About Alfred [January 2016]

King Alfred

Lately I have been   loaned by providence   a  graceful  beautiful cat.Early on he was a  shrinking, hunched and nervous creature who slept by the back door on the daily newspaper.He ate hungrily and drank  water with a drop of milk.

He was reluctant for a couple of weeks to venture further but as the tranquil peaceful time went by he began to sleep on a towel by the hall radiator and eventually on my knee.

The most striking change was in his size.As he ate more and was petted more  he relaxed so that when stretched by the fire ,more of his body was in contact with the floor and he looked larger all over.He was loosened up and comfortable.

If he were human I might say he had a good mother.He is affectionate and initially I feared his demands might be excessive.When he came onro my bed I was concerned.But after five minutes of  being stroked he went off to his own place again.

Sometimes when he’s been out in the garden he reappears with an air of  humorous triumph as if he has worked a miracle to enter through his door.Another time when I was reading in a different room  from  the usual one he appeared mid morning with a face full of more expression than I can easily put into words.

He was anxious and relieved,puzzled and afraid,happy and a touch angry with me.How can you do this to me? was his query.Suppose you had gone altogether?Oh,the insecurity of being a tame cat.

I wonder why cats do not miss their own species.Or maybe they meet them  outsibooksde.Often though they fight to defend their territory but fortunately they have no WMD as yet.I like to read and stroke him as I muse over my book,

This is not my husband

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When we got married we could only afford a single bed

Did we

a] take turns on the floor
b] use double sheets and blankets
c] sell the bed and sleep on a rug
d] lose weight so we fitted onto the bed
e] fall out of bed while consummating our marriage
f] get a divorce
g]. none of the above

I wanted an elliptical dining table but we had not  got  enough money
Did my husband

a’] buy a round one and saw some parts off
b] tell me a rectangular one was better
c] ignore me and buy a comic section
d] just not listen
e] tell me  it was better to make love in a wood and forget about this table
f] none  of the  above?

 

My first attempt: wind and eye

An ancient one roomed building was  once home
Lit and warmed by fire,heat upward flowed
The smoke escaped  through one small  hole or “eye”
The winter wind  would fight to get inside.

Like a human eye, it was a breach
The bones of head and face allow this reach
We must see out and not live all within
Wolves, those metaphors. might  bite our skin

Enclosed spaces need  selected gaps
Few would enjoy choking in a trap.
We need a way to breath, to see, to touch
Sophisticated means, this eye  to watch

Sitting round the fire we hear  Wind howl
Through the eye, we see the moon,our jewel

 

Is writing therapeutic?

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We hear now of more and more ways of living healthy lives.But I think it’s important to live a life of worth.What does it mean,to be of worth ? We must live first of all in a way that suits our nature and since we are part of a whole we must also live in ways that do not harm others and hopefully helps some of them.One problem is increasing in the affluent West and the USA and similar countries.This is the well known fact that more and more of us suffer from stress,worry and depression.Maybe the more serious psychic disturbances are also increasing.This can lead to violence

I have heard my friends say that writing poetry or keeping a journal is therapeutic.But is it not true that some forms of talking or conversing are therapeutic and some are harmful or maybe just pointless? A good friend whom we trust is a person with whom conversing may be beneficial,whereas “dumping” your problems on someone  may give only momentary relief.I feel real friend listens and may comment,may even criticize.Someone you  know less well  may react badly.You must not blame them for you are ignorant of their personal life and difficulties.
Conversation of course has the advantage that you are with the person to whom you talk and can stop or adapt your talking in the light of their nonverbal responses.To a lesser extent it is also true on the phone if you know someone well.

Just as gazing into the lighted front window of a large home filled with people and pictures and lovely furniture may make you envious so may your fantasied views of others around you.And yet it is likely they feel pain just like you ;we operate often from a view of life which is a poor fit with reality [whatever that is]
Since conversation may be good,bad or meaningless so it is with writing.
Writing comes from .your experience but must convey it in a manner by which others can feel the truth of what you are saying.As with music, poetry can say certain things not possible in other ways.And as in music there are forms developed down the centuries in which others have expressed their feelings. I have read that writing poetry in a structured form is therapeutic,But writing in free verse may not be.In either case poetry can stir up deep feelings.

Fiona Sampson, author of,The Expert Guide to writing poetry, advises that you keep the phone number of the Samaritans near when writing poetry but prose may be less stirring

I read about the value of structured writing in an article about Sylvia Plath.I am sorry I cannot find the reference as yet.Some people say writing prolonged her life,others that the kind of writing she got into at the end may have precipitated her suicide.We cannot know the answer but we should be aware that it may not be “letting it all out” that helps but the shaping and sculpting of the material into a form which pleases us and others
Alternatively writing about Nature ,other people,love, may turn our minds in a new direction away from our mind’s idle chatter