a blog post the other night saying how many songs he had performed this year and how many new venues etc  (He’s a singer and musician –  Dansolomusic   Check out his page).  It made me think that I should keep more of a record of how many poems I’m writing each year.   I share more or less all of them on my facebook page and my instagram straight away but this year I’m going to make more of an effort to keep count.

The poem I want to share with you today is one about my running.  Yes I can run now! That’s the news this year.   Remember that pledge I made last May? Well I’ve finally managed to make good use of those running shoes! I had been doing Just Dance at home for my exercise regime and I needed to step it up to the next level.   Hubby suggested running.  I was sceptical, saying that I couldn’t run and I wasn’t built for it.  I remember going for a run with him and it was ok but I just got puffed out so quickly and I really wanted to be able to run for longer and a good friend of mine assured me that if I kept it up, one day I’d be able to do so.  Still feeling sceptical, I downloaded the Couch to 5k app on her recommendation and decided to follow it.   And something magical happened.   That’s where this poem comes in to tell the story.  Think of it as the follow up to The Pledge.

 

Couch to 5K

There was once an app called Couch to 5k

That chased my fear of running away

Step by step it showed me how

Not to be a lazy cow

I started by running for just one minute

I thought this is ok, there’s not much to it

Then the durations got a bit longer

And bit by bit I began to get stronger

The stamina built and an addiction began

Even on holiday abroad I ran

Although it was mainly the holiday food

There’s nothing like scenery get you in the mood

Motivation was high as I ran across the beach

It seemed that new targets I could now reach

Then the short bursts stopped and long distances beckoned

I knew I could do it, It would be ok, I reckoned

And do it, I did! pacing myself was the key

That helped me achieve more than I”d thought in week three

Then at last the end was near

Gone by now was the doubt and fear

I could now do long distances without puffing and panting

“Running is too hard “ I remembered ranting.

Although it’s not always “A walk in the park”

I’m getting used to this running lark 

A good run can take your stresses away

It’s a great way to start a brand new day

So this journey has just begun

And I’m so proud to say that I can now run

Jen Elvy

 

So that’s what happened. Running happened. I found I could run and I could enjoy it and I did more and more without getting out of breath.  Whatsmore, back in the day I had visions of letting my mind wander whilst out on a run but when it came to it, I just couldn’t think straight while I was running.  Now things are easy.  I use music to motivate me but I can also let my mind wander and my lungs don’t feel like they’ve really got to concentrate on breathing.  I can do that! It has just all fallen into place and I couldn’t be happier.

My message is that if you have something you want to do but don’t think you can do it, YOU CAN!  If you have the determination and drive, it’s amazing what you can achieve.  I will close by showing you my poem as an image.  I took the photo myself on one of my runs.

Happy New Year and keep on believing.

Jen xx

 

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Fairy Pond and Outside the Brown door

Hello Everyone,

It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog post but I promised myself I would this week.    I haven’t been as active with the poetry as I would have liked to have been but life kind of runs away with you sometimes. I’ve been sharing my poems a bit on Instagram and have had a good response. I now have a poetry instagram which is public and a personal one, which is private.  It works well but I find I use my public one the most.  I’ve been sharing some landscape photos on my public poetry account and I’ve had a good response to those too, which is great!

The poems I want to share today are children’s poems.  I’ve drawn inspiration from Pinterest pictures, and eventually I want to use my own photography as backdrops.    In the meantime, I have made an extra board.  It can be time consuming scrolling through pictures on Pinterest to find inspiration and then going back to find the picture you saw the other week that you thought you wanted to use but not yet.  For this reason, I’ve made a “Future poems” board for pictures I see that I want to use at a later date.  I want to work through these and add more.

I’ve been using the “Over” app to add text to pictures too so I can produce my poems as images.

