A Network of Writing and Community Publishers

December 2013

 30 December 2013

A Letter to Lisa, my daughter

How I miss you so much, especially at Christmas.  You used to make home-made mince pies and you used to make your own stuffing.  You are on my mind all the time.  I remember coming down to Wales at Christmas.  It was snowing.  I didn't tell anyone I was going down to Wales.  I'll never forget your face when I walked in.  You said "Oh my God this is my best Christmas having my mother. I bet you are having a great time in the other life in Heaven and that you are very happy up there.  I feel you with me all the time.  Have a guess what Lisa!  Aunt Alyson, Michelle & Mark came up for a couple of days and we went to a Christmas party last Saturday and it was a disco.  We had such fun and my friend Jan came with us.  It was a great night.  I won a Christmas hamper.  Michelle said that everyone was excited and that they sounded as if they had won it themselves.  It was all the people I khow from my Rosemary Connelly Class.  We danced all night - it was great.  I was sad when they went home.  I miss all of you, my darling children.

Maria Gethin

A Letter to Ashley

To my dearest Ashley I would like to know if you would like to go to my lovely country for a summer holiday in Barbados.  Just let me know if you would be interested.  There is no winter or summer there, just sun and rain at times.  It has lovely palm trees and lovely animals.  The people are friendly.  There is lots and lots of lovely food you will enjoy.  God bless you, have a lovely Christmas and New Year.

Lots of love,

Marion Alleyne

About Dave “Baby” Cortez’ “Unaddressed Letter”

“My dearest
I’m writing this letter …”
Plaintive organ of Detroit soul
Echoing a man’s love cry
In Rhyming prose for a letter
As we listen, we wonder:
Is this a letter his lady will never see?
Will he ever know the answer to the question:
“Tell me, are the kids alright?”

© Ángel L. Martínez 29 dec 2013
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective


The Greeks
Had a word for it,
Really a letter for it,
Being the basic
That could,
And should
Bind us all together
And, yet to leave room
For infinite movement
Being the vital ingredient
That makes existence
Among our specie
Have meaning,
And direction.
Is at the same time
The rarest element.
At least
In it's pure form,
To be found
Among us.
Can so easily
Be corrupted
And disguised
To make it appear
As just the opposite.
Some examples:
And Roman democracy,
The Magna Carta,
And right here
In the U.S. of A.,
The treaties
With the first Americans,
Not to mention
The Constitution
Outside of history
And politics,
There are endless promises
Made by advertisers,
And all sorts
of, "certified" advisors
And so on,
And so on.
To sum up,
That vital
And rare
Philosophical glue
That binds us
All togther
Is in the Greek alphabet:
The letter, "Z":
Which means freedom.
Look it up.

© David Gordon
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective

Una Carta a Mamá

En el momento de la vida
Celebrando con la timba
Y la familia en el día de nacimiento
Por la lluvia
Como un monte
Con un café caliente y un pastel de guayaba
Con el viento del amor
Poesía es mi nación
Mi abuela Leocadia mi semilla de mis palabras
Y aquí tengo yo mi fuerza
Quiteria mi sangre
Y el gran ejemplo Raimunda el canto
De amor y justicia y paz y alma
Mi raíz mi recuerdo del son de Beny Moré
Nochebuena con arroz moro y yuca y tamales
Al gran poeta cubano Juan Francisco Manzano
El que duerme una noche en esclavitud
Conoce una vida robada
Sale un sol del Caribe
El pintor Wilfredo Lam pintó el retrato de los originales
Presente entre nosotros

© Carlos Raúl Dufflar 12/5/13
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective

A Letter to Mamá

At the time of life
Celebrating with timba
And the family on the day of birth
By rain
As a mountain
With hot coffee and guava pastry
With the wind of love
Poetry is my nation
My grandmother Leocadia my seed of my words
And here I have my strength
Quiteria my blood
And the great example Raimunda singing
Of love and justice and peace and soul
My roots are my memories of Beny Moré
Nochebuena with moro rice and yuca and tamale
The great Cuban poet Juan Francisco Manzano
Who sleeps one night in bondage
Knows a life stolen
The Caribbean sun emerges
The painter Wilfredo Lam painted the portrait of the original peoples
Presente among us

