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A Recipe for Sophie Bancroft

Sophie’s Words: Spoken, written and sung

Recipe for Sophie Bancroft

23 Greenwood chromosomes
23 Bancroft chromosomes
Placental nutrition
Food and Water
Various different sized pots and pans
Set oven to 37 degrees Celsius

Preparation time – 9 months
Cooking time – 53 years and counting

  1. Combine the chromosomes in a suitable environment (a nice rioja, soft lighting and romantic music often works best) and allow to gestate for 9 months.
  2. Once baked remove from the oven and swaddle resulting bun in warm, soft blankets, feeding and cuddling at regular intervals.
  3. Once bun starts to walk add 2 twin brothers, 2 dogs, a cat and move to the country.
  4. Add a sprinkle of tortoises, a hutch of guinea pigs and rabbits and a donkey. Bake until hormones start simmering.
  5. Move to Edinburgh.
  6. Using patience, tolerance and some additional rioja, absorb the excess heat of teenage moments whilst nurturing the passion for horses and transfer to a larger pot.
  7. Using a wooden spoon beat the poor music choices to avoid any lumps and place the developing interest in jazz over a low heat.
  8. Transfer the slightly irrelevant university degree to a small sealed jar and place in the fridge whilst keeping the burgeoning music career just below boiling point.
  9. In a clean pan, whisk the unexpected job in jazz education in Oxfordshire well, and then transfer to a large casserole on return to Edinburgh with an unexpected baby.
  10. Keep in oven at a low heat for several years until finding a husband.
  11. Fold in gently using a metal spoon and wedding ring.
  12. Move to the country again and add another baby, a dog, cat and some goldfish.
  13. Slow cook for a further 18 years until both babies have left the pot.
  14. Transfer contents to a smaller pan and see what happens next.



SOPHIE’S WORDS: Spoken, Written and Sung


taut shiny       skin laden
with april showers, plump with
summer sun. delicate green, striated
rose blush gently cascading from the core
where once lay the stalk, an umbilical, ripped
in its prime. lordly overview to humble bowl.
placed with care on top of a haphazard
mound, leaning a resigned stillness,
curving silence, waiting for fingers
to enfold cool succulent flesh,
teeth penetrating peel
that surrenders the
first crisp bite

Image result for copyright symbol Sophie Bancroft Jan 2018












Country Lane

SOPHIE’S WORDS: Spoken, Written and Sung

Country Lane

A soiled nappy
sealed with ironic propriety
lies flaccid and grey
staining the green grass verge.

Muddy polythene sheet
flaps like shoddy petticoats
flung over the sandstone wall.
Its plastic pallor
contradicts a time-worn tapestry
of silver lichens and dusky oranges.

Cheap maroon sofa
sagging in shame
blights the entrance to a golden field
spiked and preened from harvest.

And that lovely couple from the white stone cottage
wander down the lane.
Their curly-haired boy on his shiny red bicycle
weaves delight between them.
swinging from their arms
fit to receive the blackberry bounty
hanging plump in the hedgerows.

they gather empty crisp packets
plastic bottles
sweet wrappers
cigarette ends.

Image result for copyright symbol Sophie Bancroft Jan 2018

My Solitude

SOPHIE’S WORDS: Spoken, Written and Sung

For the first time in more than 25 years I spent 3 days and nights on my own.

My Solitude – 3rd July 2017

I have enjoyed my solitude.
I have enjoyed my solitude because it is finite.
I have enjoyed my solitude because you will come.

Unbroken reverie,
Undisturbed sleeps in a king size bed without the King,
Only broken by my stirrings, my sounds, my heat, my smell.
Watching guilty pleasures on TV for as long as I can bear.
Shopping for one,
A feast of favourite things,
Eaten when hunger strikes,
Not because it is dinner time.
Toilet door unlocked,
Sometimes even left wide open,
Only the dog can peep in to my private world.
I use one water glass,
One mug, maybe two.
The washing up builds slowly,
A diary of my solitary dinner parties.
Stained plates tell each story
As tea leaves at the bottom of a cup.
I buy one fig at the greengrocer
Because it looks good.
The radio is on in a far off room,
Other peoples conversations,
But conversations all the same.
I tune in, or out, as I please.
I eat mindfully in case I choke.
Puts me off snacking, in case I am punished.
I let my hair sit a little longer
In its accumulating dirt,
Revitalised and unpeeled when I finally get round to showering.
My inner peace is loud,
To drown out beckoning fears.
I walk the dog and run my 5K with compulsive discipline,
Even though it is only I who will know.
My tinnitus becomes more apparent,
Cocooning me in a white noise cell.
The days go quicker than I hoped,
Achieving less than I imagined.
A faint whiff of disappointment lingers,
An objective glimpse of unrealistic expectations,
A context for who I am now.

I enjoy my own company.
I am beginning to realise this.
Years of family, children, dogs, cats, mortgages, husband
In no particular order.
I have forgotten about my own company,
In fact I don’t know if I ever knew it before.
I am my new friend.
Quiet, sad, unexciting, very relaxed,
With everything in common,
Easy to be with,
Comfortable with silence.

I have enjoyed my solitude.
I have enjoyed my solitude because it is finite.
I have enjoyed my solitude because you will come.



SOPHIE’S WORDS: Spoken, Written and Sung

I have recently returned from an amazing Space/Time Creative Retreat in Dumfries and Galloway, run by Magnetic North, where myself, four other participants and two facilitators focused on the questions surrounding how we keep ourselves nourished as creative practitioners as we move in to middle age and beyond.

