75 years before…….
Young men stumbling into the shell bound surf
Silver flying fish
The boys, wading on and in
Falling, camouflaged no more
Booming, battling forth
Whistling bullets, the siren song of war
Deafening the ocean’s unerring roar.
I watched ‘Saving Private Ryan’
With Pete Bibb
Self appointed ‘old timer’
Who left the movie house
“Cannot watch this, have to go”
As the faux machine guns
This D Day morning
The robes of priests, clustered
The coat tails of politicians
And hats of royalty
As the bemedalled veterans
Old men now
Memories shared, perhaps, despairs
Some stood and stared
As the peace yearning prayers
In the fields at home
The buttercups, the thistle heads
Were bowing in the stiffening wind
That blows across the Channel
The clouds scud seawards
A breath of memory passes
Back across to France
Where death gleaned a mighty harvest
No respect for rank, for officer classes.
The flags and flowers
The crowds lost
In collective trance
Subdued respect, even awe
And own them all, we all surely must
Others sand blasted,dust
Their debt, in full, is met
And not forget.
We had a holiday in Crete a little while back. The sea and sky were as blue as can be. The greens were equally intense. The kingfisher combined all these colours. The sunsets bled into the sea.
Helen and I met on a Greek Island, Kythira, when she was teaching creative writing. I was one of her students…I came home with the First Prize.
Helen Carey, this one’s for you.
(Oh! And hats off to Homer too! And a muted apology to the writer of ‘Grease’)
IN CRETE WE DREAMED IN BLUE
But in Crete the leaves are not yet falling
And I’m bursting with life
Olive grove glad
In the land of the Iliad
We are here
Our 18th year
Greece, the landscape
Soaked in ancient Sage
Washed with Thyme
History beyond belief
And the nearly new
That’s me and you.
In our spring
Kythera was King
Oleander lit the way
Winding down dusted tracks to
The azure blue, Kapsali bay,
Hora above, gleaming alabaster white
In our autumnal , peacocked Crete
Kingfishers dripping jewels in flight
Across the Lake at Agir
Turtles stroke the tranquil waters at Koumas
Now, in the dream dented, honeyed night
My Cretan Queen whispers
“Greece is the word”
And I heard
And I heard
Finding Inspiration – author Helen Carey recalls the inspiration behind her bestselling wartime LAVENDER ROAD series.Posted: November 11, 2013
What would you have had us remember
As you mustered in the trenches,
Around the gun emplacements?
As you hopped into the cockpit
And flung yourself skywards,
Or plumbed the depths
Submerged and submarined?
Should we remember your bravery?
Your mockery? Your cynicism in the face of duty?
Your gut wrenching anxiety,
Your fear, your mortal pain,
As you were killed and wounded,
Again and again and again?
Do the flags, the parades,
The preachers, the cavalcades,
Act as sufficient homage?
Or would peace, justice, equality
Be more deserving of your patronage?
It is true.
We must continue
To remember you.
Italy is – or, Carpe (enjoy) Capena – a poem reflecting our recent holiday in Capena,near Rome (www.casacapena.com) Helen researched for her upcoming WW2 novel and I, well I tried to capture the spirit of the visit, including the huge contrast of ancient and modern. Hope you like it.Posted: April 15, 2013
Sunlight slicing the morning apartment
Gracing the piazza too,
Streaming over the crimson and cream banners.
Caressing cappuccino coffee cups,
And lighting the way for the young baristas to be
Who are hawking cups of rosemary water,
Whilst bric a brac trembles in the spring wind.
It’s Antonella’s pasta with fennel
And basking in her salted, amber glowing cellar,
Graced by Roberto’s gentle, courteous conversation
It’s Crodino, Americano, cat motifs, cornettos,
And Enrica’s charming welcome.
It is you and I dozing alongside the Tiber
As it flows greenly by,
A chestnut cob rolling in a dust bath
Amidst the sylvan spring countryside.
Smoke whisping through the olive groves,
And a farmer raking fresh mown grass.
It is forcing ourselves up vertical cobbled streets.
Sipping lemon soda on a tiny terrace.
Being amazed at the crazed musings and meandering
Of medieval planning.
A Moroccan lamp catching the sunlight
Above a dusty wood bandaged and padlocked door.
Madonnas and St Francis sitting serenely in relief
Above ancient archways.
And it is pistachios purchased in the lee of history.
Italy is lakes and splendour
Fettuccine and ravioli consumed
High above the water,
Local white wine honeyed and soft.
The Italian Airforce museum, and
Planes hurled aloft.
It is gambling with hectic traffic in Tivoli.
The mossed water delights of the Villa d’Este,
Intense, green chiselled pleasure gardens.
A bride, beside the Cypress pencilled skyline.
Wild cyclamen, purple flag irises,
Gargoyles, monumental architecture,
Dwarfing statues and confusing the gods.
It is Hadrian’s Villa
The insistent clamour of modernity,
The silenced weight of the ages,
Muffling the shadow stained ruins.
Pierced by the delight of children, untroubled by time,
Yet to become their own slight slice of history.
The might of erstwhile empire
Captured by omnipresent electronic aids.
A terrapin floating serenely in the great pool
No carping about the past there.
Italy is an ice cream diet.
Being woken by words at 5 in the morning,
Grappa fuelled brain stumbling.
An early evening promenade,
A carousel in the park,
Evening’s silky silence, punctuated by footballing children
The gossip and smoke of their elders.
The riot of oranges, artichokes, tomatoes
Pastries, flatbreads, pizza slices and olives.
Wine stained plastic bottles
Peroni filled shelves.
Hustling bustling restaurants,
And a woman gently selling Chinese novelties.
The curling call of the hoopoe,
Pining in Farnese woodland.
The sonorous symphony of church bells,
And the threading road
That laces up to the Palazzo Farnese,
Cluttered and steeped with mourners,
Gathered, sombre coated and 10 rows thick
Though not for that, once great family,
Who left us frescoes and blue gold maps of the world –
The impressions of exploration –
The vulgarity of GPS yet to be discovered.
It’s you in new Ray Bans,
Gracing my movie,
As only you know how,
La Dolce Vita.
It’s life, vigour, the weight of history
For this one week
It’s the street where we live
Pot planted and balconied,
Lamplit and almond blossomed,
Monastic, mosaiced and modern.
It’s the joy of today,
Of spring and of sunshine
Balanced, cushioned and unclouded.
Italy is – a holiday.
Find out more about the wonderful novels of Helen Carey – http://www.helencareybooks.co.uk
Pleased to see Helen’s new piece on her blog….The Next Big Thing is next instalment of the Lavender Road WW2 series – HOORAH!!
http://helencareybooks.wordpress.com for all the info
Snow last week (see my post) today it is like the Rivers of Babylon!!