Accidental dog.

Ive always had a dog.

Always

Until we lost Saffie last year i swore I couldn’t do it again.

She had been beside me for 15 years.

I had two cats Lucifer and Luna who had both been rescued from work.

You need to change your job Jeff had said or I’ll have to start work on a bloody Ark.

You had Honey and whilst you were having chemo I’d take Honey out.

She was like a small hysterical sheep a cockapoo.

WTF I’d joke she’s a mongrel.

What an ugly dog. You’d cover her ears and tell her to ignore me.

Anyway I’d gone almost a year with no dog.

Then one day around eight weeks ago I’d had a shit day in work gone back to the office to write up my notes and Emma my friend who sits beside me casually starts telling me about a dog that has been bought as a puppy kept in one room has never been outside and is now a year old

To top it off it’s a patient I’ve already rehomed two dogs for.

I look at Emma. It’s 4pm on a Friday.

Come on let’s go see her I say.

Are you sure.

Five mins later we are knocking on the door.

We go in I sit on the bed and ask what’s. Happening

The flat is full of dog mess and urine and she explains she needs.the dog rehoming.

She’s moving house and thought she may cope with a small dog but can’t cope.

Will you take her she asks?

Off course I will.

Where is she?

At that the smallest frightened dog appears from under the bed

Up onto my knee shaking ears back it’s half the size of my cat I think.

I’m not a fan of tiny toy dogs but it’s looking at me with soulful eyes and beffore I know it I’m offering to keep it myself.

Oh thank you she says and by 5.30 this tiny dog with bat like ears is sitting on my sofa.

Another random end to a day.

Jeff comes home from work looks at me and asks.

What’s that?

I tell him her story and he asks how the cats are.

They seem to like her ..maybe they think it’s a rat he laughs .

Let’s keep her.

Actuually I say I’d kind of promised her.

So being so very tiny I thought she should have a big name.

She looks a bit like a angry old lady.

Mavis Mavanwy Jones

I’m not carrying you I tell her.

Your a big dog!

A warrior.

That day was meant to happen Donna you would love her.

She didn’t know how to play. She had never stood on grass scared of the wind.

I’ve taken her everywhere

We walked up pen y fan

On the beach down the canal she’s a different dog now and I can’t believe how much I’ve missed walking with company

Lucifer loves her they chase each other around the house.

I take her to work she’s the office dog.

She’s always thrilled to see me.

So I guess Jeff had better get started on that Ark. ❤️

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Ancient ways call of the Goddess

I’ve never been a brilliant sleeper. 3am is my Muse time. Half baked poems take centre stage begging for an ending.

Meditation, automatic writing. Channels from spirit.

That’s ok I quite like the world when it’s beautifully still. Moon light walks and star gazing at Trecastle

It amazes me how many people are too busy to just look up.

Take note of just how tiny we are.

Yet how amazing.

Connected

Last night was inky black and clear thankfully cool.

Trecastle called my little car carried me over the mountain.

I sat listening to the babble of the river over the rocks.

Ancient language crickets seemed to punctuate with the occasional chirp.

The outline of the mountain the shape of mother Earth.

The shiloette of the stone circle, energy pallpuble

There is only one tree on that beautiful Roman road. We are old friends.

She nodded her welcome in the breeze.

She is old and her dress a little tattered no longer a maiden or a mother but a wise old crone.

She holds secrets she hears the cry’s of the lost and lonley she shelters them from life’s storm.

She is bent over almost pointing the way to the stone circle that stands around 600 yards away

Unseen from the road clevely hidden .

Go she tells me bathe in the moonlight walk the circle and speak your truth.

The stones will absorb your pain. The circle will remind you how to dance.

Feel the wind on your skin the dew on your bare feet

Know that you are loved here.

For this place holds magic.

This is your home.

I smile at her a silent thanks

Cross the river and walk barefoot to my circle .

The breeze is warm

As I give thanks for all that I am.

All that I have

As I dance the spiral dance of ancient ways

❤️

Dandelion wishes

Come with me on a journey

A journey back in time

To a northern council estate the year is 1979.

