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World Poetry Day – Autumn and Two Birthdays

Today I bring you three poems to mark the day – a favourite “Poem in October” by Dylan Thomas, a beautiful ode to Autumn from Elizabeth Jennings  followed by the lyrics of a song that never fails to move me to tears, “Voice of Change” by Jaime Lock.

It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth.

My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.

A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
Summery
On the hill’s shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
To the rain wringing
Wind blow cold
In the wood faraway under me.

Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
With its horns through mist and the castle
Brown as owls
But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel
My birthday
Away but the weather turned around.

It turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky
Streamed again a wonder of summer
With apples
Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
Of sun light
And the legends of the green chapels

And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and sea
Where a boy
In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
And the mystery
Sang alive
Still in the water and singingbirds.

And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
In the sun.
It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart’s truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year’s turning.

“Leaved with October blood”

Song at the Beginning of Autumn – Elizabeth Jennings

Now watch this autumn that arrives
In smells. All looks like summer still;
Colours are quite unchanged, the air
On green and white serenely thrives.
Heavy the trees with growth and full
The fields. Flowers flourish everywhere.

Proust who collected time within
A child’s cake would understand
The ambiguity of this –
Summer still raging while a thin
Column of smoke stirs from the land
Proving that autumn gropes for us.

But every season is a kind
Of rich nostalgia. We give names –
Autumn and summer, winter, spring –
As though to unfasten from the mind
Our moods and give them outward forms.
We want the certain, solid thing.

But I am carried back against
My will into a childhood where
Autumn is bonfires, marble, smoke;
I lean against my window fenced
From evocations in the air.
When I said autumn, autumn broke

Fungi flourish in Autumn

 

Voice of Change – by Jaime Lock and music by Claire Ingleheart

 

I won’t, let the sea at my shore

Be a home, for our waste, no not anymore

I won’t let, the trees green and tall

Be cut down, for profit, I won’t watch them fall.

 

I won’t, let the air that I breathe

Be so full of, pollution, from all the industry

For we need, to work side by side

We can’t tell, our children, that we have not tried.

 

I won’t, let the earth where we stand

Be disrupted, corrupted, by our human hand

You can’t run, nor can you hide away

Don’t wait for, tomorrow, we’re needed today.

 

For it’s time, be the voice of change

Come together, stand together, here we will remain

Put the earth first, like they did long before

For my soul and your soul, live deep in her core.

For my soul and your soul, live deep in her core.

For my soul and your soul, live deep in her core.

 

Commissioned by Dreadnought South West

This was sung at Ti’s 100th birthday on the beach where she held a Climate Protest Party and asked for trees to be planted in her name rather than have any personal gifts. Here she is being interviewed by local press.

Ti’s birthday party

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Clematis, Petal and Callianthus,

There are still some pretty flowers in the garden.

Fallen petal from Begonia

 

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Optimism, Strangers and Humanism

October has arrived with rain and wind, surging tides and threats of floods around the Cornish coast. The tail end of Lorenzo is due to hit at the weekend – so – here is Action for Happiness’ advice for beating the dark days in October:

I have posted several of Naomi Shihab Nye’s poems before. (Put her name into the search to find them all.). This is another very moving piece with a philosophy that I applaud.

The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.

Let’s go back to that.
Rice? Pine nuts?
Here, take the red brocade pillow.
My child will serve water
to your horse.

No, I was not busy when you came!
I was not preparing to be busy.
That’s the armor everyone put on
to pretend they had a purpose
in the world.

I refuse to be claimed.
Your plate is waiting.
We will snip fresh mint
into your tea.

Naomi Shihab Nye -1952

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

A Poem For You Dear Readers

I couldn’t resist posting this for my readers and friends who are poets and for those of you who love poems as much as I do, even though it isn’t Monday and even though I am taking a break.  For Kim and Kari in particular.

Monday – Billy Collins

The birds are in their trees,
the toast is in the toaster,
and the poets are at their windows.

They are at their windows
in every section of the tangerine of earth-
the Chinese poets looking up at the moon,
the American poets gazing out
at the pink and blue ribbons of sunrise.

The clerks are at their desks,
the miners are down in their mines,
and the poets are looking out their windows
maybe with a cigarette, a cup of tea,
and maybe a flannel shirt or bathrobe is involved.

The proofreaders are playing the ping-pong
game of proofreading,
glancing back and forth from page to page,
the chefs are dicing celery and potatoes,
and the poets are at their windows
because it is their job for which
they are paid nothing every Friday afternoon.

Which window it hardly seems to matter
though many have a favorite,
for there is always something to see-
a bird grasping a thin branch,
the headlight of a taxi rounding a corner,
those two boys in wool caps angling across the street.

The fishermen bob in their boats,
the linemen climb their round poles,
the barbers wait by their mirrors and chairs,
and the poets continue to stareat the cracked birdbath or a limb knocked down by the wind.

By now, it should go without saying
that what the oven is to the baker
and the berry-stained blouse to the dry cleaner,
so the window is to the poet.

Just think-
before the invention of the window,
the poets would have had to put on a jacket
and a winter hat to go outside
or remain indoors with only a wall to stare at.

And when I say a wall,
I do not mean a wall with striped wallpaper
and a sketch of a cow in a frame.

I mean a cold wall of fieldstones,
the wall of the medieval sonnet,
the original woman’s heart of stone,
the stone caught in the throat of her poet-lover.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2019 in poetry, Uncategorized

 

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September Happiness

I’m taking a break for a few weeks so leave you here with the Action for Happiness Self Care September Calendar. Have a good month and look after yourselves, Dear Readers.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Shoes, Flags and Books

I walked past a shop today in our town and was surprised to see some wonderful shoes in the window.

There were flags along the prom in Penzance tonight as we went through to Newlyn to the Film House to see Bait –  a fabulous film that you should see if you can.

We treated ourselves to dinner in the Eat House at the cinema and it was scrumptious. I was pleased to see the cookery books on the counter.

 
 

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Six on Saturday – on Sunday

There is an early Autumnal feel in the air despite the occasional warmth of the sun.

1.  We have been eating beans for a couple of weeks but now there are more than we can deal with so, having made pints of Runner Bean Soup,  I have today made a big batch of Fagiolata, as suggested by our lovely neighbour. The purple beans looked lovely against the red of the tomatoey, oniony, garlicky sauce though as soon as they were cooking, they became green.

2.   The Crinodendron always delights at this time of year with some crimson flowers still, the glorious pearl-filled seed pods and the tiny new flowers just starting.

3.  The Dahlias come into their own in late August.  I  love  them  with  the white  Cosmos.There’s  our  Welly  Dog  in the  background.

4.  Hydrangea Petiolaris is even more gorgeous as it turns from white to russet.

5.  New plantings of Pak Choi and Winter Lettuce in the edible trough are beginning to come through. The upside-down hanging basket frames are to protect the seedlings from next-door’s cats.

6. We have cut the Gladioli to have indoors as the wind has not been treating them well.

If you would like to join in Six on Saturday, (or even Sunday) go and visit The propagator.

 

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