YouTube Tuesday: The First Lesson

Welcome back to YouTube Tuesday! Today’s poem reaches back in time to November 2013, and the first time I ever taught English – to a class of primary school kids, who still somehow managed to terrify me. Please check it out below, and let me know what you think either below or on YouTube.

The First Lesson

What great fear paralyses you?
There are those who fear spiders,
Innocent as the majority are;
Others who feel faint up high
When they look at the ground below;
Some whose concerns are amplified
By the close proximity of a crowd;
Mine strikes me down when I need strength:
A presentation leaves me with chills.

So why then did I gravitate towards them?
Teaching, whatever age the students,
Is all about presenting information:
Public speaking I have always despised,
But I try never to flee from a challenge
And, aware that my uneasiness had
Total control over the person who I was,
I chose to force myself into a position
Uncomfortable to me, so I could master fear.

I would be a liar if I claimed
That it had been easy or enjoyable
To teach that first lesson, when not only
Did it frighten me, but I also had
No skills, no practical training to speak of.
But if life is not for diving in head first,
Then what is it that we’re living for?
I worried, I stumbled, I quaked from head
To toe: my hopes of victory seemed pathetic.

In a moment gripped by our fear
We can be quick to condemn ourselves
To fates most unfitting, early deaths, or
Embarrassment that we imagine to linger.
And so in that first lesson, I believed
That my time was already up.
But afterwards, observed what errors
I could look to correct – and had proven
To myself that fear can be defeated.

© Laura Marie Clark

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page to purchase a copy of the book: http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html — or find it on Amazon

Estrangement Isle by Stacy Gleiss

unnamed.png

I live on the Isle of Estrangement,
mourning the one who sent me here,
with the words “I’m cutting you off.”

The mainland Normalcy–
a place where people forgive and talk things through,
is sometimes visible through the haze.

If I thought I wouldn’t be turned away,
I’d attempt to cross the frigid straits,
As it is, with no beacon, the one with the boat must return.

In the meantime, I worry all those who visit,
this private space where I grieve,
will tire of my sad face.

So with a sense of desperation I teach,
of how it was I came here to exist,
hoping they will stay a while,
on my island of exile,
this place called Estrangement.

About Stacy

Stacy Gleiss has lived a life immersed in Japanese culture—a culture vastly different from that of her home state of Michigan. In her experience as the teen bride of a traditional Japanese man, Gleiss found inspiration for her memoir, The Six-Foot Bonsai.

Visit Stacy’s blog here: https://thesixfootbonsai.com/

And here’s the link to her book, The Six-Foot Bonsai, on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Six-Foot-Bonsai-Soul-Lost-Rising/dp/0692773134

YouTube Tuesday: Moving In

Welcome back to YouTube Tuesday! I’m really enjoying posting my poetry to YouTube, it’s a new challenge that lets me revisit old poems and look at them in a different way. This week, I present “Moving In”, from my book of poems “City of the World”.

Moving In

The thunder of busy roads becomes a constant reality,
Litter on the streets attracts a plague of misery;
Unwelcome guests can crawl inside underneath your door
A padlock is the only thing that keeps your home secure

There’s a three-lane motorway at the end of the street,
A shopping centre down the road with great places to eat
From western favourites to untried eastern delicacies;
All desires catered for with exquisite recipes

This narrow street feels separate from everything around
Lonely motorbikes and busy chatter are the only sounds;
Drive up the ramp into your house, park it in the front room,
Four or five bikes stood together in the gloom

The building is four stories high, a balcony at the top
The spiral staircase in the centre seems to never stop;
Ceilings high, spacious rooms, simple decoration,
Designs that do not fail to suggest a temporary location

This is not a place where you would have expected to live
But the more time you spend here, the more it seems to give;
Empty walls provide no more than a room to rest your head:
Your time is spent out in the city, occupied instead

A hotel home shared with others, also there to see
Everything that is on offer in this vast city;
Possessions few, a suitcase full of clothes and favourite things
But within this community you will feel like a king

Money aplenty to spend on food, on fun, on booze;
You’ll be surrounded every day by a world to amuse
And once you’re comfortable in this intriguing place,
You’ll find it hard to picture anywhere else as your base

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page to purchase a copy of the book: http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html — or find it on Amazon

Introducing “Writing Tips ~ Exploring The Writer’s Path Volume 1”

Many of my writing tips are featured on Creative Talents Unleashed and in their anthology Writing Tips Volume 1: Exploring the Writer’s Path – check it out here!

Creative Talents Unleashed

Writing Tips Volume 1

Introduction

Do you dream of being a writer? Have you already dabbled with words, but still need some help finding your style on paper? Or are you one of those who have so much to write, but just can’t find the time to get the task done? This book could be your saving grace. Put together by a group of talented writers from the Creative Talents Unleashed family, Writing Tips Vol. 1 is for any level of writer.

