Life update!

Dear Clairvetica friends and fans

It’s been a while since I posted one of these. Probably the last one was my New Year goals. A few big changes on the horizon for me.

I will be leaving Switzerland this month. You may have got an inkling of this if you’ve been reading my poems closely. I am very sad to leave and there is so much about this country and my life here for the past 5+ years that I will miss. It’s the place my second child was born, where I started this blog, where I stumbled on the poetry month, which was a gateway to becoming a poet (a label I now wear with pride), where I visited all of Switzerland’s 26 cantons in 52 weeks . It’s where I started running and rejoined the full-time workforce after taking maternity leaves/freelancing.

However, I’m also excited to see what it’s like to “repatriate” myself back in Australia. And I guess you’ll come on that journey with me in the coming months.

Another big change that’s perhaps not so obvious is I stopped drinking at the start of the year. Maybe it’s a bit personal to mention here but it’s been a huge shift in perspective for me. I feel like I’ve gained freedom and new insights and, in some ways, the choice was provoked because I wanted more time / headspace for my writing. So it’s relevant to the blog! This may be an odd thing to say, but getting sober is simple but not easy. They say that those who can moderate their alcohol consumption don’t need to, and those who need to, can’t. For me, 100% is so much easier. Also cos I’m hardcore! Anyway, One thing I’ve found unexpectedly enjoyable about the process is helping others (and being helped – it’s virtually impossible to do on your own, imho). So I’ll put it out there: if it’s something you’re curious about, please do read up on it, reach out to me, or an online group, or anyone. I’m finding life is so much better without booze!

Back to bloggery. I thought about changing the name Clairevetica once I’m no longer a Helvetian resident but, after some contemplation, I’m keeping it. (Also, in a sudden rush of blood to the head one night, I went ahead and bought the domain!) So Clairevetica remains and is actually official now.

Finally – a warm thankyou to all my readers. I really appreciate all your likes and comments and emails so much. Also thanks to the ‘silent’ readers who I know are out there too (well, I think you’re there. Are you there?!). It can feel a bit like “shouting into the void” sometimes so it is lovely to hear from people.

So, that’s it. In terms of writing goals and changes, my subjects and photos might change a bit. I’d love to get back into my novel (always the plan!) … maybe I’ll be doing more freelancing (please contact me about any writing / editing jobs or commissions! Maybe one day I’ll even get amazingly efficient at self-promotion too).

Watch this space.

Leaves

What will I do

with the view from my window

my own slice of building-behinds

and trees, the Catholic church spire

in the distance like a giant watch

on a pin

and the way the air shakes

every quarter-hour

vibrates

from the Reformation church nextdoor, out of shot

my white room

my tower, not ivory but

maybe sometimes I feel like

I’m in a precious high-up spot,

far from the world

like the empress in Neverending story

flying through space

with warm lights on and

Give me a name, Bastian!

so my domain is remade

I’m really here with dusty piles

of books that may be read

notepads filled with ink

spilled through with words,

lists, oh they just keep flowing

no matter how afraid or sad I get

I have built my life anew

and when I look out at

those trees and backs of flats

the kindergarten playground

where the foxes live

must remember that

it’s all mine, all mine, not owned

just like I carry the Pool of London

turbulent, tea-coloured Thames

strong, with still a whiff

of Elizabethan sweat and

Dickensian toil

the thriving grime of unwashed success

grit of an ancestor locked in

a prison hulk perhaps

so too, this Swiss scene is kept

inside

and yesterday, the trees so green

the fresh young leaves of spring

and did my heart ache with sadness

desolate, or was it merely glad to see

that once again

 

Photo: Claire Doble

Bright Daze

The blue days
The bright daze
How will
You fulfill
A promise made?
Shadows sharp
Cookie-cutter heart
Could still
Bode ill
For the next part
Can’t contemplate
The relocate
Will kill
Summer’s spill
Rather desolate

 

This poem was for yesterday’s prompt, a poem that is specific to a season and includes a rhetorical question (like Keats’ “where are the songs of spring?”). It also fits OK for today’s prompt: a poem that uses repetition. Not sure if it’s an official form but by repetition, I mean the rhyme structure is AABBA, CCBBC, DDBBD. Hmmm, or maybe it’s just an off-prompt poem after all! 😉

 

Photo: Claire Doble

 

Woof

I’d like to get a brown and white dog
a dog-dog
with a pointy nose, not too sharp
triangle ears. No, floppy ears
like a spaniel
or terrier
maybe a black and white dog
not too shaggy
or a smooth-toffee Weimaraner
but you pay an arm and a
leg for those
a short-hair mutt
good with children
likes to run
not too energetic
must enjoy lazy afternoons
watching How To Train Your Dragon
medium-sized
a smart dog who
only barks happily
jumping in the waves
or defensively
when the situation is grave
and if the kids fall in a hole
“What’s that Skip? The old quarry? I’ll be right away!”
OK
that was a kangaroo.
A handsome dog. A nice dog
not Lassie, or Timmy or The Littlest Hobo or Flipper… oh
that was a dolphin.
The right dog
a dog-dog. A dog…
woof

