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Make the most of life they cry -
The years are simply flashing by!
You must live it to the full, they say,
Do not settle for a bland halfway.

Don’t worry too much what you eat
Or if your house is always neat
Nor if your hair’s not is at its best
And you aren’t always smartly dressed.

Fret not in the face of others’ wealth,
Be thankful if you’re in good health.
Take the high road if you dare -
For you will find adventures there.

Be honest, joyful, never judge,
Always forget to hold a grudge
Avoid tales of woe and bitter gloom
Embrace the promise of hope’s perfume.

Enjoy simple pleasures, shun dismay,
Keep anger and impatience well at bay.
Do not feel you must conform
With the prevailing, accepted social norm.

Don’t be afraid to waste some time -
Relaxation is not a crime.
And it may be considered immeasurably wise
To enjoy the odd, unplanned surprise.

Spend time with friends; family too
Without letting them dictate your point of view.
Ward off long arguments and altercations,
Consider lowering your expectations.

Exercise willpower without being too tough,
Reasonable self-discipline is quite enough
Incorporate enjoyment into your routine
You’re not just a work-eat-sleep machine.

For this short life, so full of care,
You can live it anywhere.
Rich or poor, old or young
Make it resonate with joy and fun.

Follow the advice of a wise old man;
“Laugh out loud as oft you can,
Aspire to go out on a high
For it won’t be long before you die!”
Wisdom to muddle through on this journey…
A perfect moment often creeps up undisclosed
Not carefully planned nor deliberately composed
It washes in a feeling of sheer bliss
And for that instant, nothing is amiss

It’s the golden sunshine flickering between the trees
Or the scent of spring carried on the breeze
The innocent peace of a child fast asleep
With brow unfurrowed, breathing slow and deep

It’s the whisper of encouraging advice
Bringing wise ideas; discerning and precise
It is the grace of a child performing up on stage
Whilst a parental supportive gaze will all fears assuage

It is beholding the brilliant colour of a flower in bloom
And savouring the aroma of its sweet perfume
It’s the stirring rise and fall of a classical symphony
Whose performers execute their roles in flawless harmony

It’s in diving into water clear and warm
Or snuggling by the fireside during a storm
It is plunging a set of footprints into ****** snow
Or the appearance of a fully arched rainbow

It is the burst of fresh flavours sizzling on my plate
Or the knowledge that tomorrow I can sleep late
It is the reassurance of a heartfelt hug
And the scent of coffee wafting from my mug

It is cycling along quiet, country lanes
Or galloping across rolling, wild plains
It is the invigorating possibilities of a glorious sunrise
Or the thrill of preparing an exciting surprise

That inner joy when peace unfurls
Enjoying the moment. Receiving a beautiful gift.
What is the colour of noise?

Is it the rushing,
bubbling blue of the stream
as it tumbles over pebbles and boulders?

Is it the dismal grey chug-chug of lorry’s exhaust?
Or the sizzling smoke of an overheated engine?

Is it the metallic silver of a computer processor?
The hum of a CD preparing to play,
or the click click of fingernails on the keyboard?

Is it the golden yellow of jazz music
played on the saxophone,
a deep and hearty rhythmic melody?

Is it the fresh,
pure green of the rolling hills,
where the bleating of the ewe carries on the breeze?

Is it the crimson red of rage?
The anger of injustice?
The sores caused by pain?
The cry of despair?

Is it the burning orange
of an open fire sending up crackling sparks
and radiating tangible warmth?

Is it the chocolate brown muffin-mixture in the blender?
The beater pummelling eggs and flour together?

Is it the pure pink delight
of a baby’s gurgle
as he splashes and giggles in the bath?

Is it the velvety black of nightfall
as birds sing out their roosting calls in the trees
and the moon rises on the horizon?

Is it the glorious glow of pure white,
as my pen dashes across the crisp,
clean page, scratching blue lines of text,
unleashing a new idea?
What is the colour of noise? Workshop: 12 minutes exercice.
If I ever had five minutes to myself,
I’d get a book down from the shelf,
Curl up in the comfy chair
To enjoy the peace and quiet there.

I’d do my best to just ignore
Toys and games scattered across the floor,
Or the cobwebs dangling from the light
And the ***** dishes from last night.

I’d fight the urge to load the washing machine,
Then give the stove a perfunctory clean,
To fold and iron the clean laundry pile
Which has been mounting up for quite a while.

I’d remind myself I’ll go insane
Fixating on the grubby windowpane
And I’d warn myself that I simply must –
Not trail my fingertips through the dust.

I’ll keep a calm, composed demeanour,
Resisting the tug of the vacuum cleaner -
Because maybe if I ran it around the place
The house wouldn’t look quite such a disgrace?

To the sticky surfaces I’d turn a blind eye,
And that dodgy smell, which would seem to imply
That something, somewhere in the back of a cupboard
Highly likely in mould is now covered…

I’d disregard with gargantuan intent,
Cards and gifts which should have already been sent.
And school supplies which I ought to restock
Because they need glue and scissors around the clock…

I’d caution myself that I’m still a beginner,
At preparing a healthy, balanced dinner
And that sometimes meals go unplanned
Plucked from the remaining vestiges at hand.