One of the exercises we were encouraged to do took place in a stunning forest, one of the Seven Stanes moutain biking areas run by the forestry commission. We were asked to head off on our own for an hour, and keep to the forefront of our thoughts, a particular question or problem we were ruminating on. We then had to notice what drew our attention, whether it be a sight, sound or smell and turn our full attention to it. Once we felt we had focused on it as deeply as we could, we were then to focus even more deeply, and then deeper still.

We were to use nature as a metaphor to help us solve this question or problem.

I carried my question of ‘ how do I present myself and my work now that I have entered middle age?’ My attention was drawn to a cut tree stump, which had a big chunk of decay. As I looked, I realised that as much as the intact bark and wood held its beauty and solidity, the area of the tree stump that was worn and decayed held much more character, interest and uniqueness. As I looked closer and closer, a whole stunning interior presented itself, which kept getting more incredible as I focused in. Equally stunning were the bits of green life that had set up home on the decay, with new life being sustained from the ageing life.

The clarity this exercise gave me has filled me with excitement for the next phase of my creative life and work.

Thank you to that tree stump and Alice who suggested the exercise.


Inner Child

SOPHIE’S WORDS: Spoken, Written and Sung

This poem was written during an Authentic Artist Workshop (Jan 2017) led by Kath Burlinson, who encouraged a deeper delving in to the self – a scary and emotional roller coaster. Here is something I found on that journey that I hope will serve me, and those around me, well.


I shall nurture the hidden inner child
No longer ostracised for her mere presence.
Listened to.
Satiating her need for love, attention and warmth.
It is not her who is the problem!
She is, but a child,
Formed by external forces
Binding, bending, stretching her perceptions,
Her needs, her delights, her woes.
She needs to be heard.
She needs to know that she is worthy,
That she is good enough, that she is loved, that she is relevant.
And then she will be peaceful,
Providing a constant source of joy, love and inspiration.


SOPHIE’S WORDS: Spoken, Written and Sung


These words heal
Encapsulate a notion, an experience, a resonance
A fear, a bleeding hurt
Stored to the depth of my spine
For an eternity.

These words release
Holding, aching, pulling,
Defining a hidden mystery
Rooted with tentacles of anxiety that flood my soul
A deluge of adrenalin.
Fight or flight.

These words flow,
With energy, chosen carefully
Each one placed to paint thought,
Emotion, physical or the sacred.
Textures of pain, streaks of sweat,
Stains of blood, smudges of tears,
Fabric of love, threads of me, frame of family.

These words express
From how I may appear,
Sure and calm, strong and clear.
Windows opened on dark rooms.
Shutters flung wide on monstrous failures.
Doors beaten down to reveal the truth.
Who I really am!

These words save
Those that have come before.
Un-cherished, unappreciated, mistrusted and dismissed.
Crumpled, scrunched and tossed aside,
Filling an unsightly bin.
A paupers grave.

New words gather, embracing the old.
Collective nouns call to a new page
Giving purpose and life
To breathe their past existence in to the now.
Resurrection, reincarnation


SOPHIE’S WORDS: Spoken, Written and Sung

A poem about trying to create something – that fragile moment when ‘it’ needs to come to you without your mind getting in the way.


Tentative tendrils
Reach out to embrace a wisp of thought,
A soupcon of motivation,
A minutiae of meaning,
A feather-tip of feeling,
A crumb of connection.

The tiniest seed has been activated.
No sign of life, of energy,
But resonating with a fragile will
That can only ascend towards its potential.
Let it be.
It is but a seed.

As an acorn lies upon the forest bed,
No thoughts of magnificence shadow its first trembling,
No cries of greatness drown the gentle awakening,
No gargantuan branches swathed in glorious leaves
Hamper its singularly simple self-esteem.
Let it be.
It is but an acorn.

A thought, a whisper,
A tingle, a flicker.
Without expectation.
Without doubt.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Let it be.
It is but a start.

Women’s March

SOPHIE’S WORDS: Spoken, Written and Sung

On 21st January 2017, along with my daughter and husband,  I attended the amazing Womens March in Edinburgh. Loads and loads of gentle, strong women, children and men standing up against hatred and intolerance.  After the horrors of Brexit and the rise of Trump in 2016, standing amongst  those like-minded souls, and knowing there were hundreds of thousands more  standing around the world on the same day, gave me a strong and real sense of hope after feeling so much despair.

I wrote this poem afterwards, which I recently performed at Kino Teatr in Hastings – my first ever Spoken Word performance.

Women’s March

I stand, amidst the turbulence,
Feet wide and firm,
Trying to deflect the waves strong enough to topple,
To brace against the threatening furious fears,
To absorb the power to find the calm.

Can I shout waves loud enough to turn back this rising tide,
A rising tide I don’t want to see?
Do I whisper,
To reluctantly welcome the ebb and flow, surf the changes
Keeping my toes dry?
Or do I jump in and fight?
Risk drowning.
Risk being consumed by waves seemingly larger than myself.

I can duck and dive.
I can float and fly.
I can swim and sway like seaweed, tossed on the ocean floor,
Flailing arms in stormy seas,
Yet, remaining intact, tethered and safe.
I can ride the white horses in the direction I choose
And call the ocean’s spray to sing the words I want to hear.
The words I believe.

And like each tiny, unique snowflake that forms an avalanche
I am but one water molecule amongst a billion,
Bound with attraction to the same ideals.
Flowing in the same direction.
We will be a tsunami,
Ripping out the heart of the fascists, the racists, the sexists.

Yes, I am jumping in,
Feet first, with every intention of getting soaked.


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