Tag Archives: poetry

Books Read In October, November & December 2020.

Here are the last few books I finished in 2020. In the end I have read 34 books out of the 35 I challenged myself to read on Good Reads. 📚 So close!

The Misinterpretation Of Tara Jupp ~ Eva Rice ( 2008). Tara Jupp is wisked away from her cosy life in the country to spend a lively glamerous time in London , when her talent for singing is discovered. This is a coming of age story set in the 50s & 60s. Our heroine navigates a budding career, falling in love, and tries to make sense of the complicated relationships of those around her . There are reoccurring characters from Rice’s more satisfying novel ‘ The Lost Art Of Keeping Secrets’. ⭐⭐⭐

We Have Always Lived In The Castle ~ Shirley Jackson( 1962) When reading the first paragraph of this strange gothic tale , you find out that the narrator is called Mary Katherine Blackwood ( Merricat) and she likes her sister Constance, Richard Plantagenet and Amanita phalloides , the death-cap mushroom. The much depleted Blackwoods live exiled from the nearby village ,where tongues wag due to the unfortunate deaths of most of the family, whilst at dinner. I immensingly enjoyed this eerie unforgettable book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Poem For Every Autumn Day ~ Allie Esiri ( 2020). A gorgeous collection of poems, sometimes more than one for each day, through September, October & November. A book to dip into once the leaves turn golden brown. Allie Esiri has put together poetry from well known and lesser known writers, occasionally the poems recollect a particular occasion in history and at other times, the simple joys of Autumn. A lovely birthday present, I have been inspired to purchase the Winter volume since. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I Don’t Know What You Know Me From : My Life As A Co Star ~ Judy Greer ( 2014). I honestly have asked the question “Where do I know That Actress From? ” about Judy Greer, as she has a habit of popping up in just about every American Sit Com going , as well as in a number of rom coms , usually playing the female leads quirky best friend. Judy’s memoirs are funny and down to earth, she definitely comes across as someone you’d want to be mates with in real life. Disappointingly she isn’t one to dish the dirt on her Hollywood co stars, but that does make her refreshingly likeable. ⭐⭐⭐

The Wild Silence ~ Raynor Winn( 2020). When Raynor Winn and her terminally ill husband Moth became homeless they decided to walk the South West Coastal Path. Raynor’s evocative account of their epic trek is told in ‘ The Salt Path’ and this is the anticipated follow-up. What happens next for the couple who found hope and temporary respite via walking & wild camping in nature? Another engaging read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read any of these books? ❤️

A Bird And A Poem ~ Robin.

When walking my dog it is most unusual not to  be accompanied by the chirpy song of a robin. These red breasted beauties seem to be our most friendliest little bird here in the UK.  Indeed they are our national bird and  have lots of links to the festive season too.

In Victorian times postmen wore red jackets, earning them the nickname ‘Robin Redbreasts’ . Christmas cards would feature feathered robins delivering cards , they soon became synonymous with Yuletide.

It is also said that when Mary was giving birth to baby Jesus , a fire that had been lit was so in danger of going out ,that a small brown bird flew close to fan the flame. A stray ember landed on the kindly birds breast causing the robin to gain it’s orangey red colouring.

Robins have appeared in many poems including the first verse of a childs nursery rhyme below.

The North Wind Doth Blow

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then?
Poor thing.

He’ll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing,
Poor thing!


Robins are actually very plucky little birds, more so than the poem suggests. In Edith Holden’s Country Diary of 1906 she recounted ‘ great battles among the Tits over the cocoa-nut, and once a Robin got right into it and refused to let the Tit approach, until he had all he wanted’ .

I note that the winter of 1906 woke to a snowy Christmas day morning. It looks like Edith’s garden visitors were well looked after though.






I am fortunate that my own feathered visitors  include a robin too.

Merry Christmas and thanks for reading.

Lockdown Birthday.

A lockdown birthday was never going to be the same. Celebration ideas were changed as Lancashire tiers upped levels and then a national lockdown was announced. Finally what I was left with ,still a happy time I think….a few doorstep visits from family & friends, an online party, a walk, yummy food cooked by my other half and a delicious take-away hot chocolate. The new normal isn’t so bad.

Zoom party itinerary and friends portraits of me. More flattering than photos!

A viaduct Sunday morning walk.

Hot chocolate from The Chocolate Works.

Such a lovely book.

A book to dip into everyday of Autumn. Today’s poem probably more appropriate for a frosty November day.

Heres a few verses from The Duke Of Fire and The Duchess Of Ice by Carol Ann Duffy.

Passionate love for the Duke of fire

the Duchess of Ice felt.

One kiss was her heart’s desire,

but with one kiss she would melt.

She dreamed of him in his red pantaloons,

In his orange satin blouse,

In his crimson cravat,

In his tangerine hat,

In his vermilion dancing shoes.

One kiss, one kiss,

Lips of flame on frost,

One kiss, pure bliss,

and never count the cost.

As you can probably imagine, there’s a puddle at the end of this poem….

Thanks for dropping by. ❤️

A Bird And A Poem ~ Starlings.

Starlings are noisy bossy birds, I know when they descend upon the bird feeder there will be little left, empty coconut shells knocked to the ground and fat balls depleted in the blink of an eye. I can’t help admiring their starry plumage and their cheeky chatter though and would love to witness a murmuration , where flocks of starlings sky dance the heavens . Instead I will make do with this poem by Mary Oliver who perfectly captures the spirit of these characterful birds.

