Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Chains - a poem

Bound in chains she crouched there, shackled.
Contorted, tight, restricted, breathless.
Her fears within had bound her tight
Motion unable, movement rigid.

Stuck fast in this endless posture, shackled.
Her feeble frame, exhausted, fragile.


Panting anew she regained some strength.
Struggled through time to unpick her way.
Slowly. To free each link in the chains about.

With the pressure released, she gasped relief.
Gulped and filled her lungs afresh.
Sweet breath, intoxicating, liberating.

With freedom attained she lifted her head.
To relax. To move with a freedom forgotten.
Suppressed, stifled no longer. Life regained.

by Edwina Richardson

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Arthur's Story

   “ Come on Dad...we'll be late!”
   He emerged wearing a soft beige jacket with his small blue suitcase clutched in his wrinkly hand. His eyes were full of apprehension, their soft pale blue hue were fixed on her. She could tell that he did not want to go and leave them.
   He cleared his throat in an anxious way and, with hands shaking, he wiped his large red nose in a maroon checked handkerchief that he had pulled out of his breast pocket. Her heart went out to him, but she knew that it had to be done and that he would make lots of new friends. That was the only way that she could console herself and stop her from marching him back to his favourite tweed chair placed lovingly in front of the roaring fire, where he'd sit for hours reading a newspaper, listening to the cricket on the radio or doing the Times crossword.
   With a lump in her throat and tears pricking her eyes she walked towards him and lovingly put her arms around him, embracing him as she had always done in the past. Feeling like his little girl once more, she knew that now she must be the adult and take charge. She felt uncomfortable wearing those shoes, as she knew that her Dad wouldn't really like it – he had made the decisions. But his needs now had to be catered for; “ he was going to a place where nurses were there to help him properly,” she kept telling herself, “ much better than we can now.”
   Her heart sank further with every minute that passed. The loud ticking of the grandfather clock in the hall reminded her of the time and the fact that if they did not make haste, then they would be late – something that she could not abide.
   “ Have you got everything?” Annette's voice cracked a little as she spoke. “ Why had it suddenly come to this?” she thought.
    Only my suitcase, my Dear.” he said, patting it with his large free hand. She could tell that he was struggling in trying to hide his emotions, he would have felt very embarrassed had he known that she could tell.
   “ Have you got the clean handkerchief that I pressed for you, and your tablets? You couldn't go without taking them now, could you?” Her tone of voice was like a parent talking to her young child. She bend over him and straightened his tie and flattened the right hand side of his collar that had been pointing towards the ceiling. He smelt of Pears's Soap and talcum powder. On his chin he had a piece of tissue stuck to where he had cut himself whilst shaving. She ripped the tissue away in one swift motion, like a plaster that had adhered securely to the skin. Arthur winced and with eyes watering pulled out his handkerchief once more, dabbing his eyes and blowing his nose again.
   “ Well then...” Arthur said, saying the words but not really using them with conviction, “ we'd best be off then, I...I don't wish to make us late. I know how you hate that.” His voice sounded resigned to the fact that he was leaving.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Attic: (Instalment One)

(This is a short story that I have been writing for the past couple of days. 
I haven't finished it yet, but thought that I would post it in instalments as I write it. 
This is the first instalment, I hope that you enjoy!)