This is the first poem I want to share with you today:

Fairy Pond

On the fairy pond
A water lily floats
The fairies go to see it
On their fairy boats

A magical jug
Tops the water up
When the fairies drink it
From their fairy cup

For it’s little known
To folk like you and me
That the water tastes
Just as sweet as can be

It’s only murky
So we don’t steal
A little bit
To go with our meal 

The fairy pond holds
Delights for all
The fairies behind
The magic wall

Jen Elvy

Here it is as an image:

 

fullsizeoutput_116.jpeg

The photo is so cute and it was great inspiration.  The ideas flowed quite smoothly.

The second of the poems, I wrote on holiday.   The image for this one really intrigued me.  The purple leaves, the brown door.  There were endless possibilities.   Here is the poem, with the working title:

Outside the Brown Door

They climbed the stone steps
To the big brown door
What was behind it?
They wanted to explore

A tree with purple leaves
Was shedding for fall
What a strange tree!
It intrigued them all

They knocked on the door
There came no reply
Was anyone in there?
They gave it one more try

There was still no answer
What should they do?
Try and open it maybe?
Would they walk straight through?

The door was stiff
It stood solid and still
To make it budge
Would take some skill

But what was that noise?
The strange creaking sound?
Would someone let them in?
Could they look around?

Finally the door opened
And a voice said “come in”
We’ve been waiting for you.
Shall we begin?”

Jen Elvy

 

Here it is as an image:

brown door pic .png

The image of a group of children came to me straight away and then it was a matter of exploring, telling the story and making it rhyme.  I was pleased with the outcome.   I like to think that this poem could be a stimulus for further story or poetry to tell the story of what happened the other side of the door. Who had been waiting for the children and what are they going to “begin”? Watch this space for a sequel or why not try writing one yourself?

With regard to writing,  my aims are to “freewrite” as much as possible as this really gets thoughts flowing, and to read some of my writing magazines.  I love typing my ideas but I also enjoy writing longhand.  There is nothing quite like it.

Thanks for reading,

Back very soon

Jen xxx

A New Friend/The Enchanted Garden – Children’s Poetry

Hi Everyone,

I’ve left it a long time again haven’t I? That wasn’t my intention and I hope to post more regularly now.  I have a few new poems to share with you, I just need to get around to posting them.   The poems I’m sharing today continue on my fantasy theme.

Here is the first:

 

A New Friend

A dragon appeared in my bedroom, one day.
He came to the window and said “Can I stay?”
He was no bigger than a box of toys,
And he said he was friendly to girls and boys.
So I let him stay. how could I not,
When he promised he’d magic me a great big yacht?
I made him a den in a box with some straw,
And told him to promise not to roar.
He told me he couldn’t roar or breathe fire,
But he said that he was a really good flier.
“In that case,” I said “take me for a ride,”
So he shrank me down and we flew outside.
So there I was on a magic dragons back,
When suddenly I found myself under attack.
Some funny creatures were firing balls at me.
I lost my balance as one hit my knee.
But just as I thought would fall to the ground,
I heard a kind of rumbling sound.
My dragon was trying to roar it seemed.
The funny creatures looked and screamed.
I thought they were goblins but I couldn’t quite see.
Before I knew it I was being pulled to safety
The dragon tugged at me with all the strength he could muster.
And that was when I decided to name him Buster.
Now he is my hero, so little but so strong.
With Buster by my side, I can’t go wrong.

                                                                  

                                                                     Jen Elvy

The poem was inspired by a picture I found on Pinterest.  Annoyingly, I can’t find this picture anywhere so it must have been removed.   It was an illustration depicting a small girl with a smaller dragon.  Although, I see a boy more as the narrator of my poem with a dragon bigger than the one in the picture but that’s what often happens.  My mind deviates from what is originally shown.   The dragon is named Buster as a tribute to a dragon created by my husband in the popular game, Final Fantasy.

My second poem was also inspired by a picture.  Here is the poem:

The Enchanted Garden

When you enter the enchanted garden,
You’ll hear the tinkling of a bell.

There’s a glistening lake full of waterfalls
And a magical wishing well

Flowers of all different colours
Lie amongst the lush green grass.

