Broken Sleep: Using Strong Emotions

So this morning, in the midst of severe sleep deprivation I wrote this poem, which I actually started in the early hours:

 

Broken Sleep

I can’t remember a time
When I didn’t have broken sleep
Its getting quite hard to bear
A brave face I can no longer keep

I love my little babies
I’m blessed to have them, it’s true
But I long to start each day
Feeling refreshed and new 

I yawn the whole day through 
I need matchsticks for my eyes
I pretend to be okay with it
But I can’t keep up the disguise 

I know this won’t be forever 
And one day he’ll sleep through
In the meantime I’m constantly shattered
What am I to do? 

Jen Elvy

 

The poem says it all really.  Ever since becoming a mum nearly six years ago! (I know! I can’t believe it either!) I’ve always had broken sleep in some form of another.  My eldest settled and really started to sleep better just as my youngest was born! Timing eh!

Some nights have been better than others but some have been terrible. Last night was one of those where I was up for a good couple of hours solid with my little wakeful two year old. We think that he’s about to master talking and this milestone is on his mind and keeping him awake.  Something has to explain his wide open eyes at silly o’clock in the morning.

Needless to say, this morning I was a mess.  Tired, emotional, you name it.  I decided to use these powerful emotions to write a poem.  As I was using these emotions as a springboard, the writing flowed nicely and I didn’t struggle at all.  In the past I have used huge rushes of love  to drive my poetry and this morning I was reminded that I can use the rushes of not so nice feelings to guide me as well. I don’t know, I’ve always avoided it as I haven’t felt in the right frame of mind to write.  This morning, I was able to express my feelings through my poem.  I found it rather healing.

So my top tip is:

Never be afraid to use strong emotions to write poetry.

This could even be applied to prose and stories too.  I think it makes the whole writing process flow naturally.

I was also aware that the poem would speak to other mums as sleep deprived as I am. That is the beauty of poetry.  It can reach out to people.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed the poem.

Jen xxx

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Starting from Scratch: Sammy’s 2nd Birthday

So the day is finally here, well almost.  Our little boy, our second born is about to turn two.

Here is his birthday poem:

 

Second Birthday

This a is a birthday message
To a special little boy
Who makes us laugh every day
And fills our hearts with joy

He was born on the last day of August
On a rainy bank holiday
You could hear his first cries
From very far away

He had a fussy first few months
He was always full of cold
But this started to turn around
From when he was about six months old

He discovered he could sit up
And see the world upright
He could sit and play so happily
It was such a joyful sight

Imagine the freedom he felt at ten months
When he first learned to crawl
And when he took those first wobbly steps
His zombie walk amused us all

He had it all in his second winter
Stomach bug, chicken pox and the flu
How he coped with all that
I haven’t got a clue

But he came through the other side
And enjoyed a holiday in the sun
He played on the beach with his brother
He had so much holiday fun

The time has gone so fast
And now he’s about to turn two
And so on your birthday, my darling boy
This is my message to you:

You completed a happy family
You’re special in every way
And so I send you so much love
On this, your second birthday. 

Jen Elvy

 

So I came to my task a few weeks ago, to write my boy a birthday poem.  I was thinking “How am I going to do this in a way I haven’t done it before?” Not so long before I had written his 22/23 month poem detailing how much he’d changed in the last few months. I didn’t want to repeat myself with his birthday poem.  When I first thought of reviewing the last year, I wasn’t sure I could pull it off.  I finally wrote a few lines which initially I was quite pleased with.  But then, reviewing it a day or so later, the lines just didn’t work and the rhythm? very unsteady.  I played around with it a bit but then became blocked and frustrated.

So I decided to leave those failing lines and start again. It was the best decision ever.  The result is what you see now, a little tale of his time with us, talking about when he first walked, crawled, saw the world upright.  It just seemed to work.

So my writing tip today is:

Don’t be afraid to start from scratch if things aren’t working. 

I talked about starting from scratch in an earlier blog post and I would still highly recommend this technique if you feel that things just aren’t happening.  This does not mean delete what you have done so far, as some ideas from the original may still be useful.  In fact once, in my haste, I did delete something I didn’t like, only to think it wasn’t all that bad later on and wish I’d kept it.  So never delete!! What I do is just press return on the keyboard a couple of times and just start the process from scratch.

