Remember me

Help for Heroes

This poem in its rambling fractured style is meant to reflect the mood and memories of a wounded soldier of unspecified age and unspecified war.


I once asked a youthful love

to remember me.

To remember me

in every minute of her day.

I made a promise

to remember her.

Did she remember me?


Does anyone remember me?

Cry out “I remember!” if you do.

And in remembering, remember ‘us’ too.


I remember ‘us’ in my waking and my sleeping

I remember ‘us’ in every minute of my day.

That ‘us.’

That band of thrown together ‘us’ –

Our friendships forged in foreign land.


Across ground rent by battle our torn feet fell,

in foul mire slipping; seeking

Silence. And escape from hell.

Faith destroyed, we lost our way –

forgot to stop; forgot to pray.

Shivering, we lay, shattered –

shot through with seering pain.

And exhausted; slept,

beneath a heavy, choking rain.

“Get up! Push on!”

And weeping, up we lept,

To stagger forward, on and together on,

midst ricochetting, screaming death, poised

waiting to snatch our breath.

In dark gloom, fog  and shrieking noise

we ‘pressed on,’

til rupturing,

the earth exploding burst,

spitting sand shards into eyes,

and lips grit-crusted, mocking thirst.


I hear her voice, a melodic memory,  in my hollowed ears.

And whilst falling, with intense rush I sudden remember me,

in flickering flashbacks; cine

moments – tossed chaotic – adrift on life’s lost sea.


In a nighmare, black, I wake

my eyes on fire.

Somewhere, a muffled half-heard singing, that I strain to hear

with ears ruptured by the blast.

Somewhere, sweet scent blows through open window –

green fields, gorse and honeysuckle.

Somewhere, in dreams I walk, with red balloon.


Red dripping blood. Red haemorrhaging into sand.

Remember me! I cry! Remember! … re-mem–ber –

morphine’s gentle push down slumber slide.


Later, much much later, my fingers find

her last letter; paper crisp

against my heart.

Unread and unanswered.

Years on, unanswered still.

Did she remember me?


As  autumn’s curtain draws on summer

And birds soar in sweeping last farewell,

Like leaves that float and turning fall

let luck grasp at memories dropping through zephyr breeze

and let us pause to remember

my friends,

those whom I did not join,

the nation’s fallen bravest best.

Remember them, the dead.

But also remember me, the living –

remember me.

Touch the Earth

Touch the earth – sweet slumber; stirring.

Stroke sentinel shards of early green; rising

Skywards. Day’s onset, dusted white,

Melts to morning dew. And soon, vapours ascend

As noon’s sun wakes from winter’s rest.


Hear the footfall – the gentle, imprinting footfall

As history walks slowly on; across the earth and on.

And passing; on.

Who are you,

– but a blade of grass,

Growing where your seed fell?

In barren sand or fertile soil,

Feel the earth beneath your hand.

Earth is reborn once a year – but

you are not of her forever.

How many Springs will you be

or not be strong?

Can you better the lives of the eternal throng

Renewing this Spring, with this earth that made you?


All is life.

To live for.

All is death.

To live for.

Them, you, us.


In this we are one; together.

Could it be – we breathe; we hope; we live anew?

We feel the Spring.

And it’s watchful waking; waiting for our story.


When summer’s embers fall and fading, glow.

Between 1911 and 1915, Richard Strauss wrote an utterly incredible piece of music depicting an Alpine trek. It begins before dawn and ends at nightfall. Unable to write music, this my attempt at a tribute to a late summer, early autumn, sunset. I had ‘Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64’ as my personal ear-worm, as I linked these words together.


On storm lashed slope,

my summer music trips.

And falters.

That vibrant rain, once bright,

slowly sifts

into  drizzle; a hazy pall.

A mellow melody murmers,


and gently falls.

In notes that,

careful, step

from stave to stave. Then,

with late effort, climb.


Hold the sound.


and linger.

The distant timpani

hold. Feel the

high sighing strings

slowly sink

through breeze stirred dance

and float

disonant depths down,

to rest on a waiting earth .



