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Remember – history through verse

Poppies in Cockpit Garden of Richmond Castle
‘Remember’ is the theme for this year’s National Poetry Day on the 2nd October.
Much has been written about the link between poetry and memory, learning by heart and our need to remember and to recall.
While the focus is very much on World War 1 as symbolised in the ‘Poppies in the Cockpit Garden’ photograph taken at Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire earlier this year, I invite you to reflect on other important historical events which are embedded in your psyche through poetic devices such as:
Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain – taught to remember the colours of the rainbow but do you recall the famous battle it refers to?
Ring ‘O’ Roses – another rhyme you may have learnt at school. Like many nursery rhymes it commemorates important events in history. This time the Plague
And what about ‘Remember, remember, the 5th of November …’
You probably know that this poem refers to Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up the houses of parliament on 5th November 1605 but do you remember who was on the throne at the time?
I hope that this post has inspired you to think about how often poetry is used as a tool to help people remember their history.
If you wish to refresh your memory and take an interest in history you could:
* read historical fiction or non-fiction
* visit a local heritage property
* find out about local history courses, societies and events in your area
* write a poem about a significant person or event in your personal history
* free write using ‘I remember…’ as a starting point.
* start a journal/diary
* surf the internet to find out what events are happening in your area next week to celebrate National Poetry Day.
The choices are endless. Whatever you decide to do to remember your history, have fun!


Taiko drumming at Mugenkyo Taiko' dojo near Glasgow
On the day that Scotland goes to the polls, I’ve decided to make my voice heard again.
First of all, ‘hello’ to everyone who has kept reading my blog (over 500 of you) and downloading 300 copies of my ebooks over the past two months.
I did not intend to maintain online silence for such a long period of time but I needed to take time out to complete a series of poems for my next collection.
The first batch are now with a prospective publisher so fingers crossed and thank you once again for bearing with me.
I have to admit it was not all work and no play over the summer. I did reward myself with a week’s vacation in Lanzarote last week to chill out before reconnecting with the world.
Whilst scanning the hotel’s bookshelves for something to read I had the good fortune to stumble across a new author, Rebecca Gable, whose book ‘Das Spiel der Konige’ enabled me to while away a few pleasant hours in the shade.
Rebecca may be new to me but she has published many an historical novel in both German and English. If you enjoy reading historical fiction you can find out more about her at
Today is not only the day that Scotland decides its future, it is also ebook day. So, if you are looking for something new to read, please checkout my author page at where you will find four poetry and two prose titles free to download.
P.S. The photo at the start of the post shows me learning Taiko drumming at Mugenkyo taiko’s dojo just outside of Glasgow where I went to research this traditional Japanese skill for my historical fantasy Zipangu, Year of the Dog 1274: The Second Wave.



Two interesting and thought-provoking compositions.

Originally posted on robertoalborghetti:

4 © Roberto Alborghetti – LaceR-Actions (3)

© Artwork Copyright Roberto Alborghetti

© Poem Copyright  Marie Deerheart




Marie DeerHeart (USA) writes from a rich text based in theater, art, and design training. Also rooted from the soil of personal experience, Marie, known to blog readers as ~Meredith, writes about mental health and its challenges; her value of developing creative pursuits as part of the equation for living a satisfying life in the face of mental illness and recovery include yoga, dance, writing, and photography. 

Marie’s professional background began in directing and choreography.  Her education in dance and theater lent equal weight to creating grant-based movement and learning projects for school children, grades K thru 12, and mentoring independent theater projects for high school students.  When mental illness changed the landscape of her life, Marie redirected her artistry and returned to school, studying architecture and art history (University of Minnesota).  Her most recent works offer imaginative…

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Alpha poems

At the start of my ‘Sanctuary’ project, I mind stormed the word and come up with some unusual suggestions.
I have since narrowed them down into the following Alpha poem for further thought:
Green (room)
Several of the above have found their way into subsequent poems based on the theme, and one has provided an unexpected metaphor for the collection.
If you are embarking on a new creative project or piece of writing, you might like to try this idea to tease out subconscious connections.
It would be interesting to hear what results it produces.

Finding Sanctuary

Durham Cathedral Sanctuary Knocker
Finding Sanctuary is the unifying theme of the poetry collection that I am currently working on.
As the summer holidays approach and we head off for the beach, the mountains or our own back gardens for a period of peace and respite, I invite you to consider where you find sanctuary in your daily life.
Is it a room in your house, a chat with a friend or a particular place that you like to visit?
Yesterday I went to Durham which is one of those places which appeals to my soul. Somewhere where I like to spend ‘time out’ when I have a few hours to spare. It is also the place I visited to seek inspiration when I first started this new poetry series back in January.
I have always thought of the sanctuary knocker on the cathedral door as more of a green man/pagan symbol so was intrigued when I read that it has also been interpreted as being a lion or a Chinese dragon mask.
In mediaeval times people seeking sanctuary from the hue and cry would use it to knock on the cathedral door and be admitted for a period of 37 days.
During this time they either had to come to terms with their fate or leave the country on the first boat to set sail from the port of Hartlepool.
I have used this idea in a previous story set in the twelfth century but have not yet found the answer to why sanctuary could only be claimed for 37 days.
An historian friend vaguely recalls it having something to do with Anglo-Saxon laws.
Does anyone know the answer?



An interesting piece from Roberto Alborghetti who ‘found’ his “Falling Star” in old posters/waste paper baskets. I found an interesting character in my spam stream this week. She is wearing a read snake print dress accessorised by a white Chanel vintage bag and high heeled black-suede shoes by Guiseppe. I don’t know why fashion houses are suddenly bombarding my blog but their ads are a useful (if unexpected) source of inspiration for finding new characters.

Originally posted on robertoalborghetti:



by Roberto Alborghetti



2012, CM.53X35

This work is a collage created with 300 waste-paper pieces from torn and decomposed publicity posters.

It was selected and donated to the 40th edition of “An exhibition for a restoration” project which intends to protect and to preserve a great piece of art by Jacopo Siculo (XVI Century), “Incoronazione della Vergine”, in the beautiful Norcia (Perugia, Italy).  

My “Falling Star” work will be on show in Norcia (Umbria, Italy) from July 12, 2014 to September 7, 2014,  at Complesso monumentale San Francesco. The event is promoted by Comitato “Una mostra, Un restauro”.


Roberto Alborghetti ‘s LaceR/Actions is a multidisciplinary project and research about the apparent chaos of ripped and decomposed posters and urban/street signs. Roberto has already collected, around the world, more than 50.000 images.

Transferred on canvas, reproduced on lithographs or textiles (as pure…

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Inspirational Writing Tips

A section in today’s ‘From Writing with Love Newsletter’ by Avril Joy reminded me of the exercise I facilitated during last Wednesday’s workshop for Richmond Writers.
I arranged about 100 inspirational writing tips in a bowl. Members of the group were invited to select one of these tips, which had been folded into the shape of a flower petal, to open it out and share it with the rest of the group.
Today I have selected 12 tips from the set which I hope will inspire you to keep on writing:
* Create a scrapbook of your novel
* Do something to take you nearer to your goal
* Take your writing to the next level
* Pick a time and place to write
* Words change lives
* Begin by deciding the shape and size of your book
* Just write
* Read critically
* Write down your ideas, thoughts, observations
* Mine your life
* Believe in yourself, you can do it!
* Write what you want to read.
These are just some of the many writing tips and inspirational quotes I have collected from writers over the years.
For more ideas on how to collect and be creative with writing tips and to sign up to Avril’s newsletter see:


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