© Carlos Raúl Dufflar 12/05/13
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective


We learned a skill how to write letters in 3rd grade, I think: a date, dear Annie, introduction, a body, and closing greetings . We were also told to write something entertaining if we like to expect an answer. To ask her about her interests and hobbies. Then little bit about ourselves. Nothing boring. In introduction was the basics about a family, how my brother made a blue kite a how the kite flies. About our trips. Skip disasters, because the letter would be to long.

When we absorbed how to write letters our teacher brought to us a list of prospective pen pals. Mine was Marienka from Slovakia. She taught me a blueberry in Slovak is cucoriedka and I envied her her needlework. Mine was sloppy. I just didn't have a patience and my hands were clumsy. Excuses, because I didn't like to do it.

Second pen pal was from Georgia. Somebody gave me her address and I was told what a fantastic and great girl she is. The answer came from completely different girl. She was just ordinary. She wrote in Russian and I also answered in Russian.

For a while I had a pen pal from Germany. There were short letters, because my German wasn't strong.  Her name was Giselle. Liebe Giselle … We mostly exchanged little cute presents. One time I sent her a Christmas ball. I think I didn't wrap it up properly. After that she didn't write back.

Years later, when I was much older, I had a pen pal from Spain. We were exchanging post cards with three big words on the other side (to fill an empty space). I love you. My mother was fond of those post cards. She should learn English instead of me. They wouldn't cease so soon.

I wrote letters to my mother. Writing was interrupted. When I wanted to write her a letter … Where? To a cemetery? Actually I still could write to her if my brother would put a mail box next to her grave – and read to her my letters. She would be pleased, but he would think I lost my marbles.

After I moved to the States people stopped to write and I knew my letters were not welcome. Only a few kept answering. I asked questions. The answer came one month later, when I completely have forgotten, what I have asked. The letters were wonderful greetings from the old country. The art of writing letters is almost forgotten today. It is replaced by e-mail, twitter and a facebook. Quick, telegraphic communication which requires quick thinking. What we receive in the mail box are catalogs, invitations – and bills. I still like post stamps, though.

Marie Neumann

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

This was one of my pieces of work for my Shakespeare assignment, English GCSE. Shakespeare scared me rigid! Still does! However with this piece we were allowed to empathise with a character and take the story further – that made it easier for me and I love my letter!

I posted it because, although it won’t suit everybody, I do feel this story could be related to any time including the world we live in today – the infighting, unrequited love and the realisation that killing is not the answer!
Give it a go! You might be surprised!

Letter from the Nurse to a Friend

Dear Cordelia,

Oh my dear friend, I am a broken woman, a sad embittered lonely old woman. I am sitting at my dressing table writing this letter to you. The hour has struck midnight and yet I cannot sleep, afraid of the ghosts, afraid of the nightmares. The tragedy, the memories haunt me day and night. I am rent apart by guilt, my grief is profound, my soul troubled. Death is calling me and yet I cannot embrace it. I need to unburden my tortured mind and you, my dear friend, are my chosen confidant.

The fire has died in the grate, I shiver, the air is chilled, reminding me of a cold stone tomb where my dear Juliet and her beloved Romeo drew their last breath. Star crossed lovers meeting their fate. Let me tell you, dear friend, of the events that led to such a tragedy.

The feud between the Capulets and the Montagues was as strong as ever, there was fighting in the streets, Verona was a city of hate. The Prince, a man of the law, struggled to keep the peace.

Amidst all this trouble, my master and mistress, Lord and Lady Capulet, held a grand masked ball. My dear Juliet, now a beautiful young woman of near fourteen years, was to meet Paris – a prospective suitor for her hand in marriage – for the first time.

