How I started to write poetry

Hubby has a special talent. He’s a great juggler. Juggles everything. He’s been doing it for years. It started shortly after we got married with oranges in the kitchen. They landed everywhere, in pots, pans, basins of sudsy water. But eventually he mastered the art. He tried to include me as a double act. We were using the kid’s tennis balls, but I kept dropping them. I couldn’t keep them all in the air . . . what with potatoes boiling over and chicken fillets burning and hubby throwing things here, there, and yonder. He muttered something one day about how I lacked co-ordination and how if I couldn’t take the heat  (of our new career), I should stay in the kitchen.  He continued to practise. He was the star of every party. The invites poured in.  He juggled everything in sight, apples, oranges, empty wine glasses. I was so proud of him, until the night a six foot leggy coordinated brunette offered to be his partner.  She smiled, ducked, dived and managed to catch everything that needed catching.  Except hubby. I managed to hold onto him. But I think that night hailed the beginning of my poetry writing career. Poetry is all about emotion really. It’s about telling the story that needs to be told, with the best words.  Writing from that scared, bad, sad, fearful or fun place at a single moment in time. My poem The Juggler was born that night.

The Juggler

I watch you from the edge of the crowd

That gathers ‘round

To gaze in wonder.

Your smile delights

As much as your performance,

Your eyes search for reaction

Nervous until the applause.

Clubs, balls

Cascading, revolving

Rising, falling

Abandoned in the air,

Then dropping back

To the security of strong hands.

I watch you juggle

I hear the gasps

I know your act, your routine.

I watch you manipulate

Clubs, rings, even


You juggle with my heart

As if it is one of your colourful props,

To be held,

Flipped, balanced,

Thrown, dropped,


(c) Eithne Reynolds


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