Camping An Camas Darach

In the east a golden dawn sun rises,

warm and welcoming over Camusdarach,

earth’s once blackened face she now baptizes,

rays bathing creation as night turns his back.

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Each droplet of dew on grass and on leaf,

lights up and shimmers as upon it you smile,

to man and to beast bringing joyous relief,

wild flowers in meadow with grace you beguile.

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Nodding spring bluebells their heads bowed in prayer,

primroses so pale and so delicate stare

upon your fiery face.  Petals so fair

and so fine, with such flair none can compare.

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Willows weeping, their long branches sweeping

the burn in the ditch as in sunlight it runs,

as the wild bramble, tangled and creeping,

in freedom delighting, all constraint it shuns.

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Hawthorns, lichen coated, twisted and gnarled,

stand guard and protect us from ill and from harm,

as two cuckoos coo, their duet to the world,

singing Spring is sprung and seductive her charm.

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White Atlantic breakers they curl and they roll,

lacy froth edging the white sands of Morar,

iconic Eigg and Rhum, they speak to my soul,

Silhouetted and stark, they watch from afar.

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The midges at twilight they gather en masse,

frenzied and gamboling in the fading sun,

swirling and twirling over field and grass,

one last final play before this day is done.

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Moon and stars now our shining companions,

weary world retreating to pause and to rest,

for a short while now the sun us abandons,

night shows his face, with this day we were blessed.

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An camas darach: Gaelic for Camusdarach meaning Oak Bay.

Sands of Morar: name given for the stretch of white sands found above and below Mallaig on the west coast of Scotland.

Eigg and Rhum: Islands just off the coast between Arisaig and Mallaig.

Burn: Scottish word for stream.

Silkie Style

Just a few words to explain how this poem came about…Last month I attended a local monthly Poetry writing group and was given some homework : to write a poem of about 12 lines or so, rhyming or non-rhyming using the following random words :

New, Hens, Building and Girl.

The following is my “take” on fitting these words into a poem.  It was challenging to say the least and it is dedicated to my REAL friend Rhona, for whom it is written.

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My dear friend Rhona has a new passion,

Haute couture of poultry, feathered fashion.

Genetic design with wings and feathers,

she cleans and feeds her hens in all weathers.

Her stylish Silkies a sight to behold :

bearded or non-bearded, lavender, gold.

Lovingly building fine pens for her brood,

her expertise vast, her judgement so shrewd.

This girl really knows her Art inside out,

she’ll hatch her illusive chick I’ve no doubt…

Incubating eggs all over the place,

choir of “cheeps,” she’s running out of space!

‘Tis sad there’s no cockerel at home to see,

too many neighbours, no crowing at three.

Chicken runs, coops, up-country extending,

her local friends their gardens are lending

as Rhona’s empire continues to grow

I ask, “Where will it end?”…That I don’t know.

But one thing I say and that without doubt,

Rhona’s new pedigree…will come about!

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Silkie Picture courtesy of Google Images.

 

 

Soul searching…

For my Dear Husband John, whose Birthday it is today…

( MysteryMystycsMusings on WordPress )

 

Earthly comings and goings

physical toings and froings

entanglements that arise and form in this world

cause my soul’s unknowings

of the Bliss that is a-blowing

if we but let the Divine be unfurled

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My soul longs for those quiet spaces

graces awaiting in untrodden places

my endless thirst yearning to be quenched

like a child seeking those loving embraces

my heart races my spirit ever paces

my soul seeking in Your love to be drenched

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Whisper words to me wind where I might find rest

where my soul not stressed may in Your Presence be blessed

refreshed refashioned…reborn anew

as by dew each new blade of grass is caressed

so my soul longs for the comfort of Your breast

Your heavenly queendom to imbue.

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Fill now my cup so it might overflow

help my fears to lay low deep mindfulness grow

my thoughts ever focused on You

my soul to walk in Your sweet gentle shadow

my eyes rainbow windows with God-tinted glow

as this miracle of Life I view.

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Photo : Google Images : Montreal.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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circle-dot

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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!