The Attic

The sound of silence was very apparent as she entered the room. With the french doors shut, she could not even hear the familiar sound of the birds in the trees or the rustling of the wind through the dry Autumnal leaves.
   Surveying the room, she gazed at the expectant occupants blinking up at her - fixing her stare on each of them in turn. For that moment she was in charge, nothing could happen until she uttered her reply. 
   Enjoying the moment, she sauntered over to the fireplace - their eyes following her progress as she wafted across the thickly piled rug that ran the length of the room. Turning her back, she faced the mantelpiece and absentmindedly fingered the ornaments on the mantle. Opening the little door of the clockface, she took a hidden key from behind the main body and began to slowly wind the clock. With satisfaction she felt the cogs turning, purring rhythmically as she twisted the key, the vibration going through the ornate metal and up between her fingertips. Feeling a jolt and hearing the accompanying click, she stopped winding, drew the key out and shut the clockface with a snap, returning the key back to its hidden home behind the clock body.
   Ticking commenced as the carriage clock sprung to life. The second hand ticking its endless route around the dial. Waiting, the minute hand jolted onto the hour. Chiming. The sound seemed to break the spell of her absentmindedness making her realise that the heat from the blazing fire was burning her cheeks. Flushed, disguising her excitement as to what was about to happen.
    She swung around and faced her avid audience. Taking a breath, she began,
   "I think you all know why I have asked you all here today." It was a statement. Again she surveyed their puzzled faces, seeing their blank and bemused expressions, "...or perhaps not." she added wryly, " I suppose then, that it is my place to enlighten you."
* * * 
   She tiptoed up the dusty, rough wooden steps that creaked under foot as she gingerly climbed. All was dark as she mounted higher into the gloom, the light from her candle trembling from her rapid breath that whispered over the flame casting distorted, jerking shadows against the flickering walls. Gulping, she paused and surveyed the scene, allowing her eyes taking a moment to adjust to the ominous gloom. 
    So this was the attic.
   Wide eyed from not only the gloomy light but from her own amazement at what she saw before her. Years of long forgotten treasures stacked and propped without any semblance of order. Teetering piles of ancient books, dusty and neglected. Numerous chairs and side tables, defying gravity with a leg clung here and there into the heart of the pile. Such disorder!
   To the left of her she saw a pile had lost its fight against gravity and had tumbled, caved-in on itself and lay in a heap of jumbled mess on the floor boards. She didn't know where to start. As the candle shed its glow in a halo about her feet, a large wooden chest caught her eye. The brass rivets dancing in the little light had drawn her attention and hightened her curiosity. The latch looked broken and, kneeling down to investigate further, she saw that it was indeed broken.
   Placing the candle holder carefully down to her side, ensuring that the flame was a safe distance from not only her billowing skirts, but from the papers strewn about littering the dusty attic floor.
   Turning her attention back to the broken latch, she held it in her fingertips, seeing whether she could open it. Guessing that at some point someone had tried to lock the latch and failed, had bent the fragile metal back at such an angle that meant that it couldn't be opened. She sighed in dismay, disappointment flooding her racing heart. 
   She didn't want to do it, it wasn't her property afterall, but curiosity hightened, she ignored the propriety of her conscience and gave into the impulse to bend the metal back on itself, in an attempt to allow it to open. The metal looked rather fragile, but when it came to bending it between her fingers, it took more force than she was expecting. Jutting out her chin in a determined fashion she tried harder, persisiting through the pain in her fingers, her eyes looking wild with vigour as she felt the metal clasp snap, the broken pieces held in either hand. She paused, stifling her remorse that rose up, dropping the pieces in one second and lifting the creaking lid in the next.
   Sitting back on her heels, she let out a large sigh that surprised her, as she had not realised that she had been holding her breath. Ensuring that the lid was safely up and would not snap angrily at her fingers, she grasped the candle holder and eagerly began to peer inside the old wooden chest, her heart fluttering once more with eager anticipation.
   Peering into the shadows of the chest, she lowered the candle further down, illuminating the contents for the first time in who knew how long? Romantically she imagined who it might have been and what they had either been looking for or stowing away some treasured keepsake for another day, placed tenderly into the wooden heart for safe-keeping. With a sigh she brought her mind back to the present moment and continued to explore.  
   An odd assortment of articles met her rampant gaze. Dusty, faded relics from a forgotten time; important enough to be stored away and kept, but still fragile enough to escape the mind from the careless owners who had set their minds to other tasks and embraced new and brighter treasures.
   She felt a little sad at the sight of those long forgotten memories and the stories behind them, faded, layered in dust and imprisoned in the chest for an unknown eternity of gloom and darkness. The lid locked tight, stifled air and deserted dreams.
   Bits of unfinished embroidery caught her eye first. The needle left where it had been thrust into the canvas, no doubt with a sigh of weary boredom and had over time rusted into the fabric, discolouring all around it with the dark gingery stain.
   Placing this in her lap she delved further into the box. Some small toys, a very forlorn little stuffed teddy bear that at some point had been loved as one paw in particular had been worn away, revealing the squares of the mesh underneath the fluffy fur. She imagined this had been a favourite paw of some small child that had clung tightly to it, rubbing the soft paw pad between its little fingers often enough for the worn patch to appear. Its face looked serious and glum but with the inkling of a smile on one side of the muzzle where the stitching went up a little higher on that side. The glass eyes looked quiet but she saw that behind the eyes was a bear that knew secrets and and had been a cherished confidante.
   Carefully, gentler than she had the embroidery, she set the bear down on top of the canvas as though she were gently placing a sleeping baby into its bed, and before she realised what she had done, had lovingly tucked the little bear in some of the billowing skirt of her dress. Seeing what she had done, she smiled at her childishness, but then, she thought, who does not become part of the child within when one holds a teddy bear or a pretty doll?

(To be continued...)

"The Longest Goodbye"

This is the unedited version of a short story that I wrote for school when I was 12 years old.
It's about an evacuee during World War II on the walk to the station with his mum. The story is a collection of their thoughts as they walk together holding hands.
It's called,
"The Longest Goodbye".