Sunday, 21 October 2018

Pleasures great and small

Dear Reader,

Here I am back again after a two month absence due to illness.  I hope you will now be with me from time to time when I write my weekly blog.  I will try to catch up with any seagull news of interest, and find other things to amuse or captivate us during the week or, perhaps, even something that happened thousands of years ago. 

Just a thought.  Whilst in hospital I found what was needed was patience and courage.  I hope I found both of these attributes in myself whilst I was there, but I am not sure, I just hope so.  My partner, Francis, came every day,  and generally helped me to get through the ordeal.  Thank you, Francis, your warmth and kindness overwhelm me.

From Francis Kilvert's diary, 1874

When the Squire came to see John Hatherell last Sunday he reminded the old man of the nights they patrolled the roads together 45 years ago during the machine-breaking riots.  Robert Ashe led a patrol of six men one half the night, and Edward Ashe headed another patrol of equal strength the other half.  One night when Robert Ashe was patrolling the village with his men and keeping watch and guard against the machine-breakers and rioters, who were expected from Christian Malford and other villagers, he seized by mistake old Mr. Eddels, taking him in the dark for a machine-breaker or incendiary.  The old man had come out at night in the innocence of his heart to get some straw from his rickyard.
       

                                                                        *

Pleasures great and small

What pleasure it is to skip,
to jump, run across a field,
climb a tree, to dance,
pour a cup of tea.

But we don't think
about these pleasures,
they are part of us
taken for granted,
not thought of,
used as a right.

When constrained in a hospital bed
I felt great pleasure
when I could move my
head from side to side
from left to right

at all.

                                                                        *

With very best wishes,
Patricia

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Time

Dear Reader,

This is just to let you now how I am since horrific operation and its aftermath.  What I didn't know was that so many complications would occur, and as a result I had to stay 14 nights in hospital and came home last Wednesday.

I think writing my blog is still too difficult for me at this time but hope in two or three weeks I will have enough energy to write it.  And also write some new poems, but not many I hope about hospitals.

Very best wishes to you all,

Patricia

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Perfect Pace

Dear Reader,
                                                                   Old Harry Rocks in Dorset

I am having an operation on 22nd August and so won't be writing this blog again until the end of September.  I hope you all have a peaceful and happy end to the summer and feel refreshed and ready for the autumn to come, and that you will rejoin me then.

And thank you for all your support this year.
                                                                           
  
                                                                               *
   

Perfect Pace




Orphaned, blind
the small elephant,
cosy under kilm rug,
slowly follows the man's tapping stick
on their daily walk
through the bush.

They rest for a while.
The man shields
the small elephant
from the heat of the sun
with a big blue umbrella.
Unhurried, they walk on.

Oh, what envy for this man,
slowly walking, quietly tapping,
sleeping in a stable with the small,
blind elephant.
Each bound to the other,
with love.

                                                                           *
With best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Spirit Suitcase

                                                                             A winter sea in Cornwall




Dear Reader,

This is from Francis Kilvert's diary, August 1873.

Went to see Mrs. Pearce at Landsend, Mrs. James Knight's sister.  She told me her sad story. Born in better circumstances, the daughter of a substantial but litigious farmer, her mother died while she was yet a child.  Then her husband died young leaving her with two children and a farm at Shaw to struggle with.  Her cows caught the distemper and she was forced to drench them with her own hands. Next the rent of her farm was suddenly and greatly raised by her own brother-in-law and she was in consequence thrown out of business and reduced to comparative poverty.  'Twas a sad history and when she had asked me about my own family and learnt that my Father and Mother were both living, she said with a sigh, 'How different some people's circumstances are'.  'I used,' she said, 'to look across the road to the churchyard where my husband was sleeping and think how he was lying at rest while I had all the cares of the farm and the family to struggle with.  And I thought my heart would break.'

                                                                          *
 A little Seagull news:   Apparently seagulls flock into cities when they know that a storm at sea is brewing.  So if you see them in your town perhaps an umbrella would be useful for the outing.

                                                                          *

I put this photograph on today's blog because the weather has been so hot, and it continues to be so,
that I thought the spray looked refreshing and cool.

                                                                          *

Spirit Suitcase

A sturdy key
locks the spirit
in its suitcase.
It floats an dances,
dives low, climbs high,
is forever candle-lit.

