Tree of Golgotha

How did you feel when they chose you,

chose you to carry our Lord Jesus Christ?

Did your sap leap for joy as it flowed through

or fall still with grief at such sacrifice?

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How did you feel when you watched from afar

as bloodied in pain, our Lord carried the wood?

Your foot driven deep into the Hill Golgotha

shouts with cries rising, as with patience you stood.

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Was the air heavy laden with agony

of torture and torment, injustice and hate?

Your trials by Jew and Rome a mockery,

cruel crucifixion your preordained fate.

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Saw you the blood, sweat and tears dripping

from His face and those He held dear?

Venom and scorn unremitting

as Passover pilgrims stood watching in fear.

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Did you see the man Simon from Cyrene

step forward to help lighten His load?

Body and mind of our Beloved Nazarene

broken, as He walked to earth’s final abode.

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As He approached looked you into his eyes?

Saw you the depth of His love shining bright?

Eternal  flame against darkening skies,

guards pulling our Lord and His crossbeam upright.

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As brutal nails tore through flesh, bone and sinew,

screamed you silently as your own flesh did splinter?

As wounds reopened and blood flowed anew,

did your bruised bark feel the Saviour’s salve enter?

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Heard you the sobbing of the two Marys

as they stood to one side in your shadow?

Watching as drained our dear Lord’s energies,

His great gift to mankind about to bestow.

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Did you feel him draw his very last breath

as the veil in the Temple was ripped in two?

His voice calling out to the Father in death,

wood soaking His cries as they resonated through.

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As they flowed from His side, saw you water and blood

as the soldier of Rome sank home his sharp spear?

Felt you our Lord wash your feet in His flood,

at last this world’s agonies no longer to bear.

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Wept you quietly as His poor  broken body

was lifted with love from your gentle caress?

Did you watch the guards with their actions bawdy

callously cast lots to divide up His dress.

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Then as Joseph of Aramathea,

wrapped that dear body in purest of shrouds,

His Mother, Salome and Mary of Magdala,

anointed His form, well away from the crowds.

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Did you watch this Treasure placed into the tomb?

Smell the sweet-scented spices suffusing the air?

As Jesus, whom Mary nurtured in her womb,

was laid to rest…this our Lord’s final prayer.

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You must have felt like the cruel “Tree of Death”

watching this profound performance unfurl,

but know you carried the new Shibboleth,

divine living water and eternal heaven’s pearl.

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Shibboleth : from the Hebrew, meaning ” flood, stream, also ear of corn”. (www.etymonline.com ).

Also a custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people, especially a long-standing one regarded as outmoded or no longer important.  An old idea, opinion, or saying that is commonly believed and repeated but that may be seen as old-fashioned or untrue.

Among historians there is disagreement as to the precise method of Jesus’s crucifixion.  They varied considerably with location and time period and there were many different forms of painful execution : from impaling on a stake to affixing to a tree, to an upright pole ( a crux simplex ) or to a combination of an upright (in Latin, stipes ) and a crossbeam (in Latin, patibulum).

I have written this personal post-Easter reflection as if a roughly hewn tree /stake is sitting atop Golgotha Hill and awaiting Jesus and the crossbeam he is tied to, to come to the place of execution, the top of the Hill, where the crossbeam will then be lifted into place and affixed to the waiting upright wood, with nails hammered home where necessary.

This has been for me a spiritually deep and profound contemplation on the Passion and Suffering of Yeshua ben Yosef or in English, Jesus,son of Joseph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three score years.

  


 
 For three score years, or very nearly,

my body has orbited around the sun

glued firmly to this revolving evolving globe.

No nausea now and still firmly attached,

Fate has of late breathed gently upon me.

Half a Century was a rollercoaster of a ride!

One of extremes,

of swings and roundabouts,

of turbulence and snatched serenity,

of birthing and nurturing,

of complexity and perplexity,

and never once did the man in the moon

turn his comforting face away from me.

