“Glimpses Across The Barricades” A Poetry collection in progress. “Unspoken” by S.Burke.

Sword of Damocles

Glimpses Across The Barricades

Unspoken

By

Suzanne Burke.

I thought of you today

When I was least prepared.

I thought I heard you say

Those precious words we’d never shared.

We had no need for talk

When our souls were intertwined.

We shared sweet laughter as we walked

Deep kisses, drugged, like wine…

Distance seemed to matter not,

For time was ours to own.

I recalled … and then forgot

That love should never breathe alone.

The safe harbor of your arms,

Where I could finally, safely, sleep

Led me to believe … that this precious time

Was forever ours to keep.

When did those church bells cease ringing

And spring flowers cease to bloom

When did The Sword of Damocles

Hang waiting in the room.

All those words we’d heard before

Recalled and distrusted …  by their deeds.

We were so wise, we knew, we swore …

Even as we began to bleed.

If those hands of fate should bring you again

Dressed in your armor to my door

Then ‘my knight’ I’ll hold you

and whisper words, I should’ve said before.

‘ti amo’

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Glimpses Across The Barricades #Poetry Collection. “Canyon Of Dreams” by S. Burke.

Thanks so much for stopping by. This is a collection of poetry (Still a work in progress) I share with you poetry from my yesterdays, and hints of my tomorrows.

Canyon of dreams EAGLE

Canyon of Dreams.
My soul soars high on thermal winds
as I gaze enraptured at earth below.
I watch as the mother gently awakens
caressed by mist in dawn’s red glow.
Deep valleys of muted green, whisper secrets,
as softly, softly ends the night.
Leaf-laden branches like lover’s arms reach out
to hold and cherish the enfolding light.

As Autumn breezes chase through her canyons
swirling leaves of amber and gold come dancing
in a twirling tango they move entrancing
as falling through corridors of color
to settle soft on the moisture laden soil
that lay untouched below her patch-work canopy
where the air is sweet and cool,
Muted perfume of liquid amber and pine
with scent of velvet moss and peat combine.

Through endless stretch of bracken fern
on blankets of golden leaf and pine
the dappled glow of morning, at last begins to shine.
The light touches all that lay there, whilst close by
the diamond water sparkles, running wild and free
as in suicidal-dance they hurtle downward
as they have for all eternity. Over steep ledges
worn by time, the sound thunders as they fall
to create a bridal-veil of mist,
rebounding off the canyon wall.

Whilst high above on sandstone castles
The proud eagle surveys his domain
with hunter’s eyes and talons sharpened
He launches into Autumn skies.
His prey begins a fruitless journey
to escape his hunters grasp or die.
Sudden cries of hunter’s jubilation
mesh with screams of capitulation
Echo off steep walls as old as time.

In this paradise I am the uninvited
humbled to witness such perfection,
as yet untarnished by the hand of man.
This endures and will continue
long after frail bodies turn to dust.
If we can but respect her, she will remain,
to soothe our troubled minds.
We who ask her the riddles of all man’s seasons.
and discover there are no answers left to find.

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“Glimpses Across the Barricades” Poetry Collection #1 ‘The Pigeon Lady’ by Suzanne Burke.

Hello, and thank you for making the time to drop by. I will be sharing one of my poems each week, from my wip “Glimpses Across the Barricades” A collection of my own takes on those moments that bring about change in our lives.

 

 Glimpses Across the Barricades.

‘The Pigeon Lady’

A Story Poem.

By Suzanne Burke.

In loving memory of ‘Noelene’.