I’d forget to berate myself that I don’t succeed
At tidying up at lightning speed,
Nor keeping my calm, nor staying unstressed,
When faced with an eight-year-old who just won’t get dressed.

I’d admonish myself that for my peace of mind
I must make more effort to relax and unwind,
To not grab some down time would be a mistake…
But – oh shucks – I must make that Birthday cake!

So I quietly replace the unopened tome,
Glancing around my disorderly home
And remember I am now a mother, a wife,
And reading books was in my past life.

But on the plus side I have giggles and smiles galore,
And tickles and snuggles and cuddles and more.
So I’ll try not to let the clutter and mess
Become a reason for concern and distress.

And instead of becoming a source of displeasure,
I’ll allow myself these short years to treasure
For soon the chaos and hubbub will abate
And I will have fewer things on my plate.

And who knows, in the future; maybe one day,
I’ll miss the turmoil and disarray?
As I’m reading my book, quiet in my chair
I’ll wish that my brood were once again there…
For all those who can relate to the busyness and pandemonium of daily family life…
I did not expect to get such a surprise,
When I opened the door, not believing my eyes,
It was long-lost cousin Johnny, standing right there,
The wayward son of my dotty Aunt Clare.
“Well hello,” he exclaimed, tipped his hat with a grin,
“You’re a sight for sore eyes, well then, shall I come in?”
And without missing a beat as, “yes of course?” I stutter,
He steps boldly indoors, and I recall he’s a ******.

“So, how’ve you been?” he asks, as I make us some tea,
“Oh, you know, pretty good - let’s not talk about me…
And yourself?” I inquire, ‘it’s been such a long time.”
“Tis, true,” he replies, “but I’m mostly quite fine.
The thing is though, I’m in a bit of a mess,
It’s all been rather a source of stress
And I may need somewhere to stay for a while,”
He gestures around, with that old winsome smile,
“I just need a place to sleep, wash and eat
Till I sort myself out and get back on my feet…”
When we all lived in a simpler age,
Before internet and smartphones were quite all the rage
I used to write letters, it’s true, by the score,
Along with thank-you notes, and Birthday greetings galore.

But now we have email, an incredible invention
Although perhaps it was not the original intention -
That we’d be overwhelmed with messages on such a scale,
That a glance at our inbox can make us turn pale.

But it’s free, we all thought! No more stamps, no more post,
Yet we overlooked the factor which mattered the most,
Because what is free has no value, so quality can be poor
And to meaningless communication we opened the door…

So to with our phone calls; where once they were measured,
Paid for by the minute so each one was treasured,
Whilst now they’re unlimited, no boundaries, no restraint
And unsolicited contact can lead to complaint.
Because who wants to be reachable anytime, anywhere?
When we’re pressed from all sides and have no time to spare
Why would we call someone up for a chat?
Surely, it’s better to use text messages for that?

And on the same subject, we have social media of course,
That tremendous development, a huge market-force
And we’re sharing our photos, our updates and more
We post from our home, from our work, from the store,
All the while commenting, reacting and sharing
What we’re eating or drinking or thinking or wearing.

Though there are certainly some, who do not think highly
Of concluding a sentence with an icon or smiley,
We mostly assume that it’s assuredly fine
To publish our day-to-day doings online.
And perhaps it is. Maybe it’s better to effuse of our glories
Via well-captured selfies and cute little stories?
Because in reality; we’re perhaps not all that keen
On revealing the true image behind each small screen…

And our photos too have met the same fate,
Where we used to take care, the right shot to create
Because new film and developing came with a cost
And we couldn’t afford any pics to be lost,
Now we just point and press, take multiple snaps
Embellish them with effects and filters perhaps
But many go unseen; though they come without price
The vast majority will not be seen twice.
Of course, we could print them, select just a few
But we’ve simply so many and oh so much to do…

And knowledge – ‘twas once to acquire and master
But now the internet just gets us there faster.
Such a wealth of information so easily available
That hard work and learning become semi-replaceable.
It’s all free, it’s on hand, so easy to view,
With images, tips and videos too
And we find we trust less in our own expertise,
As we quietly check to see if Google agrees…

And above all we feel busy, our lives in fast forward,
Striving towards an unattainable reward.
Endless pressure, frustration and stress
Maybe we need to take time to assess,
How we took some of the value out of our lives
When we added the technology for which society strives.
Why something for nothing is never the best,
And that instead of advancing we might just have regressed.

Before it’s too late we might need to appraise
How this tech is determining the course of our days,
And whilst the entire system is not without merit
Is this really the legacy we wish our children to inherit?
And the issue which we ought conceivably to address
Is that we might have to slow down, if we wish to progress…
Chin propped on elbows, a young boy gazes up into space
And the moon stares right back with that look on its face.
He dreams of astronauts and shuttles and rockets
And cute tiny Martians that would fit in his pockets.

He imagines floating through space, where gravity is zero,
Fighting off savage aliens to return home a hero.
Exploring the far reaches of the known universe
Discovering galaxies with an insatiable thirst.

Dodging around asteroid storms, skirting meteor showers
Out-manoeuvring strange space creatures with his rocket-blast powers.
His eyelids begin to droop, his Mum steers him to bed
Where dreams of leaping in moon-boots dance through his head.
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