The Corncrake Magazine – Issue 11 – Looking Back to Look Forward


“It’s a human need to be told stories. The more we’re governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible.”

– Alan Rickman


Plotting out my family tree has been a long-term project for me, albeit one that often gets placed on the back burner. Recently however I have been talking about history with my relatives and trying to capture as much information as possible.

A few weeks ago, our daughter was born. She’s sleeping across my shoulder now as it happens, serenely helping me to practice the dubious skill of typing one-handed. It feels as though she has been here forever, and like the first day – all at once. It’s natural to reflect on how quickly time passes- and as it does, many interesting stories and vibrant memories are lost. The world changes so quickly.

One result of this was a poem called The Photograph which has been featured in the latest edition of The Corncrake.


“Remembering and celebrating our past is a common theme among the poets here: Jude Alexzander, Trish Bennett, Pheme Glass and myself all have something to say on the matter. Even the art of Canaletto was designed to trigger memories. This is not nostalgia but a witness that the world which made us who we are is more intricately woven than any one person can imagine.  It is woven and kept alive by art and by story.

Not every world can be preserved. Ishi hid for forty years as his people were massacred and slowly went extinct. When taken in by anthropologists at the University of California he said, I have none, because there are no people to name me. He is remembered only because someone cared.

We remember and we learn, and we do not entirely give up hope that the future will share some kinship with the best of the past. The past is a foreign country, but as long as there are poets and artists it will never be entirely alien.”  – Jenny, Editor.


The tiny person who currently has me trapped on the sofa is another link in the chain. She’ll grow up with a whole new set of experiences, worries and possibilities as technology changes and the world marches on. Many of the vivid characters of my childhood won’t feature in person. I set about this for my own curiosity, but perhaps she will enjoy having some of these little snippets to look back at too.

You can find my contribution and read the fantastic poems and writing included in The Corncrake here.



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