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And what now I ask myself,

not without a smidgen of apprehension?

With three score years, tears and travels,

where to now?

Aha!

Nowhere.

I know now why my heart desires to fly,

to break free and soar and 

ride the winds of change,

like eagles swirling nonchalantly heavenwards

as I stand precariously upon Life’s next knife-edge.

The very same proteins embedded within my tender heart 

and miraculously evolved in the blink of an eon 

causing it to hop and skip and jump,

Oh miracle of miracles…

the very same…

signal insect wings to relax and contract,

to fly and flit and hover so gracefully!

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I have my answer now,

so beautifully simple and simply beautiful.

Entanglements and ensnarements

are of this world,

of human making and manifesting,

blinding, binding entrapments.

Outwith and within, 

oh wisdom of the Ages and Sages,

You alone are my teachers now.

Now…

with a newly re-remembered lightness of heart,

eagerly and delightfully I await

Your next instructions…

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Photo courtesy of http://www.desktopwallpapers4.me

2 chemicals, actin and myosin, evolved long ago to allow the muscles in insect wings to contract and relax. So insects learnt to fly. Today, the same 2 proteins are responsible for the beating of the human heart, and when one is absent, the person’s heartbeat is inefficient and weak, ultimately leading to heart failure. When one of these is absent in an insect, wings will grow but cannot flap, and are therefore useless. 

This priceless information gleaned from Deepak Chopra:  The Book of Secrets, with thanks.

Eureka: all living things are intimately connected and co-dependent.

As my 60th Birthday looms and many moons have passed, my 6 children and partners, together with friends are planning a large family-fest at The Inn on the Loch on January 15th. Do I sense a stirring of impending shyness of such a spotlight, within myself? Ah I am touched and humbled by the love shown by them all and my dear husband, John, who tolerates my quirkiness of spirit! My deepest love to you all…

…and to my dear friends on WordPress for your patience and understanding.

Hogmanay 2015/ 2016

 
It was a pivotal day.

A day of reflection and introspection,

Of looking backwards and forwards  simultaneously,

mimicking Światowid,

who with four heads could survey at once

the four corners of the earth.

2015 was not yet extinguished whilst

2016 had a foot firmly over the threshold,

waiting patiently to be ushered in.

It was a day of musings and premonitions

Of endings and conclusions,

Of  beginnings and introductions

and all the while Din Eidyn or

Edinburgh whispering to us on the breeze,

calling from the ancient seat of King Arthur,

his bulbous extinct volcanic plug

gracing majestically the skyline for miles around.

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We answered the summons, 

the Lang Wang tween Lanark and Auld Reekie

dark and foreboding, dull and weighty,

as if carrying the burdens of the old year

upon it’s worn and  well travelled surface.

The bleakly wild and beautiful countryside 

shrouded in a cloak of  secret mystery.

As the witching hour approached

we settled ourselves against your ancient rocks,

surveying the splendour of your illuminated panorama,

your historic spires and steeples, towers and domes

colourfully spotlit, all eyes upon the Castle, 

principal dancer in the long awaited performance!

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As the communal countdown ended 

and your battlements shimmered with changing  hues,

meticulously orchestrated showers of textures and colours

errupted in perfect symmetry and synchronicity

against a crisp and clear winter sky. 

Fireworks fizzed and effervesced,

joyfully embracing each other

against the night canvas,

their deep sonic booms resonating for miles

as gunpowder exploded and a frenzy of energy was released

and all the while a string of oohs and aahs

streaming from incredulous mouths!

As the final and biggest bouquet of golden cornucoppias errupted,

we were enveloped by love and laughter, hugs and kisses 

and  strains of Auld Lang Syne, picked up by the wind

and dispered in all directions, like ghostly messages.

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“Should old acquaintance be forgot” emblazoned deeply 

in thought and in heart this night so poignantly,

knowing that a dear friend’s life-cord had finally been cut,

blissful release at last for a beautiful soul 

from it’s agony of pain and crippling sickness

and succour for loved ones harrowly observing and comforting,

 anguish and helplessness a canopy covering all earthly exchanges.