Photos were taken in Melmerby over the wintery wknd , where several starlings gathered & chattered.

Have you seen a murmuration’?

A Bird And A Poem ~ Magpie.

Returning to a blog post series I began twelve months ago, I’m posting a bird photo, along with a corresponding poem from this lovely book The British Museum Birds. Each poem in the anthology is matched with a gorgeous illustration from the British Museums vast collection of artworks. Today I’ve chosen a poem by W. H. Davies entitled Magpies.

In the book the poem is matched with this beautiful Chinese woodcut on paper, entitled Magpies and Plum Tree by Ding Liangxian.

Magpies

I have an orchard near my house

Where poppies spread and corn has grown ;

It is a holy place for weeds,

Where seeds stay on and flower, till blown.

Into this orchard, wild and quiet,

The magpie comes, the owl and rook:

To see one magpie is not well,

But seeing two brings all good luck.

If magpies think the same , and say,

Two humans bring good luck, not one’ –

How they must cheer us, love, together,

And tremble when I come alone!

W. H. DAVIES ( 1871 -1940).

England.

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Hello Mr Magpie!

Are you one of those crazy people ( like me) that always greets solitary magpies? I don’t think I’m a superstitious person, but I still find myself calling ‘ Hello Mr Magpie’ when I see one perched alone, cackling at me from a tree. P1000445

It is amusing to think that the magpies cackle may be a greeting to a solitary human too.

Are you superstitious about magpies?

A bird and a poem ~ Little Egret.

A few weeks ago I couldn’t resist buying a little book of poetry from a book fair that I came across. The anthology is full of beautiful poems about…..birds. And each one is paired with a gorgeous illustration. The book is actually a collection of stunning avian art works that can all be found in The British Museum. It is therefore called The British Museum Birds and if you find a copy, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. 🙂

Anyway I thought it might be a nice idea to pair the poetry in the book with my own photographs on here occasionally. Though I am cheating a bit today as these pictures of a Little Egret were taken by my other half on our walk by the river Ribble on Saturday. I think its quite unusual to see egrets inland, but this one has been spotted here in Clitheroe a few times recently.

The illustration in the book is Egret On Willow In Snow , a hanging scroll painting on silk by Oda Kaisen ( 1785-1862).

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Snow

In the gloom of whiteness,

In the great silence of snow,

A child was sighing

And bitterly saying : ‘ Oh,

They have killed a white bird up there on her nest,

The down is fluttering from her breast!’

And still it fell through that dusky brightness

On the child crying for the bird in the snow.

Edward Thomas ( 1878-1917)

Little Egret. Photo Credit D Wilson.

Sorry the first poem I included is quite sad. But I hope you liked it anyway. X

We dined on Quince.

When I saw a basket of Quinces in my local supermarket, I remembered my scrapbook of recipes cut out from magazines languishing on the book shelf. There is an easy peazy recipe in there for ‘ Quinces, baked in orange juice and honey’, so I thought ,a ha I will give it a go! The quince is lemon in colour( when ripe) and shaped like a pear. Autumn is the season to find them in the supermarket.

The quinces in the supermarket were green. In hindsight I now realise my fruit was no way near ripe….which could account for it being really hard to slice up and taking longer to cook. I bet the Owl and the pussy cat didn’t have that problem!

Baked quinces in honey.

280g honey
300ml orange or grapefruit juice.
6 quinces, peeled, cored and quartered.

Preheat the oven to 160°/gas 3. Mix honey with fruit juice.Place the quince quarters in an ovenproof dish and pour over the liquid so it covers them.Bake in the oven for two hours. Once cooled, serve with cream.

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The Owl and the pussy cat.

They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand ,on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.

From the Owl and the pussycat by Edward Lear.

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Was quite a nice pudding. Have you ever made anything using this seasonal fruit?

Fall, leaves, fall

Today ( October 2nd) is National poetry day in the UK. As Autumn is taking hold , what better way to celebrate than with pictures of the seasons changing colours and a poem by Emily Bronte.

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Fall,leaves, fall; die,flowers,away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
Emily Bronte.

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Still, I am quite enjoying our Indian Summer. Loving the oranges and pink flower hues in the castle park.

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Do you know any Autumn poems?

To The Small Celandine.

As you know my blog is named after a cheerful sunshiney flower that splashes its golden colour around woodlands,fields,hedgerows and gardens as soon as Spring arrives.In fact the pretty star-like celandine is one of the first signs of spring,usually appearing from as early as February.

The Humble Celandine.
The Humble Celandine.

This year Spring has been a little hesitant in arriving …..but now seems to be blossoming.Just like the comely carpet of celandines below.:)
Dancing Daffs on a carpet of celandines.
Dancing Daffs on a carpet of celandines.

Here is a poem I found by William Wordsworth.

To The Small Celandine.

Pansies,Lillies,Kingcups,Daisies,
Let them live upon their praises;
Long as there’s a sun that sets
Primroses will have their glory;
Long as there are Violets,
They will have a place in story:
There’s a flower that shall be mine,

Tis the little Celandine.

Wordsworth wrote two other poems featuring the sunny celandine.And the flower can also be spied in c s Lewis, The Lion,the Witch and the wardrobe.:)
What is your favourite Spring flower?

This post is part of The Blog Every Day in May challenge on Rosalilium.