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She fed pigeons in the park opposite my home.
The same bench each day she occupied; she never seemed to roam.
There she sat in the early morn and again at end of day.
On my way to work as I hurried by, she’d smile at me and say
“Good morning dear, a lovely day for your early morning walk.”
I nodded my response; I did not make the time to talk.
I’d quickly grab a coffee from the station coffee shop
and gulp it down as I waited for my crowded train to stop.
My working days were filled with legal speak and lengthy hours.
I remained remote and untouchable inside my clever ivory tower.
My world was filled with designer clothes, and all the correct possessions,
and of course, I had my dearest friends, and our numerous bitch sessions.
My calendar was full with gallery openings and plays-
I was on the “A” list of the social must invites, where I worked hard to stay.
I surrounded myself with people whose favorite word was ‘yes’,
those cool, together, people, who never showed distress.
The seasons changed with rapid pace, the fall wind was chill.
The pigeon lady remained upon her bench, and smiled her greeting still,
A battered straw hat she always wore, upon her graying head.
I didn’t break my stride as she spoke. I hurried by instead.
The mornings grew darker, as days were met by early winter snow,
yet still she sat with her battered hat, perhaps she had nowhere else to go.
It was not my problem after all; therefore, I didn’t stop to ask
I had Christmas shopping yet to do, so I thought only of that task.
One early morning in late December, I awakened so unwell
the thought of going out to work my fevered brain dispelled.
The illness burned and left me weak and shaking in my bed,
day merged with night, as I lay with pain pounding in my head.
For three days I lay in sweat-drenched delirium, yet shook with fevers chill,
I telephoned my dearest friends for help; they were all too busy still.
By day four the weakness had me in tears of lost despair.
My doorbell rang, I answered …  to find the Pigeon Lady there.
“Good morning dear,” was her surprising greeting,
she continued on, and said “I’ve made you soup but it needs heating.”
She stood there in her battered hat then gave me flowers that she bore,
she laughed, a quite delightful sound, at the expression that I wore.
“I’ve missed you dear,” was all she said, as she escorted me briskly back to bed.
I was confused, which clearly showed, pain was pounding in my head.
“Where is your linen kept?” she asked, she then changed my sweat-soaked sheets.
She raised the blinds to let the sunshine in, and then I had her soup to eat.
After the soup she explained, “Your gardener told me you were ill.”
I had no idea what to say, my eyes were closing against my will.
“Come on, young woman, off to sleep,” said she, and I gladly went.
I slept at once in my clean fresh sheets. My crying was all spent.
I awoke unsure of what I’d see, a delightful aroma filled the room;
a cheery fire awaited me, to take away the chilly gloom.
She’d left a note, which read, ‘I’ve left a meal, and tomorrow I will call.’
I had not the strength to ponder, why she had come at all.
On the morrow just on daybreak, she was there once more
Her clothing clean and tidy, yet still her battered hat she wore.
I didn’t know how to thank her for the kindness she had shown.
It was so far outside my experience, on the streets where I had grown.
“Your life has been so empty dear.” How did she understand?
“It will be all right you’ll see;” said she, as she gently touched my hand.
“What is your name, my dear?” she asked, with her sweet slow smile
“Of course I gave you your park name, it’s been bestowed on you a while.”
“My park name?” I queried. “Whatever do you mean?”
“Oh; I give everyone a name my dear!” and her eyes began to gleam.
“We have so many characters in the passing parade I see,
that I bestow on each a name that means who they are to me.”
I was not certain I would like or understand what I was about to hear.
She looked at me, and gave my hand a pat. “Why you are the ‘Lady Guinevere;’
still in search of ‘Camelot’. Be patient dear, she added, I just know it will arrive;
if you can just stop from shutting out the world in order to survive.”
How had this strange woman looked inside, and found the child that once I’d been?
I was profoundly shaken, how could she know these things others had not seen?
She smiled once more and waited, “And so what is your name?”
I grinned at her at last, and made no attempt to hide my pain.
“My name is Jennifer,” I said, how we laughed at that. ‘Guinevere’ was so correct
“Well now, Lady Jennifer.” she said, in her manner so direct
“My name is Francesca, however dear; you may call me Fran.”
We shook hands my new friend and I, and we talked as some friends can.
Three more days went by before I was well enough to work resume
Fran came by each day to check on me, she didn’t just assume
always asking if it were convenient for her again to call,
I thanked her and told her truly it was not inconvenient at all.
Day four I had risen early it was still a little dark
I made two mugs of hot, sweet, tea and joined Fran in the park
She was clearly so delighted, we enjoyed that place and time.
Then each morning thereafter, a small bench space was mine
I learned about the pigeons; their names and all their individual deeds .
They soon became accustomed to my joining in their morning feeds
Fran shared with me her park people, and a few I helped identify
There was, Mr. Baggy Pants who almost lost them as he scurried by,
and young Master Odd Sox, was color blind for sure,
I became ever more grateful, that she had knocked upon my door.
People that I worked with commented on a change in me
Mostly they seemed uncomfortable. So they just let me be.
Fran one morning said to me as another season changed
“Lady Jennifer my friend, a dinner I have arranged.”
“I’d like you to come home with me tomorrow after work”
“Come home with you?” I questioned, then, I felt a total jerk.
Luckily she laughed at me, and no offense did take
“Yes dear I have a family, and a home” she corrected my mistake.
I had mixed feelings about that evening, I was unsure what to do. I mentioned this to Fran, who said “My dear you just be you.”
Our morning ritual we shared and arranged a time to meet.
Fran’s large dog was so pleased to meet me, he knocked me off my feet.
I was welcomed as her trusted friend by her sons, all three.
Thomas was the eldest, head of the family was he.
The middle son was Jacob, so like his mother he did look.
The youngest one was Elijah who read me like a book.
All three sons proudly wore policemens’ uniforms.
Their father was killed in the line of duty, I was sadly then informed.
The time flew by so quickly, and often to their home I went
Many happy hours of shared dreams and laughter was time so gladly spent
Fran held herself so gracefully, I could not think of her as old.
I did not want to ask her age fearing she would think me bold.
Her hair was completely gray by now; and her hands would often shake.
And as the distance she would walk became difficult to make; she said no words to indicate that may have worried me
her carefree laugh, and ready smile, were all she’d let me see.
I awoke one morning as usual and prepared our cups of tea
I walked outside, then, stopped in shock; for Fran I could not see.
The pigeons were all there waiting, as it softly began to rain,
She is just late I told myself; I waited for hours in vain.
A police car stopped outside my home, Thomas looked my way;
I did not want to hear the words he said; I wanted to run away.
Our beloved Fran had gone to bed, and in her sleep had died
Thomas put his arms around me as we clung to each other and cried.
I feed pigeons in the park opposite our home
I wear Frans’ battered old straw hat; I have not far to roam.
My daughter lay safely in her pram. The passing parade goes by.
My small Francesca loves the birds, and greets them with a delighted cry
Her daddy Thomas dotes on her, and on me, his wife.
Every day I tell my Francesca more about her grandma’s life;
One morning as we sat there, a young woman strutted into view.
A “Lady Guinevere” at last! I looked up and smiled,
Fran this one’s for you.

