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