it depends

I like the idea of Chinese New Year. I am always running late with things and I generally forget to post Christmas cards or buy presents in time and just end up assuring people I simply have no interest in the whole festive season.

So to have a chance to catch up and send people New Year wishes around a month later suits me quite well – particularly when the celebrations fall in early February as it means there is a vague chance I may be nudged into remembering the multiple birthdays of friends and family that fall at that time.
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a horse of a different colour

After I published yesterday’s post, I remembered that I do have other poems with horses in, including the very summery Before breakfast, which begins:

When the dew lies cool in the day’s eyes, beyond
the umbelliferous lace of napkin fields
morning horses toss and fret, and rooks stalk
among the stubble.

Those “morning horses” were not as quiet as the ones in the Ted Hughes poem, where the narrator “[…] climbed through woods in the hour-before-dawn dark” before coming across the horses: “Grey silent fragments/ Of a grey silent world.”
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neigh-saying

This early in the year it probably behooves me to be positive, but it’s been a bit of a grey day and I’m saddled with updating the blog, although I’m bridling at the thought.

The big hitch is that my head seems to be mane-ly stuffed with sawdust – the ideas are hardly jockeying for position in the race to be written. Indeed, progress has completely stalled for the last few hours and I’m beginning to think wild horses couldn’t drag a blog post out of me today.
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memories beginning with “c”

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of a cyclamen flower and pondered why I always forget the name. Today’s flower also begins with “c”, but for some reason I find it far easier to remember the word clematis.

Considering this for a few moments raises the question of how, given the range of shapes, sizes and colours the name can be applied to, I know the flower in the photo is a clematis.
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autumn berries

I said yesterday that there still seemed to be a fair number of flowers around considering it’s now officially autumn. So today I went out to see if I could find something more seasonal to feature on the blog.

Hips and haws, blackberries, elderberries, snowberries, cotoneaster, yew and rowan… I went round gathering fruit from other people’s gardens and along the canal path – or at least gathering photos.
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day’s end

The day’s nearly over, but I still have time to publish a post commemorating the anniversary of the birth of the Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones. The main image above is a detail from a stained glass window he designed for St. Philip’s Cathedral, Birmingham.

I knew I had a photo of one of the Burne-Jones windows, but had forgotten that it was entitled The Last Judgement. Now its subject matter has reminded me of the sky I photographed one evening recently, which was a beautiful, if somewhat disturbing, brimstone yellow.
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poetry and prose

My poem El inquilino (the lodger) was a runner up in the MsLexia poetry competition this year and has just been published in the magazine. That should have made it easy to find something to write for the blog today, but although copies have already been delivered to subscribers, the terms of the publishing agreement mean that the poem can’t appear here – or anywhere else – until after the official publishing date of September 1st.

That said, the poem was inspired by the wildlife at the house en el pueblo when I lived in Spain, so here is a rather different account of “the lodger”, adapted from notes for the fictionalised memoir I eventually hope to write, which will be in the house-as-life-journey genre.
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