Nothing was more satisfying than when I’d finished the poem, knowing that I’d waded through the waters of writers block to produce something of which I was proud.  I hope you enjoyed the poem.

Thank you for your continued support.

Jen xxx

Children’s Poetry: The Demise of the Goblins

Hi all,

This is my latest children’s fantasy poem:

A plan was hatched in a grotto one day
To try to scare the goblins away
Those fearsome creatures were at it again
Trying to make it eternally rain

But the elves and fairies
They knew what to do
They needed to form
One big solid crew

To stick together
Through thick and thin
And make sure the gruesome
Goblins never win

So in the garden grotto
In the dead of night
They decided to give
The goblins a fright

To teach them a lesson
They’d never forget
A plan that would be
Their cleverest yet

They raided their cupboards
They searched their shelves
And made costumes to dress up
As goblins themselves

They said to the goblins
“We’ll do whatever you say”
But just when the goblins thought
They had got their own way

They did the spell backwards
To suit their own gain
To make sure it would never
Ever, ever, rain

The sun would now shine
Forever more
The goblins cowered
And fell to the floor

Jen Elvy

The inspiration from this poem came from a picture saved on Pinterest, as with my other children’s poems to date.   I love collecting these pictures, they are inspiring and help to capture my imagination.

This poem started with a picture of a garden grotto. I imagined a plan being hatched in this grotto.  Being inspired by the fantasy world as I am at the moment.  (I actually find Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom fascinating!)  I made it about elves, fairies and goblins, even though the table in the grotto appears to be human sized.  I feel that straying to the fantasy world means that I moved quite far away from the original point of inspiration so when you see the picture you may be surprised that this picture led me to the poem but this is the wonder of the imagination.  Sometimes I stay quite close to the original picture, for example with my enchanted house poem, you read the poem and you can see clearly how the house led to the poem.  And I have a lovely little picture of a fairy adventure playground that I want to use at some point in the same way.

Picture prompts are very versatile and it’s amazing what you can produce from them.

An author visited a school I was teaching some time ago and spoke about the value of using pictures as a starting point and this inspired me greatly, only it took a few years before I tried the same thing myself.  The last thing I expected to come out of it was children’s poetry.

Thank you for reading, and here is the image:

 

Jen xx

grotto

Continuing the Fantasy Theme

Hi everyone,

I’ve enjoyed taking a different direction with my poetry, altering my target audience.  I still fully intend to write poetry on the family theme as well.  I wrote a poem for a friend last week and I am currently working on Sam’s birthday poem.  That is going to be hard. I’ve written so much about him that I’m in danger of repeating myself!

However, I enjoyed writing the last fantasy poem.  I feel that poetry is a good form for me as it keeps structure tight and stops me going off on a tangent.   And I discovered with my next children’s poem that maybe I could write a rhyming story afterall.  It came easier than I thought.  It was another response to a picture prompt but the picture was the starting point and didn’t contribute a lot to the writing of the poem so I will not share the picture on this occasion.  I will tell you that it was a woodland house surrounded by a dense forest.  It provided a starting point of inspiration for the poem, which tells a little story. Here it is :

Fairy Adventure 

Outside a little house
In a deep dark wood
Elegant and dainty
A little fairy stood

As I got closer
She asked me my name
She sprinkled fairy dust
So our sizes were the same

She then ran away
And I followed after
As I approached her
I could hear her laughter

When I caught up
She whispered to me
“I live over there
In that little tree”

So off we went
To her fairy house
And there we saw
A tiny fairy mouse

“His name is Timmy,”
She said to me
And then she said
“Will you stay for tea?”

So we ate fairy cakes
And strawberry ice cream
We chatted for hours
It felt like a dream

But just when I was
Having such fun
She said “Look at the time,
You must run”

She magic’d me back
To my normal size
When she opened the door
I couldn’t believe my eyes

I was back home
In my very own room
I hope I have another
Fairy adventure soon

Jen Elvy

 

I was surprised how naturally it seemed to come and I can’t quite believe I’ve wrtitten a narrative poem for children.  I have a growing collection of pictures on PINterest I can use for inspiration so I hope I can write more in the near future.

