Sopranos

Never say you are only in the chorus because without a chorus there is no show!

The following poem comes from

Should I Wear Floral and Other Poems on Life, Love and Leaving 

© Di Castle

to be published in April by Matador and is dedicated to all those hardworking thespians who are preparing to go on stage either in a play or in a musical. I think most people will identify with the sentiments.

Sopranos

(with apologies to Gilbert and Sulllivan)

We are the very model of the Operatic chorus sops.

Who put on great performances, that buzz… until the

curtain drops.

We take all our instructions with a duty so reliable.

We need to get it right so all reviews are good and

viable.

Our leader is so cheerful that she keeps us feeling up, you

know.

We Operatic chorus sops preparing for our brand new

show.

Our leader gets us going and she really is incredible

Withstanding interferences from some you might call

‘meddle bull’.

Withstanding interferences from some you might call ‘meddle bull’

The pianist is playing hard and covering up mistakes, you

know,

And costume lady’s running round with measure tape

and things to sew.

Treasurer is selling tickets, sorting stats to fill each row

We’re Operatic chorus sops preparing for our brand new

show.

We’re very good at singing when we have the words in

front of us

But leader says to face the front and leave the sheet away

from us.

She says we sing it once or twice and then we’re told again

to go

We hope this all gets sorted before April when the show’s

in flow

We hope that this gets sorted before April when the show’s in

flow.

We don’t think we are ready for a show that soon will go

on stage.

We are still learning words, crescendos, breathing and…

must hold the page.

And now we’re told to move around, our brains go into

overload,

We cannot do it all without us going into overload.

We cannot do it all without us going into overload.

We have to make a hat that now is looking very

complicate,

For singing Ascot whatsit and we mustn’t walk on much

too late.

Yes, singing Ascot whatsit is what really makes our brains

go pops,

We mustn’t come on late or find ourselves on stage

without our props.

In short we mustn’t come on late or find ourselves without our

props.

We are the very model of the Operatic chorus sops.

Put at the back if we’re too fat and old and grey in case

we flop

We miss our cues, forget our words and cannot dance like

dainty birds

And now conductor splits us up into three groups he calls

three thirds.

Conductor splits us up into three thirds to make us learn our words.

We are the very model of the Operatic chorus sops

Who keep the show a buzzing on the stage until the

curtain drops.

We’ve learnt our words, we know our thirds but now it is

finale time

Our brains go pop, the words now stop but never mind

we’ll use some mime.

Yes, we still keep the show a buzzing on the stage til

curtain drops.

‘Cos we’re the very model of the operatic chorus sops!

 

LIKE IT?

More poems will appear soon along with the fabulous illustrations by Denise Horn.

 

you can pre-order the book by emailing details to dcastle32@talktalk.net

My debut, Grandma’s  Poetry Book, is available by post via dcastle32@talktalk.net or on my website http://www.dicastle.co.uk .

This poetry collection spans sixteen years capturing the experience of a first-time grandmother on her sometimes wobbly journey in her new role. It includes many facets of unmissable moments and childhood milestones, some humorous and others more poignant, even sad.  Such treasured times can easily be forgotten so the book acts as a nostalgic memoir. Touching and funny in turn, readers will be reminded of the joys of witnessing childhood development and the effect o n their own lives. Even those yet to reach grandparenthood including fathers, aunties and primary school children have already enjoyed reading this book. Grandma’s Poetry Book makes an ideal gift for new grandparents, birthdays, Christmas and Mothers’ Day and many readers have returned to buy more copies for friends and relations. Each poem has its own laugh-out-loud illustration by an artist who has been likened to E H Sheppard.

Some comments have included ‘Pam Ayres meets Winnie the Pooh’, ‘made me laugh, made me cry’, ‘charming book’ and ‘every grandparent should have one’.

OUT SOON  SHOULD I WEAR FLORAL and other poems on Life, Love and Leaving, By Di Castle and illustrated by Denise Horn.

You can follow me on twitter @dinahcas and on Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Di-Castle-Writer/266866193324409

 

October

This poem is from my second book, Should I Wear Floral? and other poems on Life, Love and Leaving, to be published in the early part of 2017 by Matador.

