Friday, 12 April 2019

England Dear to Me









Dear Reader,


 I am writing my blog this week not on Sunday, 14th, but on Friday, 12th.  This is because Francis and I are going to look after my sister, who has dementia,  and won't be anywhere near a computer until the 25th of April.

Do you remember in March this year I wrote about Tesco putting up netting to stop birds nesting in their buildings, and I said I hoped no one else would think of doing this.  Well this week I see that the North Norfolk District Council has put up netting on the Bacton cliff, stopping the sand martins from returning to their nests after their perilous journey from Africa. Apparently many of these sand martins die of thirst and exhaustion on their way across the seas and arrive in Britain very weary.  A Prof. Ben Garrod, of the University of East Anglia, said the sand martins discovered in Europe in the 16th century had been in the area "longer than the people have".  He also said that they had been nesting in the cliff for hundreds of years, and likely more.

I expect you all read the reports in the newspaper this week so I won't say anything further but I am appalled and sad about our England.   Richard II's  "blessed plot, sceptered isle" .....no more

                                                                                 *

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 prayers,
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, and Happy Easter
Patricia
                                                                  

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Life's Bran Tub



Dear Reader,

Finally I have come to realize that you, the reader, do not like the photographs I put on this blog if they are of a gloomy nature.   Of course I quite understand this point of view but the photographs are always to do with the poem of the day, and some of my poems, if not most of them, do have a serious message.

But I thought this funny piece from Francis Kilvert's diary might amuse you today - it is cold and wet here and staying in by the fire is, I think,  just the ticket.

Wednesday, 9th April, 1873

"While we were sitting at supper this evening we were startled by a sound under the sideboard as if a rat were tearing and gnawing at the wainscot or skirting board.  The noise ceased and then began again.  Suddenly Dora uttered an exclamation and a strange look came into her face.  She seized the lamp and went to the sideboard pointing to a white-handled knife which lay under the sideboard and which she said she had seen a moment before crawling and wriggling along the floorcloth by itself and making the tearing, gnawing, rending noise we had heard.  No one knew how the knife had got under the sideboard.  As four of us stood round looking at the knife lying on the floorcloth suddenly the knife leaped into the air and fell back without anyone touching it.  It looked very strange and startled us a good deal.  We thought of spirit agency and felt uncomfortable and compared the time expecting to hear more of the matter, until Dora observed a very tiny grey mouse taking the buttered point of the knife in his mouth and dragging it along and walking backwards.  Then all was explained."

                                                                                *


Life's Bran Tub

Under a cowl
a glimpsed face,
ploughed with hardship.
A grim mouth,
with broken teeth,
thin and hungry looking,
eyes dull, destined
to assured adversity.                            

Under a crown of hair,                      
a glimpsed face,
round and fair,
with milky skin,
bright yes, white teeth,
and confident smile
of assured security.

                                                                                *

 With very best wishes, Patricia