The next poem I want to share, I will share along with the picture as it acts as the focal point for the poem as well as the starting point so I feel I need to share it.  At first I wasn’t sure where to go with it.  I panicked, already afraid of my work being “samey” and I was lacking new ideas.   I looked at this picture:

IMG_1627

and thought, Where can I go with this, where I haven’t gone before? Who lives in this house? What happens?  After much pondering and a few little ideas, I decided to go with the ‘Who lives here?’ angle:

Enchanted House 

Who lives in the enchanted house?
Is it a little gnome with a pet mouse?
Or is it where fairies come home to bed
To sleep off the magic and rest their heads?

Who lives in the house with the red pointy roof?
Is it the elf who seems quite aloof?
And hides away among many a tree?
Is that why nobody’s ever been to tea? 

Who lives in the house with ivy around the walls?
Is it where the goblins come when evening falls?
Or where the fairies gather to learn their magic spells?
I know that someone knows the truth but no one ever tells!

Jen Elvy

 

I am pleased with the end result. I was able to use all the little ideas that I thought didn’t have enough weight to carry the poem but served as lines in the poem that capture the imagination.

Now the challenge is to continue to come up with fresh ideas and increasing my reading of fairy stories and poems will ultimately help.  If you have any feedback to offer, it would be very much appreciated.

I hope you enjoy reading these poems as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Until next time,

Jen xx

Something Different

While responding to some picture prompts yesterday, as research and practise  for writing children’s fiction,  I was inspired to respond in a way I didn’t expect.  My intention has always been to continue to write poems but to begin to write stories for children.   Who knows, one day I might do what many authors have done and that I admire greatly, and that is to write a story in rhyme.   The first author I think of in this case is Julia Donaldson.  A talented lady!

With regard to my fiction, I realised that I needed to do a bit of research before I attempted another story.   I wrote a story recently that showed good promise but there were gaps in the structure and the plot.  I need to read more for my intended audience.  The rainbow magic series has proved a valuable source.

I am a little blocked when trying to write children’s stories at the moment. It’s as though my confidence has wavered.  But I will be back.  In the meantime, whilst looking on PInterest, I found some poems about fairies. As you might have read, I want my stories to include a fantasy element such as elves, fairies and gnomes.  I have been totally inspired by some of the pictures I have collected so far.   It was  when I came across the poems that I decided to have a go at writing my own poem on the subject. I seem to be on a bit of a roll with my poems lately so when responding to the picture below (which is not mine and I hope whoever took this beautiful photo does not mind me sharing it on this blog) I decided to respond with a poem.  I have included the picture too so you can see my inspiration.

IMG_1594

Here is the poem:

There is a little tree
Where all the gnomes play
There’s lots for them to do
Even when skies are grey

The gnomes have a little rope
On which they like to play
They have a few thick branches
On which they like to sway

They have some little mushrooms
They jump from one to the other
And when it starts to rain
They run underneath for cover

And when night breaks
They go through the tiny door
And climb into their beds and dream
Of places they want to explore

And in the morning they rise
From their little gnome beds
And fun ideas of what to do today
Soon fill their little gnome heads

Jen Elvy

So what do you think?

Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

My verdict:

Well I surprised myself with this one. I assumed I could only write poems about family and things in my life.  I never dreamt I would even try something like this.  For a first effort I’m actually pleased with it.  The simple language and rhyme hopefully lends itself to a younger audience and I hope it would capture their imagination.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and as I said your feedback is welcomed and appreciated.

See you soon,

Jen xx

New Beginnings and Reflecting on Memories.

Hi all!

I have quite a collection to share with you today.  Most unusual as productivity has slowed down a little lately but I had a bit of a queue of poems I wanted to write and happily, I managed to write them all.

Perseverance has been the key lately. Sometimes I am finding that the rhymes aren’t flowing as easily as they once were.  Yes, it is true that a poem doesn’t have to rhyme but rhyming is my structure and unless I keep the pattern tight, my non rhyming poems end up as prose written as a poem.  Not to say I won’t try non-rhyming again one day.

The first of my poems I want to share is one that evoked a strong response on my facebook page.  It seemed many mums could relate to the subject matter and it wasn’t just me experiencing the emotions.  Fearing that I would forget.  Thank you to all who shared and commented.  Your support means more than you will ever know.

