Some thoughts from the viewpoint of 4 and a bit decades into the fray…

Those who know me probably also know that I’m pretty underqualified to dispense life advice!

But it’s that transitional season where the leaves fall and the young move into the next phase, new school years, new schools, college. Etc. And with the ‘noise’ of social media I feel they are under more pressure than ever to perform on every level. So here’s my advice. It may or may not be helpful.

Don’t mess with your face!

The worrying vogue for filling your uniquely beautiful, youthful features with synthetic junk is heartbreaking. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that you will only realise just how gorgeous you were from a distance of decades. And more practically noone knows yet what the long term damage this stuff does.

Never compare yourself with others!

You are you, your journey is your journey. Turn away from the images and narrative that would have us seek nothing more than a pointlessly sculpted butt, or the most exhausting Instagram feed and go deeper. Looks, career, relationships…they are just a tiny facet of the big picture that is existing in this universe.

Never, ever judge!

Because life has an uncanny knack of teaching us empathy and tolerance. And you never know when you might need a sympathetic ear.

Do nothing!

Not all the time of course. But meditate. Or just go outside to sit and listen to the breeze and birdsong. Because that is when the real work goes on. The immune system rebuilds, the subconscious pushes inspiration to the surface, your nervous system settles and your spirit steps into the light.


Even when your heart hurts. It releases chemicals to soothe pain. There is always a bright side and if not a bright side then a lesson. Even if that lesson is just being able to look back and give yourself a hug for being amazing enough to have got through that.

No regrets!

The fact is you’ll probably drink too much for too long or smoke or do drugs, have unhealthy relationships and dodgy sex. You’ll say and do things that hurt people and you’ll pass opportunities by. But that’s all about teaching us to take personal responsibility, breaking patterns, forming new ones, learning and growing. If we start out perfect what’s the point of being here at all?


You’ll get ill if you don’t. Fact.

Keep asking questions!

Stay curious or die (inside at any rate).


Make sure you really, REALLY want that tattoo…

Storm breaks

Too full of their burdens,
the clouds’ sides tear.
Veil of tears drops to earth
Washing away the grime of days,
Dashing flotsam down drains.

A pluviophile lies listening
Thrilled by thunder,
Clarion of fresh starts.

Garden I

Close by the summerhouse door,
Bees busy on an obelisk
of tiny blue blooms –
survival’s not for slackers –
Jackdaws bicker,
flustering their rooftop politics.

Damp in the hem of the breeze
that brushes shell shards
of wind chimes pinned long ago
to painted wooden eaves.
Honeysuckle breathes out
it’s sweet portent of evening.


~ Polly Oliver 2020

Short forms

I’m still not writing well, or even at all, so I forced my hand to try some short poetry forms. Here’s a haiku and a cinquain.


Like wildflowers

Memories bloom suddenly,

Unruly and sweet.




In a blue bowl,

Skins plump with bloody juice.

Temptation encapsulated.

I bite.


~Polly Oliver 2020





On a perch of dark rock
Eyes upon the sea.
I watched you poised likewise
Sea raven, onyx-backed sculpture.
My Jurassic reflection
Across the slow-swirling bay.

Only you –
Spear-faced talisman –
Had power to dive or fly
Three realms at your griffin feet.

Crunch of pebbles at the end
Of my scrambling descent.
Clumsy in just one dimension
And I looked again.

Just a mercury skin ripple
Beneath where you’d been.

Polly Oliver ~January 2020