Pentametric Poem

My long lost friends have found me once again,

from distant days of paper, ink and pen.

Of wooden desks disfigured and abused,

of English teachers, quirky and bemused.

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Of Shakespeare, Chaucer and pentameter,

iambic flow, idyllic childhood days.

Close friendships forged, rekindled love affair

with enjambment and Summer’s carefree rays.

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In poetry caesura plays it’s part,

like bosom-friends no longer in my heart.

Life’s challenges have pierced me with their dart,

Yet Art and Music, Words, a salve implant.

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The chiming convent bell, a memory

of morning prayers, spirituality.

Shared, embraced, in warm camaraderie,

as boarders share a false security.

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Fear not, my friends, for all is not yet lost,

full circle I have run and now I fly.

These treasures past, re-kindled not yet tossed

aside to die, but resurrected high.

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As Winter’s cold lethargic fingers fall

and frogs with croak return to pond to mate,

Depression’s veil dissolves to Springtime’s call,

As spark ignites my soul to germinate.

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Apologies for the “Rogue” line not true to the iambic penametric form : “shared , embraced, in warm camaraderie”… !

1967-1972 : I was a Boarder at the Holy Family of Nazareth Convent School, Pitsford, Northampton.

Pentameter : from the Greek and is a poetic meter. A poem is written in a particular pentameter when the lines of the poem have the length of 5 feet…where”foot” is a combination of a particular number ( 1 or 2 ) of weak syllables and a strong syllable.

Iambic pentameter : is a commonly used type of metrical line in traditional English poetry and verse drama. “Iambic” refers to the type of foot that is used, known as the iamb, which in English is a weak syllable followed by a strong syllable. Iambic rhythms come fairly naturally in English and iambic pentameter is the most common meter in English poetry. Shakespeare used iambic pentameter in his plays and sonnets.

Enjambment : In poetry the continuation of a sentence without a pause beyond the end of a line, couplet, or stanza.

Caesura : A pause in a line of poetry that is formed by the rhythms of natural speech rather than by metrics. It usually occurs near the middle of a poetic line but can also occur at the beginning or the end of a line.

 

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Spring equinox

Written after reading the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, one of my favourite poets…

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Melodiously sung to sleep are the stirrings of a

new Spring taking one last bow before retiring.

Dulcet Evensong of a lonely bright beaked blackbird,

dark stark solitary silhouette against a

fading fluffy candy-flossed twilight sky,

by all, his resounding thankful, grateful praises heard.

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Gaia returns once more to sunless shadow-lands,

her green-blue mantle gathered tightly about her,

meditating upon her eternal mantra.

Ceremonial golden Aconite cups close to the

chiming bells of St. Mary’s chanting the o’clock as

angel snowdrop wings fold, Amen to the day’s tantra.

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In lotus sits Meconopsis napaulensis,

still, unchanging guardian of the Winter garden

mindful wakeful watchman your secret safely hidden.

An equinox Sun, her great miracle performs,

crossing the celestial equator, heralding

the Divine quickening, by all of Nature bidden.

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Blesséd, sacred stirrings within man, beast and bough,

Holy Breath’s hallowed Elysian Cantata

performed by Creation’s ethereal choir.

Days lengthen, Sun in sky climbs upwards as a

warming  wonder seeps souls, heats hearts, God-gladdens

Winter worship, lifting us to realms ever higher.

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Wind-weary rainbow prayer flags propel pleas for a

promise that this year the Nepalese Poppy might share

her long concealed treasure and flower for the first time…

 

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Photographs taken in this year’s early Spring garden…

1.Winter Aconite, ( Eranthis ), sheltering at the base of a Japanese maple, ( Acer palmatum ).

2. Snowdrop, ( Galanthus ),

3. Nepal Poppy,( Meconopsis napaulensis ).

4.Rainbow, Healing Buddhist Prayer flags from Nepal.

We have now had this plant, purchased from Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens for 3 years and we are willing it to flower this year.  It has however provided us with a magnificent soft, felty, hairy rosette all year round, even in the cold, harsh depths of Winter.

Reverend Father Gerard Manley Hopkins ( 1844-1889 ), was an English Poet, Roman Catholic convert and a Jesuit Priest, having been brought up a High Church Anglican.  Hopkin’s first ambitions were to be a painter and he continued to sketch throughout his life, inspired by John Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites.  He attended Balliol College, Oxford in 1863-67, where he studied Classics.  In 1866, he decided to convert to Catholicism, being received by John Henry Newman in October of that year.  After his Graduation, Newman found him a teaching post at the Oratory in Birmingham, where he later decided to become a Jesuit. After reading Duns Scotus he realized that Holy Orders and Poetry did not necessarily conflict.

