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…

 

🌞🌝☀🌞🌝☀🌞🌝☀🌞🌝☀🌞🌝☀🌞🌝☀🌞🌝☀🌞🌝☀🌞🌝☀🌞🌝☀🌞🌝☀🌞🌝☀🌞🌝☀

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

if only…

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if only I knew then what I know now

how could I let my heart rule my head?

if I had listened to my inner Dao

all life’s choices emotionally led

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if I could rewind the passing of Time

gone down avenues wiser and brighter

would the path have been an easier climb

would my heavy load been any lighter?

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if there had been no wild expectations

or a need “to be seen to be doing”

would there have been less confrontations

with eyes correctly tuned to the viewing?

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if in this world I had not sought pleasure

but instead looked deep in to my soul

I would have found there infinite treasure

and realized there was never a goal

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“To thine own self be true,” Polonius’s words

of enlightenment insight and truth

sung sweetly each daybreak from beaks of birds

had I of this been aware in my youth

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would I have fallen down the same pot-holes

and blamed all around for such a fate

trying to juggle just too many roles

so my own destiny thus to create

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if I had but seen the symbols and signs

my fellow companions along the way

I would not have stepped on so many mines

and not be the person I am today

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to this day words of Delphi still echo

“know thyself” from Gaia’s navel springs forth

as subtle scents of flowers in meadow

magical perfume envelopes the earth

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and what has been is and still will be

is all just as it is destined to be

for the things I draw to me in this life

are my teachers that I might break free

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Photos : Pebbles that “speak” to me picked up on a walk to St. Ninian’s Cave, near Whithorn, Galloway,  southern  Scotland.  It is a place of Pilgrimage and one of those “thin” places where heaven and earth touch.

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man,” words spoken by Polonius, a character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The Ancient Greek aphorism, “Know Thyself,” was inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, according to the Greek writer, Pausanias.

Gaia’s navel : The site of Delphi was believed to have been determined by Zeus when he sought to find the centre of his “Grandmother Earth” or Gaea/ Gaia. He sent two eagles flying, one from the east and one from the west and the path of the birds crossed over Delphi where the 0mphalos, or navel of Gaia was found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

designer shopping!?

just a wee bit of fun to brighten up a dreich Scottish day…

usual hurry

grab a trolley

roll down the alley

cash and carry

wheels so contrary

very wary

straight past the dairy

music merry

don’t fancy curry

just too spicy

fancy sherry

taking it easy

now sanitary

something smelly

perfume flowery

liquid Fairy

need a recipe

Mary Berry

just so wobbly

jolly jelly

look for the honey

not too runny

must have gravy

nice and savoury

find the bakery

for granary

confectionery

chocolaty

so necessary

customary

next stationary

dictionary

for my poetry

to pharmacy

am feeling funny

upset tummy

so dietary

then grocery

need some rosemary

and broccoli

WoooOOOoooW!

William Morris Tapestry!

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dreich  : Scottish adjective from Middle English, of Scandinavian origin, similar to Old Norse drūgr : lasting.  It means dreary and bleak, usually used to describe the weather.  23 01 2013: Headline in the Scotsman : ” Dreich tops poll of favourite Scots words”… now I wonder why?

I have noticed that occasionally there are differences in spelling, between American and English words. This is most curious and please be reassured that I have consulted the dictionary I purchased to do a spell check!

liquid Fairy = Fairy liquid, a well known brand of washing up liquid here in the U.K.

Mary Berry : b. 1935 is an English food writer and television presenter.  She has published more than 75 cookery books, her bestselling being Baking Bible in 2009.  Her 1st book was The Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook in 1970.  She has hosted many T.V. series for the BBC. Since 2010 when it was first launched, she has been a judge on the BBC television programme   The Great British Bake Off avidly watched with great enthusiam in this household as we all enjoy cooking, baking and all things culinary.

Whizzing round the supermarket in that mindless, not in the moment way that one can at times when one is in a hurry, running on automatic pilot, I was suddenly confronted by the above and just had to take a photo of it.  ( I think folk thought I must be a little crazy.)  I became most excited as here was the spirit of William Morris speaking to me in this beautiful repetitive pattern of Nature. Whoever packed the broccoli did a superlative job and I finished my shopping wonderfully uplifted. During his lifetime he was best known for his poetry and novels and it is his literary contributions that helped to establish the modern fantasy genre. He was a great influence on C.S.Lewis and J.R.R.Tolkien also.  His friends were the Pre-Raphaelite painters Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Posthumously he became better known for his designs for wallpaper, textiles, tapestries, to name but a few, all drawn from the intricate detail, texture, colour and form of Nature.  I just adore his designs.

images                 MOR196204_z

William Morris Wallpaper courtesy of Google Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pi(e) Philosophy

 

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So much Wisdom in a Pie.

Who needs Plato or Socrates

when you can eat Humble Pie?

Vinegar Pie to be precise.

Then there is that transcendental Pi.

The mysteriously irrational Pi.

Archimedes’ constant companion and

the Wisdom of Solomon’s Temple Pi.

Too much Pi in the sky?

Then back to the Law of Gravity.

