Summering by Nina Quigley

irish beach

A Summer Poem by Nina Quigley

SUMMERING 26/7/14

Rain creeps quietly
into my consciousness
from the open window
as I waken to a soft day
after several torrid days of heat.

For once in Ireland
the hot sand burned our feet,
and we had to hop sharpish
down to the water,
to spend languid periods
of uncharted time
swanning about in the salt
on body boards,
being casually nipped by sea lice.

We returned home ravenous
way past dinner-time,
well pricked and cured,
our bodies tired
but singing with satisfaction
at such a rare summering.

 

This section: Sad and Happy Summer Stories and Poems by Glasgow Writers, stories and poems

Written by :

Avatar of PatByrne

Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

A Summer Story – Full Circle by Leela Soma

leela's home.jpg

leela's home.jpg

Full Circle

Saturday 23 rd. August 1969, a day to remember, forever. They waved me off to my new life in Glasgow. My mum and the whole family. Tears glistened in their eyes, mine filled with tears and a nervous chill spread across my spine as I settled into the Air – India seat. The Maharaja beamed down from the cabin décor, that smile gave me little succour.

Glasgow? You mean your husband is working Glaxo in Calcutta.

No, No. Glasgow in Scotland

The brows furrowed heavily.

Scotland?

Well near London, Scotch whiskey.

Ah well! Scotch, why didn’t say. Everyone knows that! Where is that again? Very far from London, right?

Those were the reactions when I left for Glasgow, from friends. What did I know about Glasgow? Very little.  I tried to read up but try as I might there was little to help me visualise this beautiful city. Those were the days before the internet, smart phones or Google.

It was my mum’s face, her tears and her love that was etched in my heart. Those hectic days when she tried to get everything possible in the suitcases and the ‘unaccompanied’ luggage with clothes, every spice, condiment, my favourite sweets that she could possibly pack was stuffed in there. All wrapped tight with her love. Did I realise how much pain she was going through?

Seeing a child off to a faraway country is heart breaking. The three minute phone calls costing £1 a minute were a luxury that one could not indulge in often, in 1969. My parents made all the effort, visited me whenever they could, and helped me to settle in the new country. But those three thousand miles across the ocean was not easy to bridge. Yet, Glasgow eventually became my home from home. The two homes I cherish now. One, my birth city of Madras (it will always be Madras to me, not Chennai) and Glasgow, my home in which I have stayed twice as long as in the city where I was born.
 

Well, it has come full circle. My only child is now living in another continent. Yes, we have Facetime, Skype, cheap phone calls, none of which my mum had.  Friends say ‘She is only a plane trip away.’ Short visits at Christmas or a summer break. Each year, as one gets older, the parting gets harder.

You want their happiness and you smile through your tears.

I understand it more now, my mum’s sweet smile with the pain in her eyes.

Leela Soma, July, 2016

 Leela Soma - Glasgow Writer

This section: Leela Soma writing and blogging, Sad and Happy Summer Stories and Poems by Glasgow Writers

Written by :

Avatar of PatByrne

Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

Mary Irvine: The Whistle

red flower

red flower

The Whistle

 I had set my alarm to ensure I was up in good time. I am normally up well before 7am but this morning was extra-special. I turned on the radio and waited, listening to the scene being set. At 728 am I stood in remembrance of an event of 100 years ago. A whistle sounded the end of a respectful silence. 100 years ago a similar whistle sent thousands to death or a life-time of mental, physical suffering. The following just ‘came’.

Tommy heard the whistle. Sweat ran down his back, soaking already damp patches under the webbing of his backpack, armpits, crotch - that wasn’t sweat. He wiped each hand in turn near down a trouser leg.

The whistle stopped. He heard a voice calling:

‘Tommy, kettle’s just boiled, breakfast’s ready.’    

The picture is one of the ceramic poppies from the Tower of London display. I count myself privileged to have the care of one. A gift from my son. Rest assured this one will never appear on eBay or similar sites whilst I live!