‘Oh such a man of wax’ he would have made a fine husband.
My heart leapt with pride when I helped my beautiful Juliet into her gown. How she had blossomed from the babe I had nursed (my own dear Susan having sadly died, as you know) and brought up as my own. Knew her mind did my Juliet, when asked by her mother:

“Speak briefly, can you like of Paris’ love?”

She had replied;

“I’ll look to like, if looking liking move. But no more will I endart mine eye. Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.”

It was not Paris; however that Juliet spent time with at the ball, but young Romeo, son of Montague, enemy of Capulet!

Their young minds were swimming with the taste of true love and she begged me, dear friend, to help them marry! I was to meet with young Romeo, to inquire as to the arrangements he had made with the good Friar Lawrence and to return to Juliet with the news.

Oh, my dear friend, how my heart did beat, as I walked among the crowd of young men seeking out young Romeo Montague. I was harried and mocked by that loud Mercutio, ‘A bawd, a bawd!’ he called me! Upon finding young Romeo, he told me that Friar Lawrence would be marrying them that very same afternoon!

Oh, such love! Such passion! I was torn my dear friend, my loyalty to my master and mistress but my deep affection for my Juliet stronger. Romeo was a wild and impetuous young man who won my heart. I myself had known such love, such passion. Leaving him with a warning not to lead my Juliet into a fool’s paradise, I hastened to impart the news to Juliet. Barely had I got my breath back than she was upon me!

I wept tears, my dear friend, when the hour came and they were married.
Then, came the shattering news that was to rent all our lives apart. Mercutio dead, by Tybalt’s hand, Tybalt slain in revenge by Romeo, Romeo himself banished to Mantua.

I could offer Juliet no solace, she was distraught, her dear cousin, my good friend Tybalt dead. Her new husband banished.

I had to put my own grief aside, dear friend, to seek out young Romeo from Friar Lawrence’s cell. He rose from his weeping asking of me:

“Spakest thou of Juliet? How is it with her?”

I told him, dear friend, how she just weeps and weeps and falls upon her bed. That she wished him come to her bedchamber that very night, so they could spend one night, their wedding night, together. Romeo would have to be away on the sound of a lark.

My Juliet stayed low in spirit, grieving for Tybalt, her Romeo gone. Her father, Lord Capulet, having had enough of this moping, hastily arranged a marriage for Juliet to the man Paris. She cried to me, dear friend:

“Oh, God! – O nurse, how shall this be prevented?”

She asked for comfort. I could offer her none. With Romeo in exile, I told her, I thought it best she married the County Paris. She appeased me, my dear friend; I did not know how much I betrayed her, hurt her, how so her mind was set. As the wedding plans progressed I was unaware of the tragic consequences about to befall us.

The night before the wedding, the entire house was busy. Paris, the bridegroom arrived and Juliet still abed. I was sent to rouse her.
Oh! The shock! She lay not in sleep, but in death. The light went from my world. She was taken to lie in the tomb, cold and alone, my dear Juliet.
I can only recount to you what happened; as I heard it tell; on that fateful day, the day that Juliet joined her Romeo in death. I thank the Lord; I was spared that final scene.

Romeo had come from Mantua on hearing of Juliet’s death. Overcome by rage and grief he had killed Paris – who had been paying his respects at the tomb – and threw himself prostrate on the body of Juliet. In his despair he drank poison and lay down beside her. Declaring his love for her, Romeo died.

I pause now in my writing with the need to compose myself. Oh, my dear Cordelia, sweet, innocent Juliet was only feigning death! Alone in her plight Juliet had turned to Friar Lawrence. In his poor misguided way he had hatched a plan to reunite the lovers, giving her a potion that would give the appearance of death. Romeo never got the message with details of the plan, he like us believed Juliet truly dead. When she awoke from her stupor, instead of a joyous reunion, there lay Romeo dead at her side. Friar Lawrence could not sway the girl from her fate; Juliet took up a dagger and stabbed herself.

