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Category Archives: poetry

Resting, Waiting and A Mike Harding Poem

It’s been a quiet, stay-at-home, curl-up-with-a-good-book, rest-after-hectic-holiday sort of a day while Storm Brian begins to make its way across Britain, starting with us in the South West.

I saw this in Tiger in North Finchley on Wednesday and it made me laugh so I had to buy it. I do cook with Tarragon too.

Here is a brilliant poem by Mike Harding for you that came my way yesterday and which touched a chord.

One Swallow

Remember how you’d drive at night in summers past
Through fogs and mists of midges, 
Blizzards of fat bugs, snowstorms of moths
All melting on the windscreen glass?
Long, hot, country miles, you’d drive
Dry eyed and squinting out into the dark, cursing,
The windscreen frosted with their last moments,
The wipers useless, washer water gone.
You’d get back home to find the hurl and heft
And spatter, the great smears of death,
The legions lost, all dashed and hurtled to their end –
Guts, brains and wings, thorax and antennae –
Pulped into a patina you’d have to soap and scour away.

But Death comes easy for them now, no battering
Oblivion at seventy miles an hour, head on,
Just the toxic rain of money slathered across 
The meadows, hills and downs.
One swallow makes a summer now;
Soon she’ll be gone too with the bees, 
The birdsong and the riotous great clamour
That once welcomed every dawn.
And, as we face each silent year
And see the dustbowl fells and fields, 
We’ll weep for what we all have lost:
For clouds of midges, nights alive with moths, 
The scimitars of swallows, martins, swifts,
The wrens and sparrows, nightingales and jays
And the chanting birds that caroled once
All across those golden, summer days.

(From “Fishing For Ghosts” Available via the online shop at www.mikeharding.co.uk)

Sunflower to attract insects September 2014

 

 

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White Dahlia, Pink Amaryllis and Friendship

Our white Dahlias are very lovely this year. They seem to have found their feet at last.

White Dahlia in our garden

I have been singing with friends this afternoon, getting ready for a performance in November. Their garden is glorious but only this photo worked today as I am getting to know how my new camera works.

Amaryllis in J&M’s garden

My Blog is dedicated to my lovely friend, Kath, who died six years ago today. In Sonnet 104, Shakespeare talks about the value of friendship and the fact that enduring friendship remains intact despite the “process of the seasons” and the passing of the years.

To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride;
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turned
In process of the seasons have I seen;
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burned,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah yet doth beauty, like a dial hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceived.
  For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred:
  Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.
I have written almost every day with Kath in mind, a total so far of 2,309 posts in her memory.
 

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Cornish Lane, Wooden Cat and John Keats

I love our Cornish lanes with gnarled old trees which form a tunnel over the lane.

Cornish lane

For many years we have had a small wooden cat, bought when we no longer had our cats having given them to our daughter so that they could live in the countryside and we, just retired, could go on holidays without having to find cat-sitters.  He has been sitting in our hall since we came back to Cornwall almost ten years ago.  Last week, one of our dear friends had to say goodbye to her much-loved cat, Bussie, and wondered if anyone had a small cat ornament that she would put in her rather special beach garden. We both felt that it was time for our lovely wooden cat to be passed on to Sue who is absolutely delighted and has painted him in Bussie’s colouring already and he now sits in the beach garden. It has been lovely for us to do something so simple to make our friend so happy.

Bussie, the wooden replica, from us to Sue

For some reason that I cannot fathom, thinking about cats put me in mind of John Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn, another poem, one verse of which we had to learn by heart many years ago. In groups then and in unison,  we had to recite our verse and others recited the other verses. It was not a favourite then but maybe the last two lines lodged in my brain all those years ago.

Ode on a Grecian Urn

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness, 
       Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, 
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express 
       A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: 
What leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape 
       Of deities or mortals, or of both, 
               In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? 
       What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? 
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? 
               What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? 
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard 
       Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; 
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d, 
       Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: 
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave 
       Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare; 
               Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, 
Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve; 
       She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, 
               For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! 
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed 
         Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu; 
And, happy melodist, unwearied, 
         For ever piping songs for ever new; 
More happy love! more happy, happy love! 
         For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d, 
                For ever panting, and for ever young; 
All breathing human passion far above, 
         That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d, 
                A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. 
Who are these coming to the sacrifice? 
         To what green altar, O mysterious priest, 
Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, 
         And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? 
What little town by river or sea shore, 
         Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, 
                Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn? 
And, little town, thy streets for evermore 
         Will silent be; and not a soul to tell 
                Why thou art desolate, can e’er return. 
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede 
         Of marble men and maidens overwrought, 
With forest branches and the trodden weed; 
         Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought 
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! 
         When old age shall this generation waste, 
                Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe 
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st, 
         “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all 
                Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
 

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Ducks, Silver Linings and A Blackberry Poem

Driving into Truro this afternoon, we followed a van the rear of which which made me smile.

Ducks

Driving home, the grey sky was suddenly lit in such a way that we seemed to be looking through some torn holes to see the silver lining.

Silver holes in the sky

I was given this poem yesterday and it delighted me both as an eater of Blackberries and a bit of a wordsmith.

Blackberry Eating – Galway Kinnell

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry-eating in late September.

Isn’t it a delight?

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 29, 2017 in Beauty, Humour, nature, Photography, poetry, postaday2017

 

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Autumn Equinox, Hector and Christina Rosetti

It’s been a blowy wet day for the Autumn Equinox and the BBC have kept us entertained with  Autumn poems at various time of the day.

I am not a dog lover but three dogs have won me over. Yesterday it was Thyme, a gentle and very sweet Greyhound, today it was Hector, a very lovely Spaniel in the Osteopath’s office and Kaja, a Golden Labrador, is a long time favourite.

Hector

This morning Radio 4 played Christina Rosetti’s poem, Who Has Seen the Wind?  talking about the beauty of that which we cannot see:

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind? 
Neither I nor you: 
But when the leaves hang trembling, 
The wind is passing through. 
Who has seen the wind? 
Neither you nor I: 
But when the trees bow down their heads, 
The wind is passing by.
I learned this by heart as a child but didn’t then understand what it was all about. It was lovely to hear it again this morning.
 
 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 22, 2017 in Beauty, nature, Photography, poetry, postaday2017

 

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Lo Yisa Goy, Autumn Rain and Garden View

I told you a couple of weeks ago that my choirs were leaning a new song for our part in World Peace Day tomorrow. Here is a recording sent to me today by our choir leader.    

After a couple of sunny days a front is moving through and so we have had Autumn rain. Here is a poem by Mary Oliver to celebrate  Rain


Last Night the Rain Spoke To Me – Mary Oliver

Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,

what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again

in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,

smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches

and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing

under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,

and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment,
at which moment

my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars

and the soft rain—
imagine! imagine!
the wild and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.

Here is a view from indoors of our Tinner’s Hound in our rainy garden. He is still laughing!

Tinner’s Hound by David Kemp

 

 

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A Bag, A Watering Can and A Poem

I love this bag, seen today after singing and belonging to a very good friend. I love all things owly.

Owl bag

I found this planted watering can outside a cafe in Penryn.

Seen in Penryn

This poem came my way today and seemed apt given all the rain showers we have had this summer. I hope you like it too.

Last Night the Rain Spoke To Me – Mary Oliver

Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,

what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again

in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,

smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches

and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing

under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,

and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment,
at which moment

my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars

and the soft rain—
imagine! imagine!
the wild and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 14, 2017 in Beauty, photography, poetry, postaday2017

 

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