While training at a Jesuit seminary near St. Asaph, he learnt Welsh and started to read traditional Welsh verse whose rhythms were to influence his own poetry.  His most technical innovation was the idea of “sprung rhythm” which counts stresses rather than syllables, propelling the reader forward.  To help express the rhythms of his poems, he borrowed symbols from musical notation.

Much of Hopkin’s historical importance has to do with the changes he brought to the form of poetry, which ran contrary to conventional ideas of metre.  The language of his poetry is striking, both simple and metaphysically intricate, i.e. As kingfishers catch fire, where he leaps from one image to another to show how each thing expresses its own uniqueness and how divinity expresses itself through all of them.  He also coined new words and created compound adjectives such as dapple-dawn-drawn falcon.

Spring or Vernal Equinox 2016 : this year falls on the 20th March.

The March equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the earth’s equator – from south to north.  On the equinox, day and night are nearly exactly the same length-12 hours-all over the world, and the earth’s axis is perpendicular to the Sun’s rays.  The March equinox heralds new birth and new beginnings.  Many cultures in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate Spring festivals and holidays around the March equinox.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

moja mama

                                                              for Zofia

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It was Mother’s Day and I thought of you, moja mamusia i moja mama.

Adulthood, adolescence and childhood, I called you by those names.

You were dear and precious to me, kochana mamo, dearest Mother.

In your womb you wove me, nourished me with your love,

endured excruciating pain, enabled me to humanly manifest.

Did I ever thank you for my Birth-Day?

Did I never say dziekuje za moje urodziny?

I wish I had then, I wish I could now, I wish we might again have our time,

all over again and again, moja mama.

Moja mama.

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The anniversary of your death, the day after Mother’s Day.

I wore my Siberian-mined Seraphinite,

Heavenly fronds of silvery-white crystal angel feathers,

fluorescing, shimmering, timelessly whispering and calling me.

You were deported to Irkutsk, Siberia, from Lwów, then Poland.

You were too young to suffer so under Stalin’s ethnic cleansing,

your heart became hardened, a prisoner behind thick walls

and those walls never ever came down again, not ever.

Oh how I wish I could have cast them aside,

found some weakness, some glimmer of light

through which I could clamber in and feel your warmth,

Moja mama.

As a child, a young girl, a teenager, an adult,

I tried hard to understand your harshness, your aloofness.

No relentless battering was able to soften that formidable layer.

But moja mama,

now that I have witnessed what you have witnessed,

my heart broken into little pieces, as you had yours

then clumsily and erroneously put back together again,

Humpty-Dumpty style but not by the king’s horses or men,

now that my heart has been squeezed, wrung out and hung up to dry

only now and now only do I understand why it was as it was,

why you were who you were and why you were as you were…

Not Siberia-style, but through my own piercingly personal life-lessons.

Moja mama.

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Old stone of Seraphim, unique exquisite secret of Lake Baikal,

oldest, deepest and most mysterious freshwater lake on earth,

healing spiritual conductor of the Divine Feminine,

with your energy bring all etheric bodies into alignment.

Enable old patterns of dis-ease and imbalance to fall away,

create new space where deep peace and understanding might settle,

mysterious magnetism calling me to purchase you and take you home,

knowing nothing of your ancient geographic ancestry or healing powers.

Now you miraculously speak to me of moja mama, of Siberia, of compassion,

an unconditional Mother’s love that was always there waiting to be released.

Tenderly I stroke the Seraphinite locket, tilting it this way and that

hoping in so doing that it might open a communication portal,

pleading with the heavenly beings to deliver my soul-message to Zofia,

Holy  Wisdom’s name-sake, in hindsight I see now, so wise in her ways,

” Mamo, kocham cie,”… “Mother, I love you.”

Moja mama.

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Marian and Zofia Korsak.

Photo taken 1945, in Loreto, Italy, after the Battle of Monte Cassino.  My mother, parents and sister with husband, were deported by Stalin’s soldiers, from Lwów, Poland, in 1940, to a work camp near Irkutsk, on Lake  Baikal, in Siberia, Russia.  Today Lwów is Lviv and is in the Ukraine. They were lucky to survive the harsh freezing conditions, hard labour, appalling cramped living conditions, scarcity of food and sickness that killed so many folk deported to Siberia.  Not only Poles but many other nationalities and ethnic minorities suffered the same fate. In mid 1942, after the signing of the Sikorski-Mayski agreement, an amnesty for Polish citizens in the Soviet Union was declared. The Polish Free Army was formed under General Anders and my mother and family managed to leave Siberia. She, together with my uncle and grandfather joined the Polish Army, where she drove 3 ton ammunition lorries across Iran, Iraq and on to Egypt, joining up with the British 8th Army. She met my father in the Polish Army and they were married at Loreto in Italy, after the battle of Monte Cassino, in which both my parents took part. After WW2 not wanting to go back to a Poland ruled by the Soviets and Communism once more, my parents and extended family migrated to Britain, settling in London, my father working as a tailor, sewing fine hand made suits. My mother soon followed him into the same trade.