Mary Irvine, 19 July, 2016

This section: Mary Irvine: Writer and Philhellene, Sad and Happy Summer Stories and Poems by Glasgow Writers, What's On Glasgow West End, Writing

Written by :

Avatar of PatByrne

Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

Shy Wolf by Nina Quigley

wolf

On a recent visit to Ireland I met my friend Nina Quigley and we had a great chat on the topic of writing. I learned that Nina had branched out from writing poetry and had written some short stories. When I told her about the Sad and Happy Summer Stories and Poems I had been adding to my website, she contributed her captivating story – Shy Wolf.

wolf

Shy Wolf

She's standing at the cooker, just back from the beach, making an omelette for lunch, frying potatoes, onions, peppers and garlic.  She's waiting for the cubed potatoes to soften in the hot olive oil, so she can add the eggs she's just beaten to a froth.  The extractor fan is blowing hard just above her head, and she's getting hot and sticky all over again.  She can feel the beginnings of a sun headache start at the base of her skull.  She's tired and achy with the weight of the world on her shoulders.

She sighs and looks down at her slightly-tanned, sandy feet on the cool kitchen tiles.  They look good, even through the lenses of her reading glasses which she's forgotten to take off.  Her feet are slender and long-toed, a dancer's feet, someone once told her.  The plum-coloured polish gleams richly on her toe nails, and she thinks, “Mm, good enough to eat”.  She closes her eyes, and tastes high-summer berries in her mouth, warm, fat and woody.  She imagines herself holding them there for a while, delaying the moment she finally swallows the soft, juicy pulp.  She licks her lips, and sighs with satisfaction.

And that's when she becomes aware that her feet are being licked by a warm, slightly rough tongue, gently, insistently, thoroughly.  She opens her eyes, and looks down in alarm.  An animal, a dog, no, a wolf has emanated from beneath the ground, and is calmly going about his business there.  His long, wet, clever tongue is finding the secret places in her that ache, have ached.  His grey eyes fix her with a calm stare, as he continues with his work.  He seems to be telling her there's nothing to fear.  

She closes her eyes once more and surrenders to the intense pleasure of his touch.  Her feet feel as if they are dematerialising, and a warm blush begins to rise to her knees and beyond.  She begins to moan with contentment, even as she tells herself this can't really be happening.  Too soon the licking stops.  She looks down to find the wolf has gone, his task completed.  She thinks she detects a hint of spittle on her left toe nail, but it quickly evaporates before her eyes.

“What was that all about,” she wonders.  Did she imagine it?  Hardly.  Maybe.  But there are two things for certain; her incipient headache has miraculously disappeared; and the potatoes are burnt to a frazzle before her in the pan.

Nina Quigley, Summer, 2016

 Poetry by Nina Quigley

This section: Sad and Happy Summer Stories and Poems by Glasgow Writers, Writing

Written by :

Avatar of PatByrne

Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

Summer Reality – two poems by Brian Whittingham

cnd image2

Hi Ho Hi Ho Trident's Got To Go

and

The Boys of The Somme

cnd image2

The woman on the right is Pat Arrowsmith, who organised the first Aldermaston March and was at Burghfield last month(June, 2016).
www.cnduk.org/

HI HO HI HO, TRIDENT’S GOT TO GO by Brian Whittingham

On YouTube a 60’s newsreel.

A black and white Dunoon.
A smartly dressed Ban the Bomber
waves a To Hell with Polaris  placard
reminding us that H stands for Hiroshima
as well as Holy Loch.

A lone folkie strums as he marches.

     Ban Polaris Hallelujah,
Ban Polaris Hallelujah,
Ban Polaris Hallelujah
… and send the Yankees home!

The white Ban the Bomb symbol
with arms of  despair.
A young well-dressed Michael Foot
behind a well behaved pipe band
playing Scottishy tunes.

Onlookers record on Box-Brownies.

●    ●    ●

Fifty year later.
A red George Square in Glasgow.
Casual dressed campaigners
still marching
still protesting.

A forest of placards
pleading Gie Peace a Chance
reminding us it’s Bairns Not Bombs
reminding us it’s Teachers not Trident
just in case it’s been forgotten …

and a song from a marching choir …

It takes your left leg off
It takes your right leg off
Your eyes fall out
and the dust makes you cough!

Saltires and Lion Rampants
flutter in hopeful defiance
A vendor sells a Freedom Flag for a fiver
as if freedom could be bought so cheaply.

From every corner of the Square
mobile phones flash for posterity.

●    ●    ●

A lone busker
standing in front of the Cenotaph
plays his out of tune electric guitar
his crackling speaker lashed to a shopping trolley.

     Hi Ho Hi Ho, Trident’s got to go
        Now Thatcher’s gone
        Lets Ban the Bomb
        Hi Ho Hi Ho Hi Ho Hi Ho!

