Poetry to fall in love with, part 3

Pablo Neruda saddest poem

I’ve shared with you before my love of sad songs, so it’s no surprise that I also love sad poems. One of the great things about poetry (and books, plays, movies) is that it reminds we are not alone and are not the only one, ever, to have felt what we feel. These poems have given me solace and hope, and I hope they do for you, too, if you need it.

The Saddest Poem – Palbo Neruda*

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: “The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance.”

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don’t have her. To feel that I’ve lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn’t keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That’s all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else’s. She will be someone else’s. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her. 

(*as this poem has been translated there are several versions; this is my favourite)

12AM – A.E.

And her mind wanders.
She tends to think about 
Something that happened
5 years ago, or something
That happened 2 hours ago,
Or something that could
Happen 10 years from now.
Her mind is like a hurricane,
It’s a wreck.
It’s full of beautiful yet
Awful thoughts.
It’s 1AM and her mind
Continues to wander.

When We Two Parted – Lord Byron

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sank chill on my brow— 
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o’er me— 
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well:— 
Long, long shall I rue thee
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met— 
In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?— 
With silence and tears.

It gets better


When you go through a break up, particularly if it was a long term relationship (or, you know, marriage) there’s a lot of pressure to use the experience as a catalyst to become a “better person”.

There are so many stories of women who have gone on to do amazing things after a break up. These women seem to have had an epiphany, or realised what was important to them, or fuelled the fire for change.

Whether they send love into the universe, forgive themselves and their partner and become a kinder, more loving person or tackle brave fights, take on a cause or make it big – they turn what could be perceived as a failure into the motivation needed to achieve great things.

They become better.

And good for them.

But for me, the notion of doing better is fraught. If I seek to become a better person, does that mean I wasn’t my best self during the relationship? That loving that person with my entire heart was something that could have been improved on? That for all of those years, I was holding back a part of myself that now has the chance to burst free? How can I be better – what more can I or could I have done?

I don’t have the answers. In the dark of night the questions plague me and I wonder what my legacy is going to be. How will I tell this story 10 years from now – where will this heartbreak lead me and how will it change me?

Right now, I don’t know how to be better. It’s hard enough to just be. But I have to believe – I will believe, that one day, I’ll be better off for it – that I’m going to learn and grow, and maybe become a different version of myself. A better version. And this life of mine?

It’s going to get better. Because it has to.

It’s the little things: the sweet stuff

cake skullandcrosstales

Wow I’ve missed doing these weekly posts! I’m so glad to be getting back into the swing of all this blogging stuff.

I also wanted to say thank you to everyone who sent me kinds words after I posted this at the start of the week. I was incredibly nervous about sharing something so personal and really worried about the reactions I would get, but everyone has been so supportive. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t tell you enough how much it means to me – and never forget the power of a few kind words to change someone’s day!

I’ve realised recently just how important it is to appreciate the little things in life. Making a gratitude list isn’t going to transform your life overnight, but I’ve found it can help put things in perspective a bit, serve as a reminder that life doesn’t suck every single minute of every single day, and give me something to look forward to – even if that something is just a delicious piece of cake!

The little things I’ve loved lately:

Meditones ~ Banana and choc chip cake from this amazing place ~ Looking forward to seeing my parents after they’ve been away for seven months ~ My furbabies Mack and Elliot, always ~ Phone calls from friends ~ Listening to Paloma Faith’s Only Love Can Hurt Like This ~ Trying new beauty products ~ Naan bread ~Planning my next tattoo ~ Daydreaming about a holiday ~ New series’ of some of my fave TV shows ~ Alllll the chocolate

This super close up of my sister's French Bulldog cracks me up

This super close up of my sister’s French Bulldog cracks me up

The links I’ve loved:


Skull of the week: (can you spot it?)

leopard skull shoe


Do you keep  gratitude journal or note the things that make you happy? Have you found it has a positive effect?


On the bookshelf: recent reads

Rather than devote a whole post to each of the books I’ve read lately, I thought I’d throw together a bunch of mini reviews. If you’re looking for a new book to read, here are my thoughts on some of my recent reads.

Daughter of smoke and bones Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy – Laini Taylor

What can I say except that I loved this series! It’s an incredibly well-woven, beautifully written story about Karou, a young woman with blue hair and covered in tattoos that learns she is not as human as she once thought. It’s a story about angels and demons, other worlds, and star struck lovers, littered with gorgeous prose and vivid imagery, and absolutely full of intelligent observations and heartfelt moments. To me, this series is leagues above many other YA novels of a similar nature – no sugar coating, no shiny happy ending, no pining, no didactic learnings and none of that ‘girl with self-esteem issues finds confidence in boys arms’ bullshit. Instead, these books give us a strong, gentle, kind, intelligent lead, beautiful friendships and an ultimately uplifting fantasy. I loved it.

drums of autumnDrums of Autumn – Diana Gabaldon

Now that the Outlander TV series has begun I thought I’d better get back into this series, which I’ve had a few months break from. As an aside, I’ve been really impressed with the show so far – it’s beautifully filmed, the locations are stunning, and oh, the Scottish accents! Drums of Autumn is the fourth book in the series, and ties together the stories of Claire and Jamie, and their daughter Brianna. This instalment is set in America in 1766, and once again it weaves together rich tapestries of Scotttish clansmen, herbal medicine, the ‘exotic’ and ‘wild’ natives, and settlement in the ‘new world’. While the story is a little weak in some incidences (particularly surrounding the misunderstanding that defines the major plot driver) Diana Gabaldon is a masterful story teller. Her descriptions are beautiful and she paints worlds in such vivid colours; the adventures are intriguing and keep the pages quickly turning; and, as per usual, Jamie and Claire steal the show. Oh for a love like their love!

I was browsing reviews and thought this description was hilarious (but so accurate!): “Gabaldon’s sex-ridden, hugely researched, academically adventurous, time travel/sci-fi meets historical romance novels qualify as trash novels for lit nerds — they’re absolutely a guilty pleasure.”

is everyone hanging out without meIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling

The Mindy Project is one of my absolute favourite TV shows, so I there was no way I wasn’t going to read this mini memoir. It’s a nice and easy quick read, full of snippets of stories about Mindy’s life. It was written a few years ago, and so quite a few of the stories revolved around The Office – a series I’ve never watched – which made me gloss over a few bits and pieces, but overall I enjoyed this.  Mindy’s insights into what makes a best friend, not being an athlete, the type of women in movies that don’t exist, why hooking up is confusing, and the difference between men and boys are spot on. This book? Makes me wish Mindy was my best friend.


is i stayIf I Stay – Gayle Forman

This is another YA book that’s been made into a film, and even though I hadn’t heard much about it I decided to give it a go after I saw the trailer. This is a fairly short book and a quick read that I mostly enjoyed. It is told from the point of view of a young girl who is involved in a devastating accident and has to choose… if she wants to stay. To be honest I did feel like I knew what her choice was going to be all along, however I still found it intriguing and there were a few really touching moments (particularly the conversation she has with her grandad). I also really enjoyed the story of the parents and family – it makes a nice change to read a YA book with a functional, present family, and a punk rock family to boot. The little anecdotes that told about the parents transition from young and carefree to committed family types was well written. I did feel that this book didn’t quite have as much impact as it could have – I didn’t feel moved to tears but it was still a nice, and quite heart-warming read. There is a sequel to this book (Where She Went) and while I’m not going to race out to buy it, I probably will read it at some point.

lost and foundLost and Found – Brooke Davis

You might think a seven year old girl (Millie Bird) who keeps a journal of all the dead things in her life, an angry 82 year old recluse by the name of Agatha Pantha, and 87 year old Karl the Touch Typist have nothing in common, but you’d be wrong. This book was a joy to read, even though it is scattered with small details and thoughts that tugged on the heart strings. There’s something about writing from the point of view of a young, innocent child that allows stories to really delve into deep issues without losing a sense of humour and wonder, and this book does just that. The three characters are bound together as they embark on a crazy roadtrip through WA’s outback that teaches them “old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself experience sadness just might be the key to life”.


PS – More book reviews, and why you shouldn’t let writer’s block stop you from writing

Things fall apart

Sometimes in life, things fall apart.

But here’s the thing – as much as we may want to give up, as much as we might want to just stay in bed and give up on life, time is a selfish bastard and it goes on whether we want it to or not. And there’s only so long we can go without eating before our bodies will betray us with hunger; there’s only so long we can go without sleeping until the sandman creeps up on us while we’re not looking; and there’s only so long we can watch life go on by without us until, slowly at first, just one step at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time…we find ourselves pulled back into life.

When life comes crumbling down around us, we get up and we get through it – because that’s all we can do.

Five months ago, my husband told me our marriage was over. Six incredibly long, but such short weeks later he moved out of our house and out of my life.

The almost eight years we’d spent together were over in as good as an instant; the future we’d planned together ripped away.

It’s been the hardest thing I’ve had to get through in my life – it still is. But I am getting through it. I’m picking up the pieces, because there aren’t any other options.

This post has been one I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I’ve written it and re-written it over and over in my head, because I didn’t know how to start blogging again without this moment of honesty. And I’ve really wanted to get back into blogging.

And while I’m not going to be joining the abandoned wives or using this space to rally the troops and seek sympathy, I do feel that I needed to be honest.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few months while my blog has been dormant – rebuilding.

It’s been hard and I know it will continue to be hard for damn long time, but I am taking those steps, one at a time. Blogging is something that I’ve missed, and I can’t wait to get back into it (and I’ll try not to throw too many pity parties). I can’t say thank you enough to everyone who has stuck around during my hiatus and I’m so excited to get back to writing and sharing content.

I’ve closed the comments on this post, but if you ever want to contact me you can do so on skullandcrosstales AT Hotmail DOT com

Poetry to fall in love with, part 2

skullandcrosstales Mad Girls Love Song by Sylvia PlathDid you know that April is National Poetry Month? It’s mainly an American thing, but I still love the idea of having a whole month dedicated to celebrating poetry.

I recently shared some works from a poet I follow on Instagram and had a great response, so thought I would share some of the ‘classics’ that I loved and studied at school and uni (keep in mind, I was still a bit ‘teenage angsty’ at that point!). I had, and still have, a huge affinity for female poets and these remain etched in my mind today. Enjoy!

Mad Girl’s Love Song – Sylvia Plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Because I Could not Stop for Death – Emily Dickinson 

Because I could not stop for Death–
He kindly stopped for me– 
The Carriage held but just Ourselves– 
And Immortality.

We slowly drove–He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility–

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess–in the Ring– 
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain– 
We passed the Setting Sun–

Or rather–He passed us–
The Dews drew quivering and chill–
For only Gossamer, my Gown–
My Tippet–only Tulle–

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground–
The Roof was scarcely visible–
The Cornice–in the Ground–

Since then–’tis Centuries–and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads 
Were toward Eternity– 

Heart! We Will Forget Him! – Emily Dickinson 

Heart! We will forget him!
You and I — tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave –
I will forget the light!

When you have done, pray tell me
That I may straight begin!
Haste! lest while you’re lagging
I remember him!

Strange Fruit – Seamus Heaney

Here is the girl’s head like an exhumed gourd.
Oval-faced, prune-skinned, prune-stones for teeth.

They unswaddled the wet fern of her hair
And made an exhibition of its coil,
Let the air at her leathery beauty.
Pash of tallow, perishable treasure:
Her broken nose is dark as a turf clod,
Her eyeholes blank as pools in the old workings.
Diodorus Siculus confessed
His gradual ease with the likes of this:
Murdered, forgotten, nameless, terrible
Beheaded girl, outstaring axe
And beatification, outstaring
What had begun to feel like reverence. 

A Birthday – Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me. 

There are two more poems that I love love love, but they are quite long, so I have linked them instead – Daddy and Lady Lazarus, both by Sylvia Plath.

And to leave you on a less depressing note, my favourite line from any poem, ever:

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
                Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
(from Ode on a Grecian Earn – John Keats)

It’s the little things: Autumn lovin’

Pavel V

Happy Easter guys! I don’t know about you, but I love the feeling you get at the start of a long weekend. That relaxing feeling of four days off stretched out before you, knowing you don’t have to rush back to work on Monday morning. Knowing you have time, and space, and unknown opportunities just waiting to be discovered. It’s truly transformational! We’ve had a fantastic start to the weekend catching up with friends and family, and it’s only going to get better. Autumn has definitely arrived and the cool air is invigorating and revitalising. It’s my favourite time of the year, for sure. In fact, last week I whipped out my scarf collection, broke out the cardigans and really embraced the change in weather.

skullandcrosstales bus selfie

So whether you’re gearing up for a big night of celebrations tonight, taking the time to do nothing for once, or recovering from last night’s shenanigans, enjoy the best of what the internet has to offer.

The little things I’ve loved lately:

Time with friends ~ Delicious and healthy meals ~ Feeling strong and confident ~ Cool weather and cuddly animals ~ Long weekends ~ Wandering down William St during lunch breaks ~ Popcorn ~ Cardigans ~ Pavlova ~ Matte lipstick ~ Slippers and scarves ~ The Mindy Project ~ Snapchat ~ Commitment ~ Working hard

The links I’ve loved:

Skull of the week:

I’d love to hear what you are grateful for lately – share with me in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo 1 by Pavel Voinov