 

Book Review: “Ingrid.(Daughter of The Alvar) Book 1.” By Hannah Warren.

Welcome to my first BOOK REVIEW of 2017 “Ingrid. (Daughter of The Alvar) Book 1.

Let’s meet the author, Hannah Warren.

Talent spotter Hannah bio

When I’m not writing or thinking about writing, you can find me at the paid job at my local university translating stuff and recruiting international students, experimenting with organic food in my kitchen, stretching my old bones in Yoga or glued to WhatsApp exchanging funny messages with my grown-up kids.

But writing is the real deal for me. I love creating complex characters (mostly women), who are faced with impossible choices in life and still they crack it, whether they perish or not. I write both contemporary and historical fiction and suppose I’m quite old school with my descriptive, character-driven style.

Recently I joined the writer’s collective 13th Sign Publishing. Apart from publishing books, we bring out a quarterly free eZine on topics we love: healthy living, healthy eating and great reading.

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On a lonely windswept island off the coast of Sweden, there is a place so desolate it feels abandoned by the fates. And yet, it possesses a strange beauty, which summons souls to awakening. This is the Alvar. Its very nature is a contradiction, and it is this ambiguity that calls to Ingrid, daughter to the vicar of Smedby.

Raised as God-fearing, she believes in charity, and when Kalle returns unexpectedly to the island community, her instinct is to help him. Considered a pariah by all due to his sordid past, one that saw him exiled for many years, he ventures into the Alvar to live, to escape the censure of the villagers. In this desolate place, how will he survive? Ingrid resolves to help him.

No one will tell Ingrid why Kalle was exiled. Her father commands her to stay away from the poacher. Their housekeeper warns her off. Her brother does not know what happened. Her French tutor, Max, is new to the island. The mystery is overwhelming and the only one who knows the truth is Kalle himself. In the spirit of charity, and also curiosity, Ingrid befriends Kalle, hoping to uncover the past, hoping also to help him survive the Alvar.

A gypsy reveals to Ingrid that she will lose everything, but the cossetted vicar’s daughter is headstrong. She enters the Alvar despite every warning … and meets her fate there.

MY REVIEW:🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I made a decision in the past year to explore genres hitherto outside my usual comfort zone. Historical Fiction is a relatively new genre for me, and I approached it with an open mind, guided also by the fact that I have read and enjoyed other works by Author Hannah Warren.

Let me first explore the primary character of Ingrid.

Ingrid at the age of sixteen is the over protected and exceedingly naive daughter of the Vicar of Smedby. Her decision making process is governed by the strictest of upbringings  and the socially acceptable behavior patterns of a community isolated from the influences of the outside world by location, and crafted by the prejudices that exist within such a closely bound village.

Ingrid’s position as the vicars’ daughter is viewed with eyes that hold her both above, and accordingly protected from, anything even remotely connected with scandal; and herein lay the foundations of future behavior as this young girl experiences her first tantalizing and unexplored tastes of burgeoning womanhood.

Rebellion in teenagers can take many forms, and Ingrid finds herself both intrigued by, and more than a little curious about the arrival of a man whose actions when he was a part of this community earned him both the disrespect and hushed whispers that accompany anything considered outside of acceptable parameters.

