poetry

Instagram love – a poem

There are days when it’s hard to leave the house
not worth exchanging p-jays for a blouse.
To motherhood I surrender, with love –
yet the coop I escape from, like a dove.

Adventures I yearn for, without a care
just my own body and soul laid bare.
To Instagram I fly, fleetingly so –
a few minutes pass, yet time flies like a crow.

To Paris and Rome, over land and sea –
to landscapes of cities and mountains I flee.
So glad am I for the eyes of others
sharing their finds with escapism seekers.

© Sarah Lee, (August 2014)

Instagram love - a poem by Sarah Lee

Instagram love – a poem by Sarah Lee

The Photo Gallery | Breathe

Saving a little lady bird

1.

She stops her splashing,
to stare at the life she’s saved from the water.
There on her fingers, the lady bird clings,
resting for a while, before taking flight.
Then she exhales, aware of her breathing,
and the miracle of life.

Silent breathe

2.

‘Look! There’s a rabbit!’ she wants to shout,
but muffles her voice with her hand –
so as not to scare the rabbit.

She turns to her parents, backlit by the sun,
to make sure they are watching.

They walk slower,
aware of the noise each step makes,
conscious of their breath,
every inhale and exhale.

In that moment they feel connected –
to all of life itself.

Sleep

3.

Thankful, for
the gentle rise and fall of her chest,
the sound of her breath,
the life force that flows through her,
that was once shared within me.

_________

Three children I’ve been blessed with,
carried into this world,
watched over whilst they slept through illness –
and rejoiced in the sound of their breath.

running on the beach

4.

Most of the day I just breathe,
without awareness, or appreciation.
Then I have a moment to myself, a gift,
to run on the beach,
or stretch out with a few sun salutations,
and am flooded with awareness –
and it’s an all encompassing,
mind, body and soul feeling,
of being truly alive.

© Sarah Lee, June 2014

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Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Some days…

There are days when the sun shines,
but no part of it shines in me,
There are days when my heart aches,
and my head fights to make it see –

This feeling inside is nonsense,
though it seems to control me.
I run, even though I don’t feel like running,
turning off the voices in my mind.

I drink till I’m numb,
then write words to try and free me,
If I can get the right combination,
The key will turn the lock.

The tide has to turn, as sure as the moon appears in the night sky,
But right now I’m stuck in a vortex,
where time seems unchanging.
The light is so dim, but a flickering.

© Sarah Lee (May, 2014)

Prose for Thought

Prose for Thought | ‘Bring it On’ – a parody of ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen, for a friend turning forty x

The time moves forward on the hourglass tonight –
Not a frown line to be seen.
A kingdom of inspiration,
and it looks like you’re the Queen.

The date is here now,
on the winding path of life –
Cannot hold it back;
Heaven knows I’ve tried!

So bring it on! Open the door!
Be the fabulous, forty year old, you have to be,
Conceal the grey,
don’t let them know;
they cannot know!

Bring it on! Bring it on!
You are a girl of the seventies born.
Bring it on! Bring it on!
Leave your thirties at the door.

Here you stand,
Looking grand,
Let time lead you on…
Age shouldn’t bother you anyway!

It’s funny how some champagne,
Makes everything seem fine –
And the things that once bugged you –
Don’t get to you at all.

It’s time to see, what you can do,
To turn forty, and break through,
Swim that bay and eat that cake –
No rules for you!

Your power fizzes through the bubbles in your drink,
Your soul is sparkling, in party fractals all around,
And one thought crystallises, like Abba singing ‘Waterloo’,
You will party on and the best is yet to come!

So bring it on! Bring it on!
And party till the break of dawn,
Bring it on! Bring it on!
Cause ‘Love is All Around’

There you stand, in the light of forty,
Let the party rage on…

Age shouldn’t bother you anyway.

© Sarah Lee, May 2014 – parody for my friend on her 40th Birthday (and for anyone else joining the club!)

The beautiful friend this song is attributed to (in the black and white striped top in the photo below) has spent several years parenting as an expat, like me, and so we’ve sent many a ‘pick me up’ e-mail over the years. We met at Sixth Form College in England, when we were sixteen. I only spent a few years with her, but those were our very ‘formative’ years! She’s now living in Sydney, after many years in Dubai, and I very much look forward to seeing her in person again – when we return to New Zealand, after this current stint in California, USA.

A very, very long time ago...!!!!

And a video of me singing this song – (excuse the poor singing – but seeing as I’m now forty I’m past caring what people think! Have a good laugh xxx). In case you don’t recognise me in the photo above (have I really changed THAT much?!!) – I’m the one showing far too much leg!

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Linking up with the talented and creative bloggers at…

Prose for Thought

New | The Photo Gallery

Hummingbird ornament in garden

New is the hummingbird sun-catcher, hanging from the tree.

New is the hummingbird feeder, dangling near by.

New is this scene, just for a year, in a house in Santa Barbara,

where all the nature is new to my eyes.

