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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Lady of the Lawn…

 

For Ed and Sandra, whose beautiful garden we are privileged to care take…

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Cold Grecian grace, gracefully illumines

imposing, oppressive and towering Leylandii.

Distant  empty sockets, stare and survey

the overgrown, rampant and rebellious Victorian garden,

hidden behind the tall, thick stone wall

that the Copper Beech sweeps with it’s weeping branches.

Those so-called halcyon days faded and forgotten now

for

now

Mother Nature is Mistress.

With her strong evergreen limbs she silently reclaims to Herself

those  man-made artifacts that have infiltrated Her sacred spaces.

Within this wild and often brutal battle for space and survival,

I must regretfully inform you that your rule has of late…

Diminished…

My Lady of the Lawn.

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You see…

…there is a secret garden in the heart of town,

concealed and mysterious, it speaks of past lives and pastimes

yet reluctantly now it is unearthing it’s treasures from days gone by.

On humble knees I come before thee, My Lady,

clearing and weeding a pathway to your callous, cold hearted beauty,

as you  haughtily stare down upon my insignificant form.

But with the Seasons I have begun to tame this unruliness,

distant treasures no longer under the Mother’s mesmerizing gaze.

As I toil and dig and pull and prune,

antique rope edging, troughs and cherubs come to light

and the old, worn, antique wheelbarrow, long forgotten,

watches with amusement and chuckling amazement!

A New Order, a New Age is transforming the Victorian garden.

My Lady of the Lawn.

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From a vantage point on the edge of a once perfectly manicured lawn,

the now ramshackle barrow has seen many a story unfold and performed:

of tragedy and ecstasy, of despair and hopefulness, of melancholy and joy.

Crinoline skirts elegantly stroking the lawn as their mistresses play croquet,

tapping the ball through strategic hoops, under the watchful eye and

shadow of the neighbouring church spire and their men-folk,

dapperly-dressed and lazily lounging in the warm afternoon sunshine,

watching maids bringing out trays of afternoon tea, served on the best china.

Out of sight and earshot, within the confines of thick stone walls and wooden doors,

voices are raised, tempers are frayed, masks worn for the outside world removed

and raw human emotion comes spilling out, unrestrained in all it’s glory.

This species called “Man” fumbling and bumbling with the “Meaning of Life”,

while all the while the bumble bees lovingly caress the Hypericum

growing in splendid abundance around your finely chiselled shoulders,

My Lady of the Lawn.

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And what now My Lady of the Lawn I ask myself…

Cracks and pockmarks now embellish your face, once unblemished and youthful.

I see the sign of a smirk forming in the corners of those supercilious lips

but that will soon vanish and return from whence it came when I break the news…

that it is now your turn for a “Facelift”…

My Lady of the Lawn.

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Snail sentience

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Our numbers are thriving, exploding, multiplying in fact,

And I’m loving this wet, damp, monsoon-like weather,

My muscular foot glides and slithers, gracefully undulating

And daily, I am perfecting my wavelike walk.

I have even overcome my fear of heights

And am getting more and more adventurous!

After all, this is rugged Munro country

And I am a Scottish snail…

Not one of those soft, Sassenach snails, south of the border!

My shell is made of sterner, stronger stuff!

Under cover, under the bright diffused light of a blue moon

I smell and sense my à la carte dinner

Tantalisingly and temptingly calling me across the wet garden.

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The choices of starter are endless and I am spoilt for choice…

Small, sweet, runner bean tips or soft, fleshy baby courgettes,

Succulent spinach leaves or pretty, frilly red leaved lettuce?

Yum!

And if they think that a handful of crushed eggshells

And a threatening shiny strip of copper tape will stop me…

Well…

They ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

They haven’t seen me engage full throttle and give it some welly.

These humans lead such a bizarre busy restless life

That they didn’t even think to check last night…

…on the greenhouse door!

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Oh glorious yummy banquet…

Cucumbers and lots of them!

My eyes very nearly popped off the ends of my tentacles.

Free fodder for “Slimers”, just waiting there dangling enticingly.

Mega-yum!

And when I became aware of my mouth succumbing to repetitive strain,

I knew it was time for a delectable and delightful wee pudding.

The last remaining delicious delphinium wafted it’s scent

Across the soggy and boggy uncut lawn

And I wasted no time in making short shrift of those

Sugary syrupy deep blue petals and sweet juicy stems,

With my soft and sensitive but now tired and aching chompers.

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And now as the sun rises on the horizon

And I can just see  and feel the first rays warming my shell,

It is time to seek out and slither across to my preferred place of siesta,

Into the comforting arms of Angelica Archangelica.

Lots of them towering majestically around the garden this year,

Mother Nature’s own strategically placed bespoke hammocks.

Now that all those annoying, flying, buzzing things have gone

With the disappearance of those heady, intoxicating flowers,

I should be able to get a decent day’s sleep

Dreaming about what’s on offer on the menu tomorrow…

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On reflection, my peripheral vision did notice some mouth watering additions.

Some choice, carefully nurtured young Cosmos plants in pots,

Placed and arranged and added with care under the porch canopy.