Monte Cassino : a rocky hill about 130 km southeast of Rome, with a Benedictine Abbey built on it’s summit.  January 1944 saw the start of the Battle of Monte Cassino, to break through German defenses so that the Allies could make their way up to Rome and eventually try to enter Germany through France.  On 18 May 1944, soldiers of the 2nd Polish Corps raised the Polish flag over the monastery ruins and the road to Rome was once more open.  The Abbey was rebuilt after the war.

moja mamusia : Polish, my mummy ; moja mama : my mother

kochana mamo : dearest mother ; dziekuje za moje urodziny : thank you for my Birthday,

Seraphinite :  a green stone belonging to the Chlorite group, containing fibres that shimmer as the stone is turned about in the light. It is named after the Seraphim angels and is said to connect us with the higher dimension, opening the channels of communication and energy between us and the angelic realm. It is a powerful gemstone for healing on all levels- physical, emotional and spiritual.  It is mined exclusively from the “Korshunovskaia” mine near Lake Baikal.

Siberia : a vast Russian province containing most of Northern Asia.

Lake Baikal, in southern Siberia, is the world’s oldest freshwater lake : 25 million years old, and the deepest at 1,700 m.  It is 644 km long, curving through south-eastern Siberia, north of the Mongolian border.

Humpty Dumpty : A child’s nursery rhyme…

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

Holy Wisdom : Sophia in Greek, Zofia in Polish.

 

My mother was widowed in 1981.  In 2004 she came to Lanark, the town where I now live in Scotland, into a Nursing Home where she remained until her death on March 7th 2008. I was probably closer to my mother in those last 4 years than I had ever been, regularly visiting her in the Home, but tragically she had Alzheimer’s and she became a confused shadow of the strong and determined woman that she once was, having survived all that she did.

Apologies…some of the letters in the  Polish words have their wee tails/ wee lines missing…I am not technologically savvy enough to be able to bring up the full Polish Alphabet on WordPress!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lovehearts

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You brought your bonsai and bass guitar

I brought my paintings and piano

we each came with half a heart broken

cleverly disguised in love’s potion.

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Souls fusing before eyes’ first meeting

our language silence, no need for talking

within your eyes myself reflecting

dreams and aspirations connecting.

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Sharp serrated edges meet perfectly

deep scar tissue has faded with time

two half-hearts melded together

through life’s days of storm and fair weather.

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No one said it would be that easy

once euphoria of new love has been and gone

lessons in give and take and flexibility

as I came with a ready-made family!

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To walk the middle road is never easy

tackling new issues whilst healing the old

“Never take on more than you can handle”

as from the past we ourselves disentangle.

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What of the welfare of those heart fragments now?

the answer is simple and straightforward…

just as a gardener must water and feed

love and affection is the heart’s constant need.

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Ying and yang, our characters so different

many years you lived alone, I hardly ever

yet destiny conspired that we should meet

that memory still lingers, tender and sweet.

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May our love embrace our eccentricities

each new day a refreshing unknowing

may our common ground draw us ever closer

as an orchestra to the music of a composer.

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Like balls of mercury I shatter and roll

whilst you gather me up and remake me whole

like a convoluted river I meander

once in your safe harbour, I need no more wander.

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Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Lovehearts : I used to buy these sweets as a child and it amazes me that you can still buy them today.  They have obviously never gone out of fashion and remain a firm favourite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stone Circle

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protrusion of fingers

stone slivers of earth-skin

with purpose gathered under

directive of constellations

sacred choreography of

mauve megaliths worshipping

another day birthing

dawn-light diffusing

hand hewn stones

past reshaping

future remodeling

Neolithic stonemasons

their soul-song carving

virgin-stone altar

appeasal of gods

sacrificial offering

aeonic Amen

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And then we built churches and cathedrals,

mosques and temples, synagogues and chapels,

each taller, bigger, higher, more splendid.

What will we build next if build we at all?

Maybe next we will build with hearts not walls?

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Painting subject :

Imaginary stone circle from somewhere deep inside my soul!  It was painted quickly and the light reflections are not technically correct…if you start to analyse them.  I was painting from my heart, by feel and not from my mind, by thought.  I wondered whether to post it at all and decided that it just points out where I was all those years ago.

 

Painting :

Household emulsion paint, (small cans of colour testers ), and 1 tube of mauve artists’ acrylic paint on hardboard.  This was painted nearly 20 years ago at a time when I could not justify buying lots of expensive artists’ materials and canvases.

It hangs in my hall and is a constant reminder that “Where there is a will there is a way”… and if there is sufficient passion in your heart and soul you will always find a way to express your soul-song, even when you are short on cash, your spirit broken and picking yourself up from one of Life’s many knocks.

It also reminds me that I am not there now…much water has flowed under the bridge since then and I am so grateful for where I stand now.

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Happy Calendae!

mensural-notation

May I sing my life in tempus perfectum,

dance the years still gifted me in perfect time,

each daybreak etch “o” upon the day’s potential,

from sunrise to sunset, an interval sublime.

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Universal ancient circumpunct, you call me,

creation’s primal point and vast eternity,

sun and gold,  most precious and blissful alchemy,

to that dot returning, after my life’s brevity.

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So much star-gazing, solar and lunar watching,

so many calendars, astrologers time-keeping

systematic constraint upon heaven’s majesty,

to balance the books this year, a day is leaping!

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Three hundred and sixty days, a thousand years the norm,

then discord discovered, major system overhaul…

no Pontifex here new moon and month to announce,

Happy Calendae I proclaim, for one and for all!

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Daffodils declare a chilly St David’s Day,

whilst Winter tries hard his knot the more to tighten,

in boughs and branches can you not hear Spring sap stirring?

First “Beware the Ides of March”, our hearts can then brighten!

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Symbols courtesy of mymusictheory.com and google images.

Calendae : first day of the month in the Roman Calendar, the latter word originating from this Latin word. It is related to the verb calare,”to call out”, referring to the “calling” of the new moon when it was first seen. Calendarium meant “account book or register”, as accounts were settled and debts collected on the “calends” of each month, the day of the first crescent after a new moon, according to the old lunar calendar.

tempus perfectum : refers to a specific metrical division used in musical compositions in the 15th and 16th centuries, where a “breve” is divided into 3 “semibreves”.  This 3 in 1 principle identified with the Holy Trinity and was therefore known as Perfect Time, the symbol of which being an unbroken Circle.  It is curious to note that a dot could be added to the circle, making it prolatio major…but that goes deeper into mediaeval music theory.

“o” : symbol for tempus perfectum.

Circumpunct : The ancient circled dot, symbol.  It represents the sun in astrology, gold in alchemy, and is also a profound and deep esoteric symbol.  The circle represents Eternity, no beginning and no end, endless repeating cycles.  The Dot symbolizes the one eternal Source from which All creation emanates, Deity, Divinity and the centre point around which the Wheel of Eternity revolves. Before we draw anything we must always begin with a Dot.   The Circumpunct is also a symbol of Sufism.

Pontifex : ( Latin, “bridge builder”),  member of a council of priests in ancient Rome.  He was responsible for the regulation of the calendar, both astronomically and in it’s application to the public life of the State.

Beware the Ides of March : The Ides of March did not signify anything special in itself as it was the 15th March, but Shakespeare invented the notion of the Ides of March as being a dangerous date,  the soothsayer warning of Caesar’s approaching death, in his play, Julius Caesar dated 1601.

St David’s Day : Patron Saint of Wales, Feast Day celebrated on 1st March.

Pliny writes that there were 3 calendars in the Roman Empire at the time of Julius Caesar, the Chaldean, Egyptian and Greek.  All 3 could trace their origins back to the Babylonian calendar. On the advice of the Egyptian astronomer Sisogenes of Alexandria, a new strictly Solar calendar was formed.  Sisogenes calculated the Solar Year to have 365.25 days or 365 days and 6 hrs.  To correct this discrepancy, Julius Caesar adopted a calendar of 365 days like the Egyptians, but made every 4th year a Leap Year on the advice of the same Egyptian astronomer. It was strictly based on the Solar Year with no desire made to reconcile it with the Lunar Month.

Before this calendar reform, the Roman New Year was on 1st March, with Julius Caesar then beginning the New Year of his new calendar on 1st January.  We know now that the Solar Year is closer to 365 days, 5 hrs, 48 minutes and 45 .2 seconds.

The Julian Calendar was therefore “out” by about 11 minutes each year. This error was not noticeable during the days of the Roman Empire.  This small error was later corrected by Pope Gregory X111 in 1582, ( Gregorian Calendar).

So a very Happy Roman New Year to One and All!

As well as Calends, Nones and Ides were all important days in a Roman month.  Nones was the day of the moon’s first quarter, and Ides, the full moon.  Calends was the 1st of the month, Ides, the 13th or the 15th  of the month , depending on the month’s length and Nones always 8 days before Ides. Under the Julian Calendar, these days kept their original names but lost their association with phases of the moon.

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Thank you for your patience in the reading of so much background information: as you can see I got a little carried away with all the connections that suddenly became apparent!