(Photos of Carningli – in all it’s moods – by Marc Mordey
This poem was conceived over a few spring like days, during February 2008 – out walking the dogs, watching the birds, and thinking of those who have died, who do – I believe – watch over us. Some 10 years on (how did that happen?!) I am still fortunate indeed to live and love in a most beautiful part of Wales, and, in my opinion, one of the loveliest places in the world. This is, I reckon, my ‘go to’ poem! (apologies for sharing it each 1st March, but this is done in good faith!)
My angels were singing : a poem for St David’s Day
I stood near the house
where Grace once lived,
My angels were singing.
I watched as birds
and daffodils dived.
My angels were singing.
It’s spring and the sun
bursts fat and alive.
And my angels were singing.
Old crow, silhouetted against Carningli rock,
purple shadowed on blackened burnt bracken,
gorse and heather reeling :
the after shock.
But my angels were singing, still.
As seagulls wheeled across the bay,
catching sea breezes,
tumbling at will.
The Irish Sea lies beneath
becalmed and silvered blue,
and my angels were singing.
Wales’ favourite saint remembered
the new season breaks forth, springing,
flowers dancing, church bells – ringing.
His angels – singing.
Seasons, people, live and die,
here and now is for the living.
But remember those you love or loved –
And let your angels be singing.
Let your angels be singing.
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus
I’d like to tell you what’s on my mind
how you’ve been truly Valentined.
But, sad to say,
you are away,
and I am left behind….
line by line,
I’ll have a go,
though possibly ill defined
inadequate, I know,
to capture, collate,
the essence of my Valentine…
You’re Greek sunshine,
butter cream, refined.
Gambian river trips
little egret sun flushed wingbeat dips
in African magical time.
Mimicking the whistling song
of the little owl,
spurning luxury Egyptian cotton
for the favoured
budget beach towel.
early morning bird watch savoured,
the gruffly monkeyed howl.
You’re the startling sweep of starling,
the hummingbird roosting,
the bullfinch soft and pink,
the wren, the goldfinch,
flamingo, osprey, parakeet,
the jacana too, quetzal sweet.
If you were a bird,
a thought, perhaps absurd,
I’d have to name you
You’re still adored,
in Chilean fjord.
Blue whale spotting
semi globe trotting
sharing the longer view.
Fighter, then writer,
trader, waiter, painter too,
there’s no way (nor reason for)
of pigeon holing you.
You’re Newport Bay,
Parrog ice cream delicious days,
the shifting Welsh seashore.
You’re Costa Rica,
Argentina, Falklands and Uruguay.
Senegal, Canada, Utah, Montana,
Venice, Florence, France and Spain.
How can it be so?
You take me to
the sweet by and by,
again, again, again.
You’re laughter in the morning,
London show nights,
and ever, the afterglow.
You’re the best of every day
in each and every way…
I could go on,
but maybe best confined,
to render you sublime,
my constant wish
to remain entwined,
to cherish and adore,
my ever lovely
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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