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Howl at the Moon

Howl at the moon if you can stand the light,

Howl at the moon for the rest of the night,

The light casts shadows on your pale face,

Just one more member of this rat race.

There’s a glint in your eye – not one that I know –

And your complexion is pale, as white as snow;

Is this what freedom looks like, sounds like?

Are you waiting for the lightening strike?

Are you hoping that one day you might

Bathe naked in that glowing moonlight?

Release yourself into the dark forest,

Lay down with wolves and be not distressed,

For tonight you are one of their own.

In the morning you will be long gone.

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A Minute

Places to go, people to meet:

Don’t have time to just take a seat

And take it all in for a minute.

 

I wish I could stop, I wish I could chat

Sit for a while and do all of that

And take it all in for a minute.

 

Yet, if I stop, that means I’ll think

Which has taken souls up to the brink –

They took it all in for a minute.

 

Jump from the rooftops, jump from a cliff:

If you can survive that, and only if,

You can take it all in for a minute.

 

Blue sky before me, land at my back –

How did my life get so off track?

I must take it all in for a minute.

 

The waves billow and billow, I cry and I cry

My heart is heavy, my head not held high.

This is the minute.

Take me to the Never Land

Take me to the Never Land,

To that gay and carefree place,

Where children played so long ago

With a smile upon their face.

 

Take me to the Never Land

And I shall not grow old.

I’ll long remain an innocent,

Retain my heart of gold.

 

Yes, take me to the Never Land –

The Pan boy crows for me

And then, at least, when I die

I’ll still be young and free.

 

My brain no longer in need

Of cleansing from itself:

I fly away tomorrow night,

Farewell! Drink to your health!

The Power of Music

As he crept into the cellars of the building he could sense that everything was not quite as he had expected. When he arrived down the steep staircase he found one large, open room with several doors leading out of the central chamber. He had hoped, as we all might, that there would be somewhere to hide away without taking the risk of going into a completely enclosed space.

No, he thought, this would not do at all.

Suddenly, he turned around – having heard the cat’s bell. He had forgotten to close the door again. This cat would be the death of him if he was not careful, something which he certainly hadn’t been up to this point.

Without a care in the world the cat trotted on past him and through the only open door in the room, briefly pausing to mew at him from the doorway. It was a gesture to follow, although coming from a cat which he had known for a matter of weeks this seemed quite odd.

“Still,” he muttered to himself “Angelica’s never led me astray before.” As he got closer to the open door he began to smell something that he couldn’t quite place. It was an exquisite scent, featuring shades of Jasmine and Bergamot and for some reason it reminded him of another place, one he had quite forgotten about and all that he could see in his mind’s eye were blurs of people – distinct bodies with heads that did not fit them.

It was as Abraham realised that this place was that which he had once called home that he stepped over the threshold of the room. His jaw dropped. The cat that he had expected to see was gone and in her place was a woman.

In itself, this is not completely unusual when you have seen as much magic as Abraham or I have, but what shocked him quite so much in his first experience of therianthropy was that during the transformation no clothes magically appeared. This was logical when you consider that cats do not wear clothes but stumbling across a naked figure out of nowhere is not an everyday occurrence.

At first Abe could do nothing but stare at the floor, unsure of the rules in a situation like this. After a while, however, he began to look at Angelica’s feet and from there he looked slowly up her body. She was a beautiful young woman, perhaps a year or two older than he was, but her figure was not at all as you would expect of a woman who was also a cat, not lithe and sleek but instead rather short with a slight belly. He chuckled a little as he saw that this human version of Angelica still had a now rather stretched collar around her neck, a sign that he was not going mad as he had first thought. He was now at her face: her beautiful, glowing face with a smile that could only be described as infectious. She had mousey brown hair and a quite round face, along with a nose that was, in truth, disproportionately small for her face and yet it looked completely at ease with the rest of her features – apart from her eyes.