Hummingbird feeder

Time in this house, with my three children, is ample,

Sometimes it feels a prison, I can’t get them out,

other times it feels a welcome hide-away,

with enough distractions to keep me from venturing out.

Bird in the garden

My days are quantified with small achievements;

children fed and hydrated, stories read,

music played, a dance and a song –

A painting, a drawing, a swim in the pool,

dishes are clean, clothes all washed and beds made.

Water fountain in the garden

If I think any further, have a place to be at a set time,

it all feels too much. Anxious tears spring in my eyes.

Phone calls go unanswered, responded with a text or an e-mail.

Shopping is left to do on-line, or by my husband on the way home from work.

Bird in the garden

I just have enough in me, each day, to focus on the little things.

For now, that is all I have and that is enough.

So the new hummingbird feeder in the garden draws my focus –

It’s significance is magnified by my simple days.

Hummingbird in the garden

The sight of a bird, at the feeder or on a plant nearby,

flitting in the sunshine, with one purpose on its mind,

is my symbol of being in the moment, right now.

If I have to think past the moment, to the future, or question the past,

those tears spring again, and I feel down in my heart.

Hummingbird in the garden

So now, in this New Year, I shall focus on what is now.

Right here, every day, new in the moment.

It is enough, for now.

Hummingbird

© Sarah Lee, January 2014

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

A place with no real weather | Prose for Thought

Dare I say, ‘I’m getting used to this place’?

Where the weather barely changes –
apart from the length of light in a day.
Where clouds are cause for exclamation –
and rain is a rare, yet welcome, distraction.

I’ve come from a place that knows big weather,
where a person learns to dress in layers.
Four seasons in one day are quite the norm –
and umbrellas are found frequently torn.

Where the wind rushes through the changes –
faster than the met office can print pages.
People look to the sky and feel the air –
their bodies move with elemental care.

We’ve been here four months and seen rain twice,
I still open the curtains and exclaim –
‘It’s a lovely day, look at that blue sky!’

My British upbringing has strong roots.
My mother’s voice still whispers in my head,
‘Get out in the sun, make the most of it!’

My children are quicker to embrace the new.
Responding to my pleas to ‘get out!’ with,
‘Mum! It’ll still be blue tomorrow!’.

We can plan parties outdoors, without care –
I can let go of ‘Plan B’, in the past I wouldn’t dare!
There are no need for things to weigh everything down,
tarpaulins, indoor venues and frowns.

Do I miss the drama and surprise?
Do I miss the spontaneity –
of going with the weather, changing plans,
in a moment, day by day, hour by hour?

Do I miss the smell of the air after rain?
Days when a walk down the road was a battle –
when the warm car, or cafe, held great appeal,
from where I could wait out the storm and watch –

Maybe I do, maybe I don’t –
Most days I’m happy to wake to the blue.
But in a vacuum of sameness –
do I really feel alive?

Maybe I need to find new ways to feel –
let go of my emotional tie to weather –
go with the sameness and embrace it.

It won’t be forever, this time, this place.
There will be years ahead in lands of weather.
For sure, I’ll look back and yearn for this –
So, come on girl, get used to it!

There are far more important things in life,
than harping on about the weather!!

© Sarah Lee, December 2013

Santa Barbara

For anyone that doesn’t know me – I’m British born, but have spent the past seventeen years living in Wellington, New Zealand. I am currently living in sunny Santa Barbara, California, where there isn’t really any ‘big weather’! My British roots and my time living in ‘windy’ Wellington have made me rather ‘weather focused’… so living somewhere without ‘big weather’ is taking a little getting used to (as lovely as it is too!).

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Prose for Thought

Lost my happy place. Seeking energy to find it!

I’ve lost my happy place.
The light outside is bright, but muffled through my eyes.
If I could be alone, I would just curl up & not worry,
But my ever present children make such thoughts pitiful & guilt fuelled.
I have dreams of crawling away (no strength to run), to no where in particular,
I feel like crying every moment of every day.
I bite my lip, blink back the tears, try to smile and respond,
But I’m trapped in a circle of fog.
If I could give myself a shake, like a dust covered rug –
I would beat out the dirt and hang myself in the sun to air.
But tired,  numb & lifeless, it’s easier to close my eyes on it all.

© Sarah Lee, Dec. 2013

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Linking up with lovely, poetic folk at –

Prose for Thought

Prose for Thought | Is Disneyland Your Happy Place?

I watched my children’s eyes, filled with wonder –
But saw the the plastic cups and plates in bins.
I marvelled at the sparkling lights and shows –
But thought about the electricity.

I laughed alongside them on the rides –
But wished to hear the same laughs in nature.

I waved at the characters in costume –
But struggled to answer,
‘Is that a person dressed up?’

I steered through the crowds of people, wishing –
I was in a place of large, open spaces.

I gawped with them at all the toys and clothes –
But wanted to wear blinkers, like a horse.

I took photos of so many Christmas trees –
But would have gained immeasurably more –
Taking photos of trees in the wilderness.