Inhale the sonorous minor key.

Sleep through the colour change;

the rainbow painted red, as

Nature’s pallet, ageing, browns

in dusky desication. And leaves drop

as summer waves her last ‘Hurrah’

On mountain top, stand lightly;

with wide embrace hold the setting sun.


It slips.

It slips away.

Turn now to Autumn’s amber glow and

catch your totem shadow.

Shiver, as

dew heavy falls; in

sudden twilight chill

hear the music fade.

The Twins of Orion

Children dream in technicolor and to write the stories that children might dream is the greatest fun that an adult can have.

Just imagine a little man stepping out of the steamy cloud above your hot chocolate; imagine going on an adventure with him and meeting pirates, cannibals and real World War Two soldiers; imagine receiving an ancient curse and fighting to save yourself, your family and your planet and imagine entering a science-fiction fantasy world where the characters are named after the stars in the constellation Orion and boast about bungee jumping into black holes. This is The Silver Scorpion and it is the first book in a proposed Twins of Orion series.


“I loved the plot and I found it very exciting.  Please write other books because these are the sorts of books I enjoy.” Girl, 13yrs.


The Twins of Orion is a fantasy adventure series for children. It is fictional, though some of the history is based on real characters and events that actually happened. The sci-fi is not real. It would be fun if it was: imagine speaking to spirits; fighting monsters and travelling into space.


Book 1, The Silver Scorpion, is written. It is edited. And re-edited. And is being edited again. It has been read by several children, like the one above, whom I don’t know.

It isn’t published. Not yet. It’s still being edited. It will be submitted soon. Just exactly when I have finished editing it. Whenever that might be.


Where did the idea for this story come from?

It was inspired by two places – Castellina, a small town in Tuscany and Cambridge, a small city in England.

In Castellina, a tragedy is remembered on these steps,


this small, steep road is the scene of a terrible crime at the end of the Second World War


and a mediaeval knight in full armour gallops down this ancient stone tunnel.


In Cambridge, the market, the river and the colleges all feature in the story. It is also where waifs, playing ‘chicken’ with fireworks, are first encountered.


Lamps are a common theme throughout the book – waifs (the spirit children) gather round them to keep warm.

When you next walk past one – look for small faces reflected in the glass. Watch for movement in the shimmering, flickering light. Listen for the ringing hiss from the bulb – is it just the lamp or a cold whisper from a spirit child? I always look and listen and imagine.




Who are the principle characters?

There are three main characters – Alicia, Gussie and Min  although each would probably claim the lead role, while declaring the others mere support acts. Alicia is 13. She’s not a typical teenage girl – she loves the outdoors and is independent, feisty, and to her surprise discovers that she is quite brave. Gussie is a waif – the unloved and forgotten spirit of a dead boy. Min is a star – or that’s what he tells everyone. He and his family make up the constellation Orion. Again, that’s what he tells everyone. He can be anything you want him to be and anything he wants to be.


How did I write the story?

I wrote it like this


and carried a small book around in my pocket, so that I could jot down ideas wherever and whenever they popped into my head. Walking is terrific for clearing the brain and some of my best ideas pop up when I’m out for a walk.

Inspiration comes … Stopsketch – scribblestroll … like this –


Later, I copy into my laptop. And edit. I’m still editing. One day, I’ll finish. Probably.

I have started book 2. But it doesn’t have a name yet.


What’s in it?

Adventure – Fireworks – Pirates – Cannibals – Spirits – War – Soldiers – Stars – Monsters – Family – Ghosts – Wine – Food – Soldiers – a Pig – Pizza – Mediaeval knights – a Rooster – Pasta – twins – lots of pairs of twins


Where is it set?

