My Poem ‘School Friends’

Throughout the years
that we spend in attendance at school,
we have certain friends
with whom we hang-out
and sit down to have our lunch with –
however, when we fast-forward
to the present day and to the life
that we are now live,
how many of those same people,
those same friends,
do we all still know,
still talk to, or ever sit down
to have a meal with?
If I were to make a wild-guess,
based on my own experience,
then I would say not one,
or very few at-all-
which, to me, is a sad thing to think about
when you think back and your remember
some of the enjoyable and the fun times
that you might have shared
with your best school-friends.

It is natural for people
who once spent a great deal
of their time together
to slowly drift-apart
and become distant with one-another,
sometimes in every sense of the word…
life, like time, like a river,
runs in one direction –
the choices that we make
can see us doing things
that when we were children
we would have only thought of as
things that were beyond our wildest-dreams:
diving with sharks deep below the waves of the sea…
having adventures in rain-forests…
seeing the spectacular Northern-Lights…
or, perhaps, packing-up all your belongings
and making a new home on the other-side of the world?

We all grow up with people…
we all meet people over the course of our lives…
we all think that when we are a child
that the fun times will never come to an end…
we all had good days and bad days
when we were at school…
we all have memories from when we were kids
of memorable mornings, afternoons, evenings, and nights –
but, unfortunately, sometimes we all have to grow up,
grow from within, and we all have to make a leap
into an unknown world –
however, even though we all must move on in life,
find new things, and meet new people,
that does not mean that we should ever
have to forget who we went to school with…
who, no matter where they are now,
we will always remember them
as being our one of a kind
school friends.

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My Poem ‘Correspondant’

When I was 12 years-old
I had a pen-pal from France;
when I was in school,
I and the rest of my french-class
were asked to write a letter in french
to someone who had written a letter in English
to the person with the name
whom they had randomly picked out of a hat…
I was picked by a boy called “Sebastian” –
who I believe went to school in a town in Normandy –
and over the next few months
I would write in my best french to Sebastian,
and Sebastian in-turn would write
in his best English to me.
Sebastian would tell me about where he lived,
about his family, and about his love of the English-language.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sebastian’s letters to me –
however, my competence in replying to Sebastian in french
left a lot to be desired, and after a while
I did not reply to Sebastian in the same frequency
as he was writing to me.

Sebastian sent letter after letter
about a myriad of different things that were happening to him –
but, unfortunately, my letter-writing to Sebastian
had gone from once a month to none-at-all,
which to this day still makes me feel horrible
and it is one of the many things that I regret
and which still picks away at my conscience.

When I was 12, I was not the writer that I am today.
When I was 12, “social-media” had not been invented,
neither had what we call today the “internet”,
and talking to someone in another country –
even as geographically close as France is to England –
felt as hard as talking to an alien a far-away galaxy.
When I was 12, school felt like a place
where I was forced to attend.
When I was 12, I did not understand
what in life is the most important.

I am in my thirties now,
and high-school, or secondary-school
as we call it here in England,
feels like it was many moons ago
than I can remember with as much clarity
as I have for yesterday –
however, as with many moments from my childhood,
there are things that still stand-out
and there are some moments
that rise to the surface of my mind randomly
when I least expect them to…
and today, on a rainy Saturday afternoon,
here in England, as I sit behind my desk,
in my bedroom, writing in my notebook,
is one of those times when something
and someone that I haven’t thought about in years
has flashed back to me and made me ask
with genuine fascination:
I wonder whatever happened to “Sebastian”,
my life-time ago pen-pal from France.

My Poem ‘Dramarama’

At school I wasn’t a born actor,
however I didn’t mind a bit of drama;
in drama class, I was always shy to take part at first –
however when I did have to act and play
a quickly improvised part
it didn’t take me long
to make the part I was playing my own,
have fun, and revel in the exposure of the stage I was on –
and thinking back I think I actually liked
creating a character, talking in a different accent,
because it always gave the creative side of me
a much-needed burst.

I can still remember my drama classes now,
and my drama teacher Mr. Brooks;
I can still remember Mr. Brooks telling me
how “natural” I was as an actor,
and if I wanted he could potentially
get me an audition somewhere –
I remember him telling me that:
“you have something a lot of great actors have,
something that is natural,
which can’t be learned from reading a book.”

