poetry

The Road Home

Next Tuesday - October 26th - at St Thomas' Roman Catholic Church in Jersey there will be a very special event.

It's a Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving, and it's an opportunity for all of us to remember those who have died and who meant something special to us and to celebrate their lives.

The service has been organised by a local Funeral Directors - Pitcher and Le Quesne - who have held similar events before, but of course in the past couple of years that's been impossible because of the COVID19  restrictions.

We know that since the pandemic began, so many of us have been unable to to remember loved ones in the way we may have wanted. Either we've had limited opportunities to say a proper 'farewell' or we've been unable to travel to pay our respects and to grieve with families members and friends. So next Tuesday is an opportunity to celebrate and give thanks for the lives that meant, and still mean, so much to us.

But the service is not just for folk who've lost someone in the pandemic ... it's open to everyone who wants to keep alive the memories of their dear ones, even if they passed away years ago.

PLQ-remembrance-facebook (2)The evening, which starts at 7pm, will be just an hour of poems, readings, prayers, music and ... we hope ... smiles along with the sadness.

Church and faith leaders will play their part, and we'll have the magnificent Malcolm L'Amy on the organ at St Thomas' ... which is in Val Plaisant in St Helier (if you don't know it ... it's the big Catholic Church!) 

But we'll also be joined by some amazing singers. 

Georgi Mottram is a Jersey-born soprano. She's already a Classic Brit Award Nominee who’s debut single shot to No.1 in the iTunes Official Classical Charts in May 2021. Georgi is a very special talent and we're so thrilled she'll be joining us.

The Aureole Choir will also be part of the evening. The choir (founder and director Nicki Kennedy) was set up during the early stages of lockdown in early 2020 to give people who love singing a chance to celebrate their love for music. They initially met online and recorded music to raise money for local charities but now have over 100 members of all ages who meet regularly to sing, have fun and fundraise. They also run weekly ‘sing-alongs’ (with requests) to boost morale among those living alone and in Jersey’s care homes. They're a great bunch of people, so talented and so committed!

Next Tuesday will be an evening, as I said, which will be reflective, but it will also be filled, we trust, with smiles and hope!

During and after the service there will be an opportunity to remember loved ones and leave messages in a ‘memorial garden' at the back of church and those who wish to do so are also invited to give a donation to the Royal British Legion Jersey Poppy Appeal. That appeal actually starts next week!

Now you might be wondering why I know so much about this?

Well, it's because I've been working on this for months with the managing director of Pitcher and Le Quesne, Paul Battrick, and St Thomas' Church ... helping to communicate, finding the artists and speakers, sourcing the poems and prayers etc and getting involved in a little bit of PR as well.

I have to say, it's one of the best 'jobs' I've had for a very long time. It feels like we are doing something which will make a big difference to people and maybe bring help and comfort in their sorrow and grief.  But hopefully it will also just be a general uplifting hour! It's made me really happy to be involved, but also it's given me much time for reflection myself, and moments when I've been moved by words and music and remembered MY loved ones, including my darling Dad, who have 'gone before'.

If you are in Jersey on Tuesday, we would love to see you! If you are not here in the island, please pray for us, that people will come and be blessed. It's a big church and we'd love to see many people... and we hope it will bless us all.

So, on this Sunday, to bring you all into the circle of love we hope will surround us on Tuesday evening, please click on the link below to see/hear a presentation that will be part of the Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving.

It will be the first of two musical offerings from the Aureole Choir  and it's actually one of the first projects they produced when Jersey was in lockdown in Spring 2020. The song and video (which is on YouTube as well as the Aureole Music website) raised money for local charities, and it brought music into our lives at a time when choirs could not meet, we could not sing even in church (and anyway churches were closed)  and we felt so bereft of the joys of music and performance.

Enjoy the beautiful Jersey landscapes and seascapes and images and people, and the even more beautifully talented islanders who joined together for this very special project.

See you on Tuesday! 

 

 


End of Summer

I love a bit of poetry ... I think I've said that before!

END OF SUMMER - STANLEY KUNITZSo today I just want to share a seasonal poem with you!

This is from the pen of the award winning American poet Stanley Kunitz, who twice in his lifetime held the post of  Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.

It's at times like this, when the weather is turning, when there's a definite sense of change in the air, that I wish I could write poetry like this.

That idea that the weather and the world around me is able to change my mood is something that I KNOW but ... can I write it like this? 

... and I knew that part of my life was over ....

What a sentiment!