“Alláh-u-Abhá” my dear and blesséd friend…

 Rest in eternal peace and bliss.

We retrace our steps, tangibly aware of the frailty and brittleness of Life

and give thanks that we are still here, to love, to cry, to live, to just be!

For another year…Insha Allah, God willing…

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Fluid good wishes, promises and hopes appliquéd onto

Elderflower cordial and cava in tall fluted glasses!

Returning along the Lang Wang of 2016, 

all is brilliantly lit up by a glowing orange segment moon,

lying mellow and unperturbed in a sky devoid of light pollution,

surrounded by a trillion stars of varying intensity.

The Heavens in all their majesty speak to us of 

past and forgotten memories and gently cajole us into

Remembering…

a trusting acceptance that we are indeed held lovingly in

the palm of the Beloved…

The once lack lustred and dull waters of Harperrig

now lit up and illuminated with a heavenly glow.

 
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Hogmanay: In Scotland, New Year’s Eve and the celebrations that take place at this time.

Światowid: an ancient Slavic deity with 4 heads, each looking in a separate direction and symbolically at the 4 seasons, at once.

Din Eidyn: a dun or hill fort associated with the kingdom of the Gododdin, 550-650 B.C. Some scholars say that this is the original location of modern day Edinburgh.

King Arthur’s Seat: the main peak of the group of hills in Scotland, that form most of Holyrood Park. It is situated in the centre of Edinburgh, an extinct volcanic plug, 1 mile, ( 1.6km ), to the east of Edinburgh Castle.

Lang Wang: Long Way in Scots, forms part of the A70 major road between Ayr on the West coat and Edinburgh on the East coast. 

Auld Reekie: Scots for “old Smokey”, an affectionate name for the city as in days of old the smoke rising from the lums, ( chimneys ), could be seen floating heavily over the Old Town, when viewed from surrounding countryside.

Alláh- u-Abhá: God is the most Gracious, ( Arabic ). A greeting used by Babhá’is upon meeting and repeated many times throughout the day.

Auld Lang Syne: literally in old Scots, times long past.  It is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. In English speaking countries it is sung at the stroke of midnight to bid farewell to the old year.

Photographs: with courtesy and thanks to: http://www.autoeurope.com and http://www.edinburghtourist.co.uk

  

The dog ate off the Denby…

I blinked

and the strangest of Christmas’s smoothly unwrapped itself

and as quickly dematerialised.

Mirage?

Dream?

Weeks of precise technical planning

and dog sitting smelling shopping bags

upon re-entry into the h O me ZONE,

seams bulging with exotic foodstuffs

elevating a tired fridge/ freezer

to stately status for a day!

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The Spirit of festive expectations flew out the window

into a warm, balmy, El Niño- induced Winter wind

and Christmas Supper replaced Christmas Dinner.

The merry organ played at midnight mass

with sweet singing in the choir

and as traditions snapped in two all around…

my Spirit breathed a new found freedom,

for “I” did not partake in either this year!?!?

Boxing Day became Christmas Day,

Spirit of Christmas Past arriving through the front door,

as “Boxes” were exchanged

and a seasonal handful of goodwill sprinkled on All.

Ho, Ho Oh and burn the Yuletide log!

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After copious mind- bending, logistical cerebral acrobatics,

juggling cooker shelves and cooking times

and cuisine for vegetarians/ meat-eaters…

amid a complexity of tantalising smells and expectant tastes

and family dog strategically positioned under table…

PHEW!

Service was called and Boxing Dinner was served.

Tastebuds danced a frenzied tango,

glasses clinked multiple rhythmic salutations

and a sharp jagged crunching was heard

wafting from under table as…

Bonnie ate her Christmas crackling off the Denby!

 

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Denby: English Pottery in Derbyshire producing fine upmarket tableware, not the sort of crockery I use every day.