Ah…another hard night’s work ahead of me tonight,

Better retract tentacles and get some shut-eye in quick!

Hope those pesky willow warblers have learnt some table manners

And don’t go dropping Angelica seed crumbs all over my shell!

P. S. Check out the very last photo in this poem

And you’ll see moi performing some dare-devil stunts

Whilst consuming that tasty little pud.

As they say in Glasgae : Pure, dead, brilliant!

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Sassenach : A word used in Scotland for an English person. Derived from the Gaelic Sassunach, it originally meant of Saxon origin to describe Lowland non Gaelic speaking Scots.

Angelica Archangelica: A pungent aromatic very tall growing herb with thick, hollow stems, providing useful hidey holes for an assortment of insects. So named because it flowers around the time of the Feast of St. Michael, the Archangel, at the beginning of May.

To make short shrift of something : to work quickly.

To give it some welly : to apply great physical effort to something.

A quick note to all my WordPress Followers : I sincerely hope that you are all enjoying a most happy and healthy and invigorating Summer! I have never ever known such a wet Summer in my life, and as my husband and I are self employed gardeners, these last few weeks have been challenging, to say the least! The slightest chink of sun and we rush out to work on other folks’ gardens. When not working on theirs, I am trying to keep on top of my own, along with all of life’s other commitments. The weather is indeed teaching us many lessons…

Please bear with me if I have failed to keep up with all of your new blogs and there is a distinct lack of my presence on here. It is not for one minute that I have forgotten you, rather work and commitments have pushed the Blogging into a subordinate position.  Also, I have never seen so many slugs and snails in the garden, but then they adore all this wet weather, hence I was driven to write the poem that I have just posted.

Late Autumn and Winter months, shorter, colder days and long, dark nights will be just perfect for writing Blogs! In the meantime I shall dip in and out as and when I am able. My Best Wishes to you all…

Requiem for a Rector…

You died three weeks ago,

Early, on a Monday morning…

And that same evening we built a shrine,

A testimony to your lifelong pilgrimage:

Inspirational, spiritual teacher,

Minister,

Friend,

Scholar and academic,

Loving, compassionate, gentle soul,

Who tirelessly sought the Truth and the Light.

Wisdom and Knowledge were yours…

In abundance…

And these you brought to our Monday Philosophy group,

Blessing us with your presence and open heart.

The table by your chair no longer host to the

Customary glass of water and scant cup of coffee…

But now a celebratory altar of your soul’s journey…

Heavy, heavenly hearted prayer,

Deep outpouring of grief and sadness,

Flowing from hearts, shaken and shocked,

Frayed and tattered emotions mingling,

Seeking comfort and consolation,

Crying at the seemingly sudden, unexpected,

Premature void left behind…

Your soul called to make the journey Home.

For you, all is now clean and clear,

Dirt and dust wiped away,

The mirror now polished to perfection,

And that which was once but a reflection,

Which was once unknown and hidden,

Is gloriously and radiantly revealed.

And what of this sacred inventory?

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A white pillar candle in Swedish holder,

You hailed from those Nordic, Viking lands,

Speaking often of rune stones and Ragnarok,

And of indigenous folk who spoke to Nature,

With a reverence and  respect for the Earth,

Who saw, as you did, the spirits that live among us,

Our gracious guides, tenderly tending each faltering footstep,

And each hesitant twist and turn along the Way,

As we proceed forwards precariously back to our beginning!

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A pewter chalice holding water from the White Spring at Glastonbury,

And you, a much seasoned traveller to this holy well,

This blessed corner of England, by you, so dearly loved.

Isle of Avalon, shrouded in mystery and ancient legend.

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Pink and green banded Iona rock, imbued with the songs

Of Celtic Saints, who called to you to follow in their wake,

Their lifestories quenching your soul’s thirst and hunger.

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Wooden rosary beads, not with symbolic cross gracing their head,

But a beautiful bone carved flower adorning its’ start and finish.

Alpha and Omega,

First and Last,

Loving tribute to that Divine Essence,

Original Blessing that Nature so wonderfully displays,

Of  Which and into Which we all infuse.

Oh hallowed Osmosis, omniscient Photosynthesis!

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The words Faith carved across the back of an angel figurine,

Strong and solid, steadfast and sure…

And your Faith, dear Dan was just so…

Pure and simple and uncomplicated,

And this treasure you scattered and shared with us all.

We continue our own journeys knowing that

We carry with us a generous sprinkling of your angel dust!

Prized and precious pilgrim’s sustenance,

Our soul’s restorative and refreshment.

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A smooth, dark- grained, hand carved cross,

The olive wood uniquely distinct and unmistakable,

Brought back from the Holy Land by a fellow pilgrim,

With prayers of troubled times and conflicts engrained in its’ pores.

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You loved and revered “the Nature”…

Telling us to look to Her for wise example and divine Design, manifested.

We picked blue Centaurea and Forget me nots to adorn your table,

Reminding us that the children loved to hear your stories and tales!