Ingrid’s first acts of disobedience, are, in part, retaliation against the confines of her upbringing, and her newly dawning awareness of womanhood, and her need to exert her own will, whatever the cost. The arrival back in the village of the forbidden Kalle is simply too intriguing to resist.

Kalle’s character is less finely drawn, for to do so would reveal more than the reader needs to know if tension is to be maintained. Suffice it to say that he, along with other lesser characters is crafted beautifully.

The location itself is what helps drive this work to its unexpected conclusion. Author Hannah Warren invites you to experience the stark windswept place known as The Alvar. A place that invites secrets, and houses its own deep sense of mystery and darkness.

I detest spoilers in reviews, and to share more here would detract from what I found to be a enormously enjoyable and unpredictable reading experience.

I highly recommend this work, and look forward to reading more of this series.

Purchase ‘Ingrid’ here on Amazon.com.

Find Hannah here on Twitter; @hannah_war

Find Hannah here on FACEBOOK:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: “Finding Gina” by Lizzie Chantree.

FINDING GINA by LIZZIE CHANTREE

book-cover-finding-gina

A contemporary romance read with a magical twist! By Lizzie Chantree.

Can a sprinkling of stardust overcome a past full of demons?

Gina had traversed the breadth of the country in her little campervan to try and find everyone on her grandmother’s list, before her father drunk himself into an early grave. She leant down and pulled the battered and worn journal from her bag and opened it to the latest page. The neatly written names were etched onto her heart and she was determined to visit every single one and compensate them in some way. Her family’s debt had to be repaid.

Lewis read another provincial story about a ‘guardian angel’ who had been helping families across the country and his reporters nose began to itch. He was sure that if he could track down the girl they were talking about, he would unearth an even bigger story. He just had to work out how to locate her and then find out what it was that she was running from!

MY REVIEW. 🌟🌟🌟🌟 + A warm and entertaining read.

Romance isn’t a genre I read a great deal. When I do, I would normally look for something perhaps a little more gritty. However; I recently watched the book trailer for “Finding Gina” and it left me curious about just what the book would hold. So I went into the book understanding that it wouldn’t be offering the steamier side of romance. I read it based on that understanding.

Other reviewers have commented about the few editing glitches the book has, and yes, I noticed them, but they weren’t numerous so they didn’t prove to be too great a distraction.

The characterizations in the book are well drawn, and most, but not all the people you meet on Gina’s journey towards happiness are necessary and great additions to the overall story line.

The humor is quite delicious, and the misunderstandings between characters are a delight; and a reflection of the very human failing we all seem to possess, of looking for the worst case scenario and refusing to see the possibility of people just caring without a hidden agenda.

I was cheering for the good guys and hoping that all would come right in the end. If you are looking for steamy romance, you won’t find it here. This book plays gently with love, it offers up hope and just that feel good aftertaste of something sweet.

I wish we could give a 4+ rating, sadly we can’t. I enjoyed the book for what it is, a feel good and light, easy read, for those days when that is exactly what we need to sit down with.

It is a lovely story.  I found the only distraction for me was too many characters that didn’t need to be added to further the storyline. Would I read more of Lizzie Chantree’s work? Absolutely, yes! I believe her to be a very talented author.

PURCHASE ON AMAZON.com

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Book Review: “Charlottesville” by Joanne Sexton.

 

BOOK REVIEW “CHARLOTTESVILLE” by Joanne Sexton.

book-cover-charlottesville-by-joanne-sexron

BLURB.An American Civil War Love Story

Being a southern belle is hard enough, but it’s even harder if your perspective is at odds to those of your parents and of the times. The Civil War swoops into the heart of the South, taking husbands, beaus, and hope. No one dreams of being a widow, or of harboring a fugitive, but Savannah never was one to follow rules.
There should be shame in falling in love with a Yankee, the very symbol of how she lost her husband and how the South has been disrupted and destroyed, but the heart is free despite being caught in a cage. Love is as cruel as it is kind. Suffering two swift losses, husband and then Jed, Savannah lives with the only thing left; hope.
Savannah hopes she can find him again, hopes he can find her, despite the carnage of war, despite the desecration of law and order. A rebel never surrenders, and neither does Savannah.

 

My REVIEW.🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Fresh, inviting and a good read.

The challenge any author faces when writing a romance novel set in America’s Deep South just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War is huge.

Comparisons will inevitably be made to the book that set the bar so high in this field. Yes, I’m talking about “Gone with the Wind.” Margaret Mitchell’s characters are the benchmark, and trying to erase the visions of Clarke Gable as Rhett Butler and Vivienne Leigh as the indomitable Scarlett O’Hara is difficult if not downright impossible.

