August 15, 2011

The GoldenThread

He’s the only one who leaves here, who goes out. But he comes back every day, in the evening or at night. And he lies beside me when I ask him to and doesn’t when I don’t. Not ever, not once in these two years. I don’t remember how he got here or why he came. Maybe it was something to do with the boiler but now he fixes everything around here -well almost everything.

I don’t go out, not ever. I’m  too busy minding the chain. It’s getting shorter and shorter, wearing out, fraying, unravelling, downright breaking. I think she wants it to break irrevocably.  It will happen someday, maybe some day soon, but not today.

Today I’ll take it.  I’ll be careful. I’ll turn it over and over in my hand looking for flaws, for ways to strengthen and repair it.  And all that time, even though I’ll be quick, she’ll touch her neck, fingering the empty space, becoming fretful the longer it’s gone.I’ve minded it for so, so long. What will I do when it breaks beyond repair?

It used to be three, four, long looping threads displayed against her white neck and chest, smooth then with stark, tempting collar bones. But I cut it back to one, not too long mind because that could break too but not too short because it wasn’t so pretty then. The chain’s hidden now in folds of skin so fine that you can only see it when she lifts her head up high or throws it back.  I’ve added  those extra strands over the years, one by one, to lengthen or strengthen or replace the ones worn thin with age. She knows it’s close.

She’ll go then. She doesn’t seem afraid. I am. Oh not that she’ll go: we all go some day, but that she’ll be distressed and I’ll be powerless to help her.

It’s a beautiful thing this chain. So fine, so delicate, like a golden thread, like a single strand of gold thread but so fine you’d hold your breath just having it in your hand.

And when you know! When you know that once it’s gone, once it breaks she’ll die, then you can hardly breathe with the beauty of the thing.

July 17, 2012




Fear leaps from the canvas catching my attention and I step into the annexe.

My soul falters.

I stand and weep as Cain, wizened flesh on arboreal limbs, strides forward.



Hair matted, exhausted, carrying bloody carcases, his pack flees with him.

Despair etches the mother’s face. Her dazed children suckle on empty breasts.

Exiles all, bereft of comfort, homeless they trudge onward, onward


Into the desolate landscape east of Eden.

Onwards – condemned to perpetual wandering,

They flee Jehovah’s curse.


Patricia Wallace

17thJuly 2012

Thoughts on viewing Cain in the Musee d’Orsay

April 4, 2012

Reflections on an Oak Path

Druids reign amongst these oaks.

Arboreal warriors, limbs raised skywards

Feet dug in, roots stretched down

Into centuries long since gone and yet to come.

I lift my hand high and higher still

Capturing myself in time and space beyond the norm

And see reflected a oneness seldom glimpsed.

February 7, 2012








His  world’s  smaller now,

Honed down to this one room.

Such a small, small world.


All excluded, save for the fierce concentration on

One thing at a time;

One thing at a time.


His hand raises and lowers,

Slowly, methodically.

Pacing us, pacing him; pacing life.


One thing at a time; one thing at a time.

No news, no views.

No crosswords.


From birth to death they marked our time.

Walking the Rotunda corridors (so aptly named) –

One hand on belly, a pencil in the other.


They filled the gaps as words faltered,

Machines beeped, answers sprang to lips.

No answers now. No clues.


I strain to hear his whispered words,

His anger quelled, at last.

And love accepted.


© Patricia Wallace





September 14, 2011


One small blank square

Surrounded by others







Pen paused mid air

Thoughts suspended

Beeping bleeps bounce around the high ceilinged room.

Three now –

Three chairs

Three patients

Three drip stands

Angled at each other

Alarms beep bags almost empty

Beep and beep and beep –

Alarms ignored.

Teeth clenching,

Thoughts scattering

Two now – in competition, off rhythm.


Prodding fingers on phone pad

Prodding my brain until I want to scream


I can not think

‘Six letter word starting with C and ending here in this room.’

August 29, 2011

Be not afraid (of repeating yourself)

I had the good fortune to attend Priscilla Long’s workshop The Art of the Sentence in New Mexico this summer.Priscilla is a writing mentor,workshop facilitator and author of The Writers’ Portable Mentor which I highly recommend.

Each day we did timed exercises. Initially I was somewhat skeptical of the power of writing for 3 or 5 minutes to further our writing in hand. There was a collective bemusement when the following exercise was broached – stick with it folks. It may sound contrived but boy does it produce results. What I am posting here is the raw work from 10 minutes of non-stop writing. The aim being (as explained in the introduction to the piece) to repeat one chosen concrete word in every line, not every sentence. I have subsequently used this piece, edited, in my chapter on Elsie’s arrival to the States.

I had undertaken the exercise with other writers since I got home -who, like us in that hot classroom in Taos – raised their eyebrows. There is a certain power of immediacy  in doing it as a group and reading out the  results. Don’t forget to focus for two minutes on What I want to write about, followed by four minutes of writing, then identify three or four concrete words – maybe have someone else chose which one you should work on for the ten minutes of the full exercise.Have faith, have fun!


Word chosen: ‘Down’.                                                                                           

Set up:

i. Timed two minutes ‘I want to write about….(Elsie’s arrival in America)’

ii. Timed four minutes. Write about her arrival. Then take 4 or 5 concrete words from this and circle them. Choose one for the exercise.

Aim:  Exercise in repetition: word – DOWN. Exercise to include it in each line of free-hand timed writing.

Timed 10 minute write:

Elsie looked down over the edge of the ship. Down beneath her were hordes of people, heads down moving boxes and crates. Down the road was a sign indicating Downtown. Taxis were parked on the docks, windows down, awaiting passengers.

“Step down ma’am,” a voice drifted upwards.

The woman stepped down onto the step the driver had put down for her. She tripped and fell down badly on her knees. The driver knelt down beside her,

“Lay your head down ma’am.”

She hesitated and then lay down fully on the ground.

“Woman down,” a child sniggered beside Elsie. She looked down at his white face; not quite a man – down on his cheeks. He stretched further out looking down to the next level.

“Come on down,” his friend shouted.

The young lad jumped down and ran off. Elsie felt herself pitch forward and down as if the dock down below called her; down onto the people teeming round, down onto the boxes and crates, down onto the hard ground; down into this new world.

Down beneath was a new world. Her new world. It was so far down she felt like jumping, diving down into the throng. Elsie sat down.

August 17, 2011

Curious and curiouser

I’m curious – in fact I’m a curiouser; a word that doesn’t exist but should. I ask questions – not interrogations, but questions about life. I ask them of myself and of others and I think about the answers. I record my thoughts in poetry, prose and journals. You’ll find some of these in my category Meanderings.

I believe in the collective unconscious as a source of inexplicable knowing. I am intrigued by the thread of life and I am currently writing my first novel, The Lace Maker which explores this concept. Elsie, a lace maker, chronicles the life stories of the people around her through the lace she crochets, the thread weaving and interweaving into the heart of the story, the community and of each one of us.

You are welcome to wander through my Meanderings and to comment if you so wish.