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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pond Pondering

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In the blinking of an eye and the warble of the warbler,

The pond puts on her splendid, bespoke summer clothes.

Silently and secretly simmering and smouldering,

Frogspawn explodes…a hundred detonations

Prompting Nature’s touchpaper  to awaken

And light the dormant creative spark within.

A living, loving electricity, leaping and jumping,

Rekindling and lovingly revitalising

All that it embraces in it’s path,

And igniting with glowing colour and radiance

All that it touches.

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I sit…

In stillness meditating and pondering,

Pond watering and quenching my soul’s thirst,

Such hallowed, such sweet, sacred beauty.

Acers, their blazing glowing countenances vying for attention

Whilst they guard this sublime and special spot.

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Each tree budding and emerging hesitantly,

Tentatively checking for potential frostbite…

In succession, one by one and bit by bit,

Like a finely honed firework display

The pond is suddenly and magically surrounded

By clouds of wispy, delicately denticulated leaves,

All bowing and swaying in homage

To the rhythmic design they carry.

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Ammonite-like and tightly curled,

New fern fronds unfurl from hibernation,

Eager to expand and grow and uncurl

So they can stretch their fingers to the sun

In graceful prayer and adoration.

Robed in majesty and electrifyingly dazzling,

Kingcups open their petals in worshipful chorus,

Blazing a flaming, resplendent rhapsody.

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Senses tingling blissfully at such brazen-faced beauty…

And heart filled with gladness and joyful gratitude,

Knowing this small corner amongst concrete, slab and monoblock

Provides a heaven, safe haven for God’s precious creatures.

Lush, green postage stamp oasis affixed to stark envelope desert.

Indeed I am blessed to be a garden care-taker.

Long may the voles live beneath the waterfall…

And the frogs rustle the heart leaves of the Marsh Marigolds,

Resting after the exertions of frenzied Spring courtship,

Surveying the pond’s surface, long tongues at the ready…

Zen-like they wait for an à la carte dinner to alight and settle!

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Long may the little family of mice live under the path,

Scampering out when they think no one is looking,

Helping themselves to dropped offerings from the bird table.

Long may the elderberry tree with sand-paper bark

Provide a giant scratching post for grateful neighbouring cats!

Long may I  breathe and walk and be here now…

Feel the sun on my skin, the wind on my face,

Hear the blackbird at twilight and the sparrow at dawn,

And be given the grace to feel every living particle pulsing

With love that is life itself!

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Apologies for the profusion of photos; the plan was to swamp your senses

with a feast of form and colour so that you might get a feel

of the sheer lushness of the pond and garden at this moment!

Ode to Ivy.

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Spring has sprung and sap rises in flower and twig,image

And Chaucer’s wise Middle English words

Resonate and reverberate around the garden…

“Whan that April with his shoures soote

The droghte of March hath pierced to the roote,

And bathed every veyne  in swich licour

Of which vertu engendred is the flour.”

Magickal and mystical words indeed of the olde Bard.image

Heavy laden heads of Hedera Helix stand sentry-like,

Their skull-capped berries: deep, dark, black and poisonous,

Warding off negativity and heralding in another glorious Era.

This Spiral of Life, this Wheel of the Year,

This cycle of Death and Rebirth…Beltane!

Once more the Goddess succumbs to Jack o’ the Green’s advances

And their love manifests with fertile magnificence,

Touching and caressing all that has awakened from the Earth.

O symbolic Ivy, resplendent carrier of Initiation and Consciousness,

Immortality and Love and Eternity and Death,

Your resplendent, entwining, encircling branches

Nourishing, feeding, sustaining, sheltering,

All of life that settles within your powerful limbs.

They offer safe refuge to the chattering colony of sparrows,

Nesting and rearing their young within your shiny canopy

And in Autumn your sweet heady perfume causes your flowers

To become host to a whole myriad of buzzing beasties!

O Herbe of Consecration, Ye Bringer of joy and abundance,

How fortunate are we that You have chosen

To  bedeck and garland our humble fence and wood shed!

Humility

Who gave the name Sprout to the humble Sprout?

He surely had access to some inside information?20141229_083315

I stand humbled and take my hat off.

Well done that Belgian man from Brussels

For your deep-rooted horticultural wisdom!

Spot on where your Cruciferae are concerned.

Last week smugly surveying my handiwork,

Assorted array of seeds nestling and tucked into

Inviting compost-filled seed ” beds”/ trays,

I pondered…

Which little head is going to awaken first,

Gleefully push the covers off to reveal

Two Spring green cotyledons arising

To face the morning, greenhouse sun.image

You got it.

Bingo!

The Sprout was the first to sprout.

Funny that…

No longer can the humble Sprout be deemed “humble.”

In fact, that humble Sprout has just taught me…

A HUGE lesson in Humility.

He wasn’t a Sprout at all!

And after waxing lyrical for all these lines,

I bow my head and re-ponder these thoughts…

Never ever take for granted,

Never ever assume,

‘Cos you just never ever know!

All will be revealed in the fullness of time,

As was this glorious morning

And leaves unfurled, a solitary specimen.

Oops!

!! Seeing Double.

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A double-take in duple-time has fired my synapses!

Yesterday,

a picture of a double-headed snake intrigued me,

Today,

a double-headed, Snake’s Head Fritillary, amazes me.

Young and pale and tightly rolled,

Twin flower buds yet to be uncoiled,

And spell-bound by Nature’s bounty

Of quirky double-Vision,

I recall the wise old saying…

“Two heads are better than one”…

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The rhubarb gives birth.

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With grand pageantry the rhubarb gives birth

In the shadow of a swollen – tipped Alleluia Azalea

And the Rosemary celebrates with a profusion of delicate lilac flowers.

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imageOld Over-Wintered forms and those newly sprung from the Earth

Bring to the Spring Garden a multi-textured, sculptural effect.

A vibrant colour palette emerges where once was monochrome,

Courtesy of faithful bulbs and early-flowering shrubs.

Inspiration to an Artist’s eye!