Of Cooler Days, Poetic Blackberries, and Sunshine Yellow Flowers

Celia remarked yesterday that the long weeks of relentlessly high temperatures and continuous sunshine seem like a distant dream. She’s right, though it’s still been warm, there is a definite end of summer feel. This evening it’s been raining with a determination which is doubly annoying as I forgot to take something out of the car earlier. Also I closed my windows to keep the rain out and I felt rather too warm, so the sounds of rain fizzling to a stop has been most welcome.

Maybe if it cools down there may still be blackberries when I eventually get to das Boot. I picked lots in NI to have with my breakfast and to add to yoghurt, which was all very geographically appropriate as it is what the Tourist Board likes to call Heaney country.

Blackberries in Heaney Country

In the East, I was planning to do my usual afternoon of blackberry picking in Reach and then freeze most of them to enjoy in the winter. Continue reading

Back on the Bus to Belfast

Back on the bus to Belfast. It would be fun to continue in this alliterative way, but the people I'm meeting have names that begin with F and J.

 

Fiona, known to WordPress readers as Speccy, and I have met once before by the Europa bus station. That was a summer's day. It's February now, and chill winds whistle and find unprotected gaps in clothing, seeking out the spaces between glove and sleeve, sneaking down the back of a collar and testing the advertised thermal qualities of underwear.

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Here Be Dragons

Poetry group tonight. Our once a month sit round a round table with books and wine and nibbles, reading and listening, and exchanging our thoughts. Mainly sombre thoughts tonight as it turned out. The theme, chosen by Sandra, was dragons and mythical creatures. It turns out there are an awful lot of very bad poems about dragons, many of them for children.

I like Sandra a lot; she’s a good egg, but this theme had me thinking of her less than charitably. Fortunately, among the dross there are some shining wonderful gems. Celia read a stirring extract from Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, the bit when the warrior is dying. It happens that Sandra studied Beowulf for A level and didn’t enjoy it one bit. We talked about how poetry was killed dead by the way we were taught it; each line gone through, dissected, the images pinned down on the page by our pencilled notes: alliteration, personification, extended simile. Shorter poems might survive as they would be read aloud, but the thunderous rolling words of Beowulf and other epics were too many, and so they were stretched, as on a mortuary slab for our scalpel pens and indifferent eyes.

I had a bit of rolling thunderous poetry myself, an extract from Paradise Lost, Book One, also studied at A level. I probably haven’t opened it for decades, but one remembered phrase sent me back to the text:

so stretcht out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay

Chain’d on the burning Lake

Now I am glad I kept my copy, rereading it opened my eyes to why someone had thought it good thing for a bunch of seventeen-year-olds to read in the first place. It has the wow factor on every page I looked at, and there are volumes of it.

Anyway.

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Top Post

A little while ago GillyGee tagged me. One of her questions asked, which was your most popular post?
I didn’t know, and I didn’t know where to look, but other people seemed able to answer the question, so I guessed it must be somewhere on WordPress.

I had a strong suspicion it would be this post, and I was right.

Rather disturbingly, drowning kittens and puppies features prominently in the searches that have led others to my page.

I am not sure what they think, when they find a poem and a family story.