Living at the seaside brings many pleasures and much joy from visiting grandchildren who swoop down to the beach to dive into the sea and plead for ice creams or another ride on ‘the train’ to the pleasure of living in such a wonderful community.

We found Swanage one hot August afternoon in 1999. It was accidental, brought about by our attempt to avoid the returning masses hell bent on getting back to London. It was love at first sight and we have lived here since 2000.

We don’t complain about the visitors  as our town needs them to keep thriving and buzzing but with many second-homers descending on The Isle of Purbeck each school holiday this poem sums up what we see.

 October

Friday night

Streets jammed

Car park full

One trolley

Wonky wheel

Swarming mob

Hiking boots

Ouch! Little toe

 

No bread

No veg

No oven chips

No fishfingers

No baked beans

Leaking milk

Oozing egg carton

Squashed cake

 

Six trolleys

Piled high

Junk food

Wine and beer

One checkout

Faulty scanner

Long queue

Tea Break …

 

Noisy kids

Crying baby

Screaming toddler

Bicker, bicker

Row, row

Red faces

White faces

Half-term!

Nanny and New Technology

 

Part memoir/part short story

It was raining heavily. So what, you might say but for someone still stuck in the Eighties, babysitting requires mastery of new technology not to mention the bravery of using public transport.

They did offer to collect me but their town house sits resplendent, devoid of parking and one journey out of Band D on a Friday evening ensures a lost spot for the weekend.

Why don’t I drive, you may ask? I hold a blemish-free licence and a not-too-old car but these days I easily decline.  Driving is no fun anymore.  Drivers are getting younger, have less hair and shiny heads which dazzle one in the headlights.  This same breed drives faster and switches lanes without warning. Tailgating is illegal but how does one shake off these nuisances when they persist in filling the rear mirror?

The one-way system in the town centre requires three circulations before I find Linden Gardens. Finding no parking space, I am unable to turn back and am then required to drive headlong into a maze of narrower one-way streets, with those irritating small humps every five metres and myriad No Entry signs.

Even if I do, on a rare occasion, find a space near enough to their home, parking is not a straightforward ‘jump out and slam your door’ job, as completing the scratch-off details on their residents’ parking permit is impossible if you have a) forgotten your glasses and b) forgotten the permit. No wonder I have little compulsion to use my car,

The first time I used the train, I arrived bright-eyed and fresh at the station, marvelling in my discovery of stress-free travelling, only to be confronted by an ‘Office Closed’ sign. How, I screeched at the blank glass, am I to get a ticket?  No problem said the greasy-haired cyclist leading me to a large machine on the platform.  Having disclosed my destination, name and address (now sure to be burgled and bereft of my analogue tv), he forces cash from my hand, feeding it into the contraption’s hungry jaws.  “How much?” I squawk as the ticket drops down minus any semblance of returned loose change.

“It’s cheaper online” he says as he pedals away.

My heart sinks at the reference to technology. At this rate, the car could return to favour, but, no ……, the prospect of driving headlong onto the pier haunts me.

This time, despite the rain and the dark of winter, I have conquered the internet but am informed my ticket can only be collected from the same self-service machine. There is no escape.  Neither is there a manned office, a guard with a flag (as in olden times) or the greasy haired cyclist of last week.  However, I manage the ticket machine, the trip and the taxi ride to be met at the door by the departing parents keen to see the start of the show.  I hear words like oven, microwave and dishwasher as Hannah provides a lightning tour of her new kitchen, a wall of white behind which these items lurk.  Then it’s mobile numbers, Sky, baby alarm (she won’t wake up they say), automatic sliding doors, windows, kitchen cupboard doors and entry phone each with its own separate hand control – “It’s all very simple” Hannah assures me, and they are gone.

