Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Sunday Posts 2013/Romance

Romance, who loves to nod and sing
With drowsy head and folded wing
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
To me a painted parakeet
Hath been—most familiar bird—
Taught me my alphabet to say,
To lisp my very earliest word
While in the wild wood I did lie,
A child—with a most knowing eye.

Of late, eternal condor years
So shake the very Heaven on high
With tumult as they thunder by,
I have no time for idle cares
Through gazing on the unquiet sky;
And when an hour with calmer wings
Its down upon my spirit flings,
That little time with lyre and rhyme
To while away—forbidden things—
My heart would feel to be a crime
Unless it trembled with the strings.     

Edgar Allan Poe.
Photo by Alistair.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Sunday Posts 2013/Two Shepherds

Donald ran and roared and brandished
his stick and swore
in all the languages
he knew, which were some.

Pollochan sauntered. stood
six feet three silent: with a small
turn of the hand
He'd send a collie flowing
round the half-mile-long arc
of a towsy circle.

Two poets
and the sheep in a pen.

Norman MacCaig.
Photo by Alistair.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Sunday Posts 2013/ Old Man Thinking.

Oars, held still, drop
on black water
tiny roulades
of waterdrops.
With their little sprinkling
they people
a big silence.

You who are long gone,
my thoughts of you are like that:
a delicate, clear population
in the big silence
where I rest on the oars and
my boat
hushes ashore.

Norman MacCaig.
May 1967.

photo of Carcassonne by Alistair.

Saturday, 7 September 2013


I step out into the garden, stretch and exhale slowly in morning air that holds quiet promise of coming Autumn. In the fields around the village farmers harvest their golden prize from summer near past. I walk barefoot to the apple trees and load the feeders for the birds and luxuriate in the feel of cool grass between my toes. It reminds me that I should be dealing with the garden before we head off for a short break at the weekend, back to France and that special place that's come to mean so much to me over these last few years.

I'd wanted to go to Languedoc for years and years before I ever got there. When I did I felt immediately at home, somehow completely relaxed and at peace. Oddly, I felt unexplainably relieved just to be there. I never said anything to My Lovely G, thinking it was probably just over reaction to that getting-away-from-it-all-on-holiday feeling, yet feeling like it was more than that too.

 A few days before the holiday ended we were sitting in the 'Bar A Vin', our favourite watering hole in the ancient walled city of Carcassonne, slaking thirst and letting the heat of the day drain from us as we recovered from a day trip somewhere that had included a hill climb beyond what the overweight middle aged me was comfortable with anymore. My mind wandered over the day: rivers we drove beside, tiny villages, narrow hill roads, treacherous paths and that withering climb to a Cathar castle ruined centuries ago perched high on its crag. And yet most of all my mind pondered on how familiar it all felt. How comforting it was to push the path down beneath my feet and walk higher and higher through an environment that should have felt completely alien yet instead was the absolute opposite.

I turned to G and said, "Y'know, I don't think I've ever been somewhere I've felt more at home than here - other than actually at home. I can't explain it. I know this is the first time we've been here but I love it. I really do. I feel such a sense of peace. I've been trying to dismiss it as some kind of daft holiday nonsense but I honestly can't. I absolutely love it here."

I glanced across the table into those mesmerising eyes and found I was being examined with one of those typically concerned looks I know so well.  I braced myself for a dose of reality.

"I know. I feel it too. I can't explain it either."

Back in the now I turn from the trees and the now full bird feeders tucked amongst the apples and head back across the grass to the house. At the patio door I turn and look back at the garden for a second, stretch and slowly inhale cool morning mixed with the scent of the garden. Autumn's in the air here for sure and the days will soon be growing short. I wonder how it will have changed by the time we get back. After breakfast I'll get out and mow the lawn, weed the borders and tidy down the drive for the last time this summer. Even though we'll be gone just a week summer will have gone by the time we get back. I'll be sad to see it go but glad to be back in France again.

My laptop isn't coming this time but G is taking hers so I may get a blog or two in, especially if I get the inspiration or some good photos. I have programmed in a couple of Sunday posts anyway to keep the blog ticking over.

See you later or maybe au revoir!

Listening to:

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Sunday posts 2013/ Blackberry Picking.

Seamus Heaney
1939 - 2013

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

Photo - creative commons licence

It seems appropriate to mark this weeks passing of Seamus Heaney here.

Sorry for missing last week. Work is such an interference in life!    

The Sunday Posts 2017/Mince and Tatties.

Mince and Tatties I dinna like hail tatties Pit on my plate o mince For when I tak my denner I eat them baith at yince. Sae mash ...