Sunday, 22 April 2018

The Shed


                                                                                   Wooden wheels



Dear Reader,

The Wheelwrights craft is amongst the oldest known to man, with the origins of the wheel dating back to prehistoric times.  It was probably Stone Age man who first realized that a rolling stone or a round log of wood moved more easily than an object which needed pulling or pushing.  The first wheels were simply solid discs, carved out of one lump of wood, with solid wheels made from three shaped planks dating from 5000 BC.  By the Roman period many wheels were very much as the Victorians were making them and wheelwrights have been making wheels in the same way since the early seventeenth century.  The only significant change today is the development of the 'dished wheel' which is shaped like a saucer and has the hollow side facing inwards.

                                                                                *



The Shed

The spider let himself down
from a crack in the rafters.
Time to spin another web,
catch flies, feed his children.
This old shed he loved
had housed his ancestors,
its essence was in his blood.
He knew well the aged wooden bench
laden with hand-worn tools,
the swallows yearly nesting place,
the bees hum and buzz.
He knew of the warmth from the earth floor,
from the hurricane lamp, lit on dark evenings,
of the dusty windows facing north,
and he knew he could swing on the ask spokes
sliced to the wheel hung on the hook.
He knew too that the moonlight
cast quiet shadow on the pile of logs,
home to small scuttling creatures.
He knew that nearby in a bed of shavings,
an old dog slept.
This restful shed scented with lavender and tar,
was a timeless place.

Clearing, cleaning, scraping, peeling,
the old shed becomes new.
Much buzzing and humming
as computers move in, reference books,
filing cabinets, printers, blaring telephones,
glaring lights, and stress.

No quiet shadows now
in the bright new shed
no cracks, no silence, and the spider.....dead.

                                                                          *

Very best wishes, Patricia                                                                           

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The House


                                                                                Traditional Rocking Horse

                                                                                      Rocking Horse


Dear Reader,


The history of the rocking horse can be traced back to the Middle Ages when a popular children's toy was the hobby horse - a fake horse's head attached to a long stick. The rocking horse in its current form is widely believed to have first appeared n the early 17th century.  It was around this time that bow rockers were invented, introducing rocking to the world of horses.  There were, however, improvements to be made to the first rocking horses.  Being made of solid wood they were heavy and their centre of gravity was high so they could easily topple over.  It was in the Victorian age that the 'safety stand' was introduced and the idea of making the horse hollow was conceived.  This made the horses lighter and more stable and gave birth to the idea of a secret compartment being fitted to the horses under belly.  The family heirloom horse could store photographs, mint coins, locks of baby hair and other such trinkets for future generations to find.   During this era the style of choice was the dappled grey rocking horse which was a favourite of Queen Victoria.

                                                                            *

Amazing Seagull story this week:   A seaside resort in Belgium is drugging seagulls with contraceptive pills to stop them being a nuisance.    Birth control will be hidden in feed left out for the seagulls, as part of a strategy that includes the use of fake eggs to fool maternal birds, and drones to detect their nests.   Apparently this move could be copied in Britain.  What next I wonder?

                                                                             *


The House

Was it the sound of Chopin
filling the street air,
escaping from a large keyhole
in the weathered front door,
or the first glimpse of pale
stone flooring and a rocking horse
in the hall corner, or was it the
Easter lilies rising tall out of
white namel jugs, and books
everywhere, everywhere?

Was it the ancient dog
in front of a small log fire,
protected by a staunch Victorian fireguard,
or the scrubbed table and gentian-blue
hyacinths peeking out of a copper bowl,
Rockingham pottery plates
each one different,
or the sculpture of an unknown woman
young, rounded smooth,
placed lovingly on a window shelf
catching a flicker of the January sun?

Or was it the smell of beef stew,
a nursery smell dredged from childhood,
or the sight of home-grown pears
floating in sugared juice?
O was it the feeling ;of safety
warmth and love
everywhere, everywhere
that overwhelmed me?

                                                                                *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Saturday, 7 April 2018

A Variation on the Tortoise and the Hare




                                                                              Jumping hare

                                                                                Tortoise

Dear Reader

I wrote today's poem when I was in a Poetry Workshop for three days.  It was all very intense and the last poem we were supposed to write had to do with myths, legends or fables.  I thought a small sense of humour would not go amiss and wrote today's poem: A Variation on the Tortoise and the Hare.

This is what I found out about tortoises.   The tortoise starts digging the ground to form its hybernaculum at the first sign of autumn.  It digs with its fore feet in a very slow motion and prefers swampy grounds where it could bury itself in mud.   It starts losing its appetite for food as the temperature drops until it stops eating altogether.  During hibernation it stops breathing as well.   The tortoise wakes up from hibernation in the spring but doesn't start eating immediately.  Gradually it gains its appetite and energy as the temperature warms up.  During hot summer days tortoises eat voraciously and spend many hours sleeping.   They start sleeping in late afternoon until late next morning.  Although tortoises love warm weather they avoid hot sun, hiding under green leaves or between vegetation.  Pet tortoises feed on grasses, leafy greens, flowers and some fruit.  Certain species consume worms, or insects and carrion in their normal habitat.

I have always thought hibernating in the winter months was a wonderful idea for myself.  Staying in a warm cosy bedroom under the blankets and sleeping until the spring came seems such a good idea,
especially this year with its gloomy, wet and damp weather going on and on and on........


                                                                           *

A Variation on the Tortoise and the Hare

The tortoise, shell-encased,
shy and timid, was fond of quiet places.
He ate lettuce sandwiches,
drank bottled water
and did deep breathing exercises.
He was slow alright,
but kept on "keeping one", getting there,
although a little fearful
of what life can bring.

Then, he discovered anxiety pills
and grew bolder,
he opinionated more,
rejected lettuce,
ate avocado and prawn cocktails,
drank vodka,
and tried his hand at salsa dancing.
Confidence changed him.
He became the hare.

Ah ha the hare.

This hare spoke his mind.
He jumped and danced
texted and mobiled friends,
arranged outings,
and had a ball.
But the Gods were watching him,
the sent a "don't forget card"
to remind him of his tortoise life,
his quiet life,
the life that was right and good
for a tortoise.

He threw the anxiety pills away
and slowly his shell grew back,
he started reading again,
he talked less,
thought more,
enjoyed lettuce sandwiches
and drank bottled water.
He became the tortoise
that he was meant to be.

                                                                              *

Very best wishes, Patricia

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Realization

Dear Reader,




Easter is the most important date in the Christian calender, and we have just gone through Holy Week.  I have various emotions, but mostly sadness, during Good Friday when Christ was crucified,  and Easter Sunday when He rose again.  I always find the Saturday when he was buried in a cave, the most difficult to get through.  Where was He then, and who moved the stone so He could walk out the next morning?  I have an explanation from my daughter Tiffany who helped me yesterday with Bible references, showing that He was just asleep.  Well whatever the explanation I am always very glad when Easter Sunday dawns and He is resurrected. Alleluia.

                                                                         *

This is a piece from Gilbert White's journal (1771) in Hampshire.

"The face of the earth naked to a surprising degree.  Wheat hardly to be seen, and no signs of any grass: turnips all gone, and sheep in a starving way.  All provisions rising in price.  Farmers cannot sow for want of rain'.


Not quite like here then, when it seems to me that it has rained for about a month without stopping.

                                                                        *

Realization

I am
part of the whole.

I am
in the first light,
the bird's first song,
the sun's first dart
through the curtain crack,
in the music of the trees.

I am
part of the alpha,
the birth,
the awakening,
the growing and spreading,
the throbbing of life.

I am part of all suffering
hands blood-stained.
Part of love
humanity shares and
of all good things.

I am
part of the omega,
the closing, the last light,
the call back from the dark
to the bright, eternal night.


                                                                    *

Happy Easter and Very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 25 March 2018

England Dear to Me

 Dear Reader,

                                                                             Scones and strawberry jam
                                                                                        Foxgloves
                                                                                        Foxgloves

 I have tried very hard over the years to grow foxgloves but sadly it has not been a very successful venture,  I have had very little luck with growing them. But the sight of foxgloves growing in a wood make my heart leap up, spring has sprung and there are signs of new beginnings everywhere.  The foxglove, also called Digitalis purpurea is a common garden plant that contains, digitoxin, digoxin and other cardiac glycosides.  These are chemicals that affect the heart.  Foxgloves are poisonous and can be fatal even in small doses.  Digoxin is derived from the leaves of a digistalis plant. It makes the heart beat faster and with a more regular rhythm.  It is also used to treat atrial fibrillation and heart rhythm disorder of the atria (the upper chambers of the heart that allow blood flow into the heart).

Foxglove flowers are clusters of tubular shaped blooms in colours of white,lavender, yellow, pink, red and purple.  They are biennial which means that plants establish and grow leaves in the first year then flower and produce seeds in the second.


                                                                            *

England Dear to Me

It is the robins, blackbirds, blue tits,
hopping and grubbing in the garden
that lurch my heart
make England dear to me.
It is the velvet of green moss,
oak trees, old with history,
the first cowslips,
hedgerows filled with dog rose, foxgloves
and shy sweetpeas in china bowls.
It is finding tea rooms in small market towns,
enticing with homemade scones and strawberry jam,
or suddenly glimpsing church spires
inching their way to heaven,
It is finding a Norman church,
full with a thousand years of prayer,
and a quiet churchyard mothering its dead.
It is small country lanes, high hedged,
views of mauve hills stretching skywards,
sheep and lambs dotting the green,
and bleached Norfolk beaches,
silence only broken with a seagull's cry.
It is the people,
their sense of humour,
their way of saying "sorry" when you bump into them,
their fairness, and once or twice a year
their "letting go",
singing "Jerusalem" with tears and passion,

It is these things
that lurch my heart
make England dear to me.

                                                                                 *

With very best wishes, Patricia











Saturday, 17 March 2018

Quickening

                                                                                     The Thrush
Dear Reader,



I thought this week I would let you into the way my mind works when writing a poem.  Thinking about what William Wordsworth said about poetry:  'that it was emotion recollected in tranquility', I have always tried to find ways of remembering my emotions about whatever, and then writing a
short poem from my research.  Someone once said my poems were like "watercolours" just small stories giving a glimpse of something that we can all recognise.  So I have always tried to paint a picture of something I know about.  But, and I apologise for it,  I am sorry to say that last week's poem was certainly not up to my own standards.  This was because I was leaving my comfort zone and trying something different.  I had been reading a book about a man, a barrister, whose wife had left him.  He seemed to be a dual personality both generous and kind, and mean and vicious.  Obviously we are all made up of different parts and what I was trying to do in that poem was to show the two sides of this man.  But I don't think it worked from some of the correspondence I have had, and my new resolution is to stay in my comfort zone and take the advice from knowledgeable people to :  'write what you know', and paint my own pictures from self knowledge.

                                                                                 *

Seagull news:  Apparently a giant owl has been hired to stop seagulls threatening alfresco diners in a Welsh shopping street. Elsa the eagle owl which has a six foot wingspan, has been employed by fed-up business owners to patrol the streets of Caernafon for the next six weeks in a bid to deter the gulls,
which they say have become a "menace".  John Islwyn, who handles Elsa, said the owl ensured a "humane way to deal with the seagulls".

                                                                                 *


Quickening

I want the pulse of life that has been asleep
to wake, embrace me, put on the light.
To hear the thrush, song-repeat, to keep
my trust in God to hurry icy winter's flight.
I want to glimpse, under sodden leaves, green shoots
to announce life's circle, its beginnings, have begun
I want to run barefoot, abandon boots,
to walk through primrose paths, savour the sun.
I want to take off winter's dress, change its season,
to see the coloured petticoats of spring, bloom
and show us mortals nature's reason
to start afresh, admire the peacock's plume.
Cellar the coal, brush ashes from the fire,
I want to intertwine, my love, quicken, feel desire.

                                                                                  *

Very best wishes, Patricia


Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Ragbag of a Human Heart

Dear Reader,



                                                                                       Young women



An entry from Francis Kilvert's diary : Saturday, 8th March, 1872.

At eleven o'clock the dog-cart came for me with the chestnut old Rocket, and I returned to Clyro.
Amelia Meredith tells me that at Llanhollantine people used to to to the church door at midnight to hear the saints within call over the names of those who were to die within the year.  Also they heard the sound of the pew doors opening and shutting though no one was in the church.

                                                                          *

I used to live in a very haunted manor house near Beaulieu in Hampshire.  The house was supposed to have been visited by Judge Jeffreys, 1645-1689, The Hanging Judge, known for his cruelty and corruption.   He was one of the judges at the Bloody Assizes which were a series of trials started at Winchester on August 25th, in the aftermath of the Battle of Sedgemoor which ended the Monmouth Rebellion in England.  At these trials a woman called Elizabeth Gaunt had the gruesome distinction of being the last woman burnt alive in England for political crimes.  After the Glorious Revolution Jeffreys was incarcerated in the Tower of London where he died in 1689.

In the panelled room where he would have slept my Alsatian dog always growled when he went in there, and I always hated the room and felt very cold in it.

                                                                             *

The Ragbag of a Human Heart


He saw the girl
young, beautiful, innocent,
inflamed her with clever words,
caught her
seduced her
smiled, walked away.


At the bus stop
he saw an old lady
waiting in the rain,
offered her a lift,
drove her back to her house,
made her a cup of tea,
hugged her,
smiled, walked away.

                                                                             *

With very best wishes, Patricia