Hi I’m Joolz Im fourteen and I live here on this estate

People say it’s a bad place but I love it.

My garden gate opens onto a woodland

It’s a magical place with Oak Ash and Rowen.

My favorite flower grows here

Can you guess what it is?

It’s a Dandilion.

I know! My mam calls them wee in beds.

But I really love them.

They are beautiful bright yellow just like sunshine.

Then after the flower you get a magical dandilion clock.

Each seed is a wish.

And each wish is a chance.

Everyone needs a chance.

So it’s a bright Sunday morning in May.

I’m creeping down the stairs

I can hear mam and Dad shouting and arguing..

About beer and money.

They are always arguing.

I open the door to the kitchen

There on the yellow Formica top table is Dad’s old Holborn tobacco tin

Lid half off

My dog Toby is under the table in his box furiously wagging his tail

It twacks against the table leg.

Shhh Toby I say patting his head Dad will hear.

I slowly turn the back door knob holding my breath

They are still shouting

I step out into the porch sun is shining brightly the smell of Sunday dinners and cut grass wafts over the Hawthorne hedge.

I can see my old blue grifter bike leaning on the back gate

I step into the sunlight

Frank next door is mowing his lawn

Up and down he walks

Strieght narrow lines

Like his strieght narrow life

He sees me and stops.

Folds his arms over his chest and asks

‘Are they at it again?’

I cringe and ignore him and he carries on mowing.

I’m half way down the path.

The old oak tree casts a huge shadow trying to hide me.

I get to my bike.

Hold onto the handles and jump onto the seat.

The back door opens.

Where the bloody hell do you think your going lady ?

Dad booms…

My heart beats faster.

I stutter.

Er I .

I won’t be long Dad I manage.

I start to peddle.

As fast as I can.

I know these paths like the back of my hand.

Faster and faster I go.

Over knobbly tree roots.

Bike bouncing this way and that .

Im heading for the bottom.field

Dappled sunlight through the canopy of trees

There ahead of me an arch way of light

As the bike busts out into the bright sunlight

I’m momentarily blinded

Then a sudden thwack!

I’m.thrown from my bike.

Ahhhhh.!

I cry as I hit the ground.

Half on the the grass half on the path

I look up squinting into the sun blood on my hands and grass stains on my jeans my mama going to kill me .

I look around expecting to see Dad and get another smack.

But there staring back at me if isn’t Dad.

It’s a boy around my age

He has the most beautiful brown eyes

He’s apologizing.

I’m sorry, so sorry he says

He is pointing at a leather football

The same ball that has knocked me off my bike.

That’s not a northern accent.

He sounds like my French teacher

He holds out his hand to me

I’m.sorry he says again.

I’m Jean Claude .

You?

Joolz I say holding out my hand and he pulls me up.

I’m running the gravel from my hands.

He picks up my bike hands it to me.

I have a bike he says.

Come and beckons me to follow.

And I do.

French boy where did you come from?

What are you doing here.

This is a northern council estate.

You can’t possibly be a sightseer.

French kid sent here to be educated

Scruffy council estate kid

Both square pegs both needing to fit.

That summer was the best ever.

We were friends.

We went bike riding.

Climbed trees

Skinny dipping.

Went for picnics with biscuits and pop.

He threw stones at my bedroom window

We would like on the grass watching stars

He made me Daisy chains from dandilions

And gave me butterflies for the first time.

Now fast forward to November.

It’s bonfire night

Can you believe French kids don’t do bonfire night .

I’ve arranged to meet him.at 6 o click on the church wall.

I’m so exited I run through the woods I can see my breath in the air.

It’s do cold the air is filled with smell of smoke and I see him sitting on st David’s church wall he’s smiling that big smile and waving

He jumps off the wall.and puts his arm around my shoulders.

We fall into step.

We walk towards the community centre

Chatting and laughing.

As we approach we see the bonfire standing tall like a fiery piramid.