Her eyes still gleamed as those of a cat gleam and were almost circular in proportion, the yellowness of them started to draw Abe in. He was soon brought back to the real world.

“Pass me that dress, would you Abraham?” Angelica emitted in quite a high-pitched, Welsh accented voice, “Thanks cariad.”

Abe handed her the dress and attempted to skulk back towards the doorway he had entered by. As he reached out towards the door handle, he froze. Angelica was now between him and the door and his hand was hovering over her stomach. His embarrassment was become more and more visible by the moment.

“What do you want from me?” he asked abruptly “I can’t help you, I’m not well enough. I need sleep.”

“Don’t we all?” the feline-eyed woman replied. “Firstly, I’m going to need to inspect that shirt of yours. I think I may have left something stuck to it the last time we went for a walk. After that, your time is your own, bach.”

He reluctantly moved closer to her, and turned his back as she started to smell the shirt, getting ever nearer. Quite suddenly she stopped, raised an eyebrow and, after a brief pause, continued to sniff around to the front of him. Angelica pressed a hand over his heart and began to hum. Abraham attempted to identify the tune, wondering if it bared any significance.

It was here that he began to remember home more clearly. The tune was a lullaby that his elder sister had sung to him whenever he had been afraid and it went something like this:

I’m forever blowing bubbles

Pretty bubbles in the air

They fly so high, nearly reach the sky

Then like my dreams they fade and die”

He began to sob gently as he remembered how he had lost every part of himself at this place – this hub of self-pity, this house of despair. Angelica had sensed this tune in his heart, when he had forgotten it himself.

It is here that I, again, feel I must interject. I imagine you have realised in your life just how powerful music is. The right tune can create such emotion that you find yourself trapped in that moment with no way out. Each person carries with them a collection of musical signatures, melodies that have had such an impact on them that the very way that they look upon the world has changed.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is an excerpt from a longer piece that I’m working on. However, it is also isolated as I’ve struggled to pad out the area around it – I’ve got no idea how the story gets to this point.

On a slightly different topic, I am working on a personal update to the blog which I’ll post when I’m happy with it. It’s taken a few sittings and several weeks but it is getting closer to completion.

As the Free Bird Flies

As the free bird flies

To the sun in the sky,

So my heart longs to be free.

To soar through the clouds,

As the eagle’s cry sounds –

To roam over hill and vale –

To follow no predestined trail.

I’d go through the sea-mist

And survive it, just,

To see myself start over again.

As I’d try and I’d try

To lift myself high,

I’d just be pulled back down,

To nurse my broken crown.

To raise myself up

Above all of this

Is incredibly hard by myself.

So here I must try

To live and to die,

But we’ll all meet again in the end.

Overbearing Sentimentality

I write this with tears still staining my cheeks. I find it best to write with strong emotion coarsing through, as it usually results in a piece which will be finished. Countless drafts of pieces are saved to this blog, unfinished due to some notion that they are not ready.

This piece acts (in some respects) as a review of Shadowlands, Richard Attenborough’s 1993 masterpiece, which follows acclaimed author and Christian apologist CS Lewis (Anthony Hopkins) as he falls in love with an American author named Joy Davidman (Debra Winger).

Anyone who knows this tale knows that it does not, in the strictest sense, end well. Joy develops cancer and dies, leaving Jack – as Lewis was more affectionately known – grappling with his emotions and his faith and spawning one of his greatest works, A Grief Observed.

Here, Lewis speaks from an experience which is missing from his previous work. Here, he realises just how important it is to grieve at the time that it happens.

Of course grief is not something to be controlled in terms of its occurences and reoccurences. Grief comes and hits us when we least expect it, when we least want and, quite frankly, it can be absolutely crippling. Towards the end of the film, as Jack sits at Joy’s bedside for the last time, I found myself confronted by an intense memory of myself from around two and a half years ago.

I was sat around the hospital bed of my grandpa in the middle of the night, quite literally waiting for him to die. And I just cried.