Having read previous works by author Joanne Sexton I wanted to see just how she attacked this awesome challenge. I made a concerted effort to read this book as something fresh, new, and set my pre-conceived notions aside.

If you can do that, then you are free to enjoy this fresh take.

The characterizations are beautifully crafted in this book, there are no cookie cutter types here, each of the pivotal characters are fresh. I found myself invested in their lives from the outset.

Meet Savannah. Raised in the Deep South by parents who dared go against the norm, and elected to free their slaves before Lincoln had ever called for it. Her friends are aghast initially; however Savannah’s dignity and sturdy defense of her parents choices win many, if not all of them, over.

They don’t share her upbringing, but she is someone they love and admire. The conflict is well handled.

Savannah finds love and marries; just in time for him to be sent off to fight in a war, he believes is just.

The author communicates the frustrations of distance and uncertainty extremely well. Savannah’s innocence is shattered in the aftermath of his death.

When she takes in a Yankee in the form of Jed all her beliefs are challenged, and challenged harshly. The author allows us to see her inner turmoil; the guilt she carries as she begins to fall heavily for a man fighting on the other-side is handled well.

Jed is a strong male figure. Depicted well.

Ultimately, this book is a Romance. Although the conflict of the setting and the people and their aspirations are clearly and lovingly etched, it is ultimately a romance, and a fine one.

If Romance is what you are seeking in this book, then you will enjoy it. Fresh, inviting and a good read.

Purchase ‘Charlottesville on Amazon .com

Amazon PAGE for Joanne Sexton.

You will find Joanne on Twitter at @JoWritesRomnce.

Joanne Sexton on Facebook here

Book Review: Milele Safari-An Eternal Journey … By Jan Hawke

 Meet Jan Hawke.

jan-hawke-bio-pic

Meet Jan Hawke.

I live near Launceston in Cornwall UK with Toby and Benji the Springer Spaniels – it’s a tie between the boys as to who’s maddest, but as I outrank all of them in being weird anyway it’s not open to debate really.

I’m physically lazy with things that don’t hold much interest for me (so that’s mostly housework and, increasingly, cooking…), but I love where we live, mainly because I chose it for being so quiet and off the beaten track, very close to the moors and quite near to the sea.

I also love books, both to write and to read, the latter of which can be very eclectic (I enjoy Julian Barnes, Kate Atkinson, Jeanette Winterson and will happily admit to Jilly Cooper too) but in the main I’m heavily into SF&F, particularly Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and Julian May, although I can pass on Zombie Apocalypses fairly easily…

…how I’ve chosen to write about Africa for my first novel may be something of a surprise to my friends, but if you read it you may find that all of the above information manifests in there somehow!

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BLURB:

Milele Safari – An Eternal Journey …twines around a single day, in an unremarkable border village that snuffs out the lives of four people and shatters many others, only to draw the survivors back to a different time and, perhaps, a hope of atonement and peace. Step out on the journey and discover an Africa that could have been, is and might one day come to be

My REVIEW. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This book at first demanded my attention and then utterly commanded it .

Much has been said in previous reviews of this book that may lead a new reader into the false illusion that it is not an easy book to read.

It is the subject matter that is the gut wrenchingly difficult undertaking here. It is not this authors’ unique way of expressing and exposing the storyline, for author Jan Hawke in this her first sojourn into sharing her skill, has a richly compelling voice.

The author has a distinct style, a way of weaving and inter-weaving the enormously difficult task she undertook at the outset to make Milele Safari, if not less harrowing, then harrowing with a sense of real purpose and a clear direction.

Your comfort zone may well be breached. If you are looking for a read that gives breathtakingly stunning visual images, yes … you will find those inside these pages in rich abundance. By the same token the authors ability to craft the horrors of Genocide, to re-create the emotional impact of overwhelmingly brutal acts of man’s ultimate betrayal of his own species will not spare you. My emotions were flayed raw by its telling.

This author gives you no easy fix. Such is the fabric of her characterizations. Each one is significant. Each has a component  necessary to the telling. The sharing of insights from differing perspectives and even those of differing species raises questions, we may be unwilling or unable to answer.

If you undertake this journey with a need to learn and explore, if it’s taken with a willingness to open your mind and your heart, you will not be disappointed.

I will be seeking out further writings from Jan Hawke. I believe she will become a force in writing to be acknowledged and widely read.

Bravo.

 

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Milele Safari on AMAZON

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

Twitter: @JanHawke

Jan on FACEBOOK