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sisters & sparrows

Poetry. Photography. Life.

Category Archives: people

Well today I met one of my most wonderful friends, LJ, for a coffee and indulgent chat, and she gave me a bunch of daffodils.  Made my day.  (They may have got slightly crushed in our rather exuberant public running-hug, but let’s gloss over that.)

{photo by teaforjoy}

Also watched the second part of BBC’s adaptation of Women In Love(/The Rainbow). May I say that D H Lawrence drives me up the wall?  His characters can never just make a decision and get on with life: they agonise over every small thing, and pine away wishing for unreal things.  When they fall in love they do it in such a grey way.  They’re always loving and hating their partners simultaneously which leads to ridiculously drawn out lovers’ tiffs which end in unnecessary separation/death.  Take, for example, Gudrun and Gerald.  They’re blatantly in love with each other, plain and simple.  Why can’t Lawrence just let them get on with it?!

Still, I enjoyed it, not least because of the manly charms of Joseph Mawle as Gerald.  And the photography was excellent.

Tomorrow will be spent walking Pegs, working, and doing some prep for Sunday’s Mother’s Day meal.  Planning to make this pudding, which I’ve sampled before (delicious).  And apparently Delia thinks it’s ‘just the sort of thing that you hope will be served after a convivial Sunday roast, complete with home-made custard’.  Dandy.


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Oh readers, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  This has been a tough week of churning out essays and poems, going to meetings, organising people, deadlines and so on.  But tomorrow I am going home, for better or for worse (at least as far as the essays are concerned) for my sister’s 30th.  It will be wonderful.  The whole brigade is going to upend itself into a big house on the outskirts of Hay-On-Wye, and, if all goes to plan, I will have done sufficient work to not have to take any with me.  God willing (will it, oh do).

(And by the way, meet Globe Team.  My friend Sonia and I are co-ordinating this motley (lovely) crew for the next three terms.)

I’ll leave you with a poem.  It’s an ‘alternative love poem’ (a recent assignment).  I have to admit to reusing material from an old defunct poem.   It worked somehow.

I’ll be back to normal blogging capacity in a few more days.




the dawn happened with a peachy growl

pavements became real

and each leaf defined itself.

I saw

a dark wing on blessed

unholy sky, a virgin blue.

mist off the river veiled

the all-knowing eye,

a sudden dive –


rustle of ice-clasped air

fierce, unknown panic,


soft implode of scudding blood.


in the same way, unexpectedly,

my belly unearthed itself

when I glimpsed you

darkly through a window.


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a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

I am writing an essay on Romantic landscape poetry at the moment.  Bring on John Clare.  He is welcome back into my life, that poor sweet crazed farmhand.

The Yellowhammer’s Nest


By John Clare


Just by the wooden brig a bird flew up,

Frit by the cowboy as he scrambled down

To reach the misty dewberry—let us stoop

And seek its nest—the brook we need not dread,

‘Tis scarcely deep enough a bee to drown,

So it sings harmless o’er its pebbly bed

—Ay here it is, stuck close beside the bank

Beneath the bunch of grass that spindles rank

Its husk seeds tall and high—’tis rudely planned

Of bleachèd stubbles and the withered fare

That last year’s harvest left upon the land,

Lined thinly with the horse’s sable hair.

Five eggs, pen-scribbled o’er with ink their shells

Resembling writing scrawls which fancy reads

As nature’s poesy and pastoral spells—

They are the yellowhammer’s and she dwells

Most poet-like where brooks and flowery weeds

As sweet as Castaly to fancy seems

And that old molehill like as Parnass’ hill

On which her partner haply sits and dreams

O’er all her joys of song—so leave it still

A happy home of sunshine, flowers and streams.

Yet in the sweetest places cometh ill,

A noisome weed that burthens every soil;

For snakes are known with chill and deadly coil

To watch such nests and seize the helpless young,

And like as though the plague became a guest,

Leaving a houseless home, a ruined nest—

And mournful hath the little warblers sung

When such like woes hath rent its little breast.



Like Robert Frost, Clare capitalised on the image of himself as a peasant poet.  Unlike Robert Frost, Clare did not live a sort of double life, half the time working on the land, the other half lecturing in fancy-pants universities – even when Clare was really popular he still farmed.  Right up until he was chucked into the mental asylum and started believing he was Byron, that is.


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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.

I am so going to see this wonderful man live.  Again.  In London this time.

Can you tell I’m excited?

Hurry on over to my tumblr!  You’re missing all the fun!

An old fashioned, light-hearted, link-happy post for you today.

Photographs from 10-10, a collaboration between 10 photographers from 10 different places, who all took 10 photos on the 10/10/10.  It’s a lot of numbers, but don’t let that put you off, there are some real jewels to be found.  Discovered viabawkbawkbawk, aka Jacinta Moore, one of the contributors.

Apparently Baz Luhrman of Romeo and Juliet fame is taking on The Great Gatsby.  Now I’m  secret fan of film adaptations; I haven’t seen any of the other Gatsby films; I love the book; I’m excited.  What do you reckon?

It is imperative to check out the new blog of my great friend EJD, yellowdrama.  She’s new to the blogging world but she’s an absolute legend, I promise you.

Toast: always, always amazing.  I get their email updates which are like nuggets of awesomeness arriving in my inbox.  I wish my wardrobe was full of their cothes.

For your own good you must go and see the incredible posts of food blogger Katie Quinn Davies, on What Katie Ate. This is the type of blog that I can’t spend too long on because it’s all far too wonderful.  Have to take it in in small bites.  I am just crazy envious of her culinary genius: I have neither the skill nor the patience to create this kind of food.

Now!  There are essays to be writ!