Old doors leaning around it’s sides

It’s huge he says as we get closer I look up.as Sparks rise like fire flies.

The sky is clear and inky black .

Look look.st the moon she is full says John .

You see her. That is the same moon my mother will see outside my house over the sea.

It is so beautiful there

One day I will take you there

He pulls me closer to him.and I smile.

I believe him

One day I will.go with him.away from this place we have planned it

Then suddenly there is a smash and a crash and a dirty pint glass

A voice shouts hey nigger lover.

Time stops

I’m dragged kicking and screaming away from my brown eyes boy.

I scream bite and fight.

There is a sound of shots is it a fire work it sounds like dad’s shotgun

I can taste blood.

Smell beer it reminds me of dad.

Suddenly I’m free.

I crawl back towards the fire.

Calling whimpering his name.

He is there laying on his side I grab his arm

Those beautiful brown eyes full of terror

Joolz he whispers

Blood on his face.

Get up . Get up I beg.

Our crime beautiful brown eyed black boy.

Brown eyes white girl

Do we not bleed the same colour blood.

Our hearts best the same terrified beat.

As holding onto each other we stagger to our feet and stumble to a house across the street

French boy where did you come from.

What are you doing here

This is a northern council estate you can’t possibly be a sightseer.

Blue flashing lights and ambulance comes to take us away.

Hospital cleans up the blood stitches us up.

But can’t stop my brown eyed boy from going away.

Back to the Sayshelles his island and family in the sun.

And me northern council.estate kid I stay here on the street where our story began

Bunches of dandilions..

Simple wishes

But just one that matters

(blow……)

Let the world see there is no colour to LOVE.

Climbing mountains

Some people your meant to meet.

Our first cancer break this year was in June. The cottage was back up and running and the break was gifted to an old friend of mine Viv.

A lass from my home town she had recently finished 20 plus weeks of radiotherapy at claterbridge hospital for two agresive tumours in her neck.

She is one of the most funny hard working and kind people i know

So I was beyond relieved when the news came she was in the clear.

So Viv and her partner Julie were coming back to.the canal.

The week before they were due to come I received a message from a mutual.friend Sharon

Asking how many bedrooms are in the retreat?

She asks if she can come down the same time as Viv and Julie her friend Bex has cancer she has two young children and is struggling she’s terminal

Yes of course she can come you and Bex can have a week to yourselves I tell her.

But Sharon goes on to tell me she has a broken foot can’t drive and so if they can all come together that would we better.

So after discussing it with Viv and Julie

They all meet up and agree to come together.

Now as I said they are from my hometown.

Salt of the earth so we go into overdrive to make sure everything is perfect for them this is our grand opening after the flood damage.

I was a little worried about the journey here they were coming in Sharon’s beetle

Julie driving as Sharon has a big boot on protecting her foot.

Thankfully they arrived safely but tired .

Bex fitted in from the start.

Bear in mind that I’d known the others for 20 plus years

Funny, bubbly with a wicked sense of humour.

She was so relieved to get away from ‘ cancer’ to just be Bex on holiday with the girls.

We sat around my fire pit on warm evenings drank red wine laughed lots shared stories hopes dreams

Went over to vivs favorite place the mumbles had lunch and sat by the sea.

Lost Sharon’s car keys spent a hour looking for them

Found them in a flower bed 🙈🤣

Bex said she wanted to walk up a mountain she was wearing a back brace due to weakness caused by cancer so Everest was out of the question.

But the tide was out and the light house stood on a small mountain.

Fancy that I asked nodding at the small mountain.

She laughed do you think I’ll make it up?

Yeah why not.

Go on then I prompted..

You not coming with me she asked..

If you want me to or do you want time on your own?

She smiled and off she went.

I sat on beach with my baby grand daughter and watched her become smaller and smaller as she climbed up towards the light house

Viv Julie and shaz where on the pier I walked up to them

Look I sad pointing at the tiny figure striding purposely up towards the light house.

The three of us watched as she got to the top.

Stood beside the light house sun shining wind in her hair

Arms outstretched to the sky .

This is what the retreat is about I thought

I felt so proud of her.

She stood up there for awhile then took her time walking back across the causeway.

She almost shone.

That was amazing she said.

I was just ME with the wind in my hair .

That’s the picture of her I shall keep in my head that day by the light house.

The rest of their time with us flew by.

Viv and Bex had healings and reflexology.

Although trying to get Viv to relax is a task in itself

And all too soon they were leaving with another holiday booked with us

Hugs and kisses exchanged and they drove off the canal top down on the car singing to the radio four beautiful lasses with so much to give.

Since then Bex got married went to Italy and sadly cancer became more aggressive.

She never lost that warrior spirit raising £670 having her hair cut last week for the retreat.

I bloody love that canal.she told me on video chat.

I’ll be back watch out for me.

I don’t doubt you will I laughed .

She died yesterday peacefully in her beloved Liverpool.

She knew it was time

I’m so glad I met her what a girl.

I see her smiling wind in her hair on top of a mountain.

You asked me when we were doing your healing what I believed.

I told you energy can’t die. It can only go on.

I like that you said.

You were a bundle of beautiful energy Bex.

See you on the canal soon my friend.

3am Musings

I lie in my bed.
Right arm arcing around my head.
Like a waxing moon.
It’s almost 3am I don’t need the clock to know.
Silicone ear plugs block external sounds.
Soft orange glow of my salt lamp.
Gentle contented purr of sleeping feline .
Words of yet unbaked poems float across centre stage of my mind.
Pad and pen are just out of reach.
I sigh Pendle witch hangs from my ceiling sways in the breeze of the window sitting on her broom legs dangling metal rimmed glasses perched on her nose .
She knows my nightly dilemma.
The canal bank sleeps.
Ducks and geese huddled together settled
I close my eyes and take a deep breath.

Meditation takes me to the

Astral dimension
The bardic door in my mind creaks and swings open wide.
A vast library beckons long wooden table and open fire, walls of ceiling high book cases winged back chair and footstool.
Words flow like the raindrops running down my window.
I rise from my bed.
Pick up my glasses and my pen.
The Pendle witch smiles as ink pours onto the page the story unfolds and grows.
Time doesn’t exist here.
This is the land of stories, magic
Of tribe anything is possible here.
Words are powerful.
Write it, chant it, sing it, speak it.
Visualise it.
Hold out your hands.
For it shall be.

❤️

Is this rain ever going to stop?

Is this rain ever going to stop?

Its 7,45am the bus is packed making a groaning noise as it climbs up the steep hill into town like a giant dragon spitting out passengers when it stops and taking on more before moving on jerking as I stand holding onto a overhead strap I’m focusing on a pair of pointy black heels wrinkled feet squashed into them. The bus stops by the church the pointy heels are also getting off here I shuffle myself carefully past people staring into space, reading news papers and telling off small children the doors of the bus swing open and the cold December air hits me stinging my face. I’m so glad I had bus fare today it would have been awful walking in this weather. I thank the driver and a small pang of pain niggles at my back as I step onto the wet pavement.

I stand still for a minute close my eyes leaning on the wall of St James Church. Women rush past with small children on their way to school. Snippets of conversations I push my long hair out of my eyes the milk man is pulling crates of school milk of the back of the co op float and pushing open the playground gate leaving the milk by the infants door.

I look at my watch 8.30am don’t want to be late make my way to the playground gate.

‘Alright?’ says the milk man ‘good weather for ducks.’ He laughs rain dripping from his glasses I smile and rush past him pick up the first crate, little bottles blue foil caps and packet of straws clicking of heels behind me and Mrs Smeltser the reception teacher pulls the door open and hold it whilst I carry the crates in.

‘Awful accident on the east lancs road lorry and a motor bike oh I do hope no one was killed, so close to Christmas. ‘She says.

‘Put the kettle on I’m parched and she rushes into the staff room to hang her coat fix her hair and apply her pink lipstick as she does every morning.

