Monday, 28 January 2013


The bomb fell quietly on the sleeping city. The bombadier was insouciant. It was just part of his job. The trembling buildings cascading into dust was not a sight he witnessed. All he saw, as he headed for home, was the plume, the mushroom cloud, the darkening skies. Striped with ash of humans.
He was feted in his own country, with rosettes of celandines and daisies. Well it was the end of a long war. The principles of thrift and want still prevailed throughout the country.
But back on the ground, where once there were buildings, communities and fields of rosebuds, now only shadows where poeple had been blasted into walls. The fields alive with children running helter skelter, free and happy, now silent. Just the odd pilgrim in rags. People losing their minds upon realisation that they alone had survived. One left in a village echoing silence.
A grandfather, standing by a jetty in rags, but living in order to nurture his grandson. To educate him amidst an inundation of poverty and pain. The love this grandfather feels is expressed daily to this slip of a boy. It is his vindication of right over wrong.
The sun keeps rising each day, and the music of the storks returning to the city is another incentive to the old man. And a gesture of joy to the boy. Together they eat rice, and as the grandfather tells his stories of days gone by, the days before the bomb dropped, the bond which has been forged will once again be broken.
Because, the boy has to depart to another island with another person, a social worker, where there will be schools full of books and other children to play with who have survived.
But the boy does not want to leave his grandfather and he clings to his ragged pants but the old man knows it is for the best. Their hearts are breaking.
The social worker knows it is just part of his job.

The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule

A Dusty Lot

I am writing to you from a dusty lot where flowers have no hope of flowering. Yet still they try, putting out minute and slender buds of tender tendrils. No hammers could do as much damage as the  pervasive dust. Yellow as celandine pollen, but choking in its blanketing pollution. I too am choking like the buds. I am fluent in pain. I would leave this place but have lost the map where X does not mark the spot. It is merely the grave cross of all the flowers. There will be rebuilding on this dusty site, where might is right and the dark side of the moon is more life enhancing than this place.
I am writing to you from a dusty lot, and my own lot is clearly to mend my camera. To send you reflections so that the rebuilding will be creative, not bereft of all humanity. We are humans are we not?

The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Falling Away

Falling Away
Yesterday I was worth thousands, but now  only the knowledge 
of fatality remains.  I am destitute,  but this is a relief, 
the life I once relished now slips away like a worn out overcoat. 
My soul sang of beauty and fame, but my spirit shrivelled and 
became as a tiny walnut, nobbled and marked.  Across the cobbled 
streets I once had pushed my fruit cart, growing it into the 
biggest and best store in the city.
I lived every day like a peach, rare, juicy and pampered.  But 
these memories are now as shambolic mirrors in the cruel circus 
which beheld me and three me away.  Now I see it all like a 
lifetime of fractured moments that could have given me rewards 
of joy, love and fulfillment.
Now, as I hear the brittle rain on the pavements which are now 
my home, I see the crowds, the jeering, shouting people, 
pointing, staring and judging me for what I am.  A murderer of 
the beautiful Emma, who once stood here, holding her red velvet 
Is there no respite from emory, haunting and cruel, remembered 
and relived?
The price I pay is that memory, my fall from grace, my forever 
shame, atonement can never be mine.
Yesterday I was worth thousands, but now only the knowledge of 
fatality remains. Falling Away 
The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule 

Year 1923

Year 1923
In the year of our Lord 1923, Emma Vowels was born, the 
first girl to her Irish parents.  The Family Vowels were 
infamous in the Dublin slums, because they were barefoot 
in the city where hob nailed boots rang out across cobbled 
streets, as nobody could afford a first bus ride into town.
When Emma grew into a pretty girl, her indigo apron, ragged 
and thready, was scorned by the local boys.  They would 
shout out to each other lewd and hurtful remarks, knowing 
she could hear.  "She's like a piano out of tune when she 
speaks" she overheard an old washer woman say,and all the 
boys laughed.
Emma was always in clogs, but fantasised about shoes,  and 
about being able to read books, and about one day sailing 
away on one of the big ships she saw at the quayside.  But 
the truth was that she would probably end up like her poor 
mother, drawing lines of seams on the bare legs of the women 
at the local knocking shop down the dock road. 
Always windy and bleak, the dock road was a place of terror 
and violence that loomed out of the fog and mist to haunt 
the mind of poor Emma Vowels.
As she got older Emma took to collecting matchsticks and 
from them she modelled a collection of little clipper ships 
which she put into empty bottles.  The same sort of ships she 
dreamt of travelling on, to far away lands where the sky was 
blue and the rain was warm and soft, not hard, cold and brittle.
Emma still dreamt of learning to read and write, own red shoes, 
put on silk stockings, and feel sated, not empty.  This grew into 
a mantra for her survival, she repeated it often and loudly, into 
the empty room.
The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule


I awoke in a pool of red liquid.
Without my caffeine fix, I thought it was surely my blood, 
as after a night of shambolic wanderings round the seedy 
bars of Soho, I was in a bad awful mood.  But I did not 
bleed easily, as my parrot often told me.  Looking across 
the sheets, the smell of alcohol penetrating my sluggish 
senses, I realised with a shake that it was my precious 
cargo of late bottled rare vintage wine.
The empty bottles rolled across the duck boarded floor. 
Unbroken,  robust,  but truly empty of their juicy liquid.
The dawn now breaking in to the room and in to my soul, now 
sang out that all was now irretrievable lost to me.
My company charmingly called "Broken Flows" was a dead duck, 
and by the flimsy shake of my tail, I was sinking down into 
a deep depressive state that not even a stiff Americano 
could alleviate.
No, this disaster called for the sort of robust action that 
I had previously considered beyond me.  My client, awaiting 
the delivery of his consignment would probably even now be 
making his way to the hotel lobby.  The telephone rang.  The 
deep voice began to enunciate instructions and innuendo, 
soundings full of sensible, coherent utterings.  I hedged my 
bets and sold my soul, agreeing, pacifying and full of bravado 
I arranged for our meeting to go ahead as planned.
Replacing the receiver I surveyed the room and could not 
remember the how or the where or the what of the previous 
Only the consequences remained, the empty bottles.  Yesterday, 
worth thousands,  now worth nothing, they may as well be empty 
hot water bottles.
Life is always juicy, I said out loud to the empty room.
The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Bone Handle

Bone Handle
I am called by others 'bone handle', which belies my secret 
silver beauty.Like a twisted leaf blown along gutters, I 
can be swooping or twisted, depending on the wind.
I call myself beloved because of my filigree etchings: of 
a delicate and slender nature which is a forever motif.
These marks, darkened and burnished in to my shape, glint 
like silver fish when the sun shines.
When I am being a joy, in full and special use, I am 
swooping like a bird in smooth flight, dipping and diving, 
dry or liquid.
My medium is my message because in spoon time we sup from 
the same bowl, either that, or we are always happy, nesting 
The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule 

When I am Full

When I am Full
When I am full, my hands go up and my toes go up. 
I imagine myself floating in a great ocean of spring water. 
Perfumed, fresh and smooth.
I am like a fish shaped spoon, carved for movement and 
speed, as well as for idle flotation.
In my fiddlehead pool my maverick habit of always having to 
walk on the left,  deserts me.  I dive and swim, float and 
paddle like a seam ripper shoving the water aside.  Brick 
walls can only crumble at my approach, as I majestically 
spout, soar and judder my way through the lagoon lake.
My fullness finally sated, I am empty again.
The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule

The Runcible Spoon

I belong on a grand table, primly and precisely placed near a bone china gravy boat, translucent  and glowing.  In a room, high of ceiling, deep of velvet; curtains swooping their soft hush as sentinels of the dining room.  I belong in a polished mahogany canteen, burnished highly, tucked in deep red velvet stalls, not chucked in a basket with all manner of twisted cutlery, most darkened with age, tarnished reputations rising from their rounded bowls.  My delicate curves have graced the fine table of the same family for generations, in rooms full of soft candlelight, tinkling crystal and refined conversation.  Known always as the Runcible Spoon, I belong in the slender hands of demure ladies, resting on starched linen laid with Limoges and Waterford. I am smooth and symmetrical,  a hint of decoration - filigreed lace made of moonlight.

The copyright of this post belongs to Lynn Hillston

The First Piece of the Year

The First Piece of the New Year
Chase the Lady was always my game of choice.  The family 
squabbles are now a fond memory and one I cherish. My 
family were the mavericks of the town.  The butcher's shop 
my father inherited was central to the small country 
community where the slaughtering of animals and the the 
cries of midnight foxes could judder even me from deep 
dreaming sleep.
I would always win the card games every Saturday night, 
much to the chagrin of my raucous family.  My brothers and 
I would cheat, bet and play long into the night.  My father 
would benignly look on, refusing to arbitrate, but instead 
play at being the minstrel.  Strumming on his battered
guitar singing Elvis Presley songs until we boys would scream 
for him to leave us be.  We would deride him for his awful 
voice, but secretly I thought him very good.  I was thoroughly 
jealous of his talent, skills and general good looks.
I could understand how lady customers admired his strong arms 
and his muscles as he wrapped up their lamb chops.
They would nervously finger their cheap jewellery and flash 
their best smiles in the forlorn hope of luring him away from 
the home, the shop, and his beloved boys.
My father was a widow who had carved a unique place for himself 
as eligible but unattainable.  Surely the best position in a 
small town.
It was the reverse for the Misses Fiddlehead and Fiddlesticks, 
who in turn beguiled him and our family.  A duo of unmarried 
sisters, their real names were Frances and Fiona.  They gave 
private music and singing lessons, and voice and drama training 
to we three boys.  Spiritual without being stuffy or boring, 
they had become Godparents to all of us, as well as our musical 
I still have my little baby cutlery set from that time, pristine 
still, it always sits on my "special" shelf.  The two small 
silver items lie nestled in their blood red velvet box, unused but 
forever cherished. 
My brothers received variously silver teething rings or 
christening mugs, but I love my little spoons.
The sisters were much older than my father, always sprightly, 
eccentric and musically alive.  They would pedal around town calling 
at various houses, music sheets flying away in the fierce wind that 
blew incessantly off the St. George's Channel.
The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule