You Will Follow Us

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You Will Follow Us

We are birds in a tree.
Shooting, trapping, pollution
and building have destroyed
most of our kind.

For the moment, those left
sing happily,
but one by one we are going,
going, going…

One day you will not hear us sing
and another sound will be heard –
it will be of the world caving in,
not bit by almost invisible bit,
but with a tired roar,
and you will have followed us into
oblivion.

Andrew Pender-Smith

One of my greatest concerns is of the need to conserve the environment. Those of you who read Green Monkey Publications posts may have read ‘Popping Off’. If you have not yet done so and you would like to read it, you will find the poem by scrolling down. 

 

 

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Finding and Using Your Own Voice

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Finding and Using Your Own Voice

The best writers put themselves into their writing. They may learn from other writers, and use what they have learnt, but their best writing comes from within them. This is because they have found and used their own voice. Discovering and using your voice can be difficult but, ultimately, the truer the voice, the better the writing. To those of you who write: the best of writing times to you.

An additional note:

Why this particular image? The photo of the sea and sky taken from high above symbolises freedom and openness. In this instance, it is the freedom to create and to be. This applies to people in the other arts, too.  In finding and using your own voice, you will be at your creative best. You might find it difficult and, at times you may think it impossible, but if you work at it, the reward could well be yours and that of any one who engages with your work.

Happy creating,

Andrew Pender-Smith, Craig Carden and Sebastian de Vervet.

Green Monkey Publications

In Poetry

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In poetry I have found many teachers. Yes, I have. Over the years I have read a tremendous amount of poetry. These have included poems from centuries ago to poems recently written. One of the reasons why I have gained as a reader, thinker and communicator is because I have not restricted myself . I have spent years enjoying poetry in different genres dealing with a wide variety of subjects. Reading and discussing poetry has helped me to think better and express myself with greater accuracy. How much reading of poetry are you doing? If you haven’t read many poems, I urge you to start now. You will grow. 

Between Plots and Characters.

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The last time I posted, I talked of gardening being one of my favourite activities when not writing. The photos were of a pink and white amaryllis and an orange one. The white one, pictured above, flowered later. I had five blooms on the end of a rather long stem. Gardening gives me a break from hours of typing to produce a story. It is a great help if I have become too tense about an aspect of my writing and need to stand back for a while. Some of the knowledge I have learnt from gardening, and also as a member of a local horticultural society, has found its way into a few of my stories. 

To those of you who write: Happy writing. 

 

When I’m Not Writing

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I am often asked what I do when I am not writing. One of my favourite occupations is gardening. Bonsai, succulents and orchids give me a break from the story on which I am currently working. Amaryllis also make it onto the list, especially at this time of the year in South Africa. Both the amaryllis pictured have been in our garden for some years. They live in pots and are brought onto the front verandah just after they come into bud.  

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COLOUR ME MORE: Teaching English Language and Literature

CCM Teaching English

The paperback version of ‘COLOUR ME MORE: Teaching English Language and Literature’ has just been released. I hope you will join me in wishing it well. 

Dear Reader, ‘COLOUR ME MORE: Teaching English Language and Literature’ is full of ideas and examples to help you become a better teacher of English language and literature. It is a ‘How To’ book specifically designed to assist teachers new to teaching this discipline. If you are interested in improving your skills in the creative teaching of literature, grammar, various forms of writing, public speaking, forum discussions, debating, team speaking, visual literacy, media and much more, this book should be of great help. There is special emphasis in ‘COLOUR ME MORE: Teaching English Language and Literature’ on how to use colour to help students learn.

With good wishes,

Andrew Pender-Smith

Popping Off – Why we desperately need to keep the bees.

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Popping Off

They are flying gold
to me and those who know them.
Bees thrumming harvests.

Nature’s bullion
sparking flowers to fruit,
now dwindling slowly.

So many have gone.
The humming golden ones
are dying, dying.

Abundance is a myth.
Bankruptcy is fast coming.
Some flowers are dead.

When the bees teemed
forth, the crops sang happily.
Silence approaches.

They are winging off.
Those who toil within petals
are almost, almost lost.

There will be no grave
to mark the final passing.
No burnished plaque.

The pollinators are popping
off, and then so will we,
lamenting: ”Too late!”

Andrew Pender-Smith

Written by the author as an answer to the question: If the bees go, what happens to us?

In pushing the bees into a losing position, it is worth considering that we could be doing the same to ourselves.  I encourage readers to give it careful thought and to ask, ”What can I do to see this does not happen?”

The Warnings

Published today on Amazon and available as an eBook and a paperback, ‘The Warnings’ is a novella set in Zululand, South Africa. A copy of the eBook cover and an extract from the book follow just below.

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The Warnings

‘There is no hillside without a grave.’

Meaning: Death is unavoidable and will find you wherever you go. (Old Zulu proverb.)

No one visits the old property anymore. They dare not. The locals keep away and tell children and newcomers to do so too. It is a place inhabited by some of the worst demons they have ever known. Those ones that can live in a rock, a tree, a bird, a buck, and even a river. These things may look innocent, as if they are simply part of the everyday, but they are not. What could be living within them is too terrible to contemplate. When people talk of what they believe happened and is still there, waiting on the farm that is no longer a farm, they look at the ground and speak in a barely audible voice. They tell of the black presence that is felt but not seen. They warn against taking the dusty paths amongst the thorn trees that lead to the deserted property. Evil is waiting there, silent and hidden, and it can come out at any time and in any way. You could quickly be gone from your world into another, snatched into a realm from where the wicked ones come and go in ways that you would fail to understand. The farm that was once called ‘Valley View’ by those who owned it, is now to be left alone.
      The sugar cane died long ago and the fruit on the citrus trees remains unpicked. Over-ripe oranges fall from the trees and rot in the rank grass. The baboons and the monkeys, as well as a few buck and several smaller creatures, have ‘Valley View’ to themselves. Those who have seen and heard them, as well as those who haven’t, say the baboons on ‘Valley View’ are large and aggressive. The baboons see the property as now belonging to them and chase away anyone who comes near with loud barks and bared canines. Their teeth, so the rumour goes, are longer and sharper than those of other baboons.
      It has happened before that a person will not come back from visiting an area such as this, and it will happen again. There are bad ones amongst the world of the living dead. They will take you for their evil purposes if they catch you. Do not cross the boundaries which separate this forbidden farm from the other farms and wild spaces nearby. You could end up in a realm of bad spirits and swallowing blackness.
      The worst of things could occur if one wondered alone here at night. The umthakathi, the witches that ride baboons and hyenas, could smell you out and come galloping through the dark. They could roast your flesh and eat it, or they could enslave you in the hidden places visited only by the living dead. You would never return.
      It is because of what the local people say, though they do not like to talk about it, that what was at one time a magnificent homestead now lies crumbling amidst the encroaching bush veld. Much of the roof has caved in. A lot of the windows are missing and so are the front and back doors. They were carried away years ago by those who did not know of the turmoil that ended everything on what was a farm called ‘Valley View’. Had they known, they would not have touched the items they thought they could take from what they believed was simply an abandoned farmhouse. As it is, when they were spotted carrying them a while later in the veld, they dropped the doors and windows and ran off sweating and screaming into the dust and heat of a particularly hot day.
      At one point during its long years of desertion, the roof of the stone building tilted inward and then crashed down. Grass and weeds flourish among piles of cement, old bricks and rotten beams. A stunted thorn tree now grows just to the left of the ruins. A grey loerie often rests on its crown of twisted branches, small leaves and long white thorns. When it is there, its distinctive call of ‘’Go way! Go way!’ rises loudly from its feathered throat. Long moments after, ‘’Go way! Go way!’’ echoes from the otherwise silent valley.

© Andrew Pender-Smith, 2018      http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GLTMH69

 

 

I Am Glad

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I Am Glad

They are barely there
the people in the before-
work crowds

Sometimes I catch impressions
of their smudged
and
jostling shapes
amidst the rush and shove,
the hooting,
the we-need-to-get there
quickly

For a second I might glimpse the
almost-faces of so many,
then it is all a jumble in the
push-and-pull of
traffic lights, subway swallowing,
cars and buses, pavement
rushing,
swearing drivers
and road crossings

Those are the days I just want to sit
on a warm park bench
munch on sugary doughnuts
hold hands with someone and say,
‘’I am glad I have you.’’     

              Andrew Pender-Smith