I wouldn’t usually (re) publish two poems over two days but on the 11th January last year our beloved hound, Phoebe, died, and we remember her, miss her and relish the time we had together. This is dedicated to all dog/animal lovers ; it’s the price we pay?
For Phoebe, the dog star.
(i) The joy of running.
A bolt from the blue,
A golden arrow streaking , skirting Newport bay
Effortlessly matching sand sail and surf.
A pimple, possibly canine, on the farthest horizon
was enough to take you away,
bullet running, wide pawed dancing.
Find the fiercest dog you could – and make it chase you!
You and Maisie rising and falling like dolphins
in the meadow sweet, long grass of summer.
In Wiltshire woods the intoxicating frustration of putting up deer,
glad running into the copses,
thundering through bramble and bracken,
off, into the dim distance.
Leaving us with the panicky emptiness of the long wait.
half an hour, maybe more,
then you would appear, purple tongue, seemingly a mile long,
hawking for breath, flat out on the green downs.
(ii) A wolf god.
Eyes, soul pooled,
Anput, Egyptian dog princess,
Pharaoh dog, friend to Anubis.
strong willed and sublime.
(iii) The ghost dog.
Nothing here of your decline,
just the final, dreadful, sting.
Hot teared night, tumbling on your velvet snout.
Earth drenched, she sleeps, soft blanketed.
A grave peppered with violas and first daffodils.
Now, a ghost dog walking with us.
Through Pengelly woods, wintered, mulched and mudded.
Teifi Lakes spiced with snow.
The estuary, silvered, flat calm and kind.
The pine forest near Lampeter, muffled.
Is that you?
A shivering movement amidst the trees.
A backwards glance, somehow you fill the space.
A muted howl of greeting, a murmur on the breeze?
We too will be scattered skywards,
dark skies and moonbeams,
And, out there,
awaits our Sirius,
our dog star.
Phoebe was a lurcher, saluki, greyhound cross. A Battersea Cats and Dogs rescue hound. A huge character, acknowledged as a beauty by pretty much everyone she met. She was really quite regal, did not offer her affection lightly, and had a wicked sense of humour and mischief. A dog, yes, but so very much more. She lifted and lightened our lives for some 15 years or so, and we miss her terribly.
This poem is the best I can do. 7/2/17.
It has been said, “time heals all wounds.” I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.
It seems strange to me, almost uncanny, how the death of someone one has never met, and now, never will, (and of course, probably never would have encountered anyway!) can feel like such a personal loss. I felt this following the death of Terry Pratchett and now do so about that of David Bowie. And, as witnessed by the incredible amount of tributes and commentary, lots of other people do too.
The statement that an artist provided the “soundtrack to my years” is, of course, a cliché – but hey, David Bowie is right up there amongst my inventory of magical musical discovery….of lost summer mornings abandoned to song, of sneaking a disc onto the radiogram (in the early days, prior to the Dansette) of the thrill of the new, crisp covered LP, of talking though the nuances of photos, lyrics, sleeve notes, with various friends. Of life, of love, of sadness and of the sheer, brutal thrill of new sounds, new visions. Rest Well Mr Bowie – you deserve no less, well at least, as far as my – inadequate – book is concerned.
As suburban adolescence slid by
Our small town’s parks disturbed by smoke, cheap beer, chatter
Indiscretion and mild obsession
You, somehow, showed us what might matter
Sometimes snarled lyrics, harsh guitar
At others, a love letter, whispered
Hermione and the Starman in harmony.
Later, we rode from Station to Station
Having been a Lodger, Low, an occasional zero
Rock and Roll Suicide denied
Dogs, cats, diamonds amongst the genocide
And yet, you sang, the possibility that even we
Might become, reclaimed, refreshed, a Hero.
Last night, the moon split by dark cloud
(A favoured line, of mine)
I sang to you, windswept and westward
though this is not America
skybound, space scattered, unfettered
As the radio waves vibrated with your muse
So sad, so very personal, somehow
Dear David, wondering
Where are you now
Where are you now?
Here is a poem that I have shared before – but I feel (I hope) it bears repeating…as this Christmas approaches, and the ‘festive season’ is upon us, there are (still) too many troubles and troubled in this world of ours?
To everyone who is gracious enough to follow this Blog – my thanks and appreciation. And, whatever your beliefs, creed, disposition ; good fortune ahead to you and yours, and let us hope for better things in 2018, for those not yet experiencing the good times.
THE CHRISTMAS GIFT
The season of storms is upon us,
but a recent, magical day,
gave us the gift of the estuary,
stilled and low sunlight warmed,
the plumped, moss banked waters, becalmed.
I look up at our house
the farm nestling on the hill,
where your window is soft lit and the fire burns within,
and I am so very fortunate to be glad homed and hearthed,
Yet in Syria the snow is falling,
refugees flee, no journey’s end,
troubled children cry in the Philippines
desolation and ruin beckon in South Sudan,
here, our homeless shiver as sleet descends
no comfort at fireside, no family, few friends.