The idea came when watching my two boys as they play and explore the world.  We have our five year old, just leaving reception (more on that later) having completed his first year at school, and our nearly 2 year old,  finding his way in the world and on the edge of talking. (hopefully, I do love it when they learn to speak).   It upsets me a bit that although we have lots of  photos and videos of our eldest as a toddler, I just can’t picture him that little anymore.  Maybe because the toddler in the family is now our youngest and he is the one I see as our little one. Nevertheless I just want to lock up all the memories forever.  I know some will fade with time and some I might forget altogether one day and that scares me.  I love that I keep a diary so I can hold on to these memories and I think I do still remember more than I think.   These memories are precious and holding on to them is important.   So here is the poem, dedicated to both of the boys.

 

Children grow so quickly
Time goes by so fast
So many lovely memories
From times gone past

I hope I’ll always remember
When you were very small
Your little wobbly steps
And when you first kicked a ball

I hope I’ll always remember
The way you toddled about
Your husky little giggle
Your sweet little pout

I hope I’ll always be able
To see that little face
When someday you are in
A more grown up place

I’m looking forward to things to come
But I’m scared that I will forget
The precious times when you were small,
The day when we first met

We have a million photographs
And videos we view with pride
But it gets so hard to see
The pictures in our mind

I want to collect these moments
And lock them all away
So that I can relive them
Every single day

 

Jen Elvy

As I said, many related to this poem, which showed, of course that I wasn’t alone in wanting to treasure the memories and keep them fresh.  I think it is fitting as well as the end of the school year has arrived and children will soon be moving up to the next class.

This brings me to my next poem about our eldest child.  As I said, he’s completed his first year of school and we think he’s done so well.   That shy little boy we once knew is disappearing and in his place, a more confident and assured little boy is emerging.  He’s made some good friends and they will remain his companions as he grows and progresses through the school.  This is the main message of the poem.  I wanted to give a sense that they will grow together, learn together, explore together.  He is not alone in his journey with a supportive family and lovely friends by his side.   So here is my poem for Kyle.

Time for Year One

Your reception year is over
Can’t believe how you’ve grown
You’ve learned so much
And time has really flown

                       It’s time for you and your classmates
                                         To move up to Year One
                       You’ll have lots of new adventures
                                         It’s going to be such fun                                            r

Your solid little friendship group
Will be with you all the way
They’ll be right beside you
As you work and as you play

So enjoy Year One my lovely boy
And do your very best
But in the meantime, summer is here
And you can have a rest

 

Jen Elvy

I had fun with the wording and rhyming of this one!! It was a slow process but with this and other poems I am sharing today I followed a simple rule, If a rhyme doesn’t work change the word order or find a new way of saying what you want to say.  It is not easy and highly frustrating at times, but as I said the key is to keep going and you get there in the end.  And another golden rule to follow is to take a break and come back to it the next day.  I am pleased with the end result. It flows nicely and I think I’ve rounded it off well.   That’s always been something I’ve had to think more about, an ending that rounds off the poem.

Now we move to our youngest son, Sam.  He turns two at the end of August and he’s changed so much since I last wrote a poem about him.  I wanted to capture the little boy he is now.  So without further ado,  `Here is my poem for Sam.

Approaching the Twos

At nearly two years old
You’re a lovely little boy
Happy when you’re playing
With a push along toy

You have that mischievious giggle
You destroy everything in your path
You love to play with your animals
Especially your ducks in the bath

You love a story now
You often bring us a book
And now rather than chewing it
You like to take a look

When you are cross and tired
You’re not afraid to show it
You still love your food
But you also like to throw it

Your little noises show
You are almost ready to speak
But in the meantime
You simply like to squeak

We love you little Sammy,
Everything about you
And I think it’s fair to say
That we wouldn’t be without you

Jen Elvy

 

The poem captures him more or less as he is now, a cheeky little boy with a husky laugh,  into everything and always on the move.   There were some rhymes there that wrote themselves, such a speak and squeak and throw it and show it but others didn’t come as easily.  I actually jiggled the verses around a bit before finishing as I felt the verse about him speaking and squeaking should come near the end.  Then of course, the closing verse. I knew I wanted to basically say that we wouldn’t be without him, that he completes our family.  I just had to find the rhymes to go with them.   It didn’t prove too difficult in the end.  Again, perseverance! Keep at it!

