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sisters & sparrows

Poetry. Photography. Life.

Category Archives: beside the point

Taking a leaf out of Erica‘s book I’m going to tell you a few of the things in life that I most love.  Non-book or poetry related.  Guys, this will be informative for you.  After you understand that I love these things, you will have new insight into the philosophy of my life.


I have to stress that bread and jam must be enjoyed only when the bread is hot out of the oven, a fat doorstep of homemade loaf or a hunk of baguette, a fat bit of salted butter, and maybe raspberry jam.  Excellent with thick french coffee.  If I have kids they will have this on Sunday afternoons without fail, with warm milk.

Yessss.  Treehouses.  I’ve never been in one ever but I’ve always wanted one.  They’ve always fascinated me.  Those amazing treehouse cities with mazes of bridges and ladders, also the modern minimalist pod ones with huge windows.  I’d love to stay here.

Castles.  Any castle.  I’m obsessed with King Arthur and the knights and all that (never quite grew out of it).  This castle is one of my top favourites.  (If you live in England you should absolutely visit it.)  I like the ones that are quite ruined so you can have a proper explore and imagine how it used to look, and find little nooks where no-one else goes and imagine queens gazing out of windows there and so on.

Uh.  Cheese.  Specifically, shropshire blue.  Seriously though, Sunday evenings have been cheese and wine evenings at home for as long as I can remember.  I miss the tradition at uni (what student can afford it).  On a tangent, I also love food photography.  Specifically Katie Quinn Davies‘.  I think I have a bit of a girl crush on her.

The Armoury.  This is my favourite pub in the world and a default meeting place for me and my Shrewsbury friends.  It’s got humongous bookshelves along two whole walls, and all the chairs and tables are mismatched.  They have loads of local ales and the food is wonderful.

The Stiperstones.  I just love this hill.  It has a lot of good memories.  Also legends!  I love legends.

And I also love people who talk about books and their arms get all animated and their eyes shine and I love it when people talk about God like that too – even better when it’s both combined, like when they’re chatting C S Lewis.  I love it when my flatmates order take out for me and we drink beer and watch rubbish telly.  I love misty mornings that turn into yellow afternoons.  I love trudging through the countryside in the rain when I’m wearing chunky boots.

I’ll stop now.


A non-relevant but celebratory video for you today.  Because I feel tired and bored and a bit dizzy.  Nine o’clocks are not my cup of tea!

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Remember I said I was knitting while watching the Super Bowl?  Well this is what I was knitting:

I kept seeing people wearing these ear warmer things all winter, and I really wanted one.  But the only ones I could find in shops had silly flowers on, or were made of manky acrylic wool.  So I took the matter into my own hands.  Hey presto!  My first knitted item is (more or less) a success!

Ah, Balthazar, you did me proud today.  I asked you to send a letter to my friend who had been feeling a little melancholy.  I gave you a few sparse details – that she has thick hair that she’s very proud of, that she loves the poetry of Keats, that she has green eyes, and so on.  Today it arrived on our doorstep, this missive, beautifully stamped and containing a cheeky risqué polaroid, lines of Keats and rapt references to EJD’s ‘Aphrodite hair’.

Hilariously, I got a call from EJD who wanted to relate this ‘freaky event’, and began her tale with a slight tremor of panic, wondering who was this strange foreign man in a sailor’s cap who was writing her love letters.  I was forced to admit my part in the whole escapade.

I also have to admit I requested a letter for myself… Balthazar, I wait with baited breath.

{images by the incredible paul de luna}

Variation on a Theme by Rilke

	A certain day became a presence to me;
	there it was, confronting me--a sky, air, light:
	a being. And before it started to descend
	from the height of noon, it leaned over
	and struck my shoulder as if with
	the flat of a sword, granting me
	honor and a task. The day's blow
	rang out, metallic--or it was I, a bell awakened,
	and what I heard was my whole self
	saying and singing what it knew: I can.

				 --Denise Levertov


Mending Wall by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

{click on the photo for more atmospheric dry stone wall photographs}

So i’m doing a module on the practice of poetry at the moment.  It’s very, very ‘contemporary’.  Today we were all assigned a vowel and had to walk round the room, engaging in conversations with the other students using only our vowels.  So the conversations went something like this:

O! I! O-o? I, i-i? O, o-o, o… Ooooo. ! I!? I, i,i,i,iiii,I!

We also had to shout our vowels at the walls.  I had O:

O! O-O-O-O-O!!! O!!! O!!!! O-O-O-o-o-o-oOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

And then we were assigned a consonant each and put in groups to create poems with our letters.  This was my group’s ‘poem’:

WO! wo! w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w..w-w…. OW! Ow? OWowowowow OW.

Vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv. EV, Ve-ve, Ve-ve.

Kik. ikikikikikikikikikikikikik. I-k-k.

And after we recited our poem, in unison, complete with jumping, we received a quite reasonable round of applause.  Seriously?  One of the most surreal experiences of my life.

It’s time for a picture of flowers.  I love the fresh and joyous colours of this one by Sara Norris:

Ranunculus, Number One - 8x8 Fine Art Print


Now, a while ago the rather wonderful tigermilk gave me an award.  What a lovely surprise!

Here is is:

And these are the rules attached:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which you think are fabulous.

3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.


So without further ado, these are my ten, my fabulous ten.  

a vintage sunday 
tender letters 
cannelle et vanille
starflower and indigo 
the unicorn diaries 
black eiffel 
unruly things 
camilla engman

They are all blogs that I should definitely check more often than I do.  So should you all!

Hope you gorgeous folk are having a great weekend!