New phases of Life

Hi everyone.

I want to begin by saying I love using a notebook – an actual paper one that is.  I’ve been using it for rhyming practice, general notes and all sorts of things.  Its nice to actually phisycally write something rather than typing all the time. Plus I have so many notebooks to get through, as my husband will tell you.  Saw some great ones in Wilkinsons the other day but, alas, I have too many as it is.

Today’s poems deal with entering new phases of life.  The first is about becoming a mum of two.  I wrote this with a good friend in mind but it could apply to anyone expeccting their second child.  It could even be a message to my pre-Sam self last summer.  I will first share the poem and then tell you a bit about it.

New Mum of Two

Make the most of your last days as a family of three
Because life is about to get pretty busy

You’ll have your hands full with a baby on the way
But I promise you it will be okay

Your oldest child may rebel or refuse to play ball
But know that you are giving them the greatest gift of all

You will be happier than you ever imagined you’d be
With the two of them sat upon your knee

You will watch with joy as together they’ll play
But there’ll be times when you’ll need wine by midday

Your favourite will be the one not driving you insane
But deep down in your heart, you’ll love them both the same

When you have that first day with them both on your own
Know that you will never really be alone

The three of you will get through it together
And from then on things will only get better

Even the impossible tasks like getting them both in the car
You will master with style as a super mummy you are

Jen Elvy, proud mummy to Kyle (4) and Sam (1)

As I might have mentioned before, sometimes I write notes before I write my poems, but other times the lines come to me straight away.  There is often a bit of editing but I don’t necessarily make notes during the writing process.  For this poem though, I wanted to offer advice to mums about to have their second child, so before I started writing the poem, I wanted to jot down what my advice would be. This was my first step. Not all of it made it to the poem but that was more to do with rhyme, structure and the message than the fact it wasn’t good advice.   I think I knew from the start that I wanted the poem to rhyme so some of the sentences I wrote I paired with a rhyming sentence.   The sentences weren’t really in order.

The next thing I did was make sure I had my underlying message in my mind, which was that along the way there will be highs and lows, but things will be ok and you adapt to the change.  (Even I did and I’m a bit of a scatty one!)  I wrote down the first couplet I wanted to use.  This was the one about loving them both the same but having short term favourites, ie the one who’s behaving better! The message was, of course you will love them the same really, before you judge me!

I composed the opening verse while feeding Sam and then I gradually added other verses but not necessarily in order.  The order came later.

Once complete, I checked the rhythm was right by reading the poem aloud.  Some of the lines were quite long so I tweaked them by cutting some syllables.  Then I let Dan read it and he suggested adding an extra verse in about having a new baby on the way to introduce the new phase. I completely agree with this as it needed to mention a new baby on the way and then lead into my advice.  The first line of that second verse, “You’ll have your hands full with a baby on the way,” actually came from him.  Thanks babe xxx

I am pleased with the end result and my friend loves it.  What do you think?

The second poem is about the phase of life our eldest son is about to enter.  He is about to become a school boy and his first day at school is Thursday. Yes this one coming. His playdate he had yesterday at a local country park with his new school friends was a great success.  It also made it all the more real for me.  It’s really sinking in now. I’ve been wanting to write a poem about him starting school for a while but I’ve been waiting for the emotions to build up, which happened yesterday.  I started writing the poem last night and finished it this morning.   Here it is:

Time for School

Watching you play with your new school friends today
Made me see how much you’ve grown in each and every way

You start off very quiet, keeping yourself within
But before long you forget to be shy and start to join in

As you open up to other kids, you find some common ground
And then before you know it, a new friend you have found

So off to big school you will go, it’s all going to be so new
So much to learn and so many things to do.

But I know, my darling, you will be okay
You will find your feet with each passing day

When you get to the doors your teacher will greet you
At the end of each day we’ll be there to meet you

When we ask you what you’ve done each day
Don’t worry if you can’t answer straight away

There’ll be so much going on in your brain
Remembering it all will be a strain

But gradually you’ll remember more and more
As your new surroundings you will start to explore

And we promise you that from your very first day
We will support you all the way

 Jen Elvy

There are a few verses with ay as the rhyming sound but I don’t think this is too much of an issue. It seems to suit the tone of the poem. I quite like that for the final verse I have used the same two rhyming words as the first verse.  It rounds the poem off quite nicely.  The poem came to me quite easy and the main challenge was getting down the lines I thought of so I wouldn’t forget them.  Also I wondered if some of the lines sounded cheesy but it seems to work well.  As usual your opinions are welcome.

In other news, I have submitted a poem to Mslexia, a magazine to which I subscribe, that is released every 3 months.  It is a writing magazine targeted at women.  I won’t disclose any details behind my submission yet until I know whether or not it is going to be published.  I will say that the same magazine is a good source of information for writers and regularly lists places to send your work so I highly recommend it.

Before I go, I will share a method of rhyming practise I used this week.  I like to practise rhyming to keep up my confidence and so I don’t get blocked and frustrated.    What I did on this occasion was:

  1. Write down a word that is simple to rhyme,  (the first that comes into your head)
  2. Write down some rhyming words for that word (again, from the top of your head)
  3. Then choose a pair of words and write a rhyming couplet using these words eg for blue and new:

  Whenever I am feeling blue
I always try on something new

They can be as cheesy as you like and they don’t necessarily need to be the start of a poem. It’s just playing with words.

I hope you have enjoyed my poems today.  See you next time.

Jen x

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