Hi Ho Hi Ho, Trident’s got to go
        Now Thatcher’s gone
        Lets Ban the Bomb
        Hi Ho Hi Ho Hi Ho Hi Ho!

Stuck in a timeless loop
morphed from the past singing,
not knowing who, if anyone,
is listening,
or ever had listened to a single word being said?

In 1958, Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded The Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. The "Ban the Bomb" symbol was born which would later be adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He considered using a Christian cross motif but, instead, settled on using letters from the semaphore - or flag-signalling - alphabet, super-imposing N (Nuclear) on D (Disarmament) and placing them within a circle symbolising the Earth.
Holtom later explained the Genisis for his idea, “I drew myself, an individual in deep despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad.”
In Goya’s painting, The Third of May 1808, the peasant actually has his hands facing upwards.
The designer came to regret the symbolism of despair, as he felt that peace was something to be celebrated and wished he’d inverted the symbol.

the somme.jpg

THE BOYS OF THE SOMME  by Brian Whittingham

Like military apparitions the re-enactors  
thread their way through early morning commuters  
heading for another day at the office.
 
These spirits are dressed in  
pristine WW1 khaki British uniforms  
and wear no mud or blood no fear or terror …
 
and though we cannot see the bodies  
strung out on the wire's barbs
as if still marionettes with severed strings
 
and though we cannot splash  
through puddles of rat infested trenches
 
and though we cannot hear the deafening crash of shells
nor the machine-gun clatter nor the thud thud thud  
of yet another hail of bullets.
 
and though we cannot scratch the lice from our tunics
 
and though we cannot smell the stench of hurtling death
 
and though we cannot see  
the French boys with their red trousers
nor the German boys with their spiked helmets.
 
and though we cannot walk the Picardy countryside
through cornflower blue and poppy red …
 
We somehow feel we can empathise
with the bereaved families who could see their dead loved ones
walk in amongst the busy city crowds way back in their day
 
so these re-enactors do something to us,
as they sing ‘We’re here because we’re here’
and hand out their calling cards of death.
 
Brian Whittingham

July, 2016

This section: Books, Talks, Poetry Events, Sad and Happy Summer Stories and Poems by Glasgow Writers, stories and poems, What's On Glasgow West End, Writing

Written by :

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Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

A Summer Poem: White Nights by Finola Scott

light night pat

light night pat

White Nights

In twilight silvered gardens
in uncurtained bedrooms
people stop
stumble from dark pubs
check their watches
look up and smile.
This northern sky shimmers with
stretched summer light.

The stars have bunked off, leaving
the Moon to guard their beds.
A lonesome fox lopes careless
across sequinned lawns,
passed the Ancestors
saluting the Stones.
On the horizon a low fire
smoulders through the night .
The world turns towards the sun.

Finola Scott

This section: Sad and Happy Summer Stories and Poems by Glasgow Writers, Writing

Written by :

Avatar of PatByrne

Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

Summer poem: Eurus/Zephyrus/Notus and Rainbows by K.A. McCafferty

rainbow.jpg

rainbow.jpg

Fallen apples, vine leaves tumble
Strawberries bow
Like grief stricken women
As autumn sends her kiss

Eurus carries a child in the white foam
Of his sea
Zephyrus does not hear the cries
Of this tiny refugee

Round by the hut a willow-
tree weeps, its trunk sodden ‘n’ soft
Pear tree has birthed
Black brambles droop

Holly sighs, berries are born
Robin is happy to steal
Beneath amber leaves hedgehog sleeps
Winter solstice begins

Daffodil’s yolk, days are light
House martins swoop n dance
Hope, unease, aspirations
Pink-footed geese migration

Summer solstice, June
People ponder and wonder
Dreams desires depleted
They wish they’d never left

The reasons were not clear
They were driven by fear
By those bumbling idiots
Who departed as quick as those geese

Arise Notus
Let him gather you all
Deliver new roots in the north
Concurrently we cannot fail

As the mist disappears
And the warmth zephyr gives way
To bright rays tinted by rainbows
Hopes and dreams unambiguous
Welcome all.