I put the kettle on in the small kitchen take out four cups and a jar of Nescafe. There is a hole in one of my shoes my left foot is soaking. I look into the mirror above the sink.

A shy sixteen year old girl damp mousy lank hair scraped back into a pony tail red cheeks, split shoe head full of dreams looks back at me.

Voice behind me makes me jump.

‘Oh you look really flushed are you feeling okay? Half my class were off last week with a bug I hope you haven’t got it?’ Its Mrs Jackson she’s always got a kind word for me dresses in marks and spencer skirts and jumpers large glasses hid her tiny round face I hand her a cup of coffee.

‘Im okay’ I reassure her. ‘Just cold’ I follow her into the staff room she chats about her weekend and asks about mine. I like her I’m working with her today. She tells me again how she thinks I’m going to make a wonderful nursery nurse and how the two years at college will fly by.

She loves my art work I smile I wish she could be right but I know she’s not.

I find it so very hard to fit in the weeks that I’m in college but the six weeks blocks that I’m here at St James church school are so different.

It’s a different world but one I know I can only dream of being a part of.

Women who work have a career a car nice clothes more than one pair of shoes. Friends they meet up with out side of work. Its like a parallels universe `completely different world to mine.

I’ve not been here long I’m shy awkward and quiet but they always include me. I wish I knew what to say how to be more like them confidant and funny.

Iris year three teacher asked me to her party last week. Pre Christmas party she laughed it was at her home on a canal bank in Warrington huge house three floors brightly coloured tiles in the kitchen hot mulled wine and nibbles music and a huge garden.

Id wished I knew how to ‘be’ but I’m a fish out of water so different from the sprawling council estate drunken violent father and his home brew bottles that live in every room of our house. But dispit feeling like this I was glad to be there. In their world away from the chaos of mine for just a little while.

.

I was trying hard day by day to be more like the joolz I imagined could fit could be a nursery nurse have a life like Iris and her hippy dresses with friends and hot mulled wine people laughing no one fighting or arguing I wished really hard, maybe one day.

Dad had took some persuading to let me start college. Id begged he was furious. ‘Bloody college who do you think you bloody are? Walter bloody mitty gunner do this.. want to do that.’ He had ranted pouring another bottle of home brew into a cracked pint glass. Id wished it had cut of his tongue.

‘Get a job and pay your bloody way.’

Careers office had told me I could go to college to do my NNEB, as part of a government scheme twenty three pounds and fifty pence a week. To cover bus fares and the rest I would have to give to Dad for my ‘keep’.

I promised Dad I would take a bar job too to bring in more money and eventually he had agreed but only until a better job came up.’ No one in this bloody family goes to bloody college.’ he had said.

So I had took a bar job at weekends in the cross hotel so that I would have bus fare and money for dinner but some weeks Dad took that too. So I would set my alarm for six and I walk for two hours in all weathers I was determined to keep this job I loved it. The kids the way I was treated but most of all I loved the escape.

It gave me hope.

I was like a sponge in work I would do anything they asked. I loved art work I helped the children to paint we made a huge tree from printed painted tiny hands, decorated Easter eggs, painted with potato’s, made pape Mache pigs, cut out Christmas decorations with plastic scissors, made coffee for staff who were now friends read stories to wide eyed children supervised playtimes, put plasters on knees I was blossoming relaxing I was genuinely happy and I was begging to ‘fit’.

That old stone wall around the school and church yard was my fortress I felt safe and different there.

Today was going to be busy the children were attending the church service, the church and the playground were separated by a small iron gate. I was going to stay behind to finish putting up the nativity scene we had been working on.

Mary Joseph and the three kings. Five six year olds had been drawn around carefully cut out then with the help of lots of PVA glue cut up material and tissue paper we had the main characters ready to staple on the main wall of the assembly hall along with a manger made from the used milk straws and some borrowed straw from the guinea pigs cage! I stood holding the big foil star that would lead the wise men to Jesus as the children lined up in pairs holding hands ready to leave for the church.

