Welcome Inn

via Daily Prompt: Hospitality

Join me here, under the sign, the Welcome Inn, it says in rhyme.

Well, come in stranger, do not fear, we’re all friends who have not met you here,

You shall eat our bread and drink our beer, for we only accept those in good cheer

A full stomach you can not refuse, for there’s little else you have to lose

and there’s little else we have to gain, your presence is a sweet refrain.

We shall sing and dance, our music lifting any sunken spirits which still need shifting

And speaking of shifting, we have beds, which can be used for many heads.

The beds are cosy, warm and clean, and the prices suit the most humble means

Well, come in stranger, it’s not the end, merely a new place to meet your friends

Back from the brink

She began to worry about her future. What would it hold for someone like her, she wondered? Her mind had been broken, and it wasn’t ever going to be fixed. At least not ever like it had been. But what had it been?

Julia

Julia had never seen her city like this before. It was as though she were taking a guided tour through streets and roads she didn’t know. Or maybe had once known. There were so many things she had once known. Like maths. She remembered enjoying maths at school. Her school days hadn’t come back yet, but Doctora Ortiz said they would. Dra. Ortiz had fantastic faith in her. A well-built middle-aged woman, Julia could imagine her at home with her children, watching television. She sometimes imagined herself squeezed in beside them on the sofa like a Persian cat sitting between a family of good-natured bulldogs. Julia had been put in Ortiz’s care on her arrival at the rehabilitation centre. It was down to Ortiz that she had come so far. Her skeletal frame and stitched-up scalp had seemed too frail to survive, but one of Ortiz’s unflinching methods was a diet of regular exercise and rich foods. After a week she could sit up, after two, she could get out of bed. By the time two months had passed, Julia could walk, with a frame, as far as she liked. And she did like it. It was as though she had never walked before.Everyday she could be found exploring various corners of the spacious building. Her body still refused to put on weight, but Dr. Sanchis, the physio, told her that her muscles were recovering, which was good. Anyway, her family said, you’ve always been slim. The biggest change was in her face, her eyes, formerly a flashing green, were now the shade of an autumn forest, with none of the life. On her chaperoned walks in the park she saw trees which fascinated her. Surely she knew what trees were? Her accident had caused such severe damage that she often felt like an infant, seeing everything anew each day. The thought caused her as much joy as sadness, as well as another feeling. If she could have given it a name, she would have called it bittersweet.

As she continued to regain lost memories, and forge new friendships in the centre, she began to worry about her future. What would it hold for someone like her, she wondered? Her mind had been broken, and it wasn’t ever going to be fixed. At least not ever like it had been. But what had it been? She was 24 years old, it wasn’t unusual for her to return to her parent’s house. But it would be like living a second childhood. One with aging parents, who would suffocate her recovery. She had had many conversations with Dra Ortiz and with the clinician, Dr. Ferran, about this, although she could barely express the worries in words, which had only served to frustrate her even more.

In any case, like so much of her recovery, it had been Ortiz’s idea to walk off her emotions. “Everyone thinks better while they are moving” she told Julia once, and surprisingly Ferran agreed. “I’ve seen how you enjoy walking. Many people say it helps to clear your head. In this case, I can’t think of a more suitable solution.”

So she walked as far as the corner. And around the corner. She had never been on this street. It was already busier. Her worries now were mainly that she might not remember how to return to the centre. But she had the address written down, and there were plenty of people to ask. Some of them looked foreign. An Asian man selling fruit offered her some oranges. She declined and kept moving. She saw a young man pushing a baby carriage. He was not much older than her and looked tired. On the street she saw some lorries and bicycles, which for a moment brought back sickening memories of the accident. But she recovered herself and kept moving. Here was another park. She ducked into it away from the traffic, and immediately was assailed by the smells of dog faeces and urine. A gypsy traipsed past carrying some lengths of metal salvaged from a rubbish container across the street. It was appalling. She started to run. And this was the moment of exhilaration. The moment her head cleared, and she had a fully-formed idea for the first time since the accident. She would become a runner.

An actual update from me. Good to be back.

After an unexpectedly long absence, I am going to come back to blogging land. I am not sure whether I’m doing it correctly or not, but I have decided that that is not for me to decide.

Anyhow, as you may notice from my other posts, I’ve been writing a lot of poetry in the last few months, some of it even getting published, which is wonderful and a real boost for someone like me who doesn’t have a huge amount of faith that people will like their work.

The poems come and go every so often. Lately with working and being a dad, my mind hasn’t had much time for switching to poetry mode. I hope this changes. As much as yoga and healthy eating, I found poetry quite relaxing and helpful during the pregnancy and early months. (Others have different methods, see @TiredDaddy’s blog for entertaining stories of dad-hood) Now that the young lad is moving and we are both working, a moment to lie down and take a deep breath might result in a nap rather than any poetry (or exercise either)

That being said, I am managing to find a bit of time to partake in a FutureLearn MOOC called ‘Start Writing Fiction’. This has taken up my writing time over the last few weeks and is the reason for returning to the blog. I’m not planning to give up poetry, but from now on, expect to find more character sketches, short stories and rants from me (as myself)

In the meantime, here is a poem I wrote back in August, staring at the cloud-shadowed moon from an urban wasteland.

“NIGHTWIDE MIND”

Searching for signals from deep in the sublime

The portal being opened from within  our time

We direct our gaze at the outern edge

And to one another we make this solemn pledge

“That never more shall your ears fail to see,

That knowledge of wisdom found deep in the trees”

And entranced we march into the gaping jaws

Of night’s dark terror, which gives us no pause

The delight which drags us on to our doom,

Is unlike to be found in a twilit tomb

But the open air of the hilltop crest

Would lead us happily to our rest

And while our fellow actors lie in wait, 

We stand alone upon the slate

Our roles to be played in the act of defence

The land we cherished has lost all its sense

Ourselves alone searching for a starry home

And a fitting end to a meaningless poem.