It's something I think we've all experienced, that moment in time when we knew we were at the parting of the ways! 

But oh to be able to express it like this!

Maybe I should read more poetry like this to inspire me.

Maybe I should practice my poetry a bit more, but I promise ... unless I feel that it's worth sharing with the world, it will remain just mine own.

Instead, I'll just keep writing prose  ...  I think I can do that, anyway!

As summer disappears over the horizon and autumn creeps up on me, I am determined to continue to look around, breathe in the air of change and of life and nature, and be inspired to create words which mean something to me, if not to anyone else.

Have a great day everyone!


Streets of London

Yesterday I took a drive and was listening to the radio when a song came on which I haven't heard for many years.

It's a song which, back in the day, I used to sing while strumming my guitar - quite badly probably - and I think it's sheer poetry.

'Streets of London' tells a story, of people who are marginalised and socially excluded. Homeless people. People we may see every day in the street, but maybe we pass them by. Or perhaps we just don't notice them. They are the 'invisible'.

Streets of LondonThe words always make me think deeply and not just about all those who go under our radars, although I believe that is the purpose of the song, to remind us that these people are important, albeit living lives that are so unlike ours.

It challenges us, I think, to put our existence and our own worries and concerns, into some sort of perspective. It makes us consider our own good fortune, hopefully, and encourages to open our eyes to the desperate situations that others may be living in.

As the lyrics remind us ... 

So how can you tell me you're lonely
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and
Lead you through the streets of London
Show you something to make you change your mind

Streets of London was written and originally recorded in 1969 by Ralph McTell. It was on his album of that year - Spiral Staircase. 

However, it wasn't released in the UK as a single until 1974, and it's been  covered and recorded by many many other artists down the years. One I remember well was the 1971 version from another great singer ... Roger Whittaker.

It's a song about homelessness and social exclusion and in December 2017 the song was re-released, featuring Ralph McTell with Annie Lennox, as a charity single for CRISIS, the Homelessness Charity in the UK.

SO today I just share the song with you, and the video from CRISIS which was produced for that charity release. 

For me, it's even more poignant because it features members of the Crisis Choir, a group made up of Crisis clients from across Britain, people who HAVE been homeless, or at risk of homelessness, people who have walked that road and slept on those streets. It's a great video and I love not just its poignancy but also its hopefulness, especially the joy and smiles at the end of the presentation.

As someone who once worked for and actually grew up in the church and charity organisation The Salvation Army, who among other things also supports and cares for homeless men, women and families, I've met many people like this and I know they're often wonderful people, with so much to offer the world. They should not be 'invisible'.

Please, if you can, take time to watch it ... enjoy the song ... but also maybe absorb the message? 

 


Song on the Summer Breeze

Happy Sunday!

For those of us who are Christians today is, of course, known as 'the Sabbath' ... a day traditionally set aside as a day of rest, a special day.

These days, however, Sunday for many is a working day. So not much rest being had.

I've never had a problem working on a Sunday because in my line of work - journalism and broadcasting - it was a necessity. And many people in many professions also have no option but to work Sundays, including doctors, nurses, carers and other health professionals.

If you like your Sunday newspaper then someone has to work in the shop to sell it, and if you enjoy a Sunday lunch out at a restaurant, then those who cook and serve your meal will, of course, be working the Sabbath. Our actions and decisions impact on the ability of others to set one day aside for rest.

For many years when I was working for at BBC Radio Jersey, I presented the Sunday morning Breakfast Show, which is still focused on all things spiritual in the island. And during that time I learnt that the 'sabbath' can be interpreted in various ways.

Although many would say Sunday should be kept special, because it's a day for church and spiritual things, I think that the main point is that us humans DO take at least one day to rest from the turmoil and 'busyness' of life.  Whatever day that might be. We can't keep working day in and day out without a break. Because we WILL break after a while.

And as for meeting God on Sundays, well of course, we can meet God any day ... every day actually ... and at any time. Although on the sabbath maybe we take more time to feel the presence of the Almighty, we can do that anytime.

Whether or not you are a person of faith, today I share these words with you which I think we can speak, or pray, whatever the time of day, whatever the day of the week.

I hope by the time you lay your head on your pillow to sleep tonight, your heart will feel lighter, your mind will be clearer, your bones will feel strong and your heart will feel like singing.

Be blessed!

Song on the Summer Breeze

 


Water Water Everywhere

Have you ever heard this saying ...? 

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink? 

It's one of those quotes which has made itself into the English language and into the culture of the world. It slips off the tongue!

But do you know where it comes from and who wrote it?

It's actually an adapted form of words from a poem called "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who died on this day - July 25 - in 1834. He was a poet, philosopher, theologian and literary critic who, along with his friend William Wordsworth,  was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and one of what became known as  the 'Lake Poets'- they hailed from and/or lived in the beautiful Lake District in northwest England.

Coleridge  apparently coined many common sayings which have made it into our culture, and not just 'water water everywhere....'

If you've ever used the phrase 'suspension of disbelief' you can thank Samuel Taylor Coleridge! He was a major influence not just on other poets, but also on writers and culture down the ages, and, I discover, even on philosophical movements like American transcendentalism.

But, like many creatives, he furrowed his own distinctive path in life. And he was controversial.

For most of his life Samuel Taylor Coleridge was not a well person and in adulthood suffered an addiction to drugs - laudanum and opium - which it's reckoned came about because early on he was treated with laudanum for his physical ailments, including rheumatic fever and other childhood illnesses. It's also been speculated that the poet had bipolar disorder, which of course was not recognised in his lifetime.

Coleridge's  imagination worked overtime and the result was often surreal and  misunderstood literary and poetic creations.  In fact, his most famous works  - 'Kubbla Khan',  'Christabel' and 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' – all featured supernatural themes and exotic images, which some have put down to his use of the drugs. He was inclined to be unreliable and to leave projects unfinished. He was often plagued by severe debts. But his originality and creative genius means he and his work have gone down in history.

'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'  is Samuel Taylor Coleridge's longest poem and it was written in 1797–98 and published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. This iconic collection of poems by Wordsworth and Coleridge  is considered to have marked the start of the English Romantic movement in literature, with a shift to what was then is now recognised as 'modern poetry'. 

But what is 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'  all about?

Well, it tells the story of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage. He stops a man who is on his way to a wedding and begins to narrate a story of a sailing voyage he took long ago.

The wedding guest at first reacts as many of us may do when hearing 'old tales' from elderly people, and he becomes impatient with the old sailor. But then he gets sucked into the story and is captivated with the man and his tale of life and woes.

The mariner explains that his travels have taken him to many places, even to the icy waters of the Antarctic, where an albatross eventually pulls the ship out of the pack ice where it has become stuck. Sadly the sailor kills the albatross and then unfolds a series of very unfortunate events.

The spirits chase the ship "from the land of mist and snow". The south wind that had initially blown them north now sends the ship into uncharted waters near the equator, where it becomes becalmed. Going nowhere.

Water water everywhereAnd here's were that famous line comes in ... 

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The mariner is blamed for the torment of the crew and their thirst. They are furious so they force the mariner to wear the dead albatross around his neck, so that he always carries that burden and regrets it.

And it's this part of the story which gives us the idiom 'an albatross around one's neck' which refers to a heavy burden we may be carrying, and which torments us.

Did you know that?

The ancient mariner's adventures continue but although in time the albatross falls from his neck, the torment continues for the old sailor. Eventually, as punishment for shooting the bird and driven by his guilt, the mariner is forced to  wander the earth, telling his story over and over, and teaching a lesson to those he meets. Hence the meeting with the Wedding Guest and the re-telling of his life story.

It's an absolute classic!

However, initially the poem didn't go down that well. It was criticized for being obscure and difficult to read. There are so many layers to poems like this that very clever people have, down the years, devoted much time to unravelling it's meanings, mysteries, interpretations, language and various versions, because Coleridge actually 'tweaked' it over the years for new editions of poetry collections. It was always a work in progress.

But just because it's difficult to understand doesn't mean we shouldn't give it a go. That's part of the problem with lots of us, isn't it? We have such a limited attention span. We don't want to spend too much time on anything. Too little time, too much to do.

And, just like the Wedding Guest, maybe we haven't got time in our lives for our older relatives and friends. As I grow older and feel I want to share MY stories more, I'm aware I haven't listened well to the stories of people in my family who I maybe thought repeated themselves, and their tales.

That's something I need to work on still!

And maybe I'll take time out today ... or in the next few days ... to read 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', in full.

If you want to join me ... please click on the link below ...

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Full Text - The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in Seven Parts

And let's all celebrate the legacy of a genius!


Anyone for Tennis?

Right now I'm spending a bit more time than usual watching sport on the TV.

No - I'm not talking about the football (or if you're reading this in the States, the 'soccer').

The Euro football tournament is  currently happening and of course, it's all over the British media, especially now because the English team will face up to Italy in the final at Wembley stadium on Sunday this weekend!

I put my hand up and admit that I'd actually rather watch paint dry than endure a football match on TV. I've been to 'live' matches and they are different. Great fun, much excitement.

But watching on TV, it's not just about the actual game. Hours upon hours are dedicated to all the pre-match conversations, then there's the so called 'expert' chat during half time and of course at the end of the match all those experts unpicking every minor detail of the 90 minutes of play - why what the 'experts' thought would happen didn't happen, and so on and so forth.  I find it all rather tedious. So I'm not talking about watching football.

No - I'm talking tennis.

Yes, I know many of you reading may think that watching a tennis match is also pretty boring. But not me.

You see, it all comes down to personal interest and personal choice.

I can't bear watching all the hype around football and all the machismo around the players and the game. But I love watching those tennis players with all the thought and tactics that are employed. I love experiencing the ups and downs of play, which can swing so quickly in favour of one player or the other. There's so much 'thinking' involved ... as well as the athleticism and dedication which we can all marvel at.

One of the tennis 'Grand Slam' tournaments, and the only grass court 'Major' competition  - is held in a town in southwest London which is world famous. 

Wimbledon.

In fact, the Wimbledon Championships is recognised as being the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is widely regarded as the most prestigious. 

Right now we're on the brink of the final weekend of Wimbledon 2021 ... it's the Ladies Singles Final tomorrow (Saturday) and the Gentleman's Singles Final on Sunday. And there will be the doubles finals as well. These days there are junior tournaments and the Wimbledon Wheelchair championship matches.

But on this day back in 1877 it was the start of the very first Wimbledon Championship. The tournament was held, as it still is today, at the  All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club (AEC & LTC) in Wimbledon, London.

The AEC & LTC had been founded in July 1868, as the All England Croquet Club. But as the interest in croquet was waning, in February 1875  lawn tennis was added to the interests at the club.

In June 1877 the club decided to organise a tennis tournament to pay for the repair of its pony roller, which they used to maintain the lawns, or the outdoor grass courts.

Although the game of 'tennis' can be traced back to 12th century France, in England it became what we now know as Real Tennis which was (and still is) played on an indoor court and became known as the 'Game of Kings'. There appear to have been various incarnations of the game in different countries.

It was the introduction of technology, namely the invention of the first lawn mower in Britain in 1830, which is thought to have led to the ability to prepare grass courts - or lawns laid to grass - which could be used as a fairly safe playing surface. This in turn enabled sports and leisure enthusiasts to create  pitches, greens, playing fields and ... tennis courts!

This development meant that the sports became more popular and people began to want standardised rules. It was in the mid 19th century that modern rules for many sports were first conceived, including ... lawn bowls, football, and lawn tennis.

The world's first 'tennis' club was actually founded in Leamington Spa in Warwickshire in England in 1872. In nearby Birmingham in the English Midlands, a few years earlier (between 1859 and 1865 actually) a chap called Harry Gem, a solicitor, and his friend Augurio Perera had developed a game that combined elements of another past time called 'racquets' (similar to squash) and the ball game pelota which hailed from the Basque region of Europe, on the French and Spanish border.
 
The duo first played the game on Perera's croquet lawn in Birmingham and a few years later the friends got together with two local doctors to  set up that first club on Avenue Road in Leamington Spa. It's here that the term "lawn tennis" was used as a name of an activity by a club for the first time. 
 
The game caught on and by May 1875 the Marylebone Cricket Club drew up the first standardised rules for tennis. 
 
Just two years later, the organisers of the first Wimbledon tournament had no precedent so, using those MCC regulations, they had to come up with a set of rules for a tournament.  
 
That first event only included a 'Gentlemen's Singles' competition, and 22 men played on the now famous grass courts, having each had to pay for the honour of taking part ... the entry fee was one guinea.
 
The tournament began on 9 July 1877, and the final – delayed for three days by rain – was played on 19 July in front of a crowd of about 200 people who each paid an entry fee of one shilling. Hopefully the club made the money they needed for that pony grass roller!
 
Until fairly recently, rain was an issue for Wimbledon and I've spent many an hour over the years watching re-runs of old matches on TV while 'rain stopped play'. However, in 2009 the All England Club put a retractable roof over the famous Centre Court, and in 2019 the other main show court, No. 1 Court, also got a roof.
 
Back on World Poetry Day on March 21, my 'One Day at a Time' blog featured one of my favourite poems - 'If' by Rudyard Kipling - but what I didn't point out at the time is that there's a line in the poem which is engraved over the entrance to Centre Court at Wimbledon.
 