The suitcase, new, shines,
leather polished,
locks and fittings brass-bright,
unbruised.
But through use, it gets kicks,
scuffs, scratches, and slowly fades.
Its original shape
is just recognisable,
only just there

while the spirit dances on .......

                                                                       *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Photograph by Kaye Leggett

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Word-dancing




                                                                                       Shire Horses


Dear Reader,

You will remember  that I wrote about Shire horses last year but have just read a new piece about their welfare which I find most disconcerting.  These horses were once the powerhouse of Britain, driving ploughs, barges, trams. carriages and ale carts.   But Shire horses which came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066 could be extinct within ten years.   Only 240 Shires, 199 Clydesdales and 25 Suffolks were born last year since these horses started dying out because of mechanisation after the Second World War.   However, the Shires - which were used for centuries in battle as living armoured tanks before more modern weapons made them obsolete - continue to play an important role in the Army, policing, equine therapy and even commercial logging.   The Shires are good riding animals as well and could become useful in an era where riders are becoming heavier.    The Rare Breeds Survival Trust is collecting genetic material to store so that it could be possible to bring back an extinct breed.

Wouldn't it be terrible shame if these beautiful horses were no more?  

                                                                             *

Word-dancing

The woman discovers the double act
of word-dancing at dinner,
recognizes with excitement
mutual friends, from books, from poetry,
from worlds explored, but only
known thus far in solitude.

Together they dance through imagined lands,
sharing knowledge,
throwing words back and forth
in light ethereal movements,
cerebral binding and bonding,
now the foxtrot, now the waltz.

For her these pleasures
are found at lunch parties, at dinner,
in libraries, on courses.
But where can the young word-dance?
Her grandson lunches on the run,
dines with Eastenders,
goes clubbing on solitary trips
too noisy, frightening, for word-dancing,
for cerebral binding and bonding,
now the foxtrot, now the waltz.

                                                                         *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Saturday, 21 July 2018

You will be there

Your favourite countryside pictures



Dear Reader,



I love making bread, kneading the dough and then it producing a lovely warm, delicious smell in the kitchen.  I have just read that the oldest bread in the world has been discovered in a Middle Eastern desert.  Its 14,400-year-old charred crumbs when found contained wild wheat, barley and oats.These findings show humans made bread from wild seeds long before we started growing crops some 4,000 years later.  This discovery was made at an archaeological site in the Black Desert of north-eastern Jordan.   The scientists who found them uncovered two well-preserved buildings each containing a circular stone fireplace within which the crumbs were found.   In the 24 crumbs analysed they found signs of grinding, sieving and kneading.  Previously the oldest evidence of bread making had come from a 9,000-year-old Neolithic site at Catalhoyuk in Turkey but the new discovery is the earliest evidence of baking. Obviously the Natufian people who lived then knew some of the good things in life.


*
You will be there

When I wake
wonder where I am
why my chest hurts

You will be there

When tears fall
as physic tells of treatment
radiotherapy, chemotherapy

You will be there

When I want loving
arms around me
kissing my lips, my body

And you will be 
ever there


*

With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Crossing the Bar - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Dear Reader,
                                                                                          Pictures of Rural England

One of the few poems I have learnt by heart of late is Alfred, Lord Tennyson's :  Crossing the Bar.  This poem is very poignant for me - it seems to touch somewhere inside my heart and by its end I am always in tears.  So I thought I would share it with you this week. 

More than any other Victorian writer, Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) has seemed the embodiment of his age, both to contemporaries and to modern readers.  In his own day he was said to be, with Queen Victoria and Gladstone, one of the most famous living persons, a reputation no other living poet writing in English ever had.  As official poetic spokesman for the reign of Victoria he felt called upon to celebrate a quickly changing industrial and mercantile world with which he felt little in common, for his deepest sympathies were called forth by an unaltered rural England; the conflict between what he thought; of as his duty to society and his allegiance to the eternal beauty of nature seems peculiarly Victorian.  Even his most severe critics have always recognised his lyrical gift for sound and cadence, a gift probably unequalled in the history of English poetry, but one so absolute that it has sometimes been mistaken for mere fantasy.

                                                                             *

The bar, by the way, is physically a bar of sand in shallow water.   That is all I can find out about it.
Tennyson wrote this poem three years before his death.


Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call to me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

                                                                          *

With very best wishes, Patricia