Be sure to pick a few
As you wander past.

For they are enchanted,
They grow back straight away.

So you can pick a whole bunch
And make the perfect bouquet

If you come at night time,
Everything is beautifully lit

There’s even a shiny red toadstool,
Where they say the fairy folk sit

When you enter the enchanted garden,
You’ll be in for a sensory treat.

And if you come at a certain time of day
Who knows who you might meet!

Jen Elvy

 

Here is the poem set against the picture that inspired it:e44a360eb212ad1cdf8fef5441fa8813

I hope you like my poems today.  I will be back with more later.

 

Jen xx

 

 

Unicorns and Boasting – A Lesson/Workshop Idea

Hello everyone,

Lots on lately so I’m way behind with my posting.  Have a few more poems to share with you over the coming weeks but today I want to tell you about an experience I had last week.

I had the opportunity to share one of my poems with a class of children.  This was in an interview lesson, for a teaching post where I was required to teach a 30 minute lesson on a subject of my choice.

Here is the poem I shared with them (on this occasion I didn’t tell the children that it was a poem I had written):

My Unicorn

“My unicorn is silver.”
“My unicorn is gold.”
“My unicorn is kind.”
“My one does as he’s told.”
“My unicorn can do magic.”
“My unicorn can swim.”
“My unicorn does clever tricks.”
“Mine can sing a hymn.”
“My Unicorn can make a rainbow.”
“Mine can bring the sun.”
“My unicorn was in the grand national.”
“So was mine and he won.”
“I don’t care about your unicorn,
Mine is better than yours”
“I haven’t really got a unicorn, silly!
I’ve got dinosaurs!”

Jen Elvy

The children made some lovely comments on why they enjoyed the poem.  One child commented on the way that the two children in the poem were arguing and one child liked the way it rhymed.

The children’s task was to make up their own boasting poem in pairs about their pretend pet.   I had a little bag of mini cuddly toys to choose from, which the children loved and I gave them one per table, (each chosen by putting their hand in the bag).  If they really wanted to write about another animal, I gave them the option to do so.   Before the children set to work, I got them to come up with ideas orally, boasting to each other, and writing lines/key words on their whiteboards so they could remember them when they started to write.   Then after a while I encouraged them to begin writing their poem.  The children had some great ideas and used some lovely language too.  They didn’t get to finish their poems while I was there as time was limited but they wanted to come back to them later.

I loved the children’s enthusiasm and got a real buzz from how they responded to the poem and how they were keen to start writing their own.  I was limited to 30 minutes because of time constraints but this session could go on for an hour or so.

I would love to share more of my work with children and intend to do so very soon.   In the  meantime, feel free to use this idea in your own classroom with your own students.   If you do, let me know how you get on.

Thank you for reading,

Jen xx

If Heaven had a Phone – Connecting Through Shared Experiences

I have been very humbled with the response I have received on social media with my two recent poems about grief and loss.   Today I will share these poems and talk about the power of poetry to express feelings and ideas and to connect people through similar experiences.

The first of the two is one I wrote a few days ago while thinking of my dearly departed Dad and the songs he used to sing:

You miss the little things
The songs they sang
The jokes they told
The memories are always there
You never let them go
Onto them you hold
You remember precious moments
They make you happy
They make you sad
They may have left your life
But that they were in it
You are glad

                              Jen Elvy

Here, I experimented with a new rhyming structure,  making every 3rd line rhyme.   It came relatively easy,  poems from the heart often do, but the one bit I needed to polish was the last part.  I knew what I wanted to say and I knew I wanted to use the sad/glad rhyme.  It was just fitting the lines together so that they made sense and followed the structure of the poem.  I am pleased with the end result and it touched several others on my instagram and facebook pages.

