RSS

Category Archives: poetry

Knifophia, Mural and A Poem

A walk along Cliff Road in Falmouth overlooking the flat glassy sea of Falmouth Bay was very lovely this morning. The plantings beside the path are looking very dramatic especially the Knifophia, a word I love!

 

We drove past one of my favourite shops, Just Delights, still not able to open, where the new mural has been painted by Liz Perry. I love her work, changing with the seasons. The Tour de France was going to come through Cornwall prior to the virus and so the bike was planned for that . As it is, many people are taking to their bikes on the emptier roads and this painting is just perfect.

 

You can skip the next bit if you like as it is not a conventionally beautiful thing, I know, but a striking poem which resonates with me especially right now.

The pulling down of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol over the weekend of Black Lives Matter demonstrations and the revelations (to some) that he was a slave dealer with the most appalling record (See this article by David Olusoga) brought to mind a poem I used to read with my teenagers. It is so powerful and allowed the teaching that wasn’t included in the history curriculum of the horrors of the slave trade upon which much of Britain’s wealth was made. The poem and the history brought teenagers to tears. Try reading it out loud with a strong rhythm and imagine the slaves in the depths of the ship as the poem  describes the similarity between a limbo dance and the transportation of African slaves into the West Indies and America.

Limbo by Edward Kamau Brathwaite

And limbo stick is the silence in front of me
limbo

limbo
limbo like me
limbo
limbo like me

long dark night is the silence in front of me
limbo
limbo like me

stick hit sound
and the ship like it ready

stick hit sound
and the dark still steady

limbo
limbo like me

long dark deck and the water surrounding me
long dark deck and the silence is over me

limbo
limbo like me

stick is the whip
and the dark deck is slavery

stick is the whip
and the dark deck is slavery

limbo
limbo like me

drum stick knock
and the darkness is over me

knees spread wide
and the water is hiding

limbo
limbo like me

knees spread wide
and the dark ground is under me

down
down
down
and the drummer is calling me

limbo
limbo like me

sun coming up
and the drummers are praising me

out of the dark
and the dumb god are raising me

up
up
up

and the music is saving me

hot
slow
step

on the burning ground.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Clematis, Supper and A Poem

We have a number of Clematis over the arch in the vegetable garden and this year the purple ones, Warsaw Nike,  are the most floriferous that they have ever been,eight flowers already and a dozen buds to come.

Tonight’s supper of Chicken Korma and Aloo Sag with Onion Bhajis was scrumptious.

The poet, Brian Bilston, has given me permission to post his new poem here. It’s for all of us who are outraged at the current circumstances, for those of us who have spent a life protesting and who are still at it when we can. A group of us, choir friends, would have been at the Black Lives Matter protests on Sunday morning but as we are self isolating, we will be lighting candles instead. I think it was written for our Dear friend, Ti, too.

 

Tags: ,

Sunset, Dylan Thomas and Earrings

Last night’s sunset was absolutely gorgeous! The crimson and golden glow crept across our sitting room so we went upstairs to capture the beauty of the setting sun sinking into the sea.

Today is International Dylan Thomas Day. I love the works of Dylan Thomas especially Under Milk Wood which I used to teach to GCSE students many years ago. I was brought up on this version on two long playing records with Richard Burton as the First Voice and here, for your delectation, is that wonderful voice with the inimitable words of Dylan Thomas.

Some time ago, I was offered the chance to have some earrings made, as a gift while in lockdown. The maker was unknown to me but here today, in the infrequent post, came a beautiful little pair of handmade silver and crystal earrings which I shall treasure. They are just 1″ long and very pretty. Thank you very much Karen.

 

Tags: , , ,

Lily of the Valley, A Poem and Happiness Calendar

May 1st is La Fete de Muguet in France when people give their loved ones little bunches of Muguet, Lily of the Valley. Our Dear Friend Kath, to whom I dedicate my blog and who died far too soon nearly eight years ago, loved France and we holidayed with her and Charlie in Meysaac a couple of times. Every May 1st she would give me a little bouquet of muguet when we were close enough or send a card if we weren’t. As soon as we moved here, I planted some Lily of the Valley in a shady spot and have picked a couple of flowers each year in Kath’s memory. This year there have been many blooms and I have brought them inside to share with you all in a spirit of love and friendship and in memory of my beautiful, much missed friend.

For Kath, Lily of the Valley and Rosemary

My poet friend, Kim Ridgeon wrote the perfect poem for today and with his permission, I share it with you here.

