Sunday, 17 February 2019

In This Salford Street

Dear Reader,






There are so many lovely images in the following quotes that I thought I would share them with you.

February 24th, 1798, Dorothy Wordsworth (Somerset)

......The sea, like a basin full to the margin; the dark fresh-ploughed fields;  the turnips of a lively rough green.

February 24th, 1870, Francis Kilvert, (Radnorshire)

The Black Mountains lighted up grandly, all the furrows and watercourses clear and brilliant.  People coming home from the market, birds singing, buds bursting, and the spring air full of beauty, life and hope.

February 24th, 1916, D.H.Lawrence (Cornwall)

Just at present it is very cold.  It has been blowing here also, and a bit of snow.   Till now the weather has been so mild.  Primroses and violets are out, and the gorse is lovely.  At Zennor one sees infinite Atlantic, all peacock-mingled colours, and the gorse is sunshine itself, already. But this cold wind is deadly.

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In This Salford Street

the houses have no eyes,
windows and doors, boarded up.
These houses were home
to someone,
people grew up here,
played life's games, made love, made babies,
made friendships last to the end.

They are all demolished now,
other people saw to that,
damp bricks and mortar,
which had served their time,
dispensable.

Nothing is left.
No shops, no pubs, no parks,
no prettiness,
nothing but rubble, dust, sadness
everywhere,
and a river running with tears.

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As we have seen nature is so beautiful, urban reality less so.

With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Quickening



Dear Reader

Since I have become an enthusiastic bird watcher  I purchased something on line which allows me to hear the song of the garden bird.  I then decided I would learn the songs of which I knew nothing, had no idea which song went with which bird.  But, dear reader, I have found it very very difficult. 

Francis and I test each other every evening and every evening I get them wrong.  At least I thought I knew the song of the blackbird, but no I didn't.  I remember as a child learning that one bird seemed to be saying: 'a little bit of bread and no cheese', but I can't remember which bird it was supposed to be.   Could you let me know if you know the answer.

I mention the "peacock's plume" in my poem for today.  First originating in India, peacocks can trace their history back to biblical times.  They are mentioned in the bible as being part of the treasure being taken to the court of King Solomon.   Peacocks were an important symbol in Roman times, most commonly representing funerals, death and Resurrection. 

Perhaps what peacocks are best known for historically, is their long connection with the sins of pride and vanity.  This arises not only from the their great beauty but also from a tendency to strut when displaying their magnificent plumage.  In his 1836 book On the mental illumination and moral improvement of mankind,  Reverend Thomas Dick calls the peacock "the most beautiful bird in the world'.


                                                                            *

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 the ashes from the fire,
I want to intertwine, my love, quicken, feel desire.

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With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 3 February 2019

The Perfect B&B

Dear Reader,


                                                                                   Male and female bullfinch



I had the most wonderful treat this week because I saw, on several occasions,  a beautiful bullfinch in the garden.  This is the first time I have ever seen one and it was so stunning it literally took my breath away.  

The adult male bullfinch has a bright pink underpart and a black head and although it is seen in gardens, it is more commonly associated with scrub and woodland.  Unfortunately bullfinch populations have declined by 36% since 1967.  It is typically seen in fewer than 10% of gardens in any week preferring rural gardens connected to small woodlands.  The bullfinch feeds on seeds and shoots of fruit trees and sometimes, in summer, on insects.  However during the spring the bullfinch can sometimes be considered a pest species as they feed on and damage the buds of fruiting trees, such as the cherry.  

In Victorian times the bullfinch was a desired captive bird because of its beautiful plumage and call.  It is believed that the caged bird could be trained to mimic music and it became a popular pastime to play a special flute to the bird.

The female bullfinch has a much lighter colour and I think it looks a bit like a chaffinch.

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The Perfect B&B

Soft red brick, covered in roses,
the hall floor Cotswold stone,
the doors and furniture
applewood, mahogany, old pine,
chintz curtains in pretty bedrooms,
thick woollen carpets
and large white towels,
long and lovely views of distant hills,
sweet smells of lilies and lavender,
fresh asparagus for dinner,
duck and strawberries.

On the garden table,
its soft green feathers
ruffled gently by the wind,
lies a dead linnet.


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With best wishes, Patricia