I am thankful that I’ve had such a lovely response from writing about this very delicate topic.  My feelings about my Dad often make the words flow and others who have suffered similar losses have been able to relate to what I have written.   Many of us now have suffered loss and if we can connect through poetry then that is a blessing.   If my poem can comfort just one person then I’ve done ok.   If it can reach several, then even better. There was a line in a poem that touched me recently.  The poem is called “I Was With You” and it was written by Michael L Shutters.  The line is

I know every word you would say to me if we had another day”  

It honestly hadn’t occured to me that those who have left us know what we would say given one more moment.   We constantly wish for that extra day or even hour with them to tell them everything that we would have liked to when they were still with us.   Never had I thought that they might know what we would say already.   So that was a great comfort to me and I’m sure to others too.

Encouraged by my ability to reach out,  I also wrote this one. I will first share it with you in my normal format and then I will share the image I created:

If Heaven Had a Phone

If heaven had a phone
I would call you right away
And tell you that I miss you
Every single day

If heaven had a phone
There would be no end
I’d call you up and talk to you
Like I would an old friend

Each day you’re not here
And we cannot speak
It makes that one day
Feel like a whole week

It feels as though no one
Can calm my fears
If I could just call you
There’d be no more tears

If heaven had a phone
I wouldn’t know where to start
But I’d know for certain
We’d never really part

   Jen Elvy 

It’s not exactly a new concept as thousands have written it on social media and I imagine that there are other poems on this too but I wanted to write a poem about it myself.  While the first poem I shared I wrote straight off, I did a bit more ground work for this one.  I did some free writing on the subject to get my ideas, thoughts and feelings flowing.   During my free writing session I wrote the first verse of the poem.   It may be an obvious rhyme but I feel the line worked.   As I worked through the verses I found that each time, the first two lines were good but I didn’t like the second two lines so I started again using the better lines to build a rhyming poem.   Feeling that it was quite a good poem but maybe not my best work I posted it online.  I actually used an image I found on PINterest as a background and used a new app I’ve acquired , Over, to paste the poem onto the image. Here is the result:

heaven

I hope you like the image.  It is not entirely related to heaven having a phone as such but depicts steps to heaven beautifully.   Again, I am humbled by the reaction to this poem and everyone’s kind words.   Be assured I will continue to use poetry to share my feelings and emotions on this very delicate but important topic and I hope my words can be of some comfort.

Thank you for your continued support,

Jen x

Happy Place – A Series and a Workshop Idea

Today I want to share with you a series of poems that I recently wrote.   The first introduces the topic and is designed to get the reader thinking. The next two are responses to the poem.

Without further ado I will share the first of 3 poems on the topic “Happy Place”

Do you have a happy place
Where you like to go?
Somewhere you can seek out
In sun, rain or snow?

Do you have a happy place
Where you can hide out,
When life just gets too sticky
And you want to scream and shout?

Do you have a happy place?
Is it near or far?
Can you walk right to it?
Or do you need a car?

Or is your little happy place
Somewhere deep within,
Where you can reach your happy thoughts
And hear them dance and sing?

Jen Elvy

The poem is largely aimed at children and I would love to use it in a workshop at some point when working with children of primary school age.  If you work with children, maybe you want to use as an introduction and a stimulus for their poems about their happy place? If you do, let me know how you get on.   I decided to do a couple more poems on the topic.

Here is the first:

My happy place is a bench by a lake
Where time out for myself I can take
I sit peacefully and watch all the trees
Waving gently in the summer breeze
As I sit here my breathing slows
Left far behind are my troubles and woes
As the birds sing their song, I know they’re happy too
Maybe this could also be a happy place for you

                                                                Jen Elvy

And the next one:

My happy place is by the sea
Where the waves on the ocean talk to me
I sit with legs outstretched, sand gathers at my toes
And little by little my breathing slows
I’m as relaxed as can be as the waves draw near
Could it be that you have followed me here?