All Verona was in mourning, the feud forgotten, hands were shook. Peace settled on the city, but there was no peace in my heart. We were all fated, my dear friend, now death is my fate. I shall not here the lark on the morn.
Goodnight and goodbye, my dear Cordelia,

Yours with affection,

Jan Hedger

A Letter Workshop

A Letter From the Nurse to A Friend was written ; as it says for a GCSE exercise. I repeated this a few times - as a workshop - so if you want inspiration for this months challenge - try it!

Think about a favourite book and its characters. Take one character and follow steps below;

1) Writing to be in the form of an 'informal letter' from a character in the book.

2) It can be to an 'invented person' or another character in the book - but out of the time-frame of the book .

3) Try to use references from the book (story/events/quotes/text) within your letter.

4) Please feel free to use any style/subject of writing i.e. Emotions/Reflection/Complaining/Humorous - use your imagination.

5) The style of writing you choose, will reflect how you address and sign off the letter.

6) Try to use the dialect/ mannerism of the way your character speaks.

My Contribution

A Letter from Lennie to George 'after the book' - Mice & Men

Hi George,

George, I'm here George. I'm in the dream. It's pretty here George and I get to tend the rabbits, just like you said I could George. I don't hurt them none George, I just tend them and feed them Alfalfa. There's fields and fields of

Alfalfa here George. I don't have to plant none George, it just grows. Imagine that George, lots of Alfalfa for the rabbits.

I live in a cave here George, just like I said I would. I live all by myself in a cave. Well that ain't strictly true George, Candy's dog is here with me and guess what George, he ain't old no more. He's my friend George and I pet him all gentle like, and he don't die George, he don't die!

Not like them mice, not like that pup and not like her George. She shouldn't have shouted at me, I was scared George, cos' you told me to be good. I tried to be good George, but her hair was so pretty. It felt so good to stroke it George. I didn't mean to muss it up, honest I didn't. She shouldna screamed George. i was all panicked and couldn't let go. Then she was wriggling and kicking legs; I only wanted to stop her screaming, but it was bad George. She died just like the mice and just like the pup. I was so cross at her George; she did a' bad thing' and I was so scared George.

I had to run George, I had to run to the place you told me to remember George. Sorry I couldna remember the right place George, I tried to honest I did. Then you found me George, you understood didn't you George, you saw I was scared and that I didn't want to hurt no-one no more. You knew I wanted to live the dream, just like you told me George, about tending the rabbits and feeding them Alfalfa.

I knew, I knew you weren't mad at me George and swear you hadda kill me. I understand George, don't you worry none.

It's good in the dream George; I miss you George, I miss you sore, but I don't want you to come here George, that I don't cos' I don't want no-one to hurt you George; that would make me angry george and I don't want to be angry no more.

I don't want you to die George. I want you to live like you said;

'God 'a' mighty, if I was alone, I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work an' have no trouble. No mess at all, and when the end of the month come, I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want. Why, I could stay in a cat-house all night. I could eat any place I want, hotel or any place, and order any damn thing I could think of. An' I could do all that every damn month. Get a gallon of whisky or set in a pool room and play cards or shoot pool.'

You can do all that now George, live so easy now I'm gone.

I gotta go now George. I got to go and pick Alfalfa.

Bye George

Jan Hedger

Letter Home

This piece was written at day-long workshop at Nostell Priory near Leeds. The workshop was called Red Poppies, White Butterflies, and was based on using documents, photos, etc. from the First World War as inspiration for writing. The idea of creating a letter came from seeing some of the letters soldiers had written home.

19 January 1917

Dearest Bridget

It is very cold here now. The snow makes the mud worse. Sometimes I wish it was even colder so the mud would freeze over proper, but as it is when it does freeze as soon as you walk on it it breaks through and just turns to more mud. The gloves you sent me are very warming, and also the scarf, as it’s the ends of things like fingers and ears what really feels the cold. The double thickness of the gloves makes a big difference and all the other fellows are jealous of them and my caring wife. I think of you every time I put them on. It feels almost like I am holding your hand to think of you knitting them.

