Like many bloggers, my enthusiasm seems to have waned. Which is odd, really, as blogging is really self-publicity, self-expression, which almost everyone seems to want to indulge in. It’s rarely an attempt at real communication, trying to reach a real audience with something meaningful, and much more often a diaristic record, as if every voice must be heard, even if it has nothing to say.

I discovered I had nothing to say, so for over a year, haven’t said it – and I suspect this return to blogdom will be sporadic, at best. I intend now to use the site to continue to record my writing activities – and successes, if and when they occur – but I think its main purpose is, like most journals, to enable me to talk to myself. If there happen to be eavesdroppers in the Interweb who hear/read some of my musings, I’ll be pleased, of course, but I can’t really pretend that I’m writing for them.

I’m now retired as an academic, and I’m hoping to give more energy to writing, which has been significantly lacking since March 2014, when Out of Breath came out. So I’ve begun a small campaign of getting published again. It always interests me which poems succeed (and which do not, of course), particularly where they come from and where they end up. Of the poems I’ve succeeded with so far this year, “Almost a climb” was written when I was studying my MA, “Lady of the Mercians” (2009) and “Return to Kabul, 1990” as part of my work on Women and Warfare as Resident Poet at Bank Street Arts (2010), “Overgrown” came from a Poetry Business workshop, “The Garden Run” and “Gennel” from my sequence prompted by my brother’s death (2014), “The Gorgon Tree” a failed entry in an ekphrastic competition (2008, I think),  “Ring of Echoes” from a sequence prompted by a conversation with a visual artist, “A sedge of herons” from my “A Field Trip to Andromeda” sequence, “Byland Yew” from a sketch made at Byland Abbey, when I was too exhausted to walk the ruins with my companions, “Throstle” from a walk along Burbage Moor (west of Sheffield), “GPS” and “Ordinary love” from imaginative reflections on excursions with my wife (both these poems are linked to real events, but don’t report them with any veracity).

The most recent poem of mine to appear, “Fallen Flowers”, is a slightly odd affair. Prompted by  my habitual walk down from Psalter Lane, where I worked, homeward, down Bannerdale Road, which is lined with cherry trees, launching their blossoms into the May winds, I was struck, as sometimes I am, by the terror of the beautiful. These glories pass. It doesn’t matter how deep your love, how intense your passion, it will fade, disappear, die. I’m struck in the gut sometimes by this realisation – yes, I overthink things, but this is a fear in my heart and blood. The poem moves in strange, associative way, wanting to find the innocence and security of childhood again, to protect against this dismay. It can’t reconcile the rush of the power of the beautiful with the horror of uncertainty it always implies.