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
 
Wimbledon Triumph and Disaster
These are words, of course, to inspire those players who are about to perform, hopefully at their best, on one of the world's most prestigious courts at the oldest tennis tournament in the world, with all the history that involves.
 
As today's competitors step under that inscription, I'm sure they are aware of the many many incredible sports men and women who have preceded them and all those who have also played on that hallowed turf. I hope so, anyway. Because although I'm sure they are thinking about their own game, the legacy of those who have gone before, including the early pioneers of the game, must be acknowledged.
 
But the words can also inspire us.
 
We might not be able to play world class tennis, or kick a ball at the highest level of football, or change the world, or do something spectacular.
 
But we all face 'triumphs' and successes, and 'disasters' and failures in our lives.
 
Life is like that. Ups and Downs.
 
And if we can face them both with equal measure - then our lives can surely achieve some sort of 'balance'.
 
More of that tomorrow!
 
 

Let me Count the Ways

I think I've said it before but I love a bit of poetry.

And today I'm sharing with you probably one of the most well known love poems of all time. One I absolutely adore.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was an English poet who lived in the early to mid 19th century (she actually died on this day - June 29th - in 1861) and she was one of the most popular and celebrated poets of her time. At one point she was so popular that she was  considered a rival to Tennyson as a candidate for Poet Laureate when William Wordsworth died in 1850. These days, she is best known for her love poetry, but she is so much more.

Elizabeth Barrett wrote prolifically and was considered rather unconventional because she wasn't afraid to express views on the social and political issues of the day - industrialisation, slavery, religion, and the problems faced by women and what it was like to be a woman at that time. Her writings and poems are considered by some as among the earliest 'feminist' texts. She certainly didn't hold back on her opinion and she felt that through poetry she could affect the world. It's known that as a young girl she declared that she was a ‘great admirer’ of Mary Wollstonecraft, also an English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women's rights whose work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) influenced Elizabeth's views on the position of women in society. 

Elizabeth had begun writing early on - some says she wrote her first poems around the age of four  - and by the time she was a young woman she was a successful published poet. But she wasn't a well person, suffering from a spinal condition and later in life, lung problems.

She was in her late 30s when, in 1844 she published her two-volume Poems, which made her one of the most popular writers in England and, more importantly for her future happiness, impressed another poet and playwright, Robert Browning.

They met and began corresponding and this led perhaps to one of the most famous courtships in literature and history. They married in secret, because Elizabeth knew her father would disapprove. In fact Mr Barrett disinherited Elizabeth when he discovered she had married ... he actually did this to all his children when they married. The couple moved to Italy where eventually they had a son ... that was in 1849 when Elizabeth was 43.

A year later she published the poem for which Elizabeth Barrett Browning is probably best known ... 'How do I love thee?' (Sonnet 43 in her Sonnets from the Portuguese). Robert encouraged her in her writing, including publishing some of her love poems.

Thank goodness he did ... otherwise we might not had the pleasure of reading such beautiful words as these ...

How do I love thee - Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Forever Young

If you like your pop music you may have heard of Bob Dylan.

He's had a lifetime in music, bringing us so many inspirational songs many of which were inspired by his own political beliefs, and which have become anthems of  civil rights and anti-war campaigns. I'm thinking Blowin in the Wind  and The Times They Are A' Changing for starters.

Bob is also an artist and author, apart from being described as one of the greatest song-writers of all time, and a cultural icon.

And when I was looking for an inspirational thought for today, I came across this lyric  from Bob which I love. It's actually the third verse of his song Forever Young ....  

Forever Young Bob Dylan
Bob wrote the song as a lullaby for his eldest son Jesse, and in my research I discovered that a demo version of the song was recorded in June 1973 which was included on Bob Dylan's compilation album Biograph in 1985.  But he subsequently recorded a live version of the song in Tokyo on 28 February 1978 which was released as a single in Europe on this day - June 22 - in 1979.

It's been recorded by many artists down the years but as an additional 'extra' today ... let's enjoy a rendition of the song from another iconic American singer, musician, songwriter and activist, Joan Baez, who is from the same 'era' as Bob Dylan and whose contemporary folk music often includes songs underpinned by social justice and protest.

Love love love this!

Have a great day everyone!

Stay Young!

 


No Cure for Curiosity

Have you ever heard this quote?

'Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses'

It's one of those sayings that lots of us may know ... but do you know where it came from, who wrote it?