On the estuary, the oyster catchers carol and trill,
as the sanderlings stuttered
seaside run the breeze unfettered,
whilst the cry of the gulls, mourns and chides
and the white lipped tide tumbles,
salt water sprayed and spun,
open mouthed for the gathering chill.
And in the early hours,
by now, rain and wind maddened,
on my radio as I lie enveloped in the duveted darkness
as the World is Served by the BBC I learn that,
in Yemen young girls find themselves sold as child brides
no gifts to share, precious little charity?
But I am loved, cosseted and cared
for neither cavalier nor complacent,
this much I know but grateful,
sometimes almost guilty that life,
the world should spare me so.
And so, a few days before Christmas,
I turned for home, such a very precious phrase.
And, if I had a wish for these and future days,
and could share it with the mountain’s Saint,
Brynnach, lingering – perhaps – above.
I would ask this Christmas Gift,
for the world,
there must be love.
Here is news from Helen Carey – 2018 is already looking good!
Hello and Happy Christmas to all my lovely readers and fans,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL
As we are nearly at the end of the year I wanted to bring you up to date with all the latest news and developments about my books.
In the USA, all my current novels, including THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET (Lavender Road book 5), are already available as eBooks, and LAVENDER ROAD itself, and (very shortly) SOME SUNNY DAY, have now also been published as paperbacks. So do seek them out if you are looking for gifts for friends! The other books will follow these two into paperback over the next few months.
All five Lavender Road novels are also now available in the USA as audio books read by the wonderful British actress Annie Aldington, and are available from bookshops, libraries and on Audible.com.
In the UK, THE OTHER SIDE…
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My grandfather’s watch. Dedicated to Raymond, and to Antony Jefferson, a good old friend, who died today. 8/11/17.Posted: November 8, 2017
I’ve been wearing my grandfather’s watch.
It’s nothing fancy,
a Seiko, battery run,
sporting a strap I bought
(which came from Hong Kong)
with the green and blues of Pembroke College.
to somehow acknowledge
where I, and it, have found ourselves,
One thing I love about it?
The days of the week are there
both in English and French :
Something about this sequence,
fills me up
with primary school delight.
Allows my imagination
aboard ‘time’s winged chariot’
My grandfather – “Pampi” I called him.
How long this watch encircled his wrist
I’m afraid I can’t be sure.
But he lived, flourished,
enriched our lives,
some 90 years and more.
Stayed married for 70 years plus,
to his beloved Eleanor.
A soldier, salesman, publican, manager
gentleman, tough guy, dog lover.
What you get, is what you see.
Author of his own CV.
Gardener, collector, football fan.
Turn his hand to anything man.
Lived through the two great wars.
Raised a family, and well.
Courteous, brave, impetuous on times
not one for making too much fuss.
Always one for trying to make things right,
he did not
‘go gently into that good night’.
Fought, as he had so often done.
Diminished, quietened, death
One day, maybe
I’ll circle the globe,
as did he.
Unless it’s a privilege
to be denied.
But, for now,
he is here,
living, laughing, breathing
all in my mind’s eye.
As are my grandmother, my in – laws,
today, Antony Jefferson, Sheffield steel.
So many friends
men and women of substance and style.
And, over these years,
subdued by sorrow,
flattered by joy,
warmed by many a sun kissed sky,
I dwell awhile.
dropping like leaves,
red and blue veined,
where once were bluebell woods
and rain flushed streams.
storm flung dreams
and the broken hearted.
Yet sadness can be caught,
If I’ll be true to my grandfather’s word…
I’ll wear his watch often
and ever with pride,
my steadily, tick tocking world
for I’m alive
and ever hopeful,
and those I loved are by my side.
The seconds, moments,
months, weeks and years
And yes, of course,
mankind is ‘as grass’.
But life, richly lived,
studied and scoped full,
embraced and celebrated,
is death denied.
Hello friends of themarcistagenda ; here is an, as always, thought provoking and illuminating post from the Blog of Helen Carey. Whilst it is quite a serious reflection on the state of the world, as ever, Helen manages to inject humour…once you have read, scroll down al the way through to the end of the pictures, to see why!
When I finished writing and editing VICTORY GIRLS, the last of my wartime Lavender Road novels, I realised I could finally emerge from the 1940s. Writing the last three books of the series to my publishers’ tight, one-book-a-year schedule has kept me incredibly busy, and somewhat preoccupied, and it has been quite a delight to be able to re-engage with the real world!
But it is a world worryingly different to the one that I (figuratively) left four years ago. Over the summer we have had about 50 visitors to stay (that’s what happens when I stop writing books!) and I think almost every one of them has in one way or another commented on the general world-wide increase in intolerance, nationalism and xenophobia.
These words ring extra loud alarm bells for me because they are exactly the sentiments that were so prevalent in parts of Europe prior to the…
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