Archive for the ‘1968 Notebook’ Category


I was very proud to find my name, next to my poem ‘Left Field’ on the long list for The Plough Prize in 2007, discovered quite by accident years later.

So I can imagine how pleased Afric McGlinchey was, I’m sure just as thrilled, when her poem ‘A River of Familiars’ appeared in this year’s longlist.

I proudly own a copy of the E-book  “The Star of Hidden Things” published by Ireland’s foremost publisher of poetry; Salmon Poetry – a literal feast of magnificent word-obsession.


Like Afric McGlinchey, I was raised in a kinder Africa where, I felt loved and accepted and totally enfolded in the arms of my melting-pot community.

Beautiful book of Photos available © Gregg Robinson

Her poems brought my African childhood back to me so clearly, I’m about to order her latest publication through Salmon Poetry; “Ghost of the Fisher Cat” which includes the Plough Prize longlisted poem, “A River of Familiars”.


@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #PloughPoetryPrize  #POEM:LeftField   #AfricMcGlinchey  #SalmonPoetry  #ARiverOfFamiliars  #TheStarOfHiddenThings  #GhostOfTheFisherCat  #Africa  #Poems  #No1IrishPoetryPublisher #Begorrathon16 #IrishPoets






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So I thought I’d start with some favourite flowers (everywhere at the moment) and another poem from my old notebook, this time from 1986 when I found myself having to face the end of my marriage with two young children:


Love, when you’re young

is so special ~ a promise

for eternity that has no limits.


Heart, soul and mind

devoted to just one person,

~ so innocent and pure.


The second time around

can be as good but you

must remember youth

~ how you felt so long ago.


And it’s possible to be unlucky

but the third and fourth and fifth

time can be learnt all over again.


You just have to be resilient!


 Frances Macaulay Forde © 1986

Those two young children turned out to be my saviours ~ they taught me so much, kept me going when I wanted to just lay down and give up.  I am so proud of them both; they have given me the ultimate gift ~ beautiful grandchildren.  

And for those of you who suffered, like I did, it IS possible to love again although it took me 17 years of being on my own to believe it.  

Even though I actually predicted a second time for myself, in this poem, I didn’t believe it at the time ~ I think I was trying to give myself hope… in 1986 I swore off romance and love for good!

After 28 years the man I was in love with (and should probably have married) in 1975  and on another continent (Africa) found me ~ we’ve just celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.

So with my returned love and a family full of love, I look forward to what 2016 will bring.  I know it’s going to be all good!  


@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #FrancesMacaulayForde  #Happy2016  #Poem:Love  #1968Notebook


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© Sean Austin posted this photo on Facebook today, with these words:

“The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire…”

2015 © Sean Austin

@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #AfricanSunsets  #AfricaMyHome  #POEM:AfricanSky   #1968Notebook  #Elephants  #Sunset  #Poetry



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One week old.



3 months old.


11 months old.


My gorgeous daughter today – continuing the ‘circle of life’.

The Moment of Birth

My Darling One you are so new

helpless – yet so strong!

You didn’t really need the Doctor

guiding you along…

Now I know how every mother feels

at the moment of birth.

You caused such pain, such draining

of strength, yet

when you finally arrived in just a second

all that had gone before

was completely forgotten

and I held you to my breast – now calm

then gently with my fore finger…

caressed your tiny arm.

Frances Macaulay Forde – 1976


@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #POEM:MomentOfBirth  #CircleOfLife

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0911Zambian Sunset



What can you say when a dear friend passes away?

That they were good and kind and loved by many?

That they were respected and stood by their beliefs

And are sadly mourned by the ones who weep?


Though we realise this must come to us all

Inevitably ~ how hard to accept when death

is so final ~ when someone you’ve talked to and

done things for has suddenly stopped replying…


The face that grew so familiar will never again

express thoughts. The eyes – so wise, though

getting faded now ~ are closed forever…

Never…. never… never and forever…


Never to see… or feel… or touch again…

Never to walk through fields or hear the rain…

Never to watch the seasons change each year…

They have gone forever and just left us here!


Frances Macaulay Forde © 1968


@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #1968Notebook:Never  #Poetry

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Another from my teenage notebook:



A snake that wraps

it’s slimy body

around your

good intentions.


It has a bite

that transmits itself

into the other person.


How to ward off

it’s terrible grip?


Best to stand still

heart, bite your lip.


Best not to move

or show when you’re

in it’s grasp,


though your eyes

are green and all



and it’s eating up your heart!


Frances Macaulay Forde @ 1969

@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #1968Notebook:Mamba   #Snakes  #Poetry

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Mum 1960’s


My sister-in-law has inspired me by following the theme of  ‘Ageing’  today.

Like her, I love old photos and treasure the few I have of my parents and family.

So I’m sharing this one of my mum with our dog “Quenten Quinebell Quickstep III” taken in Northern Rhodesia in the 60’s – who I naturally, miss every day I’ve been without her.