 

Today’s prompt: write a poem about an animal

Photo: Photo by Catherine Heath on Unsplash

I turn my camera on

Look without words
simply observe
click
it’s not perfect
take five shots, one hundred
lucky
it’s not drinks
my eyes become
photo scouts, seeing
colours and depth of field where
before
it was merely
the world

 

Today’s challenge was to write a poem that engages with another art form. I have been getting back into photography lately and really enjoying it! The poem title is stolen from the awesome song of the same name by Spoon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94IMfEvXtl0

Photo: Claire Doble

Lost summer

Never been so sad to smell the blossoms of spring

and I ache as the blue-white light of morning gapes across the sky

stretching, yawning, already weary and soft-boiled eggshell cracked

thinking of long hot days to come, the fatigue of grass

that steam of green in the stalks and the buzz

the singing, ringing zing of high season and deepest cornflower blue horizons

my cheeks cool in the 7am, useless, yearning for the summer I’ll miss

a loss, pre-thought onslaught of grief, mess of relief

hard to believe those blooms will burst and shine and shrivel

music washing, bright splashes sloshing of chlorine, kids scream

not me, I won’t be here this time, my life splintering

and the perfect pale of latent April air swirls round

faint scent of airline fuel inches consciousness to stay

promise me, please – desperate bargain I’ll betray

dreams stillborn, nascent, can’t beg more time, it’s racing

sands have slipped beneath and the sun will snap and break

my heart, my heart, what depths of sorrow exist in bright never-tomorrows

shimmer perfect, absent-death preserves a chimera of not to be

 

Today’s GloPoWriMo prompt to write an elegy, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail. 

Recording: https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/lost-summer

Memory Car

when you drive it, memories come out

memories

of the memory car

the memory car has got a switch that can turn it on and off

do you know what it can go?

very fast!

there also is a backseat

for you

it’s so big

for you to get in

you can’t open the door

if you want to get in

because there is no door

we have to jump into the memory car

do you know what the memory car is?

it’s so long

do you know what it’s got?

a fire top

do you know where the memories all go?

out the roof

and like a pink one lands in my hand

can you drive it?

 

This was the Day 13 prompt (yesterday) to write about something that is mysterious and spooky in a bad way (like a witch), or mysterious and spooky in a good way (possibly also like a witch? It depends on the witch, I guess!) Or just the everyday, mysterious, spooky quality of being alive. This was a “found poem” taken mostly verbatim from something my four-year-old was telling me.

Clippers

It is not a dull thing

but a sharp thing

a handy little tool

if mundane

did you know

people used to burn

fingernail parings and hair

from a brush or comb

because they had fires

and to prevent witchcraft

being done

we don’t have open grates now

nor such fear of spells

you might still want to prevent, say, Google

from getting your DNA on file, oh

they probably have it already

and the name of your first pet

but prior to this poem

they didn’t know

I had these

at home

 

Today’s prompt was to write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it. Not sure if I covered the love bit – but I use my nail clippers a lot! 🙂  I skipped a couple of days due to extreme busyness but I’m back.

Photo: Claire Doble

Mangrove

There is a heart-place

Of mangroves and oyster rocks

Sei Shonagon, Megan Willcox

Soft, quiet hollows of sand, like the scoops of a hip

A headland, like Scotland

All green and black

Where the sea rushes in

And sucks right back

Is a Beowulf Boudicca

Lurking deep

Below slimy kelp

dry salt smell in the heat

I’m afraid

If I go…

It might…

Disappear

Will it flip, mind twisting, turning, running, burning

Tunnel clear

Back here?

A forest path

Gravel and soft brown

Pineneedles where a

Russian scarf

Drapes, disintegrating down

A secret house

Forest sprites,

Where?

Do they come out at night?

Another heart-place for me

On the other side, through the trees

Today’s prompt/challenge was to write a Sei Shonagon-style list of “things.” What things? Well, that’s for you to decide! I remembered a work colleague and how we were so into Sei Shonagon for a while. Then I thought of faraway places in the heart that make it beat faster. The place I often thought of as a refuge/ happy place is where I’m soon going to be moving to. So I’m wondering if I’ll have to invert that once I get there, and imagine myself back in Switzerland instead!

Photo: Claire Doble

Jargonmeister

My professional competencies

Easily stretch to jargon

And going forward

I’m glad you reached out

There’s some latency

In the system

We’re aiming to exploit the synergies

In 104-word sentences like:

In turn, this should translate into, on the one hand, increased value of the physical assets which are being developed or redeveloped – measured as actual increase of house/office prices and rents and of investment in the area – and, on the other hand, into increased competitiveness and inclusiveness of the area, measured as an increase in the number of people willing to move in and visit, in the duration of their permanence, but also, not less importantly, in their diversity (including in terms of economic background and educational levels) and in the number and performances of high-value businesses and service providers located in the area.

Best, warm, kind, sincere regards

Claire Doble