You loved writing them and reciting them and bringing them alive,

Supported by an assortment of quirkily dressed teddy bears,

Each with an important role to play and message to share.

The new age bear wearing dreadlocks a firm favourite!

Forget me nots were flowering more abundantly,

Gloriously and daintily speckling the borders,

When your body breathed its’ final breath

And your loving heart beat its’ last tender beat.

We will never forget you or the legacy that you leave behind,

Dan Gafvert, Rector of Christchurch, Lanark, 2007 – 2015.

You built interfaith bridges, pointing out the One-ness of all,

Our inter connectedness with all beings and with all the earth!

You were indeed a Sadhu, and in Sanskrit definition:

Well-disposed, well-wishing and lovingly bounteous.

Like the Springtime with its’ mysterious force,

Your presence brought forth a stirring, an awakening,

A flowering and a blossoming…

Where all was dormant before you came,

A spirit of hope and blessed assurance now permeates through all…

Rest in the deep peace and eternal bliss that has ever been yours,

In all ages, past, present and to come…

Dear Dan, you joined us on our path for a little while,

You walked alongside us and you walked a little ahead,

Shining a light so we might see a little easier,

Teaching us how we might open our eyes to our eternal birthright

And showing us how to hear the Word of God, in its’ many layers.

Your gifts, your life’s bounty will remain with us,

In all ways and in all the days of our lives.

The peace of the earth be with you, Dan,

The peace of the heavens, too.

R.I.P.

1951- 2015.

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Our dear Rector died on June 8th, and for the past 3 weeks I and friends in our Philosophy group and Church congregation have been in a kind of hazy, cloudy, malaise and despondency…initially preparing and partaking in funeral services, playing organ, keyboard, guitar and reading a beautiful Rumi poem which was just perfect for the occasion.  Dear WordPress friends, I will share this with you, shortly, as well as getting myself back into the rhythm of blogging and writing again. It will be good therapy for me and I hope to catch up ASAP with all your new posts and comments…all 1,500 or so emails !!!! Hhhhmmmm…cue for a blog methinks on suffocation by email! Must check my settings, laugh out loud!

My garden and those of others, has been my healing place and healing time and I have many pics to share with you, having been busy tending, planting out and just immersing myself in the abundant and sumptuous vigour of Nature at this time of glorious Midsummer. The weather here in Southern Scotland is set to improve and I am out care taking gardens when possible. My WordPress participation may seem somewhat scant just now…but no worries…I do NOT aim to do a runner, it has just been a time when I have needed to withdraw from the busy ness of this world, to reflect and contemplate on just how precious life with breath, heart beating, just being here,is. Every day is a new miracle, a new gift from God…to be lived to the full, embraced and enjoyed, as we likewise embrace and love and give compassion to all sentient beings around us.

Take good care my good friends and I hope to ease myself back into the swing of things, gently and gradually, breaking out of my cocoon bit by bit. I have many blogs sprouting and growing on, in my head! Peace and Blessings… : )

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Midsummer murmurations of Montana…

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A frenzy of Poppies!

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Rose cradling the back of the house,

with more blooms than ever this year, and aptly named…

Peace!

Celestial Carillon

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Elegantly dangling, like fine tubular bells

Suspended on a supple, malleable frame,

The Ladies in the Bath, costumes and coiffure complete,

Have taken centre stage to commence the playing of

Their much awaited and acclaimed Percussion solos.

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All through the First Act…early Spring, they waited,

Graciously and patiently, Hearts Bleeding in the wings,

Fine-tuning, practising and perfecting,

Until finally, their time, their cue has come.

The Master Conductor taps the celestial baton,

The cosmic spotlights converge,

The cottage garden is muted in a long, drawn out fermata…

With hushed and muted breath, it waits…

Until finally the eerie, tinkly, haunting strains of  a celestial carillon arises,

From heart-shaped, fairy bells that gently jingle

Against the dark and mysterious backdrop of night.

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These are no ordinary, mortal, earthly strains,

But dainty, delicate, supernatural notes of transcendent sublimity.

No human eardrum can capture their subtle and inaudible beauty.

This sweet and intoxicating tune of Titania…

Destined for the moon, bearing that self same name

And the reaches of the far flung limitless eternity beyond.

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Perhaps one day, my ears will be finely honed

And my eyes, re-lensed and cleansed

So that I might also be a Dervish in this Dance of Maya!

But for now, I will content myself and commune,

With the Fairy that lives at the bottom of my garden!

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# Common names for Dicentra =

Bleeding Heart, or when flowers become older and are turned upside down, Ladies in the Bath.

Fermata = Musical symbol denoting the prolonging of a note, at the performer’s discretion.#

Brave Hearts.

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Sempervivum, always living and faithfully present,

Stoically withstanding harsh Scottish winters

And standing firm in the face of adversity,

How I wish I had your courage and tenacity!

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Ariadne’s jewel-like labyrinthine mazes,

Crowned with Arachne’s weave of silken thread.

Your mysterious, whispery  gossamer heads

Hide an inner stealth and steely disposition…

Oh Brave Hearts indeed!

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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!