Back down to earth’s chimeric crust.

 

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Ponder then my home-made Pie:

Perfectly risen and puffed up,

by next morning

punctured and pitiful.

Choice of two slices:

“Pride comes before a fall” or

.”What goes up must come down.”

Take your pick,

Pie or Pi?

Perhaps the addition of

an addendum or

two for topping?

How about,

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating?”

or ” You always get your just dessert?”

Or both or neither?

It’s all a lot of Pie in the Sky

and Gravitational Wave verification… Eureka!

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**********Happy Pi Day on March 14th 2016.**********

Yesterday I made a Vinegar Pie to take round to my friend Maggie’s house as a pudding offering.  Upon hearing she was having Vinegar Pie for pudding she appeared both amused and puzzled as if here was a contradiction.  How can you put vinegar into a pudding?  Trust me, my friends, the result is mouth-wateringly extraordinary and I speak from proof-eating!

On February 11th 2016 it was announced that scientists had detected gravitational waves for the first time, showing signs of black holes merging a century after Einstein predicted them. A eureka moment of humongous intensity!

Pi Day was first celebrated on March 14th, 1988, Albert Einstein having been born on March 14th 1879.  It was organised by Physicist Larry Shaw, who led celebrations at the San Francisco Exploratorium.  Staff and members of the public marched round and round and ate fruit pies. Sounds quite delightful to me and rather charming.

Pi Symbol Apple Pie courtesy of Alex Cockroach/ Flikr

 

 

 

 

 

The morning after the night before…

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First…

it was the scrape of the bolt being slid,

metal against metal, taking an eternity

to reach it’s destination before finally

grinding to a halt against the metal stopper.

Then…

it was the toilet seat slamming shut,

sounding as if a great weight had been flung

from some colossal height,

only to smash into the earth creating a

vast crater inside my head,

causing spasmodic involuntary tremors to my

oh so fragile and friable brain.

My grey matter was fried….

No!… scrambled for that matter and was

incapable of attending to any other matter

occurring beyond the periphery of my skull.

Oh!…

what does it matter anyway?

The conversation had flowed all evening

as had the wine, which made up for the

sad and sorry veggie burger sheltering between

two shiny halves of a seeded bun,

following  cremation and now resembling charred sandpaper!

Last night we had undoubtedly and completely put the world to rights…

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The next morning unfolded painfully sluggish and slow,

evidence of the night before strewn around the room.

Boots lying willy-nilly on the floor beside the bed and

clothes hastily, carelessly rolled off “in a oner”

coming to rest unceremoniously across the chair.

Before the “if only’s” and “shouldn’t haves” had a chance to settle

like judgmental bitter dust upon the surfaces of my psyche,

lightheartedly I wafted them away under my breath muttering:

“It was a night well-lived and a morning well-loved,”

only to find my young twenty something daughter

sitting disapprovingly with severe, sour, stare

on the edge of my bed…

Ah!…

Instant chuckle and amusement and with amazement

I contemplated this sudden role reversal, this U-turn

and marveled at “How wonderful is Life.”

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Worry not my friends, I have used a certain amount of poetic license and I and my daughter have a close and understanding relationship.  There were however a few interesting undercurrents that made me smile the next morning…  😊

😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrath of the gods or thoughts on a sunset…

 

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What did we do that has so displeased you?

Was our sacrifice so inadequate that you should pour

your molten lava with such stark streaks across our skies?

What can we do to appease your wrath o gods?

Layer upon layer of anger and fury

escalating with each nanosecond,

each brushstroke an all-consuming fire.

Destruction and devastation,

colours of such exquisite vividness

forcing us to look away and hide

lest the intensity blind us

or as Lot’s wife turning to look longingly at Sodom,

lest we become not pillars of salt but pillars of ash,

fire and brimstone raining upon us from the heavens.

Trembling and shivering

as if plunging into an icy pool,

we shield our eyes lest they liquefy in your heat.

With pain so piercing and penetrating,

brutally finite and unforgiving

a finale of full immersion errupts

into the cosmic cauldron bubbling and spewing,

unleashing energies hitherto contained

under extreme pressure intensifying

a trillion nuclear explosions,

annihilating all that lives,

astronomical and boundless.

Armageddon.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

Ponder your mortality o little man and

observe the magnitude and magnificence of All,

visible and invisible, all that has been and is yet to come.

Though minuscule as a grain of sand on a beach,

the ocean pounding relentlessly,

grinding away at our life’s marrow with rhythmic monotony,

o little man,

there is a greater purpose to your Being,

an incomprehensible Wholeness of such expanse

that would lift you to sweet, intoxicating realms of rapture

if you would only allow it to do so.

Let go and look within.

Stillness, silence and solitude be your travelling companions.

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This post began as a reflection upon one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever witnessed, looking out of my lounge window. I was thinking about how early man might have interpreted such a fire-like sunset but ended up thinking about the approach of Lent and Ash Wednesday in the Christian Church…much pondering going on.  Perhaps it is the long Winter and I am missing being outside in the sun and fresh air and also the milestone in my life now that all my children are officially adults!