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Category Archives: poetry

Pinks , Purples and A Spanish Poem

Our garden has lots of pinks and purples at the moment and the contrast of orange here and there.

The Moon Comes Forth
By Federico García Lorca
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

When the moon is out
The bells die away
And impenetrable
Paths come to the fore.

When the moon is out
Water covers land
And the heart feels itself
An island in infinity.

No one eats oranges
Under the full moon.
It is right to eat
Green, chilled fruit.

When the moon is out
With a hundred faces all the same,
Coins of silver
Start sobbing in the pocket.

The Original:

La Luna Asoma

Cuando sale la luna
se pierden las campanas
y aparecen las sendas
impenetrables.

Cuando sale la luna,
el mar cubre la tierra
y el corazón se siente
isla en el infinito.

Nadie come naranjas
bajo la luna llena.
Es preciso comer,
fruta verde y helada.

Cuando sale la luna
de cien rostros iguales,
la moneda de plata
solloza en el bolsillo.

 

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Marmalade, John Masefield and Alstroemeria

We bought our Seville Oranges for marmalade in February but froze the oranges as we were too busy to make it so yesterday we set to and made two batches of the glorious golden stuff. Making it, smelling it boiling, always takes me back to my childhood to the kitchen in Daniell Road, Truro, when my parents used to make enough to last the whole year. Today, I labelled the jars and here they are. The tiny jars are for Breakfast-in-Bed treats!

I was wondering why John Masefield’s poem had come into my head this morning and, as I wrote the above paragraph, realised that the poem and the marmalade making memories belong to the same era! I had to learn this poem by heart when in the top class at Bosvigo Junior School, aged about 11. I loved it then and I do now – it’s the rhythm, the alliteration, the assonance and the sheer magic of the exotic words. I never did like the last verse as much as the first two.

Cargoes

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amethysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

John Masefield

These Alstroemeria flowers are the lovely Mr S’s favourites.

 

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Blackbird in Blossom and Edward Lear

On our walk down the lane this evening a Blackbird tracked us at least halfway and sang and sang – it was beautiful. He sat in the top of a Cherry tree in blossom and serenaded us!

Edward Lear was born on this day in 1812. This poem, The Owl and the Pussy-Cat,  has delighted me from being very young.

I
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
   And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
         You are,
         You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”
II
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
   How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
   But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
   With a ring at the end of his nose,
             His nose,
             His nose,
   With a ring at the end of his nose.
III
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
   Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
   By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

I have just read the newsletter from The Lost Gardens of Heligan where they honour our friend Bill Mitchell. It is a beautiful tribute that those of you who have followed my recent posts will appreciate.  http://newsletter.nixondesign.com/t/ViewEmail/r/A62CCE05D52F8D3D2540EF23F30FEDED/EA434ED4709CEF26BA4AF9908B8D85ED

 

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Tony Harrison, A Fox and Our Back Garden

It is April 30th and I have made an attempt to publish a poem every day throughout this Poetry Month – didn’t quite manage it! This one is a delight to me. Tony Harrison was born on this day in 1937 and his poem celebrates his Father who was adept at icing Wedding cakes but didn’t seem to mind that his work was ephemeral, destroyed in the celebration of a marriage. I love how Tony Harrison relates the ephemerality of the iced cake to the short life of the sandcastle built by him and his Dad as the tide comes in. I love the salt water of the sea tied up with the salt of his tears as he both remembers and mourns his Father.

The Icing Hand 
Tony Harrison 

That they lasted only till the next high tide
bothered me, not him whose labour was to make
sugar lattices demolished when the bride,
with help from her groom’s hot hand, first cut the cake.

His icing hand, gritty with sandy grains, guides
my pen when I try shaping memories of him
and his eyes scan with mine the rising tides
neither father nor his son could hope to swim.

His eyes stayed dry while I, the kid, would weep
to watch the castle that had taken us all day
to build and deck decay, one wave-surge sweep
our winkle-stuccoed edifice away.

Remembrance like ice cake crumbs in the throat,
remembrance like wind-blown Blackpool brine
overfills the poem’s shallow moat
and first, ebbing, salts, then, flowing, floods this line.

We had a fox in the back field today. The photo is on maximum zoom and isn’t very clear but gives you an idea of what we were watching for about twenty minutes.

As I was watching the fox, I thought a photo of the garden at the end of April might be right for tonight so here it is. You can see how lovely it is to have the field at the back of us.

 

 

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Stained Glass, James Fenton and A Gift of Flowers

We have a pretty little panel of stained glass that hangs in the kitchen window. This morning, before the blind was lifted, the early sun was shining through and lighting up the engine house.

There’s food for thought in this poem, The Ideal by James Fenton and I like it.

This is where I came from.
I passed this way.
This should not be shameful
or hard to say.

A self is a self.
It is not a screen.
A person should respect
what he has been.

This is my past
which I shall not discard.
This is the ideal.
This is hard.

Our lovely neighbour Sue came in for supper tonight and shared a photo of some remarkably beautiful flowers sent to her from Heligan in condolence and in the memory of her very special husband, Bill,  who died recently and for whom I posted on 14th April.

Sue’s flowers from the staff at The Lost Gardens of Heligan

 

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A Poem, A Dog and Wisteria

Regular readers will know how I appreciate a good poem, one that speaks to me. A one time pupil who became a student in our Training School, then a colleague and latterly a friend has written a delightful poem telling of the sudden temperature change that has been seen all over the UK today though without any hail or snow here in Cornwall. Natalie has given me permission to use her poem in tonight’s blog. Thank you, Natalie, I love the picture conjured up by your words.  The alliteration in

Sending the dog doollally
Dancing a dervish
Round the living room

is perfect!

Bella, photo taken by Natalie Doig

 

The temperature slumped
The light was sucked from
Us by cumulus nimbus,
Glooming black shroud,
Cracked open with a jolt
Of pink lightening,
And spitting balls of ice,
Which bounced on the lawn
Sending the dog doollally
Dancing a dervish
Round the living room
Spilling tea in scampering happiness,
At least someone was astonished
By April’s apocalyptic weather
Wagging her tail
Until the sun reemerged.

By Natalie Doig

I did take a photo of some gorgeous Wisteria but my camera didn’t have its memory card in – sorry!

 

 

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St Euny, Ribbons and Linda Pastan

Another trip to St Euny to measure up four graves which are to be marked by ribbons and then a trip to the ribbon shop! I love The Sewing Studio in Redruth!

I came across this poem for the first time recently and it caught my fancy. Let’s live every day as if it were our first and it fills us with astonishment at the beauty all around us.

Imaginary Conversation – Linda Pastan

You tell me to live each day
as if it were my last. This is in the kitchen
where before coffee I complain
of the day ahead—that obstacle race
of minutes and hours,
grocery stores and doctors.

But why the last? I ask. Why not
live each day as if it were the first—
all raw astonishment, Eve rubbing
her eyes awake that first morning,
the sun coming up
like an ingénue in the east?

You grind the coffee
with the small roar of a mind
trying to clear itself. I set
the table, glance out the window
where dew has baptized every
living surface.

 

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