I am left in a sparsely but expensively furnished room with a blank TV screen, a white wall at one end behind which somewhere is my dinner and the curtainless wide patio doors. Another door leads to the hallway and the baby’s bedroom.  Baby will not wake up was manna from heaven to my ears.  I attempt to locate my lasagne using the remote control on the breakfast bar.  After several failed attempts at tracking down and starting the microwave, the oven is purring and the dishwasher door is opening and closing only not slow enough for me to grab a cup and plate.  I give up the idea of eating and try to obtain BBC 1 via the TV remote.  What I get is not BBC 1 but a recording of Deal or No Deal, my television pet hate.  My attempts to change channel result in volume overload and unbeknown to me the baby alarm can work in reverse – not a good thing with an eight-week-old.  Blaring TV, crying baby and failed attempts to stop oven and dishwasher working in tandem result in an element of panic during which I pick up the wrong hand control which operates the sliding patio doors.

As I said it was raining heavily and little did I know that the control for the doors also activated the windows (open) and the interior lights (off) – easily done without my glasses to read the display. I decamped quickly to the nursery where for I sang nursery rhymes and was rewarded with a smile.  The simple things in life don’t change do they?

 

Grandma’s  Poetry Book is available by post via dcastle32@talktalk.net or on my website http://www.dicastle.co.uk

This poetry collection spans sixteen years capturing the experience of a first-time grandmother on her sometimes wobbly journey in her new role. It includes many facets of unmissable moments and childhood milestones, some humorous and others more poignant, even sad.  Such treasured times can easily be forgotten so the book acts as a nostalgic memoir. Touching and funny in turn, readers will be reminded of the joys of witnessing childhood development and the effect on their own lives. Even those yet to reach grandparenthood including fathers, aunties and primary school children have already enjoyed reading this book. Grandma’s Poetry Book makes an ideal gift for new grandparents, birthdays, Christmas and Mothers’ Day and many readers have returned to buy more copies for friends and relations. Each poem has its own laugh-out-loud illustration by an artist who has been likened to E H Sheppard.

Some comments have included ‘Pam Ayres meets Winnie the Pooh’, ‘made me laugh, made me cry’, ‘charming book’ and ‘every grandparent should have one’.

 

Our new book, Should I Wear Floral? And other poems on Life Love and Leaving will be out shortly. Follow me on twitter @dinahcas and on Facebook – Di Castle – Writer to hear of updates and see sneak previews of illustrations and poems.

 

cropped-grandmas-poetry-book-cover.jpg

 

MOTHER TO MOTHER

On 10th of March 2002

I send this little rhyme to you.

To thank you in a special way

as we celebrate Mothers’ Day.

 

This message comes right from the heart.

Through prayers and travel from the start,

from daughter, sister, girlfriend, lover,

you found yourself as Amy’s mother.

 

Now you know a mother’s pleasure

interacting with her treasure –

listening to each coo and sound

fun and laughter all around.

 

Motherhood is life’s first-class,

as every day new milestones pass.

A special smile, a special word.

She’s talking now – what’s that you heard?

 

Those sleepless nights, the teething tears

Helping them dispel their fears.

The jabs, the spots, each dirty nappy,

so strange all this can make you happy!

 

But childhood passes in a flash,

as through our busy lives we dash,

to earn a crust, keep fit and feed,

homework to do, books to read.

 

 

 

 

Mothers’ Days will come round fast.

Quicker each year than those long past.

They evoke in us a reflective mood,

gazing proudly on our brood.

 

So make the most of all those days –

let her linger in childlike ways.

Remember she’s on loan to you.

In God’s great plan she’s more to do.

 

First give her roots and wings she’ll grow

and very soon before you know,

she’ll fly the nest like you before

and you’ll not have her any more.

 

Grandma’s  Poetry Book is available by post via dcastle32@talktalk.net or on my website http://www.dicastle.co.uk If you pay with PayPal it is free postage.

This poetry collection spans sixteen years capturing the experience of a first-time grandmother on her sometimes wobbly journey in her new role. It includes many facets of unmissable moments and childhood milestones, some humorous and others more poignant, even sad.  Such treasured times can easily be forgotten so the book acts as a nostalgic memoir. Touching and funny in turn, readers will be reminded of the joys of witnessing childhood development and the effect on their own lives. Even those yet to reach grandparenthood including fathers, aunties and primary school children have already enjoyed reading this book. Grandma’s Poetry Book makes an ideal gift for new grandparents, birthdays, Christmas and Mothers’ Day and many readers have returned to buy more copies for friends and relations. Each poem has its own laugh-out-loud illustration by an artist who has been likened to E H Sheppard.

