Cold and Slow

The last few days have been so cold here in Monmouthshire that everything outside is completely frozen.  It’s been hard work walking up the fields to tend to the horses, over the uneven ground which is now furrowed and unyielding.  I’ve been forced to slow down, since any hurrying across the ridges could result in a twisted knee or ankle, then the work would  take even longer.

Thinking about being ‘forced to slow down’ reminded me of the first line of a poem I wrote almost seven years ago, whilst living in Scotland.  Different season, different place to the here and now, but I’m including it anyway.  Poet’s prerogative!  I can but hope for clear blue skies and softer ground soon . . .

Straight and True

Tractor plowing


I’m forced to slow down, so time has too. Now

I notice things I’ve always missed, like

the line from the top of the field to my front door.

Been walking that path through ploughed furrows for

thirteen years and never realised before.

Roman road straight.

How’d the tractor driver get it like that?

A long piece of string?  Same as when planting veggies properly?

(Not me; I rush – throw those seeds – get wiggly rows . . .).

Maybe he’s just got a keen eye and a steady hand?

Will doesn’t look like he’s got either – with his

Long red hair and bushy beard, tatty clothes, beer bottles in the cab.

I’ve seen them in there after Will’s abandoned his tractor and gone home.

It’s doing my head in thinking how to get a path so straight.

They’re holding a ploughing competition up the road, so

I’m going to discover the secret.

What a man’s world this is!  Huge machines; noisy, dirty beasts,

more powerful than 5,000 horses.

But not as pretty.

Lots of beer and shouting.

Intense faces, focussed on the bare field, and every furrow – straight as a die.

How many ways can you plough one?

More than you’ll ever know.

There’s Will!  First prize, big silver cup in hand.

You need patience, he says.  Take your time.

Know exactly where you’re going and you’ll get there straight.

Wish I’d met Will thirteen years ago.

Could’ve saved myself a million wobbly lines.

© Elaine Atkins August 2007

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Flash and Flashier Fiction

It’s very short, it’s catchy, and every word counts.  This is a ‘bite-size’ piece of fiction that must be a self-contained story and leave the reader satisfied.  It may be charming, gruesome, or anything in-between, but it must contain that all important factor – impact; conveyed, for example, through images, snippets, single words or suggestions.

Usually the length is under 500 words.  Some competitions ask for variations on this, even a maximum word count as low as 40.  Try writing some – it’s great fun and a good challenge for the writer to try and create something that is literally bursting with energy.

Here’s one of my early attempts.  I’m going to keep practising and get a file going to keep for the many flash fiction competitions that now appear.

Pili Pala

The dog races towards me, scattering the cats, ears outspread like aeroplane wings, lip curled. Then she brakes, body dissolving into a sleek, black sphinx with dancing eyes, and I know that the butterfly she holds is fluttering its last.

[Note: Pila Pala is Welsh for ‘butterfly’.  The dog is Taran – Welsh for ‘thunder’.  Catching butterflies was one of her favourite pastimes.]

taran with something on her nose

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Ode to Goldie

You’re dancing on air again, my lovely;

naked in a velvet cloak and snow-white socks.

Tresses wind-borne, high as a comet’s tail,

piaffer with a ballerina’s grace.


In the cadence of your footfalls time

is stilled, your body held in perfect poise.

Yet with spirit free, running with the sky,

your beauty captive only in my heart.

by Elaine Atkins  August, 2010

Goldie-1 14th June 09

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Baby Blogger

Hello World!

I’m a veteran writer. I have written all my life and been published in various paper-based formats:books, papers, articles, reports.  I realised some time ago that I needed to embrace technology as a means to generate more publicity and reach more readers.  It’s been interesting and time consuming.  Some of it I love, but not all of it.   I have managed to learn the essentials of website development, have become adept at Tweeting, and posting on Facebook, but I am most definitely a baby at blogging.  In fact, I’m so new to it that this is my very first blog. I expect you can already tell.  Yet I am so inspired by some of blogs I’ve read I’ve decided to try my hand and see what happens.

Here is where you’ll find my musings.  Expect some poetry, short stories and commentaries on things dear to my heart and perhaps things not so dear too, on which I choose to voice an opinion.  Who knows where it might lead.  But first of all there is the usual steep learning curve to ascend before my words can soar into the ether and land on unsuspecting recipients who may or may not appreciate them – in this instance, how to use the WordPress toolkit.  Bear with me!


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