Free writing: the words we doodled (1)

Blossom – London 2020 (photograph by Sonia Jallane)

Hello from me in London, where the pavements are almost empty, and birds chorus from every tree they can find. It’s bizarre.

I hope that wherever you are there are snatches of peace in the midst of this new reality. Perhaps these pieces will help – a poem, and some more free writing responses to last week’s word doodle suggestion. Huge thanks to the authors (all copyright on these pieces is theirs).

First up is a poem set in London.


 London Shutdown

Bare shelves; long queues; masked customers standing metres apart, waiting…

Empty Underground carriages; closed shops; deserted streets in

Picture postcard perfection.

The hidden enemy strikes in droplets, a hacking cough or sneeze.


Broadcasts update mercilessly, hour by hour

The number of infected and dead – like the world has come to an end.

Hoaders hog and fraudsters fiddle

Yet …


Spring still arrives, quietly

The first cherry unfolding pink petals

The camelia bursting to proclaim life’s abundance.

And life goes on.

(By Sonia Jallane in London)



I have a new shadow; it follows me everywhere but I cannot see it because it is so small that only a microscope can see it yet this shadow is wreaking havoc in my life as well as all those around me. When I go out, if I see someone, I try to avoid them in the hope i don’t come in contact with their hidden shadow. I wash your hands umpteen times a day in case my new shadow has stuck to my hand. I can’t find any disinfectant wipes so I make some but will they deter my new shadow? Nothing is certain anymore until the shadow is beaten.

A person addicted to fire

I’m not sure I would say my brother was addicted to fire but he was certainly fascinated by it. He must have been around 8 or 9 years old when he decided to make his own fireworks. Once completed, he told his family he would be providing a firework show. First step was to find a source of gunpowder. He was given a number of bullets from the gun cabinet and somehow through the use of pliers, a candle flame and I’m not sure what else, he was able to pull the bullet apart and extract the contents. Scary thinking about it now but so it was. And I find it hard to believe my mother went along with this but she did. Having extracted the bullet contents, my brother now needed to build the fireworks. He used paper in which enfold the gunpowder and then attached this paper to a stick, a piece of dried grass if I remember correctly. What was used for the fuse I’m not sure, likely a piece of string. Having manufactured his fireworks and there were quite a few, after supper one night, we were all summoned to the front lawn for the display. I know I felt a bit nervous because the fireworks certainly didn’t look anything like the ones you buy. An empty coke bottle was used as the launching pad for each firework. So they were all gathered including the dog. The fuse was lit but certainly did not ignite immediately requiring several attempts. Finally, there was ignition but the trajectory of the firework was not quite as anticipated as this one and all subsequent ones went in every direction except vertically. There was plenty of running around to avoid being hit although it’s unlikely any damage would have occurred as the fireworks were pretty small containing very little gunpowder. My brother tried several times to perfect the art of making fireworks but somehow they just never quite worked out.


Every year as winter draws to an end, a hunger grows to see green grass, trees in leaf, blue skies, flowers but most of all, to feel the sun. Once December rolls into January, we know that we have dark days ahead of us with February probably the worst month to get through. As we’ve done in past years, we’ve held a February Blahs party which seems to lighten the load but it doesn’t really slake the hunger for warmth from the sun. Some people go south to the Caribbean or other warm locale while others stay put. The problem with going south it’s only a temporary fix because when you return, it’s still winter and the sun is still distant. But then suddenly, as if overnight, glimmerings of spring start to appear…the first snowdrops, the sun starts to feel stronger, the air changes, the quality of light changes, birds start to appear and then I know, the end of winter is in sight although it is only still a glimmer. As I look out my window, it’s still brown and drab outside but when I bend down and look at the grass, it is starting to green. Robins are everywhere as are red-winged blackbirds. The best part though is being able to sit outside and feel the sun on my face and know spring has truly arrived.

(All three of the above prose pieces by Leonie Bedford in Canada)


Tomorrow there’ll be another post with more free writing prompts, again suggested by fellow writer Saraswathi Sukumar. Hope you’ll take a look and have a go.

Meanwhile all the best wherever you are.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2020

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