The radio played Christmas songs and I hummed along balancing on a small ladder positioning each character carefully before stapling onto the wall. Star up there Mary and Joseph two shepherds and a wise man.

Ouch the pain came again it had been niggling me all morning but it was worse now both my sides hurt I felt hot and dizzy.

I went over to the kitchen got a glass of water another pain.

It’s raining again I can hear the cars splashing through the puddles outside the kitchen window it’s starting to go dark.

Water runs down my leg like the rain down the windows but it’s warm.

I grip my belly and water runs down my cheeks. ‘No I beg please no not here.’

A hundred thoughts run through my head what ifs? I’m so scared the pain is so much worse I can’t stop it my body feels out of control I push open the stock room door there is a pile of cut up clothes and shelves of paper pens PVA glue boxes of staples.

I take off my wet knickers and crouch it was all over so quickly much quicker than last time.

Tiny not much bigger than my hand eyes fused shut, skin almost translucent. Smaller than the rabbits dad makes me skin when he’s been shooting. Hand the size of the tip of my little finger. Lifeless and still. Perfect baby boy I kiss his tiny head.’ I am sorry I whisper’’

I sit on the tiled floor take off my cardigan and wrap him in it, Noah I whisper because of the rain. I place him gently in a box placenta still attached. My legs are shaking smeared with blood. I take some of the cut up fabric and wipe up the floor. Push the box gently under the bottom shelf in the stock room.

.

I pick up my wet knickers look for a tea towel in the kitchen to use as a sanitary towel.

I wash my face brush my hair, children will be back soon. Im convinced there is some kind of sign above my head and everyone will know.

Dad will kill me if they find out. I’m beyond scared things like this don’t happen in their world.

The door swings open gust of cold air and the chatter of exited children.

‘You did it, it looks lovely miss you’re so clever’ a little boy with huge blue eyes bright blonde hair chatters. I smile and wonder what colour Noahs would have been if he had lived.

‘You look terrible I’m betting you’re getting that bug’ Mrs Jackson fusses into the staff room now she says no arguing sit down have nice hot cup of tea.

I’ve got the last two kings to go onto the wall. I protest.

Well the kings can wait she smiles clicking the kettle on and squeezing my hand. A tear runs down my cheek I catch it as she chatters on making tea.

You’ll feel much better after tea and a rest she says handing me a mug.

Somehow I don’t think I will.

Where do you live Mrs Smeltzer is asking? I wince not wanting to tell her.

Im sure I go past your estate on my way home she continues I’ll give you a lift the weather is awful and Mrs Smeltzer is insistent you’re not going home on two buses so you can tell me on the way home.

Before I know it every one is ready to leave, Mrs Jackson hand me my coat and we walk to the door I pick up my bag panicking. ‘My cardigan.’ I say as she turns off the light to close the door.

‘I’ve left it in the stock room’. I take my bag with me pull-out the box and gently pick up my tiny baby and place him in my bag. ‘I’m sorry’ I say again ‘but we have to go home to Dad’

I sit in the car next to mrs smeltzer clutching my bag. She’s chatting about visiting her father in Dorset and her husband’s new car, she asks where to turn as we approach the traffic lights near the estate.

I direct her past the shops my old primary school and the pub here my Dad drinks it’s still raining we get to the church at the top of our avenue and I ask her to stop.

‘Which one is it?’ she asks I point at the nice house with the roses painted on a name plate which reads mardale house in the garden with a black painted gate.

‘See you tomorrow’ she says ‘early night hope you feel better if not ring tomorrow day off won’t hurt.’

‘We don’t have a phone’ I want to say but I thank her and nod.

Her little red car drives away and I walk away from the nice house with the door plaque.

Slowly walk further down to our house the lights are out I walk around the back and into the kitchen Dad is sat by the fire I start to cry hand him my bag.

He looks at me and I see the temper flash why didn’t you come home he barks at me. I don’t get a chance to answer. The slap hits hard.

Get to bed.

Is this rain ever going to stop?

Please make it stop..

Raven Wordsmith 🖤