It is set in real places in Tuscany and Cambridge. Book 2 will also travel for a wee while to Scotland, where it will find tales of smuggling, island hide-outs and sheep rustling. Book 3 (yes – planned in a vague I-know-where-it-will-go-probably sort of way) will delve deeper into the history of the knights who fought for fortune in Mediaeval Italy and book 4 will … I’m getting ahead of myself. In book 3 or 4 or 5, the curse introduced in book 1 will pass from Alicia to someone else. I know who that will be. I think. I don’t know however exactly how it will be passed. But if I get that far, and the story returns to the via delle Volte, in Castellina, expect Alberico, the terrible spectre of a mediaeval knight on horseback, to reappear – you have been warned.


What is the story about?

All the hints above – plus a curse, a mysterious talisman, kidnapping, wartime bravery, loyalty, and trusting others. Oh! … don’t forget the pirates, the cannibals, a dying dog (that will make you cry – I can’t read it without welling up), a starving rooster and the twins who bungee jump into black-holes. There’s a monster, too, who takes over people’s minds and will do anything, even kill, to win the mysterious talisman.


Where can you read the story?

Nowhere yet. But I will post some excerpts here soon.

So do come back

Copyright cnicholson 2015

Continue reading


I wrote this – thanks to a flat white coffee and a dog walk – on the morning of National Poetry Day in the UK: Thursday 2nd October 2014. The theme was ‘Remember’. I meet a lot of elderly people through work and the quiet dignity of one couple earlier that week inspired this poem.

I remember electricity in our hands –

Sparks of fire twixt fingers twined –

With footfall fleet in ceilidh dance

as love locked us, laughing, in spinning reel.

My love, do you recall?

I remember winter’s kiss of snowflake, fall

On cheeks flushed hot neath veil

And your eyes with water filled

When my step rang on stone of stern kirk aisle.

My love, do you recall?

I remember a tight-lipped man, come home from war –

My trusting boy with wounded soul, weeping “Move on.”

“Move on!” you cried, til gentle tilling of the land and lowing of the beasts

Taught you to smile again.

My love, do you recall?

I remember tears running down your smiling face,

Speechless, cradling our child in your trembling arms

Promising inside to never let her go,

To fill her life with love and dreams.

My love, do you recall?

I remember your awful coat – ripped cuffs and pocket-gravel –

How with wry knowing smile you spoiled your faithful dogs,

The trees we planted and stood back and watched grow

And the garden we nurtured together and the seasons that passed.

My love, do you recall?

I remember our friends – those who sailed into our lives,

Anchored up and stayed, still dearly loved,

and those who lingered a while, loitering,

then travelled on beyond our realm, lost.

My love, do you recall?

I remember the chattering excitement of building dreams

For hope and happiness shared.

I remember sitting midst insect hum at dusk

our bench, our place, our quiet time to talk. To plan. Together.

My love, do you recall?

I remember the sneezing fizz of champagne,

Spluttering of words and family smiles

At wriggling grandchildren hushed

And glasses, high clinking, toasting sixty years of our love.

My love, do you recall?

I remember tears when first you said goodbye

On our bench, at dusk, while still you knew me, knew you.

I still bring you here. But it is to the silent stranger sitting between us

That I tell my memories of a life we once knew.

My love, do you recall?

Please, if you remember anything,


I love you.

To a mouse

This is an ode to a mouse that I discovered in my garden. Poor wee creature. Robert Burns provided the inspiration – I merely played with the form and words of his poem.

Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
Thou cannae swim – nae crawl nor breastie.
Thou shoudnae ha climbed intae ma pail sae hasty
Wi oot a paddle.
I wad be laith tae flood an drown thee
Wi murdering puddle.

I doubt na, whyles, thou may ha thieved;
What then? Poor beastie, thou that lived!
A seedling frae my glass-housie tray
Was but a sma’ request;
An’ when the summer comes this way
I’ll get a garden wi’ the rest.

In my housie, too, thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! Trap sheared your tail of a’its stibble
That wee bit heap o’ wires an’ felt
Cost thee monie a weary nibble!
An’ me an electrician’s bill, for a’ thy trouble
An’ bleak my mind turned murdering-bold
An’ my heart ran full carnreuch cauld.
But the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ before more traps I could deploy
Thou thought tae swim. An’ drowned.