Here is this month’s Action for Happiness calendar, helping  us all to manage ourselves in these very strange times. Stay safe everyone.

If you would like a clearer copy to print off please use this link https://www.actionforhappiness.org/media/875756/may_2020.pdf

 

Tags: , , ,

Isolation, Walk and Sewing

The poet, Kim Ridgeon has written very movingly about isolation. Like me, he worries about those whose views, in isolation,  are just bricks and graffiti, who have nowhere beautiful to walk and he expresses that so clearly. He feels he wants to do something, as we all do, and here he is, doing something – writing poems that touch our hearts and set us thinking. I thank Kim for the permission to share his poem with you here.

Our walk today took us across the railway line and along some lovely lanes with the gift of open skies.  We are so very lucky.

I feel the same need to ‘do something’ and though I write for myself, my gift right now is being able to sew. I have made eleven scrub bags which will be collected tomorrow and sent to wherever they are needed. Although I am a political animal, I rarely show that here but I have very mixed feelings about being an amateur sewist doing my bit along with everyone else in the national movement to sew scrubs, caps and bags when our government has let the side down so very badly. NHS and other care workers are dying for lack of PPE. Clapping on Thursdays is good but proper funding over the last ten years would have been much better.

11 scrub bags

Thank you ribbons

 

Tags: , , , , ,

A Poem, New Leaves and Osteospermum

One of my Dear Friends from choir sent me this poem today – perfect for the strange and difficult times we are living in right now. Here, I give it to you, with love from J and from me.

S0METHING  LOVELY. By Kathleen O’Meara  1869

(Written after the Irish plague 1860.)

And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and were still
and listened more deeply
someone meditated
someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their own shadow
and people started thinking differently.

And people healed

And in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, mindless and heartless,

The earth began to heal.

And when the danger ended
the people found themselves.


They grieved for the dead
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways to live
and heal the earth fully
just as they had been healed.

The Acer has its beautiful new leaves which glow in the sunlight .

The Boody garden is beginning to bloom.

 

Tags: , ,

A Cat, Narcissi and A Poem

My post today is for our Dear Friend, N, with all the love we can muster. First, one of next door’s cats posing on a post.

Our Suffragette garden is full of white and green. The purple bits (crocuses/Hebe)  finished before the Narcissi burst into life or haven’t flowered yet (purple tulips)but we are reminded of the strength of those amazing women whenever we are in the front garden.  We can find that strength now.

This poem came my way the other day and I wrote to the poet to ask for permission to share it with you here – Serenity Prayer by Brian Bilston, so apt at the moment. Thank you BB. I have posted one of his poems before. Click here to read it.

 

 

Tags: ,

Lambs, A Video and World Poetry Day

We have watched the lambs in the back field with great delight today. The lovely Mr S took photos and I attempted a video in the gale that was blowing. It’s a bit wobbly and very noisy – you can’t hear the lambs talking to their mums – but I hope it will give you a feel for the experience.

 

It is World Poetry Day today and here I offer you a poem by a poet I much admire. I love his imagery and sensitivity, his use of language and, in this one, his reassurance.

Reassurance by Kim Ridgeon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags:

Sunset, Garden Flowers and A Poem

Nearly sunset when I took this photo but then the clouds came in and there was no colour at all but I do like how this one worked.

The wind has beaten down several blooms but that is merely an opportunity to pick them and have them indoors.

We have had Spring-like sunshine and blue skies for four days, though accompanied by cold winds  and I was reminded of Billy Collins’ poem, Today. We look forward to the properly warm Spring days with the ‘intermittent warm breezes’ that make us ‘want to throw open all the windows.’   I love the idea of releasing the little inhabitants of the snow domes!

Today

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze
that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house
and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,
a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies
seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking
a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,
releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage
so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting
into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.
 

Tags: ,

Kindness, Daffodils and Another Poem

Our lovely neighbour was in China last year and brought us back a beautiful picture of the character which means kindness. We had it framed before Christmas but have only just put it up. What a lovely piece – thank you, S.

The Tete a Tete in the Three Wise Monkeys planter are looking bright and sunny despite the wild weather.

I have posted this poem before but it seems to me that in today’s world we all need kindness, for ourselves and for others. I love how the poet captures that awful sinking moment when you think something is lost, those moments when you can’t quite believe that the rest of the world is going on as normal, those moments when something in the news just takes your breath away but kindness from a loved one or from a stranger can make your  day work again.

Kindness by Naomi Shibab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

 
 

Tags: ,

 
%d bloggers like this: