tree-of-life morrisseau
Advice for New Starts
by Penny Blackburn

Firstly, make sure
you have sufficient time,
have not left your new start
until it is too late.

Take your broom — old or new,
it makes no difference.
Sweep away the ashes
from last years’ burnings.

On bare concrete, lay
whatever will be required —
world maps or Spanish grammars,
coloured silks and tacking pins.

Read through any instructions
carefully, at least twice.
Place these securely under a stone
or the fresh wind will take them for itself.

Enlist the help of neighbours if needed.
Leave clear instructions,
emergency contact details,
if necessary a will.

PAINTING: Tree of Life by Norval Morrisseau (XX Century).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written during a workshop on “new starts.” I wanted to share the idea that a new start can feel very orderly but can actually become something that takes us right out of our comfort zone, and that even the best preparation cannot ready us for the changes that might come.

Blackburn1 copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Penny Blackburn lives in the North East of England. She has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including pieces online in Riggwelter, as well as Ink, Sweat & Tears, and in print with Poetry Society News and Fly on the Wall.  She is the co-host of Cullerpoets poetry stanza and is on Twitter and Facebook. Her pamphlet A Taste for Bread was published by Wild Pressed Books in March 2021.