I couldn’t help but to cry.

All of us will, at some point, suffer a devastating loss and all of us will grieve in different ways, going through the stages at different times, for different lengths. And crying will almost undoubtedly be a part of that.

We should not be ashamed of that. In the immediate aftermath of my grandpa’s death I struggled to hold it together when confronted by a fig roll. An inanimate object seemed to be goading me – a ridiculous assertion now, perhaps, but I stand by it.

And no matter how often those like Piers Morgan may tell you otherwise, you should not “man up”. Share your emotion, cry on your own timetable and, most importantly, talk through what you are feeling with those close to you.

Shadowlands is one of my top 5 films of all time and, despite numerous serious inaccuracies, captures the feeling of CS Lewis’ joy and grief almost perfectly. Hopkins and Winger deserve far more praise than they got for this film and the supporting actors are also wonderfully cast.

I leave you with one final thought:

When confronted with a bereavement, many people run. Some run towards God and others away from Him; ultimately it will not matter. We will all end up confronted by our own, personal mortality and thus by the very question of our existence and by God Himself. 

Whatever our beliefs, whatever our personal struggle, we have a decision to make.

I’m still not sure whether I’ve made mine.

Sleep On

Living a life which is not your own,

Opening up your heart of stone,

Never to speak the truth again,

Even to those that you call friend.

Lies and deceit every way you turn,

In times of trouble we never learn.

Now we sneer at those who drown

Ever deeper in the fury of sound.

Sleep on.

Sleep on.

Strong and Stable

“Strong and Stable” – that’s what she said.

Strong and stable, a funny way of thinking about it.

I could use some strength and

stability in my

head.

My mind has a ten

dency to wander. I don’t always stay on topic, I get distracted and carry on for far too long without taking

a breath.

My sleeping patterns are just a mess.

It is intriguing to note the similarities between a goldfish and

Boris Johnson, a man who has a delightful tendency to speak utter

Rhubarb, a food I’m not keen on myself. Although it does make wonderful

crumble. Much like our economy would under a leader like Theresa.

You see I have a way of returning to the topic. Unlike some, I may find my way back.

Again,

and again,

and again.

Because this is important. This is when we decide whether to take a stand, or whether to shrug responsibility

like a child caught enabling some degradation of society

by a friend or acquaintance who tells them

not to worry because they’ll take the blame.

Maybe it’s time to

do

something.

Anything.

 

Death to All Flowers

I sit in a trench surrounded by the smells of burning and gas. Around me there are the bodies of so many dead – some I knew, some I didn’t. Some I liked, some I despised.

Some I killed. 

It’s easy to call me a murderer but until you have engaged in battle like this, you can’t understand. I would happily take the punishment for the crimes I have committed. It is, after all, justice. However, it would not change the past. It would not change me, my sense that no one else quite understands the mental torture that I put myself through to get to this state of sheer apathy.

Your sense of horror is the first thing to go. You become desensitized to the pure hell around you. A stench of rotting flesh and the whizzing of artillery prior to impact. The sight of a solitary flower attempting to push through the mire and the misery, only to be trampled by the next assault. The taste of gas that never quite leaves you again.
Eventually you start to take some perverse pleasure in plucking the flower before anything else reaches it and tearing it in to the smallest shreds that you can.

Perhaps it’s a representation of your dignity.

You throw yourself into every attack in the hope that this will be the one that kills you and when, instead, you are the only one to survive intact, you take to killing your injured comrades. Put them out of their misery.

I drag some bodies back in to an abandoned section of trench and sit amongst them. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at the absurdity of it all, so instead I sit in silence. Mind-numbing, aching silence.

I wait. And wait. And wait.

And then I realise:

This is not reality, this is not where I am. This is where I was.

And where I always will be, as I continue to live this moment every time I receive even a hint of that gas or those bombs or that rancid flesh.

I can’t even bring myself to grow flowers anymore. I kill them off.