In another life, right now, who knows,
I could be an actor, a performer, a film-star,
a television personality, perhaps a soap opera regular?
If I had not picked art as the subject
in my final years at school that I wanted to focus on,
who knows which path my life might have taken,
and who I would be?
In another life, I could be on stage somewhere
performing Shakespeare, in a film,
acting opposite my favourite acting hero,
or even living in America,
on the verge of having my own Walk of Fame gold star?
If I had been bitten hard by the acting bug,
I wonder if my life would have been
radically different than it is now?
I wonder if I would have ever written
any sort of poem, or a single line of poetry?

Choices, especially life-changing choices,
don’t always appear as they are, as they seem,
when we are faced with them;
whether to go in one way or another
is a choice that you sometimes just have to make
in the moment and hope that everything turns out for the best.
Every performer, or actor,
at the beginning of their performance life
gets stage-fright – and some still do
before every time they walk out on a stage,
and meet their audience –
and that to me is always an indication, at least in part,
that whoever they are and whatever they are doing
means something to them;
and finding your way and your confidence
to be comfortable in moments of exposure,
in one way or another, for most people,
especially actors, is the big test.

Life, theatre, connection, caring, drama,
creativity, motivation, the feeling of butterflies in your stomach,
can seem scary at first, but after a while you love it,
you want it, you need it, you thrive on it;
and what comes after: the response, the applause,
the smiles, the joy, and if you are lucky the love and respect
that you are lavished with, for putting yourself out there
for other people to see and critique;
because, to me, no matter what kind of actor you are,
and in which form your acting takes place,
you are making art for somebody,
and it is the same if you are any kind of performer;
and, as William Shakespeare himself said:
“All the world’s a stage…”;
and as long as there is life,
there will always be drama.

My Poem ‘Marble’

When I was a child,
like a great many of the children at my school,
along with all of my friends,
I used to run around, play games,
pick up conkers from the base of trees,
take them home and ask my Dad
to drill a hole through it
and help me put an old shoe-lace through it;
and then the next day take my brown
and beautifully vibrant conker to school
to play a game of “conkers” with my friends,
and perfect my throw, my wrist action, and my technique –
but as a child I did not realize there was so much to it,
I just, we just, did it, and my friends and I played happily
trying to hit and win a game against each other,
in the breaks between the lessons of our school day,
and it was probably the only time that we actually stood still
when we were enjoying our recesses,
because, most of the time, like I said,
we were mostly seen running around,
and trying to catch each other in games of “tig”.

One of our other, and my favourite, school time pursuits
that my friends and I shared were “marbles”:
multicoloured glass spheres that varied in size,
but which were essentially, to my friends and I,
jewels of enjoyment and literal pearls of perfection
that we all treasured.
My favourite marble of my collection,
of must likely a hundred,
was a silvery, glistening, marble,
that was like the biggest ball bearing
you have ever seen in your life,
but which I hardly ever played a game with;
and my other favourite marble was a pot-marked obsidian,
that looked as if it had been formed in an actual volcano,
or it had fallen to Earth like a meteorite
thousands of years ago, and had strange
and mystical powers to it that would allow me to win every game
and surround me with luck wherever I went –
at least that is what I thought when I was a kid.

I am not sure if kids still play with marbles,
nor do I know what kids do with their time
and what they share with their friends, these days –
however, if I were to guess, and anecdotally I have heard,
that what they do most likely involves a screen,
and usually takes place indoors so that they can
see their screens and they are not blinded
by the reflection of the sun’s glare;
I’m not saying that just because I and my friends
used to enjoy ourselves while being outside,
and while doing things that required using
all of the things that we were born with and blessed,
that we had a happier or a more content childhood,
than those of the modern digital internet-driven age,
because I know that children still do see, look,
explore, and ask questions, and things do matter to them,
and they do care.

I think, and I have believed all my adult life,
that our lives are a work of art –
but that it is a work of art that has more in common
with the mindset of some artists rather than others,
but if you are an artist you can understand life
and the world more – because you can see and interpret
and appreciate nature and peoples instances of sparkle,
and make your own art as you see and marvel;
I like to think that a person’s life
is like a work of sculpture, that we sometimes make mistakes at
when we are sculpting, but in the end those same mistakes
make the carvings, shavings, chiseling,
individual to us and to our lives,
and that is why I believe that all of our lives
is a work of art in progress,
that is incomplete until the very end;
and the matter and material that our lives is made up of
is as tricky to make something of, and with,
and as hard sometimes, and as delicate to work with,
as marble.