I went for my children – they loved it – but –
I struggled with what this was teaching them.
In a time when so many in the world –
Live with so little, hoping for peace –
I felt troubled.

I thought –
Let the memories be happy and thankful –
Let the ‘magic’ be more than a few days –
Let not the excess merchandise taint them –
Let them see past the lights and laughter –
Let them understand happiness –
In its purity.
A happy that is not bought –
But can be found –
in The Everyday.

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After I wrote this poem, I looked over the photographs and video clips, seeing the magic, happiness and laughter in my children’s eyes. And yet, still, my other thoughts still remained in the background. Was it worth it? My children would say, ‘Yes!’ and perhaps, with their innocence, they are right. My mind is so jaded with the cruelty in this world, that they are too young to yet understand and definitely not emotionally strong enough to cope with (are we ever emotionally strong enough?). What would I have rather done? I could list one hundred things – camping, visiting village children in a country where they have so little – but make their own happiness, appreciating every moment of life as a blessing – knowing all too keenly how quickly life can be taken. But they did love the magic of it all, the surreal world of what is possible with imagination and creativity. It will be interesting to hear their own recollections in years to come.

Here’s the video clips of those happy faces –

Prose for Thought

He understands. He loves her. He will stand by her. She loves him.

So many people don’t understand.
They make her feel weak for depending on medication.
It’s not just the medication though – it takes much more than that.
She has a family who understands, who appreciates her, as she is.
She was born with strong sensitivities.
Life, in her youth, was always a see-saw.
Little things would throw her off balance –
a busy scene, crowds, too much noise.
She’d find herself feeling dizzy, tearful, out of control,
needing to retreat, into her shell.
Growing up wasn’t easy, but she had a family who cared.
Even if they didn’t always understand – she knew they wanted to –
That was enough.

The man she’s now married to has known her since then.
He’s loved her through all the see-saws of emotion.
They met when she was just eighteen.
She was a mess, first year at University.
She was escaping, retreating, in a pool of alcohol.
She didn’t realise then, how much she was ‘hiding’,
She was numbing herself to reality.
He was her friend, her constant.
He never took advantage of her precarious state –
but sought out the woman that was underneath.

He waited, patiently, avoiding intoxicated advances,
maintaining the friendship and courting with refrain.
He listened, with a genuine ear, and made her smile –
the best medicine of all.
She spent most of her twenties seeking to find,
the person who was hidden beneath the veneer.
A person that cared, too much at times,
about the world around her and the wrongs she saw.

A fixer, a perfectionist, a troubled soul,
seeking a better way, but confused with reality.
Avoiding conflict and troubled situations,
looking for a path of peace in a twisted world.

Then motherhood came.
She loved living in the moment, seeing the world anew.
Her children, she found, were her biggest teachers.
No time for vanity, or desperate analysis,
only time to ‘be’, in the moment, in a mist of sleep deprived fog.
Moments of clarity, moments of light.
Realisation of when things were not right.
Wishing to be the person she envisaged,
a mother who could lead by example and set the path right.

She sought out help, and help she found.
The light went back on and her senses were lit anew.
She could take the world, in all its shades.
The beauty she would embrace, with awe,
the pain she could take – without desperation and collapse.
She found a balance, without extremes.
Feel, she still could, but without distress.
Beauty and beast, together she could take.
Her path she could walk, with patience and grace.

At times she’d feel so fine she’d stop taking the ‘help’,
she’d feel fine, at first, for a week…
and then, the old horrors would return.
She’d feel overwhelmed with tears and anxiety –
when she needed to be her strongest.
She needed to lead by example, stay calm in a crisis,
her children needed her, she could never surrender.

Now here she is, still seeking answers,
but gaining more wisdom as the years pass by.
Thankful for him, loving her through it all,
understanding her, growing with her, open heart, open mind x

The Sea Princess & the Pebble Shell Castle

The winding steps, walled with pebbles and shells,
whispered to the Sea Princess on the beach.
The beach castle needed her help.

She peered through the gaps in the pebbled walls,
careful of the witch, who could turn her to stone.

Hendry's Beach, Santa Barbara

The castle walls spoke to her, telling the Sea Princess to seek out a magic amulet,
with which she could talk with the mermaids.
She would need their help,
to defeat the witch, and protect the castle for ever more.

The sword in the stone marked the way,
to a shell trapped in the wall.
She pressed on its swirls,
unlocking her voice to the sea.

Hendry's Beach, Santa BarbaraShe called out to the mermaids,
‘Come banish the witch!’.
‘Bring the sea mist to take her away
and entrap her in the kelp beds for eternity.’

And so the mermaids rode in on the waves,
bringing peace to the castle once more.
The Sea Princess swung on the turrets,
singing a song of triumph.

The castle of pebbles and shells,
stood safe and strong,
a look-out over the ocean deep,
a place where anything was possible.

© Sarah Lee, 6 November, 2013

(Written with the wonderful help of my 3 year daughter’s imagination)