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Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Pause

That strange week when nature pauses;
The world falls silent.

Like the tide visits and leaves the shore.
Poignant reminder of time passing.

A dawning sense;
A memory remembered.

That strange week when nature pauses;
Foretelling the end of summer.

A melancholy stillness;
Empty of movement and sound.

Everything is waiting;
For Autumn to begin.



The swallows are sitting on the line;
Their purpose here nearly over.
A pulse, a scent, something calling.
Tiny scraps empowered;
To ride the wind southwards.

I hear their twittering restlessness.
Primordial longing;
Connecting me to the same fever.

What is it we seek with journeying?
Heed the calling to the source:
Or be fearful and die.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

On Wenlock Edge

This is one of my favourite poems from The Shropshire Lad by A E Houseman. Very Buddhist in it's reference to impermanence and a good one to read when overwhelmed by life's troubles. It will restore a sense of perspective to any problems.

On wenlock Edge

On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble;
His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale it plies the saplings double,
And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger
when Uricon the city stood;
'Tis the old wind in the old anger,
But then it threshed another wood.

Then 'twas before my time, the Roman
At yonder heaving hill would stare:
The blood that warms an English yeoman,
The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.

There, like the wind through woods in riot,
Through him the gale of life blew high;
The tree of life was never quiet:
Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I.

The gale it plies the saplings double,
It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone:
To-day the Roman and his trouble,
Are ashes under Uricon.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Your Breast is Enough

This poem is by Pablo Neruda The Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner. I love his poems. The way he uses words to conjure up mental images is so distinctive. This poem is from Twenty Love Poems published in 1924. It translates quite well into English but is even better in Spanish. If you can speak Spanish it is worth looking it up in the original language.

Your Breast is Enough.

Your breast is enough for my heart,
and my wings for your freedom.
What was sleeping above your soul will rise
out of my mouth to heaven.

In you is the illusion of each day.
You arrive like the dew to the cupped flowers.
you undermine the horizon with your absence.
Eternally in flight like a wave.

I have said that you sang in the wind
like the pines and like the masts.
Like them you are tall and taciturn,
and you are sad, all at once, like a voyage.

You gather things to you like an old road.
You are peopled with echoes and nostalgic voices.
I awoke and at times birds fled and migrated
that had been sleeping in your soul.

Monday, 22 August 2011


Notes about this poem. The Moot House was erected in the first half of the 16th century originally as Council Chambers. Now it is a museum. It was once in the centre of town but now is almost on the beach, the houses in front of it being lost to the restless sea. The reference to fifty three is to the flood surge in 1953 which did much damage to the East Anglian coast. Aldeburgh is also famous for The Aldburgh Festival started by the composer Benjamin Britten with the singer Peter Pears and the writer Eric Crozier.

The Poem. Aldeburgh.

It was bigger once, two streets of houses gone to sea.
Pebbles, from the bricks no doubt, lie on the shingle spit.

High Street with promenade seems perfectly serene.
It's been this way many years, despite a fright in fifty three.

Grey skies and blue for dominance collide behind the lookout tower.
Proud and old The Moot House stands before the public shower.

Still hauled up, the working boats, left on the moving pebbles.
Old houses, out to sea they look, unique is every one.

Harmonious, shades of pastel painted, why do they fit so well
How calming is the atmosphere, it creates a soothing spell.
Every ones so happy here and for a while were we.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Hawkshead Church. The Lake District

I did the sketch for this painting in May and have finally painted it. Not sure if I like it but it does bring back the experience of sitting and doing the sketch. It was a rather cold grey day however so I decided it should be one of those rare sunny Lakeland days. I don't think it is good enough to put up for sale but at least I have started painting again.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

New Commission

This is a picture of Samantha. I am going to paint a portrait of her. She is an incredibly calm child and there is wisdom in those beautiful eyes. I hope I can capture that quality.

I also worked on a painting of Hawkshead in The Lake District today. I did the sketch in May and have not painted much since as I have been so busy. I am not entirely pleased with it but maybe can improve after leaviing it before deciding to do more work.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A Summers Day

Meadows, translucent haze, shimmering colours, greens, browns, beiges and golds. Hot summers day.

Dry Marram grass, warm sand. Sombulent sounds, distant waves, Skylark singing, insects, far off voices.

Cool, refreshing, brown bodies, beads of water, salt on skin. Hot sun. Time suspended.

Other days. Ten, twenty, thirty years. Boyhood to manhood. Poised today between past and future.

Long grass, Ripe Seed, Moon Daisys, Cow Parsley, Red Poppies, Cornfields. Brilliant colours reaching my soul. So beautiful I weep with exultation.

Eternal summer.
Unchanging. Different insects, birds, grass, flowers, other people.

How many more summers? We are just a sound in the song of life.

Monday, 15 August 2011

London Burning

We do live in a parallel universe. The recent riots in London and elsewhere have seen a man murdered for trying to stop youths setting fire to something. A woman leaping for her life from a burning building. Three men run down and killed while trying to protect their neighborhood. Businesses and jobs destroyed by fire and looting.

Meanwhile at the Ulverston Carnival in the Lake District the tradition of throwing wet sponges at volunteers in stocks has been banned this year due to health and safety reasons. Instead sponges have been replaced by ' Super Soaker ' water pistols! I wonder what the sturdy yeoman of Ulverston think of this?

The thought does arise that perhaps ' Health and Safety ' powers would be better employed banning riots rather than concentrating on stamping out fun at village fetes!

Two more thoughts arise
What would happen if the organisers of village fetes and events refused to comply with H and S orders?

What would happen if H and S tried to make rioters comply with a request not to riot as it may be dangerous?


Friday, 12 August 2011

Coast to Coast Walk

David. Fearless Leader

I am just back from helping Lionheart Tours guide a lovely group of Americans on the above walk. It is one of the top ten walks in the world and in my view fully deserves that accolade. Passing through three national parks from Irish Sea to North Sea it is truly beautiful. It is also a challenging walk, quite tough and not always easy to follow. This trip however was blessed with exceptionally good weather and visibility so route finding was not as difficult as it can be in rain and low cloud. I feel privileged to have been with this group and to make new friends. Also with David ( Lionheart Tours ) providing a historical overview during the walk I looked at this wonderful country with new eyes and through my American friends eyes. To all those fine people I say thank you for the many interesting conversations, for your good humour and above all for your patience with my occasional navigating errors.
Me. Not so fearless leader
John and Gail.Very English Americans
Charming, kind and lovable.

David and Adele. Glamorous couple
On loan from hollywood?

Stephen. Ultra runner. He could run the
whole route in two days but was patient
with us ordinary mortals.

Donna. Everybodies favourite.
Married to Stephen. we shared a
mutual interest in Buddhism.

Tanya. A real trooper. So pleased to
finish and enjoy that glass of celebratory
wine. Terrific.

Blistering Barbara. Not only fast but
with more blisters than feet. Heroic;
True grit.

Mac and Lucy Absolutely lovely couple.
Good company. Great conversations.
Marc. So witty. He inspired me with his
interest in everything. Great company.

Judy and Ruth. Mother and daughter.
What a team. Delightful combination.

kathy. From Canada but living in Texas.
Laconic humour. Big hat and long legs.
Always at the front and bouncing jokes
off Marc.