It is very quiet in our sector. Nothing has happened for weeks now. Further north they are always shelling the Bosch, but all that happens is a few days later the Bosch start shelling them back. What’s the point?

The other day some posh general come along the line right to our trench at the front. He asked if we ever saw anything of the Bosch. I told him most days I could see one who wore one of those spiked helmets they have, and had a ruddy great ginger beard. The general asked why I hadn’t shot him, but why would I want to do that. I mean he never done me any harm. Anyways if I shot at him it would only mean the Bosch started shooting at us. If we leave them alone they leave us alone.

How is little Peter? I wrote to him for his birthday, so I hope it arrived in time. I don’t know why I wrote that dearest, as you must have been the one to read it to him, unless it was Susan who read it. How is she doing in school now? Make sure she is keeping up with her lessons, as when this war is over it will help her with finding decent work. She could be a secretary or something like that instead of working in a factory.

Last night something really funny happened. A German soldier climbed down into our trench. He said he got separated from his patrol, and got muddled as to where he was. Anyways he climbed down into our trench and Sergeant Billy Watkins shone a torch on his face. When he found where he was he started talking to us in English. He spoke English really good. He was very hungry so we gave him some corned beef and bread. We told him which way to go back to his own trench, but he asked us to take him prisoner instead. I was very surprised. He said if we took him prisoner he would not be killed, and he could spend the rest of the war in safety. But Billy Watkins said he had to go back or we would get into trouble for not shooting him, so he said we should shoot him in the foot and then say we took him prisoner. Billy Watkins said it would be a waste of a bullet, so he shot himself in the foot and said he couldn’t walk back to his own side now, so we had to take him priso ner. It made me think the Bosch must be getting desperate, so maybe the war will soon be over.

That reminds me, we had some Americans come to our sector recently. They talk English with such a funny accent, but they was very friendly, and generous with their cigarettes and chocolate. I never saw so much chocolate before. They had come to the wrong bit of the line though, and the next day they were all moved further north. I told one of them about the German soldier what come into our trench by mistake, and he said they captured a whole load of German prisoners, maybe fifty or sixty he said. He said they was so hungry when they offered them some rice what got burnt and none of their soldiers would eat it, but these Germans just ate it.

I miss you so much my dear. I think I should be getting some leave in a few weeks. The other fellows keep talking about how our leave is already overdue.


Mrs Fowler

This unfinished letter was found among your husband’s possessions and so I am returning it with them.

Your husband was a brave and gallant soldier and a hero who served his country well.

Kind regards
Brigadier Wm. Smythe

John Malcomson
Heeley Writers

The Letter

To “Occupy London,”
Please don’t go away,
Even though at St. Paul’s
They won’t let you stay.
Just be around
So that we can see
That we haven’t all lost
Our sanity.
Continue to protest
Whenever you can
Condemning the system
That’s plaguing the land
Where the poor serve the rich
Who ensure that the poor
Cannot pay their debts,
So they borrow some more.
And no one speaks out
To condemn the regime
Who keep down the masses
While living their dream.
So “Occupy London,”
Please keep being heard.
Then maybe the bankers
Won’t have the last word.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers


'Tis 20 years 30th November since dad passed away
Miss him terribly - peacemaker was he
2013 cannot believe time has slipped by
20 years, my gosh love you to this day
I visualise you in my minds eye
And know in my heart - I thank you for this day
Without you and mum I wouldnot be here today
The 30th November 2013 from 1993
Love you still dad - your name
'Edward Cecil Hibbit Lawson -
Born close to London 1906 -
Met mum in Birmingham war time
Both married 1943
Life is strange - you come into this world
You learn mostly always - the art of communication
Many languages - be it verbal, words, printed -
Sign Language or come what may
Whatever it brings - without this
The trial of truth, love, education
This 20 years would have been useless
But I do know - love you still dad
This day - within my heart
That we will meet again in Heaven
One day -
come what may...
(c) 28.11.2013 Josie Lawson
All Rights Reserved


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