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Category Archives: poetry

St Ives, Pages of the Sea and Peace

We’ve been in St Ives today for the Pages of the Sea event initiated by Danny Boyle to commemorate 100 years since the Armistice was signed and WW1 came to an end. It was one of thirty such events on beaches around Britain today. My choir was singing. Several of us wore white poppies which symbolise two important things. The white poppy is to remember ALL the dead, those of all nationalities caught up in the horror of war as soldiers or civilians and to show our commitment to working for Peace.

St Ives when we arrived

Flowers left at low tide to be taken as the tide came in

The sand art at Porthmeor, courtesy of WildWorks. Captain Edward ‘Teddy’ Hain (15 August 1887 – 11 November 1915)

Waiting for the tide to wash away the image of the soldier

Being washed away by the incoming tide

One of the soldiers being remembered today and, on the back, a beautiful and very moving poem written for today by Carol Ann Duffy

St Ives as we were leaving

Other beaches in Cornwall had sand drawings of soldiers too.

Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle. On Porthcurno Beach

On Perranporth Beach. Photo by Naomi Smith

 

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2018 in Cornwall, Peace, Photography, poetry, Postaday2018

 

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A Painting, A Poem and A Banned Ad

It has been the roughest of days – rain overflowing from the guttering and streaming down the windows and wild, wild  wind, leaves blown hither and thither and strange thumps from outside while things are blown around the yard. So – I give you a  wonderful painting by Giuliana Lazzerini evoking the warmth of a summer day.

To The Sky by Giuliana Lazzerini 1998

We met Brian Patten many years ago when in Yorkshire and he signed his book, ‘Love Poems’ for me. This delightful poem is from that collection. I think we all need the ‘safeguard against imagining’ that there is ‘nothing bright or special in the world.’  There is and we need to keep reminding each other of the good, the bright and the special.

The Stolen Orange

When I left I stole an orange
I kept it in my pocket
It felt like a warm planet
Everywhere I went smelt of oranges
Whenever I got into an awkward situation
I’d take out the orange and smell it
And immediately on even dead branches I saw
The lovely and fierce orange blossom
That smells so much of joy
When I went out I stole an orange
It was a safeguard against imagining
There was nothing bright or special in the world
BP
I am a political animal though I don’t often allow that part of my life in here where I search always for the bright and the special. I read today that the following advert aimed at the Christmas market has been banned. I think it has a message that should be shared, irrespective of the company it is advertising so here it is.

https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3065937/iceland-blocked-from-airing-palm-oil-christmas-advert

Checking the published post, I find that the verses of Brian Patten’s poem are all squashed together instead of three line verses. I have tried to correct this but WordPress won’t let me.

 
 

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Herb Garden, Chimneys and Book No 5

It’s my Mum’s birthday today and, of course, she has been in my mind especially today. I was thinking about what I had learned from her – about gardening, cooking, being forgiving, being kind and above all, finding the good in everyone and the beauty in everything. Mum always had a herb garden close to the kitchen as we do too.

Mum also collected old chimneys to plant up and I have inherited them. You can see just a few in the next photo.

Some of Mum’s chimneys, this front one with Heliotrope still in flower on 5th November and planted every year to remember Mum

Mum’s father was Welsh, she was half Welsh and I am one quarter Welsh. My book today is Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas. When I was very young we used to listen to this fabulous confection of words and magical imagination on two vinyl records and I heard it often.  Later I was bought the tapes and later still, I chose to teach it as part of the GCSE English literature course. I know it almost by heart.

Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas on vinyl

Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas on cassette tapes

Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas

 

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Daily Stuff, Clematis and Red Leaves

Storm Callum has been beating its way across Cornwall today and we have mostly stayed indoors doing the everyday stuff. This poem by Naomi Shibab Nye, Daily,  seems the right one for today though no washing was hung outside!

Daily - Naomi Shihab Nye
These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips
 
These T-shirts we fold into
perfect white squares
 
These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl
 
This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out
 
This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of sky
 
This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it
 
The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world

 

The Clematis over the arch is hanging very low making it hard to get through – but I love how it looks this late into the season. Even after the storm, it is still looking good though blown about all day. We still have dangerous winds to come…….

Clematis taking over

Yesterday in Penryn, these richly coloured leaves caught my attention.

Red

 

 

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Road Trip Day 12 – Ghost Town at Animas Forks

Saturday 15th September 2018

Having looped all around, we drove back to Durango today and met our dear friends from Flagstaff with whom we are to share a few days of our trip. They have a 4×4 in which they have offered to drive us into the back country on the road known as the Alpine Loop to visit a Ghost Town, left abandoned by the gold and silver miners in the early 1900s and which by 1920 was a Ghost Town. First a gallery to show some of the sights on today’s drive of 186 miles.

From Durango off we went to find Animas Forks, a little town which I found very moving indeed.
Some of my readers may remember the research I did in 2016 into a Cornish tin miner who emigrated to Colorado, taking his sought after hard rock mining skills. This was the kind of place he may have come to. For those new to my work – his fiancée, Mary, followed him, travelling alone across the seas from Cornwall then across the USA to be with her John. They married and had a child, Foster, whose war grave is in St Euny Graveyard, just down the road from us. John died when Foster was very young and Mary returned to Redruth, with her little boy, to be with her family – another challenging and amazing journey for a young woman in the late 1800s.  Foster died in 1916, while in training to join WW1 and his mother died just 6 months later. They are buried in the same grave in St Euny.
I walked around this remote town in the mountains imagining Mary, fresh from Cornwall, in this bleak environment.

The drive was another challenging one but this time we weren’t driving! The Quaking Aspens were becoming more beautiful by the day, the road rougher and the destination more remote. What must Mary, coming to meet her much loved man, have been thinking as she made this journey at only 21 years old?

If you’d like to know more about Animas Forks, here is a link to Wikipedia 

 

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Swans, National Poetry Day, Bumper Stickers and Kath

Waiting on the quayside to see our boat brought in for the winter, I watched a family of swans glide by. There are seven cygnets, one parent leading and the other bringing up the rear, but I could only catch the beginning of the line. It’s lovely to see that all seven have reached such a size safely. You can see five of them as fluffy babies if you click this link.

Swan family on their way by

There have been poems on the BBC all day to mark National Poetry Day. Over the years I have been writing this blog I have given you many of my favourites. Today, I give you the one that the lovely Mr Smith has chosen, Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas.

Fern Hill – Poem by Dylan Thomas

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and
cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was
air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the
nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking
warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would
take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Waiting later at the lights to leave the quay, I was behind a van with some bumper stickers that I liked so out came my camera!

Save the bees; AIDS awareness;Peace

This post is for my very Dear Friend, Kath, who died far too soon on this day in 2011 and in whose memory I write this Blog. Someone said that we die twice – once when we stop breathing and the second time when our name is said for the last time. Kath lives on, in my heart, in my memory and in my living. Cheers Kath, and thanks for your love.

 

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Road Trip Day 10 – Black Canyon of the Gunnison

From Montrose, we drove to The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, another National Park.
From the NPS website :-
“Big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time, Black Canyon of the Gunnison exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. With two million years to work, the Gunnison River, along with the forces of weathering, has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky.”

It’s a remarkable place, deep, steep and narrow gorges carved out by the river over millennia.

 

 

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