The Vagabond

Photo by Graham Denyer

This week’s Online with Orlando content comes courtesy of Mandy Macdonald, and is both a Show and Tell Orlando ?

Mandy Macdonald is 77 and is an Australian writer living in Aberdeen. She’s written about 250 poems which have appeared in various publications in Scotland and further afield, and a pamphlet, The Temperature of Blue, published in 2020 by Blue Salt Collective.

Mandy is a former independent researcher and consultant in international development, human rights and gender equality issues and is also an editor and translator. When not writing, she makes music and gardens. You can find Mandy online through her Facebook profile.

Mandy says:

The cat in question isn’t my own, in fact he’s such a vagabond it’s not entirely clear which house in our street he does belong to. But we’re on his daily visiting list.

Photo by Graham Denyer

Winter Guest

Wind claws like the hand of a ghost 
at the kitchen door. I step out

to pick sage, rosemary, bay.
The young cat joins me on the cobbled path

slippery with half-melted snow already turning to mud.
He is always silent, this cat, appearing suddenly, 

snow-booted, a slim gust of winter
skimming along the top of the low wall. 

Heraldic, banded tail high, he paces ahead of me 
back into the house, through the long kitchen, 

the dining room, up the stairs, according to his ritual.
When he has visited every room, he appears again

and then exits, ignoring me. 
I close the door on the quarrelsome wind.

Later I find small brown footprints 
on the stair carpet, in the bedrooms.
But I will not sweep away just yet  
this gift, this record of acquaintance.

Our monthly flash theme for March was d/Deafness

Are you d/Deaf? Do you live with hearing loss, tinnitus or disorders of the ear? This March, we’re honouring Hearing Loss Awareness Month with content which signposts to important organisations and sources of support. Hearing conditions, d/Deafness and tinnitus have numerous causes and can happen at any stage of life. They are, however, more common in later life, and can have a significant impact on mental health and quality of life without proper support, inclusion or understanding. We’re especially aware of how creativity can enhance quality of life, so we’d love you to get in touch and tell us about how you manage tinnitus, hearing loss or d/Deafness through creativity. You can do this through a short poem, story or memoir, and we have book prizes for the best one!

Send us your entries by midnight on March 31st, and the winning entry, chosen by Autumn Voices, will receive Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky, published by Faber and Faber and Deaf Sentence by David Lodge, published by Penguin (Harvill Secker).

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