Jen Elvy

Personally, I don’t have just one happy place.  The second and third poems reflect possible happy places people could have and are not necessarily my choice. Or are they? They are certainly both idyllic scenes.  However, the narrator of the response poems is not necessarily me.   When my husband read the third poem he thought the last line sounded a bit like the narrator has a stalker.  This is not quite how I intended it.  The narrator is addressing the reader, wondering if they have followed them there and also want that happy place.  The fact that my husband read it a different way just shows how open to interpretation poems can be.  Who is the narrator talking to? does she think someone is following her? or is she simply inviting the reader to join her?  The latter is true for this poem.   I found it interesting that it was interpreted differently.  All different interpretations are welcome as far as my poetry is concerned.

If I used these poems in a workshop, I would start with the first one and maybe then invite the children to free-write about their happy place.  Then I would use the second and third poems as examples and then guide them to write their own versions.    I would love to do poetry workshops with children one day.   If you are reading this and you already do this,  I would love to hear from you about how you got started and your format.

I hope you all enjoyed the poems.   I will try not to leave it so late in between posts next time!

And I invite you to write your own happy place poem if you feel inclined to do so.

Thanks for reading,

Jen xx

One Day I’ll Be Bigger and Getting in the Zone

Hello everyone,

First I would like to share with you a poem I wrote last week when I had a bit of a creative buzz after a few days not having written any poetry.  I wrote 3 poems in one day.   One was in my previous blog post and one was on the Beefeater facebook page for a competition, and the last one is this one that I composed whilst I was settling my youngest son at bedtime:

One Day I’ll Be Bigger

I won’t always walk with a cute little toddle
I won’t always hold my arms out for a cuddle
I won’t always require a high chair to feed
One day I’ll be able to tell you what I need.

I won’t always moan when you have to shop
I won’t always run when you stay stop
I won’t always wriggle when you say “stay still”
One day I’ll be bigger, its true I will

You won’t always need to change my nappy
One day I’ll sleep all night and you’ll be happy
I won’t always stamp my feet and say “no”
One day I’ll be bigger and older I will grow

Until then I’ll need you to hold my hand
Talk to me and help me to understand
There will soon be more I’ll be able to do
And you’ll always be there to help me through

 

Jen Elvy

When you are a parent it often occurs to you how fast time is going and how quickly your children grow up. My youngest son is two and a half now but quite a young two and a half and hasn’t been as quick to reach his milestones than his older brother. (but who’s comparing!).  I sometimes think he’ll be a toddler forever but with the passing of time and seeing how much he’s growing and learning, I’m reminded that, of course one day he will be bigger and the toddler phase will be over.   As a parent I spend half the time wanting to speed up time and half the time wanting it to slow down or stand still for a moment.

It has been a while since I composed a poem whilst settling my son.  These days I often find that I have to be focused and relaxed before I start to write poetry.   It might be that my mind is wandering too much.  I know there are still poems in there, it’s just lately I have had to really be in the right frame of mind before I get them out.

What is the right frame of mind?

Well it’s hard to explain, but I have to be relaxed.  If my mind is buzzing too much with other things or I’m worried about something, I can’t focus on poetry but if I’m relaxed and happy and my mind is in a zone where it is open to new ideas then I find it easier to write.  I might read some poetry first or collect some rhyming strings.   Often I look at my ever growing Pinterest collection but I do find I get sidetracked with that these days.   After I’ve written a poem I feel an immense amount of satisfaction.  That in itself gets my mind buzzing, wanting to read or write more.  That is why, I think, that often I will produce several within a small space of time after having not produced any poems for a while.  This creative business is a funny thing.

What do you do to get into that zone?

Do you read some poems? Do you do a writing exercise? I’d love to hear your ideas!

I wanted also to mention a book I’ve been reading.    It is called What is Poetry? The Essential Guide to Reading and Writing Poems.  And it’s by Michael Rosen, a well loved Children’s Poet and a true inspiration.   The book is aimed at children and adults and talks about ways in which to appreciate poetry and also gives you ideas for writing poetry of your own.  A very worthwhile read in my opinion.

Thank you for reading and I’ll post again soon.

Jen xx