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sisters & sparrows

Poetry. Photography. Life.

Category Archives: photography

{photo: how to catch a sun by Mlyutin}

Patience

Denise Levertov

What patience a landscape has, like an old horse,
head down in its field.
Grey days,
air and fine rain cling, become one, hovering till at last,
languidly, rain relinquishes that embrace, consents
to fall. What patience a hill, a plain,
a band of woodland holding still, have, and the slow falling
of grey rain… Is it blind faith? Is it
merely a way to deeply rest? Is the horse
only resigned,or has it
some desirable knowledge, an enclosed meadow
quite other than its sodden field,
which patience is the key to? Has it already,
within itself, entered that sunwarmed shelter?

Denise Levertov is fast becoming one of my favourite poets (have you noticed?).  She’s so effortless.  Get out her collection This Great Unknowing (her last forty poems, published posthumously) and you will see.

Going to meet all my friends tonight, and then out to dinner with my family at the sexy new restaurant in town.  Dressed up of course – can’t resist.

And isn’t this beautiful?  (Thanks to Ellie for sharing this with me, you legend).  I could really do with a beach day!

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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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I was away for the weekend, back in the shire for a training weekend with Christian Union mates.  But I’m back and now facing the toughest three weeks of this term.  Two essays to do, and tons of stuff with CU to sort out.  I’m gritting my teeth.

{Photo courtesy of my mate Josh}

IN OTHER NEWS. If you are in the UK, click this LINK.  It is to a brilliant company called Graze.  You will get delicious free food delivered to your door, no snags, and I will get me a nifty discount.  Do, oh do.  Please, oh please.

More on topic, I’ve been mulling over the subject of my fat 5000 word poetry assignment which I have to do soon.  I want to do it on something which is really going to interest me, something I can sink my teeth into, so that those 5000 words aren’t unnecessarily deadly.  So.  I’m going to write it about God, and poetry – the harmonies and conflicts between Christianity and literature.  Religious poetry.  The presence of the divine in contemporary poetry.  Or something of that ilk.  I had a massive meeting with my poetry tutor and she gave me some names… among them, Michael Symmons Roberts.  I think I’m going to buy a few collections because the couple of poems I read were wonderful.  Here’s one.

 

Jairus

So, God takes your child by the hand
and pulls her from her deathbed.
He says: ‘Feed her, she is ravenous.’

You give her fruits with thick hides
– pomegranate, cantaloupe –
food with weight, to keep her here.

You hope that if she eats enough
the light and dust and love
which weave the matrix of her body

will not fray, nor wear so thin
that morning sun breaks through her,
shadowless, complete.

Somehow this reanimation
has cut sharp the fear of death,
the shock of presence. Feed her

roast lamb, egg, unleavened bread:
forget the herbs, she has an aching
fast to break. Sit by her side,

split skins for her so she can gorge,
and notice how the dawn
draws colour to her just-kissed face.

 

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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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Sunflakes

by Frank Asch

 

If sunlight fell like snowflakes,

gleaming yellow and so bright,

we could build a sunman,

we could have a sunball fight,

we could watch the sunflakes

drifting in the sky.

We could go sleighing

in the middle of July

through sundrifts and sunbanks,

we could ride a sunmobile,

and we could touch sunflakes—

I wonder how they’d feel.

 

{photos by Mary Robinson}

 

Full Moon and Little Frieda

by Ted Hughes

A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket

And you listening.
A spider’s web, tense for the dew’s touch.
A pail lifted, still and brimming – mirror
To tempt a first star to a tremor.

Cows are going home in the lane there, looping the hedges with their warm wreaths of breath –
A dark river of blood, many boulders,
Balancing unspilled milk.

“Moon!” you cry suddenly, “Moon! Moon!”

The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work
That points at him amazed.

 


{photos by Maggie of folkloric – amazing blog}

We did some gardening this morning.  My Gramps, who is 81, is hugely fit and came round to help.  Our fence had been taken out by the flooding and when the water went down it left a whole dead tree on the lawn.  Fun times.

Then we had beer and watched the rugby.  And THEN my sister and I played a game called ‘who’s in the bag’, which is a name-guessing game.  I was trying to describe Eric Morcambe and didn’t know who he was, so I said, ‘he shares a name with the beach where the cockle pickers died’.  Only, always being prone to spoonerisms, I slipped up and said ‘cocker pickles’.  Easy mistake.

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Checkout Ynyslas.  I walked along this beach years ago and saw this fossilised forest… someday I’ll tell you the story behind it.  Maybe next week.

It’s really really stormy tonight!  Exciting.  It makes me wish I lived by the sea.

The Storm
1
Against the stone breakwater,
Only an ominous lapping,
While the wind whines overhead,
Coming down from the mountain,
Whistling between the arbors, the winding terraces;
A thin whine of wires, a rattling and flapping of leaves,
And the small street-lamp swinging and slamming against
the lamp pole.

Where have the people gone?
There is one light on the mountain.

2

Along the sea-wall, a steady sloshing of the swell,
The waves not yet high, but even,
Coming closer and closer upon each other;
A fine fume of rain driving in from the sea,
Riddling the sand, like a wide spray of buckshot,
The wind from the sea and the wind from the mountain contending,
Flicking the foam from the whitecaps straight upward into the darkness.

A time to go home!–
And a child’s dirty shift billows upward out of an alley,
A cat runs from the wind as we do,
Between the whitening trees, up Santa Lucia,
Where the heavy door unlocks,
And our breath comes more easy–
Then a crack of thunder, and the black rain runs over us, over
The flat-roofed houses, coming down in gusts, beating
The walls, the slatted windows, driving
The last watcher indoors, moving the cardplayers closer
To their cards, their anisette.

3

We creep to our bed, and its straw mattress.
We wait; we listen.
The storm lulls off, then redoubles,
Bending the trees half-way down to the ground,
Shaking loose the last wizened oranges in the orchard,
Flattening the limber carnations.

A spider eases himself down from a swaying light-bulb,
Running over the coverlet, down under the iron bedstead.
Water roars into the cistern.

We lie closer on the gritty pillow,
Breathing heavily, hoping–
For the great last leap of the wave over the breakwater,
The flat boom on the beach of the towering sea-swell,
The sudden shudder as the jutting sea-cliff collapses,
And the hurricane drives the dead straw into the living pine-tree.

by Theodore Roethke

All hail poetry international web.  Convalescing from a sudden onslaught of some foul flu type thing I find myself void of inspiration (after yesterday’s wonderful escapade), hating the greyness of the day, and looking forward to summer.  In steps poetry international and supplies me with a Moroccan poet whose work is sufficiently romantic and fragranced to brighten up my day with sheer sentimentalism…

VISIONARY EULOGY (PART 2)
Oswaldo 

I am no object of desire of yours . . .
The blades of my soul
Are overladen with racemes of light.
Smeared with the mysterious darkness from the glow of words
My hands confiscate my days
glaring with ink
that flows painfully opaque
on the breast of dreams . . .
Horror-stricken, I drink at the lofty heights
Whose marine dew blessings surround me
With vows of nothingness
And  wild goats of whiteness . . .
The sky’s fibres testify
To my disobedience
And my disengagement from the sin of original disclosure . . .
From the pain that lurks
Behind the white sun
And the musical minaret of speech.