I believe everyone can write. If you can carry on a simple conversation, then you are capable of writing. Some just don’t know where to start. You don’t have to be educated or have a degree to be a good writer. Some of the greatest writers in the world didn’t have that opportunity when they started writing. If you’ve written in a journal or a letter, you’re already an author. You just…

View original post 537 more words

YouTube Tuesday: City of the World

Here’s a short one for this week. The first poem from my book “City of the World”, also called City of the World:

City of the World

So many faces, so many names!
How am I to immortalize them all?
The marvels, the jokes, the many joys
That belong to every one?
Around the globe, from East to West,
We came to sample the fruits
Of the home we found together
Far beyond our simple beginnings

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page: http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Christmas in Vietnam

No carol singers at the door
No cards bought from the local store
No presents sitting on the floor

No tinsel hanging from the tree
No table topped with fat turkey
No time spent with the family

A single day away from class
A holiday doomed soon to pass
A quiet, pleasant, brief Christmas

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

No Winter Blues for Me

Canvasimage_jpg

The call of home drew many in the winter,
Beckoning with snow and home comforts;
It was a season of changes and upheaval.
They pondered for hours over their options,
Then packed their bags and bid the rest of us
Farewell, some for a month and some for good,
Weighed down with gifts to lavish friends
And family with trinkets they were proud to carry;
Others came at New Year, seeking fresh adventure,
Seduced by the idea of travel at a time
They associated with beginnings and resolutions;
And some found new homes and new jobs
Without leaving the taste of their venture behind,
New employers offering them delightful wages
To fill their pockets – after longer hours and
Harder lessons; still some of us remained behind,
Perhaps loyal, or perhaps foolishly devoted
To the company that first gave us work in Vietnam
And breathed life into our imaginations.

Those we lost were missed, a hole left behind
That could not be filled; as they went the new arrivals,
Who replaced our co-workers and friends with
Their own outrageous personalities, were no less
Welcomed than their predecessors, no less
Our family than anyone else had ever been.
They came from England, Scotland, Wales,
From Europe and America, all of them with
Wide eyes that reminded us of our first day there;
We became the elders, and so we pretended
To know Vietnam; we assured them that their
Worries and their longing for home would fade
Away in time, once they settled here with us.
I marvelled, quite astounded, that in winter
My home did not holler and tempt me.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

The Motorbike Taxi

Canvasimage_jpg

Left

Right

Zip here

Zip there

Pick up speed

Slam your breaks

There’s always a path

Through the traffic

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Left

Right

Turn here

Turn there

Don’t indicate

No time for that

So hug the driver

And don’t look back

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om driver rules the road

Forges a path with his bike

Xe om driver has no fear

Gives you the ride of your life

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om driver does not falter

Knows his way to anywhere

Xe om driver’s bold and reckless

Swiftly moves without a care

Xe om driver’s price is heavy

For those who do not know

Xe om rides should be cheap

Wherever you wish to go

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Kindergarten

Little heads turn,
Tiny eyes widen,
Mouths hang open
It’s English time!
Language lessons
Are important here,
So English begins
At kindergarten.
There’s not much
A teacher can do:
These kids barely
Speak Vietnamese,
So songs and colours
Are today’s subjects.
Numbers, songs,
Letters, songs –
Kindergarten teachers
Can lose their minds
When every lesson
Means repetition!
The kids gather
Around their legs
Beaming, speaking,
Screeching sometimes
In Vietnamese;
Too young for school
Undisciplined
Lacking control,
Their eagerness
Is infectious –
At least for a while.
And after classes
Kindergarten teachers
Want to curl up
In a warm bed
To get some
Well-deserved sleep.
High school teachers
Tell them it’s easy,
Singing songs every day,
But kindergarten
Teachers know better:
It’s easy to teach
When the lesson
Can be planned
From beginning to end.
They run, they shout,
They play, they dream
Of a chance to rest
All while surrounded
By twenty hyper kids.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Bui Vien

Sunlight cascades down from pleasant skies
Settling on the heads and shoulders of those walking round;
A street lined with bars, restaurants and shops,
Street vendors busy selling their wares at every door.

Air alive with enthusiasm, filled with sounds of motion,
Of taxis and motorbikes that dodge tourists’ feet;
Of hesitant foreigners looking for a gap in the traffic
Unaware the rule is to walk and never look back.

Banners fly high advertising food and drink,
Places to stay and day trips out, in eye-popping fashion;
By day hostels sell alcohol, their customers spilling out
Onto the streets, seated on uncomfortable plastic chairs.

By night hotels bathe the sky in bright, glitzy lights;
The sight a wonder to behold, the smells even more
Inviting: here western grub, there eastern food,
Scents mingling together in a delightful mixture.

Aromas waft under your nose, and your stomach rumbles
At the thought of sampling something never before
To grace your tongue. An invitation to explore, discover
In easy comfort: Bui Vien will cater to every tourist’s need.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html