K.A.McCafferty

This section: Sad and Happy Summer Stories and Poems by Glasgow Writers, Writing

Written by :

Avatar of PatByrne

Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

Summer Poem: Eurus/Zephyrus/Notus and Rainbows by K.A.McCafferty

rainbow.jpg

rainbow.jpg

Fallen apples, vine leaves tumble
Strawberries bow
Like grief stricken women
As autumn sends her kiss

Eurus carries a child in the white foam
Of his sea
Zephyrus does not hear the cries
Of this tiny refugee

Round by the hut a willow-
tree weeps,  its trunk sodden ‘n’ soft
Pear tree has birthed
Black brambles droop

Holly sighs, berries are born
Robin is happy to steal
Beneath amber leaves hedgehog sleeps
Winter solstice begins

Daffodil’s yolk, days are light
House martins swoop n dance
Hope, unease, aspirations
Pink-footed geese migration

Summer solstice,  June
People ponder and wonder
Dreams desires depleted
They wish they’d never left

The reasons were not clear
They were driven by fear
By those bumbling idiots
Who departed as quick as those geese

Arise Notus
Let him gather you all
Deliver new roots in the north
Concurrently we cannot fail

As the mist disappears
And the warmth zephyr gives way
To bright rays tinted by rainbows
Hopes and dreams unambiguous
Welcome all.

K.A.McCafferty

This section: Books, Talks, Poetry Events, Sad and Happy Summer Stories and Poems by Glasgow Writers, What's On Glasgow West End, Writing

Written by :

Avatar of PatByrne

Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

A Glasgow Graduate from Syria – Summer 2016

syrian graduate

This isn't a story as such but a sharing of a pleasant and thought provoking event.

syrian graduate

Today I met my friend Issi for a little catch up before the holidays. I'm a bit nosy and having had many years of close ties with the University of Glasgow – as a mature, more mature and getting-on-a-bit student – I find it hard to hold back from asking questions, when I see someone in the West End dressed in a kilt, clutching a scroll and accompanied by well dressed companions. 

syrian family

Just such a group sat beside us in Smug Cafe in Great George Street. They needed some extra chairs so we had a bit of shuffling around and then I asked the kiltie if he'd just graduated. Of course, he had, as B.Sc. in Astrophysics.  He didn't say but he must have gained a very good degree as he's now heading off to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to study for a doctorate.

In June in Glasgow West End you can meet any number of groups brought together to celebrate graduations.  These people had traveled from Newcastle and Sweden to celebrate their brother's achievement – the beautiful little girl was shy and sweet. She'd been born in Glasgow. It was a pleasure to meet Husni and his family from Syria.

Sharing this snapshot of happiness was poignant and uplifting,

There's  turmoil in our country with all the recent chicanery, odious political bullying, xenophobia and economic uncertainty that we've been experiencing – it's nothing compared to Syria. 

Pat Byrne, 28 June, 2016.

 

 

 

 

This section: Sad and Happy Summer Stories and Poems by Glasgow Writers, Writing

Written by :

Avatar of PatByrne

Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

1816 – The Year of No Summer by Mary Irvine

Charles_Ogle_In_Frankenstein_1910
Charles_Ogle_In_Frankenstein_1910

Charles Ogle In Frankenstein 1910

 
In May, 1816, the poet, Shelley and his lover, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin,travelled to Switzerland to meet Lord Byron. Byron and Shelley had both rented houses near Lake Geneva and were constantly in each other’s company. Shelley recorded that being with Byron inspired him.

     It was a strange summer for that year summer was non-existent. Spring was as normal in Europe and Northern America but the promised warm, sunny days of summer never arrived. It was so cold people called it ‘The Little Ice Age’. The rain was incessant. Crop failure led to famine. But it did result in some of our greatest literature, for, unable to go out, Byron challenged the others to write a ghostly tale each.
         
     Mary Shelley, as she became, wrote the highly moral Gothic horror ‘Frankenstein’. Originally published anonymously, it has never been out of print. It tells of the scientific creation of a man and its dire consequences. She claimed the idea came to her ‘in a waking dream’.

     Shelley produced ‘Fragment of a Ghost Story’. Byron wrote the beginning of a vampire story. His travelling, personal physician, Polidori, later used this to write what is recognised as the first vampire novel, ‘The Vampire’.

     And what caused the demise of that summer? Scientists now believe the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambour in the Indian Ocean was responsible as its dust had shrouded the entire Earth, blocking all sunlight and causing the climatic changes.

Mary Irvine, June, 2016.

  Mary Irvine: Writer and Philhellene

This section: Mary Irvine: Writer and Philhellene, Sad and Happy Summer Stories and Poems by Glasgow Writers

Written by :

Avatar of PatByrne

Publisher of Pat’s Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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