The Wedding Girl

Just call me your wedding girl,

With my hair threaded through with white.

Standing clothed with bare, bare feet,

And not another soul in sight.

 

My ribbons serve as my banner,

And my skirt, my waving flag.

Watch it fall, thick and limp,

A broken, waving rag.

 

Don’t you think that’s a nice term for me?

Wouldn’t you agree?

It’s because I’m dressed in white and white;

I surrender, don’t you see?

 

My toes turn black from the tar

That rubs against my feet,

But my dress is white against the sky,

A greying, shading beat.

 

I often stand in the shadows

In order to feel the sun.

Because to feel its warmth in a sudden rush

Is not a treat for just anyone.

 

I soak my white, white dress with rain

In order to enjoy and feel being dry,

And because I want to love my laugh

I allow myself to cry.

 

Sometimes I lose on purpose

Because I adore it when I win,

And sometimes I don’t ever finish

Because it was too much fun to begin.

 

When I stand in the shadows,

The people in the light walk by.

I see their smiles glow in the morning sun,

And it warms me more than any sky.

 

And sitting cold and wet in the rain,

I can see people rushing to and fro.

I see much more life in the rain, you see,

It brings people alive, don’t you know?

 

And because I love the victory,

It’s mine even when I lose.

Even if the winner dances and jumps about,

I’m champion if I choose.

 

Sometimes I want to surrender,

Because I hate the war.

I don’t care if you call me feeble and weak;

I just don’t want to fight anymore.

 

I want to live my life in seconds,

So I can treasure every hour.

And I never want to plant a garden,

So I can appreciate every flower.

 

I don’t want things to be ordinary.

I don’t want things to be mine.

I want everything to be a surprise to me,

But I want to know that everything’s fine.

 

I want someone I love but have to leave,

I want memories to hold in my heart.

I want a mind full of snapshots of moments passed,

I want a painful chance to part.

 

I want to have my breath taken away,

I want it stolen from my chest.

I want something to make me feel faint,

And dizzy at it’s best.

 

I love it occasionally when people are cruel;

I like it when people shout.

I hate it when people seem all right all the time,

And have nothing to scream about.

 

It makes me smile when I see people

Who have bright, clear windows for eyes.

Because I can look into their face and I can see

A mind filled all the way up to the skies.

 

I love it when people are silent,

Because it helps me enjoy the words.

And I love it when people are serious,

Because then we can laugh at the absurd.

 

Just call me your wedding girl,

With my hair threaded through with white.

Because I’m married to and one with the life we live;

I’m wedded to what in my heart is right.

Start the Epidemic

“Smiling is contagious,”

Someone told me with a grin.

“It’s a very difficult thing to stop,

But far too easy to begin.”

And I found out after he walked away

That what he said was true.

Because a little while later,

I found that I was smiling too.

This small, exciting secret

Was like a rose bud, now unfurled.

Smiling is contagious,

So let’s infect the world.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Pretty

One of the truly glorious things about beauty is that it doesn’t have to be pretty. Often, beauty is a feeling, a moment. Just a chance for every problem to vanish and for the beauty to overtake the world. Even if it’s just for a moment.

I see that today. I’m walking. Nowhere really. I haven’t anywhere to go, nor anywhere to be, except for where I am at this second. The day is cloudy. The air is damp and needles of rain spike against my cheeks.

The park is nearly deserted; no one wants to see a place of sunshine when it’s trying not to drown. There’s dirt smeared across the toe of my left boot from where I tripped and nearly lost my balance. I like parks in the rain. That’s when you see real people. People who aren’t influenced by a second of sunshine or a moment of warm weather. People who carry their own sun inside of them, causing the raindrops to vanish, and the cold wind to warm.

There’s a woman, running, with music in her ears and burning breath in her lungs. A father and a son, walking down the path, slowly and hand in hand. Their hoods are up and I can’t see their faces.

Suddenly, the son stops. He runs forward.

“Look,” I hear him say to his father.

“What is it?”

“There.” The boy is pointing to a flower petal, once yellow, now torn and smudged with raining mud. “It’s broken, Dad.”

The boy picks up the petal. He holds it in the palm of his hand. Gently. Softly. He protects it with his soft, unweathered fingers. He holds the little bit of lost life against his chest as though it’s the most wonderful thing in the world.

“Yes, it is,” his father says. “Put it back down, Alex. It’s time to go home.”

The boy looks at his father in silence. The man sighs.

“Put it down, Alex,” he says again. “It’s dirty.”

The boy doesn’t put up a fight. He walks towards a tree. Crouches amongst the hard ridges of gnarled roots. He puts the petal down and presses it into the mud with his fingers. Then I can see the flash of inspiration glow from his face inside his hood. He takes a leaf – a damp, muddy leaf. He puts it over the petal. Gently. Softly. He pushes on the edges of the leaf to make them stick. And then he stands back up and runs over to take his father’s hand once more.

They leave. Through the trees. Through the gates of the park. Away. To somewhere else warm and clean and bright.

I walk over to where the boy covered the petal. To where he tried to hide the petal from the rain. The leaf he pressed into the ground is brown and limp. It sucks itself into the mud, as though the rain is forcing it back into the ground. A sudden gust of wind blows the branches above me, and a crashing of water falls against the back of my head and down my neck. The force of the water pushes the leaf to one side and I can see the petal again. It is the kind of torn that changes its colour. It is more creases and tears than actual petal.

The petal is broken, sad, wet, protected.

And it’s beautiful.

The Little Girl in Athens

I recently saw a photo of a young migrant girl, standing in Athens, Greece, wearing a dirty hoodie and a towel around her neck. It was in one of those articles that lists the most powerful images of the week. Some of these photos are supposed to make us smile, others are supposed to make us feel sad, but I don’t know if any of them are supposed to make us feel how I felt. Because I felt helpless. I was looking at this tiny girl, less than half my age, with the entire world before her, just out of reach. Many of us have heard about the immigration crisis in Greece at the moment. The migrants haven’t enough food, they haven’t enough shelter. What are they going to do? But more importantly than that, what are we going to do? It isn’t enough to sit in our houses and feel sorry for the refugees. It isn’t enough for us to watch the news and discuss with each other the horror of what’s going on. We need to do more. So that’s what I’m proposing. Because I have an idea.

We’re going to write a book. You. Me. All of us. We’re going to write a book of beautiful things.

Because what made me feel helpless when I looked at this little girl wasn’t because there was nothing I could do to help. We can always find some way to help. It was because it felt as though there was nothing I could do to put the sunshine back in her eyes.

Write a short story about something beautiful. Something you have seen. Something you have felt. Send it to me.  I’ll write my own and post them here for everyone to see. If you want, I will post your story as well. Perhaps, if you are artist, paint a picture; a photographer, take a photograph. If you prefer to write poetry then send me a poem. This is a going to be a book of beautiful anythings and everythings.

And then I’ll compile our stories, poems, pieces of art and create the Book of Beautiful Moments. It will get published; I will make sure of that. The money we make from this book will go towards funding the organisations providing food and shelter for the migrants. It might not be a huge step, but it will be one in the right direction.

There is too much war and horror in this world. It seems that somewhere along the line, we, as humans, became blind to what is important, and only started fighting ugliness with more ugliness.

I think it’s time for that to change.

The best thing we have in this world is the beauty that we choose to see. That is our most powerful weapon.

Let’s use it.