Some comments have included ‘Pam Ayres meets Winnie the Pooh’, ‘made me laugh, made me cry’, ‘charming book’ and ‘every grandparent should have one’.

 

 

Life Friend

 

Love erupted, flashed in a day,

Changed life from slow to fast

A feisty ‘stop ‘n go’ affair

Which no-one thought would last!

 

Passion enflamed, excitement aroused

Sparks kindled electric charge

Sleep disturbed, thoughts thrown asunder

Am I dreaming, is this a mirage!

 

Treasured are all the laughs you’ve evoked

The giggles, the touch of the hand

The secret codes, the wink that declares

Against the world we stand.

 

Cherish the moment sharing the chores

Comfort when news is the worst

Planning how to make special each day

Thinking and putting each first.

 

But even Love can show some vexation

when harassed or harassing too

Making lovers aware of the meaning of life

And a compromise of view.

 

 

Creative spirits, divergent paths

Separate ways, freedom favoured

Brief intermission – rest and respite

But love and loyalty never wavered.

 

Precious and valued, you’re always there

When others go hurtling by

Helping me weather the storms of life

And never saying that goodbye.

 

copyright Di Castle

to appear in Should I Wear Floral and other poems on Love, Life and Leaving by Di Castle, illustrated by Denise A Horn

 

The Pyjama Game should stay firmly in the bedroom.

So a head teacher asking parents not to drop off their children at school in their pyjamas makes headline news. Plus it is only a few weeks since a shop in a nearby area refused to serve people dressed in pyjamas.

 

Now I can understand where this relaxed attitude originates. The formality of the fifties and sixties has long gone. These days, pyjamas come in many guises. They are onesies, play suits or clothes designed to be worn as daywear when chilling out on the sofa. So, ok, mums, I am all for chilling out on the sofa – we recognise the health and happiness benefits – but the line has to be drawn at the front door.

 

I had three children in quick succession in the late sixties and from the day I returned from hospital, my first jobs each morning, once an early morning breastfeed had been given, were to shower, dress, brush my hair and put on some makeup. Once I had that daily task under my belt I could face anything and, if the morning became hectic as we were about to leave the house for school, I could relax in the knowledge that I looked as smart as any young mum with regurgitated food on her shoulder.

 

Even at their births, the first thing I did after holding and bonding with them was to grab my make up bag and hairbrush from the bedside cabinet and make myself look presentable.  In the sixties few of us wandered around with bare faces and unbrushed hair. We would go to each others’ houses on the way back from school drop off and the little ones would play. We had no worries about our appearance as if you have put on makeup in the morning, little attention needs to be paid to it.

 

As I have grown older I find myself dismayed at the current trend to go out barefaced with more and more people these days displaying unbrushed hair and uncared for clothes around the supermarket aisles. There really is no excuse.

 

My mantra always was that looking good, well dressed and tidy was to pay a compliment to the people you meet. It also set a good example to my daughters who now are always presentable for the school run. They were raised to be aware that what their father saw on leaving the house would remain with him during the day. They knew self-care mattered for the relationship and for a person’s self esteem.

 

It is amusing that so many people exhaust themselves cleaning the house for visitors. There are many people who insist on doing a day’s housework prior to a family event but fail to attend to what visitors see first – their own appearance. We should remember after all that visitors usually come to see us and not our ultra shiny worktops.

 

No doubt the head teacher will be criticised, even forced to apologise for ‘abusing the parents’ rights’ to dress slovenly’. I certainly hope not. I am willing her to remain resolute.

 

Children need to know that going to school is serious business. They also need to know that what goes on at home after their departure is equally important? Pyjamas give the impression that Mum is going back to bed at 9.15 am.

 

Isn’t it time now for us all to push for standards?