 

My fourth and final poem is a tribute to my lovely Dad on what would have been his 97th birthday.  I love that I can use poetry now to mark these days when before I was lost as to how to pay tribute to him.  I thought of him, I felt a bit sad, but I always felt there was something more I could do, so I value the opportunity to put my feelings into a poem.  So here it is, Dad. My poem for your special day.

To Dad, on your 97th Birthday

Not a day goes by when I don’t
Think of my lovely dad
Of all the love you gave us
And the happy times we had
Today it’s your birthday
And although you’re no longer here
I’m sending you love and good wishes
As I know that you are near
The sun is shining today
Heaven is sending a smile
So today I’ll sit some place
And remember you for a while

As if I could ever forget
Happy birthday Dad

Xxxx

Jen Elvy

The title is a homage to my mum, who, for years wrote in my cards “To Jenny on your xth birthday” (where x was of course my age) I’ve only just thought of that idea and it did make me smile.  The first few lines came easily.  I stalled a bit on the next bit, searching for the right tone, but I think what I produced was quite fitting as I never feel Dad is far away.  And I love the bit about heaven sending a smile as I’m not the best at symbolism.   Yes the sun was out during the morning but it rained later on so maybe it could have been a brief hello smile from Dad. Well you never know!  The last couple of lines are important although they don’t fit in with the rhyming structure.  I will never forget Dad and I think of him every day.   And every year on his birthday and anniversary too, I intend to write a poem.  I will write about him on other days if the muse strikes but rest assured he is always in my thoughts, even when, as he himself said, life takes over.

x x x x x x

Thank you for reading and for your continued support.

Jen

xxx

 

Father’s Day Poems – a little late – oopsy!

Hi all. For father’s day this year, I decided to throw caution to the wind and do a homemade card from the boys to their Daddy.  I wrote a poem to put inside that was shorter than last year’s effort but still very fitting.  The boys added their handprints and it made a lovely little card. Especially considering that Kyle, my eldest wrote the greeting on the front.   I will do something more artistic next year but here is the card. IMG_1465.JPG

And here is the poem I wrote my dear hubby for father’s day, on behalf of myself and our lovely boys:

A spirited little mini-you who wants to learn
And a toddler who wants to see the world burn
A father who guides them as they grow
And loves them like they will never know
A mother, eternally thankful and glad
That her kids have such a wonderful Dad

Jen Elvy

Short but sweet and Dan loved the poem and the card.   The first line celebrates how much our eldest son is like his Dad and how he’s getting so independent minded and curious about the world.  The second line celebrates our little hurricane. Our youngest son. Our clumsy, loveable, early rising son.  After Sam woke us early yet again one morning, Dan once commented that “he wants to see the world burn” which is a quote from a batman film.  It seemed very appropriate at the time! And it’s sort of stuck with our little Sam.

The rest of the poem speaks for itself and we do feel very lucky to have Dan in our lives.  More than he will ever know.

I wrote another Father’s Day poem.  I wanted to address the fathers we celebrate on Fathers day.  The hard working, the long distant but dedicated and the dearly departed.  The latter of course, includes my own Dad who was a loving and devoted Dad in every way.   He was sadly missed this Father’s day, as he is every day.

Here is my Father’s Day Poem:

Your Day

To all the fathers who work so hard
Who love their children wholly and unconditionally
This day is for you

To all the fathers who want to be there every day
But cannot
But carry their children in their heart
This day is for you

To all the fathers that are no longer with us
Who we remember so fondly
And miss so sorely
Every single day
We raise a glass to you
This day will be yours always
Wherever you may be

Jen Elvy

I felt it more appropriate to write a poem dedicated to all father’s this year and within it is my tribute to my dear husband and also my Dad.  Both men have taught me so much about life and parenthood.  Both men are wonderful fathers.  Dan is there for us every single day and loves us unconditionally.   Dad will always be with us and is never far away.   xxxx

So here’s to all the dads.  All our heroes.

xxxx Jen xxx