Well that was a woman called Dorothy Parker, an American writer, poet, writer, satirist and critic who is best known for her wit and sharp and droll comments and jokes. She was based in New York and it was her observations on life in the city and the people around her that gave her much of her material.

She wrote extensively for magazines - she sold her first poem to the prestigious Vanity Fair magazine in 1914 at the age of just 21 and a few months later she was hired as an editorial assistant for Vogue.  Within a couple of years she was a Vanity Fair staff writer and began writing theatre reviews. Actually she first filled in for P. G. Wodehouse, who was on holiday. 

She mixed in literary circles including as part of a lunch group called the Algonquin Round Table named for the hotel in which they met which included among others editors and newspaper columnists. Some of those companions began quoting some of humorous things that Dorothy can up with during lunch, and her reputation as a 'wit' grew.

Later in life Dorothy wrote that those gatherings were actually rather superficial, lots of people telling jokes and '...telling each other how good they were. Just a bunch of loudmouths showing off ... There was no truth in anything they said...' Plus ca change, as they say.  Interesting!

Dorothy wrote extensively and if you look online you'll see many of her funny and rather sarcastic comments online, many of which of course are taken out of context. I'm guessing from what I've read of her she was a great people-watcher, someone who mental notes about everything around her.  Imagine being at a party with Dorothy Parker. I for one would try to be on MY best behaviour.

There's a website dedicated to her - the Dorothy Parker Society - if you want to find out more. And one of the things I've learned as I've investigated her a bit more is that she thoroughly disliked her reputation as a 'wise cracker',  and of course there was much more to her than those sharp-witted quotes.

I'm mentioning her today because it was on this day - June 7th - in 1967 that Dorothy Parker died and also because there's one of her comments which I absolutely LOVE. I don't know the context in which she said it or wrote it but for me it is profound.

Curiosity - dorothy parker

Don't you love that?

It's not often I find myself 'bored'. There's always something to do, something to investigate, something to watch and enjoy.  And I hope I never lose my sense of curiosity.

I have to admit I am the curious kind. I also love to 'people watch' and actually I also store up things I see and hear, sometimes even writing them down.

I will never be a Dorothy Parker, but occasionally these vignettes of life make their way into my writing and there's more still to come yet.

One example. When I worked in London I spent many hours on the train commuting into the office and it would have been very easy to get 'bored'. Sometimes I read to pass the time, but other times I just watched and listened.

How, I wondered, did that man sitting opposite me get to have SUCH a big nose? Was he born like that, or was he in some sort of accident? It was massive, red and bulbous. And the best thing was he seemed completely unaware of it. Classic.

There were the silly women chatting about shoes and clothes, the girls applying their makeup as we moved along, unaware that at any moment they might pierce their eyeball with mascara stick. There were the men talking endlessly about sport and even those sharing family and work stories and gossip, sometimes with a degree of 'cattiness', sarcasm and petty spite.

Yes often I'm sure 'showing off'' and maybe just trying to impress the listeners around them.

Dorothy Parker would have loved it!

 

 


A Night in June

I love a bit of poetry.

And today I want to share another poem from one of my favourite poets, William Wordsworth.

He was an English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to create the Romantic Age in English literature - in 1798 they worked together on a collection of poems entitled Lyrical Ballads which was really the start of it all.

Wordsworth, in my opinion, wrote some beautiful poems which really give us a picture of the English countryside and the culture of his age.

He's well known for some particular poems and within them are some phrases which have become part of English-speaking culture.

I've already posted one of my favourites - 'I wandered lonely as a cloud' ... which gives us eternal images of those lovely spring 'Daffodils'.

What about 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge, Sept. 3, 1802' - which includes the beautiful line "Earth has not anything to show more fair"? One of the things I love about Wordsworth is that he didn't try to come up with fancy titles for his poems but sometimes just told us where he had written them!

I can't talk about Wordsworth without mentioning one of his very early poems - 'Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey' - that was included in the 'Lyrical Ballards'  and if you've never read it, it's well worth a look .. why not do so here ?

However, the poet is so much more than this handful of 'famous' poems. Wordsworth was Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death on 23 April 1850 and so even until the end of his life he was writing pieces to celebrate landmark moments in British history. 

But what I love about William Wordsworth is his imagery, and how he manages to write so beautifully about the things he sees and hears around him.

And so, as we're just into the month of June, let me share this rather less well-known Wordsworth poem ... perfect for this time of year! And beautiful!

Enjoy!

A night in June - Wordsworth