If I could, I’d plant a kiss on her soft cheek and tell her I love her again;  then I’d call her great-grand children, who’d come running in to say ‘Hi Nanna’ with their infectious excitement, just like they do with me.

I know she’d love her sweet daughter-in-law Saowanee and be so proud of her tall, handsome grandson James and his gorgeous family.

She’d immediately see both of us in my beautiful daughter Jess and love to hear all about her artistry and dreams now she’s old enough to chat.


Last night I was with you, sitting on the settee.

You were reading with your glasses on, drinking tea.

Dad had grown tired of the TV play and was asleep,

snoring loudly with a cushion tucked under his feet.

The scene was so dear and clear as I’ve seen,

But this morning, I work up, so it was a dream…


Frances Macaulay Forde © 1968


@FrancesMF4orde  #FrancesMacForde  #1968Notebook   #POEM:Somnolent  #poetry  #family  #loss  #aging

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Jessica McCallum © 2000


I don’t believe

in forever



I know

you don’t have

room in your life

for love

or me.


But friendship

is a two-way street.


I needed

to know

that somebody



that you cared.


I guess I dialled

the wrong number.


Frances Macaulay Forde © 1968


@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #Poetry  #1968Notebook  #POEM:Phonecall

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0911Zambian Sunset

I’ve probably posted this from my 1968 Notebook before but I’m remembering (and wishing for) the pool we had in our Kitwe backyard.

African Sky

heat of the day

cool of the night

clear blue sky

such a beautiful sight

trees so green

(greener than I’ve seen)

earth rich and brown

rain pouring down

to make the hour cool

like diving in the pool

when the heat gets you down 


then the coolness of night

with stars shining bright

but before they appear

comes the scene held so dear

there’s no more exquisite sight

than day changing to night

and the reds and the golds

which appear in the folds

of the African sky

when night is nigh


Frances Macaulay Forde © 1971 


@FrancesMForde  #FrancesMacForde  #POEM:AfricanSky  #1968Notebook  #Sunsets  #AfricanSunsets

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An old map of Zambia.


Journey from Victoria Falls to the Copperbelt.

They say that once you’ve crossed the Zambezi, you’ll always return.   

You’ll come back to this country, for its beauty you’ll yearn.


How many times has that theory been proven so true,

we’ve said goodbye to our friends, packed up and left you.

Only to come back in a few years time, to the river,

winding  its way through this country so fine.


The Victoria Falls with enormous gorges,

rushing water as if from a thousand rivers,

 rainbow of colours, the noise of the falls,

the excitement of watching those solid water walls.

Cruising down river on boats with game guards,

watching for hippos or crocs in their paths.


Sunsets on Lake Kariba as birds all rise

over game that runs free on either side

of a lake that’s so big it has waves like a sea…

Sundowners on the terrace looking over the water,

watching the sun’s death at seven and a quarter…


Driving through the escarpment, that range of hills forming a border

between two countries, a vital road link that’s little-used now

as they quarrel over things that don’t matter somehow.


Bowling along the road to Lusaka and the Copperbelt.

Across the Zambezi again, while the heat melts.


Arrive in Lusaka at lunchtime to see

the streams of traffic in that busy city,

then on through the maise fields and sugar cane,

up to Kabwe where it’s stacked ready for the trains.

A long empty stretch and you reach Kapiri

– if you blink a lot, you’ll miss it completely.


Straight flat roads to drive ‘til you’re bored.

The turn-off at Fisenge to get on the right road

and you’re on your way to Kitwe and the Rhokana Mine

– the Hub of the Copperbelt and a town that’s fine.


One of the largest and best-equipped mines around

where they hurl the copper-bearing ore up from the ground.

Under the surface, the tunnels are huge

– all white tiled and sparkling – nothing crude.


Perfectly safe for all the workers below,

stepping into the cages as they go,

down in the depths to seek the country’s life-blood.

Working long hours earning money to buy food


for their many children and wives,

who’ve gone without for most of their lives.

Now wages are better – conditions more fair,

good health and happiness no longer so rare.


Neat houses and gardens well-tended line the streets.

Lots of shady park benches where gossipers meet.

A way of life that can’t be compared; peace

and quiet, beauty in the sunshine, fresh air…


Days to laze and lots of time to contemplate

how good life can be, before it’s too late.

Relax, while you’re young, enjoy the sunshine and happiness of home

surrounded by friends you’re never alone.


Make a point of crossing our Zambezi River  sometime

– take a long, long holiday – come see this fabulous country of mine!


Frances Macaulay Forde © 1973


@FrancesMForde  #Nostalgia  #LovePoemAfrica  #Zambia  #NorthernRhodesia  #POEM:VicFallsCopperBelt


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Stephen Page

Author: The Salty River Bleeds, The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. Alum: Palomar College, Columbia University, Bennington College. Follow on twitter @SmpageSteve on Instagram @smpagemoria on Facebook @steven.page.1481

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