Helen Carey’s novels as audio books…an embarrassment of riches.

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The dog star (revisited)

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? all-pictures-june-2016-052

 

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,

kohl lined.

Anput, Egyptian dog princess,

Pharaoh dog, friend to Anubis.

Easy humoured,

curious,

strong willed and sublime.

Inscrutable, imperious,

Ready beauty,

indisputable.

 

(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?

 

(iv) Someday.

 

We too will be scattered skywards,

dark skies and moonbeams,

flung afar.

And, out there,

somewhere,

awaits our Sirius,

burning bright.

Phoebe,

ever

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.

 


the Christmas Gift

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.

 

Snowy Newport #2 jan 2013 034 Carningli.

 

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,

protected, still.

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,

unzipped, undone,

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,

love,

there must be love.

 

Latest photos (Jan 2013) 006


Christmas Update

Here is news from Helen Carey – 2018 is already looking good!

helencareybooks

Hello and Happy Christmas to all my lovely readers and fans,

xmas xnoopy reading 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.

Pampis watch

Just lately,

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.

Seemed appropriate

to somehow acknowledge

where I, and it, have found ourselves,

latterly.

 

One thing I love about it?

The days of the week are there

both in English and French :

Lundi

Mardi

Mercredi

Jeudi

Vendredi

Samedi

Dimanche

 

Something about this sequence,

fills me up

with primary school delight.

Allows my imagination

aboard ‘time’s winged chariot’

taking flight.

 

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

as ever

finally won.

 

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

now departed,

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.

Memories,

dropping like leaves,

red and blue veined,

autumn scuffled,

where once were bluebell woods

and rain flushed streams.

Now

storm flung dreams

and the broken hearted.

 

Yet sadness can be caught,

spat out,

even

rendered absurd.

If I’ll be true to my grandfather’s word…

why, then,

I’ll wear his watch often

and ever with pride,

in this

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

will pass.

And yes, of course,

mankind is ‘as grass’.

But life, richly lived,

studied and scoped full,

embraced and celebrated,

surely this,

is death denied.


Is history repeating itself?

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!

helencareybooks

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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A celebration of an ancient tradition – beating the bounds in Newport, Pembrokeshire

Seemed appropriate to republish this as I am leading the Beating the Bounds walk today – August 18th 2017…the 53rd such walk (in modern times, so to speak)

Beating the Bounds – 2011

 

First we met amidst the cheerful noise and roar of living,

Squared off in Market Street

The horses shying, nudging nervously,

Eager to avoid lorries, cars, the inconvenient pedestrians.

Saddled up and stirrup cupped, they sally forth, and,

Like some star crossed lovers,

Their paths and the walker’s ways are not to cross again, this day.

 

It’s a long road to the end of Long Street,

“And miles to go before we sleep”.

The walkers convene, eager to beat, maybe even break the bounds

For we are living history today and the wildly beating western heart of Wales

Resounds, and steers these wilful feet.

 

Estuary and sea behind us

Swiftly we stride the road of kings

Where Henry once slipped towards Bosworth on paths of glory

And, daring to cross the 21st century once more,

We make our way behind, beyond Hendre farm

The leet singing softly across the centuries,

Testament to engineers of another age.

Stepping stones and hawthorn copses, and

For some a speedy detour around

the long deserted, but still upheld,

stone encircled cattle pound – a mournful story of shillings lost

some here before us were to count the cost.

 

Its uphill now, and the wind is there to whip us lightly

A few drops of rain to remind us of where we are.

But we are following the flag, in its wind kissed flight.

Resolute, you might say, marching

Towards Bedd Morris, and the standing stone,

Where – for a slither of time and a mouthful of sandwich –

Ennobled by mayor and mayoress, resplendent in red,

We rest, and are thankful:

Apart from one young beaten boy, perhaps,

For his is the freshest mind on show, and, let’s

Make no bones about it, if the young are to remember the ancient boundaries,

They must be beaten soundly for their troubles.

“The youth of today”, echoes down the years,

As the stick swishes in the stiffening breeze,

But this is pantomime only, photographs and cheers – no tears.

 

Refreshed, and joined by dogs and other new companions

Fresh for the journey, but walking age old paths,

The mountain top soaked in colour,

Purple heathered and gorse honeyed

And the red and white of the flag, breaking the blue grey cloud.

Sheep safely graze, though they, and skulking foxes, rabbits and a small mountain lizard

Might be forgiven for being a trifle amazed at this unforeseen traffic

A Carningli crocodile, a human hazard.

We pass the stone circles that once were home to those long lost,

Skirt the side of “Angel Mountain”, no celestial voices to be heard

But the song of the lark arouses, a buzzard cries and wheels above

Riding the thermals, untroubled by time

Undaunted by history.

The skies open up before us, the sea and cliffs ahead,

Below, Chapels, Manor, Nevern church

Well mannered fields, undisciplined outcrops and wayward woodland,

Many passed those ways, wrote the tapestry of time,

Though for most our life stories remain unread.

For today, the Pilgrim’s Way, is above the valleys

And we’ve time in hand, as downwards, dogs dancing, we are led.

 

Back to Newport, job done, a stalwart crew,

We salute our standard bearer and make plans to meet

And that evening are rewarded with revelry,

And, later a form of reverence

As the Llwnygwair Arms falls silently to keep watch

Over the time bound tradition, the Court Leet.

Certificated, we walkers, riders too,

Take our place in the boundless tale.

 

Above us, Carningli sleeps,

Dented by our passing, brushed by our boots, hammered by hoof beat,

The drum and the dragon, magical and mystic, the mountain top steeped in sound.

We, time straitened fragments of history, move forward now, on into our own futures

But today – we made our mark

And companionship, community, purpose and vigour, these are the features.

Abundant memories, to lighten the winter dark.

 

Marc Mordey 20/8/11

themarcistagenda

Beating the Bounds  

First we met amidst the cheerful noise and roar of living,

Squared off in Market Street

The horses shying, nudging nervously,

Eager to avoid lorries, cars, the inconvenient pedestrians.

Saddled up and stirrup cupped, they sally forth, and,

Like some star crossed lovers,

Their paths and the walker’s ways are not to cross again, this day.

It’s a long road to the end of Long Street,

“And miles to go before we sleep”.

The walkers convene, eager to beat, maybe even break the bounds

For we are living history today and the wildly beating western heart of Wales

Resounds, and steers these wilful feet.

Estuary and sea behind us

Swiftly we stride the road of kings

Where Richard once slipped towards Bosworth on paths of glory

And, daring to cross the 21st century once more,

We make our way behind, beyond Hendre farm

The leet…

View original post 499 more words