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Category Archives: poetry

Town Twinning, Breakfast and A Poem

YesterdayI learned  from a friend that our town, Redruth, is twinned with Mineral Point in Wisconsin, USA! We knew that many Cornish hard rock miners emigrated to the states to take their much needed skills and I did a lot of research into that when I was part of the Perthi Kov team putting together our stories from St Euny graveyard for Until the Day Break. I think Wisconsin will have to be on our next US trip, whenever that can be. I wonder if any of my dear Readers are in Wisconsin. That would be really cool!

Our supermarket delivery came tonight. We have croissants for tomorrow’s breakfast!

I am not alone among my friends in having the odd wobble emotionally during this strange period in all our lives and I send my love out there to any of my readers also feeling the strangeness.  The following poem of Mary Oliver’s captures the essence of what we all need to do. Go out and sing!

I Worried by Mary Oliver

 
 

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A Poem, The Trellis and WildWorks

The following poem by Maya Angelou came my way today in remembrance and honour of Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died two days ago. She will be so greatly missed.

 

When Great Trees Fall – Maya Angelou 

When great trees fall,

rocks on distant hills shudder,

lions hunker down

in tall grasses,

and even elephants

lumber after safety.



When great trees fall

in forests,

small things recoil into silence,

their senses

eroded beyond fear.



When great souls die,

the air around us becomes

light, rare, sterile.

We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,

see with

a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,

examines,

gnaws on kind words

unsaid,

promised walks

never taken.


Great souls die and

our reality, bound to

them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,

dependent upon their

nurture,

now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed

and informed by their

radiance, 
fall away.

We are not so much maddened

as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
 of
dark, cold

caves.



And when great souls die,

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always

irregularly. Spaces fill

with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us:
They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed.

We have finished the painting and have put the trellis back in place. Next comes the planting after  we have replaced all the soil.

We had tickets tonight for the latest WildWorks show, Meet me at  the Edge, to be played out, socially distanced at Botallack. Sadly, it was cancelled on Friday as new Covid rules came into play that the National Trust have to abide by. Instead, the whole wonderful thing was live-streamed and we watched from home. It was so moving and beautifully done.  You can watch if you’d like to. I recommend it if you can find an hour.

 

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Suffragette Garden, Blue Sky and A Poem

The Japanese Anemones, the Verbenas Bonariensis and Lollipop and the Hebe are all flowering in my Suffragette Garden.

The sky has been a glorious blue today, here under and over the viaduct.

A young friend with a daughter about to go off to University is finding it hard (even harder, of course, for anyone in these Covid times than it was for us 20 years ago) but the words of Kahlil Gibran, that I have often read at Baby Namings, is still appropriate for all parents to remember.

 

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Walk, Moth and A Poem

Daughter No 3 has been here for the day along with her partner and their daughter and what a truly lovely day we have had together hanging out in the garden, having lunch and then a lively walk along the Flat Lode Trail. We haven’t seen them all for many months so this afternoon had its emotional moments.

Dancing up the trail

Two generations looking out of Wheal Uny

We spotted a little moth on the down pipe.I think it’s a Striped Twin-spot Carpet moth.

While the grownups were chatting, LiveWire No 4 declared herself bored and her daddy introduced us to a beautiful poem, ” You’re Bored, Child? ” by Felix Dennis, a poet new to me but one I intend to find out more about. Read it aloud, hear the assonance  and the alliteration, picture  ‘life’s miracle’ unfolding in front of you. I love it!

Look at the birds.
Learn to listen to their chatter,
Their flitting, twittering flights for no
Discernible purpose; the clatter
And the cawing of that black crow,
The furtive, dry-leaved peck and scrape
Of blackbirds blundering in a bush
Seeking worms and beetles; the shape
Of the wagtail’s wing; the shove and push
Of tits among the bacon rinds;
The eerie, invisible knock,
Knock knock as a woodpecker finds
A bark grub; the wheeling starling flock.
Look at the birds.

Look at the earth.
Scoop up a handful in your palm.
Not for nothing have men plundered,
Murdered, fought and wrought great harm
Among their kind — whole empires sundered —
Just to own it, or to believe
They did. Crumble it. What’s it worth?
Ask a farmer stooping to sheave
A field of sun ripe wheat. The Earth!
The land! Listen, listen to me!
The blood of kings lies in your hand,
What came before— and what shall be.
Think on it. Seek to understand.
Look at the earth.

Look at the sky.
An emptiness? The blue-walled womb
Of all that is, of all that ever
Grazed or grew or swam — and met its doom —
Beneath our tyrant sun. Forever
Heaving, blowing, sleeting, snowing,
Raining, resting — bringing with the night
Its velvet, eerie canvas, glowing
With long dead messengers of light.
And yet, who looks— with wit to see?
Should you take long enough to chart
This wheel of time and mystery
Life’s miracle will swamp your heart.
Look at the sky.

You’re bored, child?
 

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Flowers, Marmalade and A Poem

What a night!  There were wild August winds, driving rain and clatters of garden chairs trying to take off. Sadly much of the garden has been flattered as our small landscape has been altered but a disaster can be an opportunity so here we are with a lovely bunch of colour indoors of flowers that we rescued.

As we couldn’t spend much time outside today, we decided to make marmalade with the oranges we froze in January when the all too short Seville orange season was with us. That’s it for the year now. The tiny jars are for breakfast in bed should one of us fall ill.

My poet friend, Kim Ridgeon, penned the perfect poem for the day and for the strange emotions we are all feeling in these uncertain and disturbing times.  Please read it several times and feel the phrases that sum up the unpredictability of our lives right now.  I love this poem.

August Wind by Kim Ridgeon

 

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New Books, A Poem and Poppies

Two books arrived from my poet friend, Kim Ridgeon, yesterday and there are so many I want to share with you. I’ll start with a very timely one called, “Poppy Meditation”

 

Inspired by this beautiful, delicate poem, I have taken a series of photos of our Poppies.

‘soft silk red’

‘fragile beneath summer storm’

‘green wombed others wait their turn’

‘scarlet glory’

 

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Sign, Poppies and A Poem

We pass this gateway on our walk and I wonder what the sign at the bottom of the left hand post means. Does anyone know?

I love the golden sunny faces of these Poppies – Eschscholzia californica, the California poppy, golden poppy, California sunlight or cup of gold – what lovely names!

 

I was reminded by a dear friend of this thoughtful poem this morning and thought I would share it again. I last shared it in 2014 – it’s kind of the rationale for my blog.

Leisure by William Henry Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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