The Witching Hour

It’s 5 am and I don’t want to be awake. It’s overcast and the sun is technically up, but the light is so feeble I need my illuminato pen to see the words on the page. It’s Saturday and for some completely unprofound reason my mind is turning to limericks. Partly because I read an article yesterday that a friend posted about introverts. (I know! That is a complete non sequitor sentence! Still…that was what was rolling around my semi-consciousness.) There was a spectacular illustration of the cocooning process as introverts go into recovery mode when they have just had over-exposure to people. Blanket, book, comfort food, TV remote. It only lacked the cup for lashings of restorative tea.

This is a true ‘thing’ about introverts. I love people and care deeply, but gosh they are exhausting in herds! I just need them in small doses.  In my 45th year, after spending my adulthood up to that time in big cities, we moved to the fringes of a small village in rural Ireland that is about twenty miles in every direction from a place that has more than a thousand inhabitants. It is not boring at all. It is restful. In fact, my nervous system adjusted immediately and began to repair the fraying of its fabric over the previous twenty and more years of urban dwelling. I need more quiet than extroverts to keep my being in tip top condition. Shopping malls are hell. Airport Departure Lounges likewise. We joke about crowded beaches and our solitary blanket miles from the madding crowd. Even our car ‘needs space’ and homes to a slot in the farthest reaches of the parking lot with (at most) two others who give each wide enough berth with several empty  places between. Introverts don’t do well in crowds. It’s like walking through a whirlwind of static electricity. It is internally hair raising after short periods of exposure.  

Five AM probably is the introvert’s  witching hour. Nothing much is moving. Even in 24/7 cities there is still a hush and muffled quality that you find in echoing cathedrals. (Even if you are non-religious churches are good places to compose yourself when you are an introvert abroad in the urban environment. Also art galleries. I have long experience of working my personal Introvert Adapt and Survive routine.) You might think that at this hour I might entertain profound thoughts. But no. What comes during poetry practice are limericks!

There once was an introvert called Bee

Who, when things got all too peopley,

She would take to her bed

With books she had not yet read,

The place to recoup her bravery


If you read two books in twenty-four hours

Five AM may be the time to conspire,

Plot coups in your pillow book,

Or recipes one might cook

Or otherwise go set the world on fire.

Or just this, when I am resetting my nervous system at the early morning writer’s witching hour. Because many writers are crack of dawn productive.

When it is just you, the old dog, and birds

And you are feeling a dearth of catchwords,

Well, you still take up your pen.

Like a good Superwoman,

Big Girl Pants one of a writer’s hazards.

I need more reading matter, so I will need to leave my rural fastness for the metropolis nearby  for the library and other emporiums of literary matter. I have girded my loins. 

Still, 5am is probably the writer’s witching hour as well as one for introverts . Many writers are introverted. Given the mostly solitary nature of this vocation/occupation it is a naturally good fit.  Which may be why 5am is our witching hour. All those covens crowding up midnight? Just too peopley.
The featured photo is of Willowbrook Glamping where, at the end of June, my husband and I will run a workshop on “Companioning Your Greatness.” The soothing natural environment will be as a blankie to my introverted soul.

Felix the Formerly Feral Feline

This poetry post is sheer self- indulgence. Or Felix indulgence. Because this wild cat who strolled into our garden the summer of 2016 probably never intended to audition to be a lap cat. But so has been his fate. And it is such a new development that I am reluctant to disturb him. So I am pinned down in bed, only one cup of tea down, with poetry practice to do. Without disturbing Himself. He is the complete cat who came in from the cold.

It has been quite the saga, which has captivated many of my Facebook friends as I chronicled each step forward and two scratches back. He started mid- summer 2016 as a cat burglar sneaking through the kitchen window stealing our cats’ grub. By January 2017 we were feeding him daily and had a cat kennel close to the house to keep an eye on his skinny, slightly mangey hide. By that October he was eating indoors from his own tray, sometimes clawing the hand that fed him,who was also trying to socialise him to petting. He had his own basket and would slide into the house at midnight to take up residence. In January 2018 he got into a fracas and injured his eye. He was in bad shape and I was able to bundle him into our little dog’s crate and get him to the vets. And he has remained, accepting that taming isn’t so bad. He was diagnosed with  feline leukemia that visit, so needs warmth, good nutrition, and fun as it turns out. Because he seems to have discovered his inner kitten and just wants to play all the time, racing up and down the garden, climbing trees, rolling over to distract Tony from his gardening task.

Throughout this saga he has accrued many fans. Friends from Australia we hadn’t seen in twenty years were ecstatic to meet him in his transition towards taming. Another from Wisconsin wants to check in on him during her annual sojourns in Leitrim. A client on her first trip to Ireland from Vancouver had him on her itinerary! Felix has gone global.

So today, a new poetry form to try, that I can tap onto the mini- iPad with one finger. (I am SO in thrall to this critter. But it seems a bit mutual.) I have never tried the limerick. So here goes.

Once there was a feral cat called Felix

Admirably posing for FB pics

He got quite the fanbase

From Vancouver to Naas

This formerly feral feline called Felix


The formerly feral feline Felix

Has converted to lap time and frolics

He has me pinned down

With his great renown

By so famously changing  dynamics.

Play? Aren’t there Rules?

Day 16 of NaPoWriMo wants us to play. Play? On a Monday? Do they even imagine how much stuff needs to happen on a Monday even for people with the most flexible schedules?  So here I am two hours from day’s end and nary a moment to have had to consider writing a poem. Yes! It has been that kind of busy, mission-filled day.

And what can someone who is pathologically unable (maybe even congenitally?) to understand the rules of most team sports got to go on that topic? (It might even be genetic. My sister and I have discussed our complete puzzlement/ brain freeze with most rules of sports.) We were driving back home from a Mindfulness Meditation session past 9pm and I was beginning to sweat. Or consider just giving it a miss. But my own rules for April are to write a poem – even something that resembles the second draft of a poem – each day. And to post it. Those are the only rules that I seem capable of understanding this April. I may know nothing of GAA or chess or only vaguely grasp the principles of any card game not Authors, but I do get that there are rules. You have to know rules to play a game. And the only game I seem to be able to play is NaPoWriMo! At least by my own definition of those rules. 1) check the prompt daily, 2) write a poem, 3) post the poem on the blog.

But one thing I rarely do is versify. And I never have attempted a limerick. So with the clock ticking this is what is on offer for today.  I haven’t a clue if my anapests are in order (too tired), but I did stick to AABBA rhyme schemata.


There was once a woman blew in to Dowra

Who learned to talk Leitrim and say “How ye!”

She’s auditioning to be Corrogue’s next crone

Now she’s past sixty and fully all grown

Having found home and her own Hallelujah!

Copyright © 2018 Bee Smith

And to all a good night!

Bee Smith facilitates creative writing workshops, with experience with all age groups and in men-only and women-only groups. She leads haiku walks in Northwest Ireland. If you would like to information about workshops and events and would like to be added to the mailing list please fill in the contact form.