Raised on Promises

Cumbria’s already gripped by autumn. We’ve had floods again this week and I noticed on the school run today how the leaves were letting go, streaming like confetti. I felt like catching one to wish for luck (being superstitious on Friday 13th) but everyone in the passing cars seemed to be staring so I gave up after a couple of attempts and waited in the playground like a normal parent.

I was thrilled to see my two poems in Quadrant and felt very lucky and grateful to Les Murray for publishing them. I got my first ‘proper cheque’ in Australian dollars which I almost threw away by accident – so excited by the magazine – and had to retrieve from the bin in the bottom of the envelope.

It was my birthday last week and I did feel different with a strong sense of time running through the hour glass.

I was very sorry to hear that Tom Petty died earlier this month. His music had been on in the car most days for a few months and so he seemed present and real and it didn’t seem right that he wasn’t on earth anymore. What a productive, inspiring life. The Travelling Wilburys are further reduced.

There seemed so much promise when I was growing up and music was part of that. I felt a sense of possibility that I’m not sure my daughter’s generation feel now. I kept that wonder far longer than children do now. Some of the cynical statements that come of tiny mouths make me laugh, such as ‘…don’t be silly mum. I won’t be a real musician. I might be a secretary who plays guitar in my room after work.’ That was the gem of the week, but not funny in another way. I didn’t believe I could be a writer for a long time. I still struggle with the thought that the word might apply. Only when I’m writing do I feel like I’m a writer.

I’ve read a couple of my poems and they’re on YouTube – The Click of the Lock and Woodman. I didn’t feel very comfortable watching them. It’s like learning to read all over again, hearing your own voice for the first time and waiting to be corrected on accent and pronunciation!

I’ve been reading a lot of Robert Hass who I was introduced to on an Arvon course earlier this year. He’s both simple, with the beauty of simplicity, and highly complex. Some poems I’ve had to read over and over. I’ve also found my favourite ever short poem: Iowa, January.

I’ve struggled to spend my two days off work doing anything productive and gravitate towards the bed like it’s a magnet. I did manage to write 3 poems yesterday and felt much better for doing it. I notice the strangeness of poems that come whole – although they’re songs you already know and have heard again, or that you wrote them long ago and stored them away like nuts to be discovered.


Author: kittydonnellypoet

Kitty Donnelly was born in Oxford in 1979. Her mother was born in Cumbria, of Irish origin, and her father was born in Newry, Northern Ireland. She has lived in London, Cumbria, Swansea and Chichester. She had poems published in Acumen in 2005, as well as being long and short-listed for several poetry competitions. She was also published in The Samaritan's Anthology and by The Forward Press. In 2007, she took a long break from submitting poems after having her daughter. In 2016, she has been Commended in the Southport Writer's Circle Poetry Competition, long-listed for the Canterbury University Poet of the Year 2016 and has had work accepted for publication in The Dawntreader. She currently lives in Cumbria where she works as a psychiatric nurse.

2 thoughts on “Raised on Promises”

  1. Dear Kitty, great to see/hear some of your work on Youtube. Congrats on the Quadrant publication too. Did I tell you, we’re moving to Scotland in the New Year? Somewhere near Edinburgh.
    By the way – along with promise and hope, you always had a slant on the world way beyond your years…
    much love Kath xx

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