early warning

Here in the UK, the spring equinox happens (occurs? falls?) tomorrow at 10:28. I’m a bit confused by that, as I don’t understand how we can have equal day and night at a specific minute half way through the morning.

Exploring the subject a little further, I find that equinox doesn’t mean equilux: day and night are not of equal length, whatever I was taught in school.

In fact, where I am, today was already almost 12 hours and 7 minutes long, which must, presumably, make the night some 14 minutes shorter. And from now until well into April, each day will increase in length by about 4 minutes, meaning that in less than a month, we’ll be having over 14 hours of daylight. Sadly, that’s not 14 hours of sunshine.
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books and other stuff

Castles in Spain anthology. Purchase page Sportula.esIt’s April 23rd and that means there’s lots to celebrate. For much of the planet, it’s International Book Day, although the UK and Ireland have already celebrated that back on March 3rd. Perhaps they thought it was too complicated to have so many things happening on St George’s Day. (I’m not sure why that would affect anyone except the English, and as they don’t tend to do a lot to mark their patron saint’s day, even for them, it’s not really a strong argument.)
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international daze

Someone told me this morning that it was international cat day and I got all excited as it meant I wouldn’t need to look very far for an idea for a blog post: I have poems about cats aplenty – and poems aplenty about cats – as well as photos.

Algie: white & black cat in the undergrowth

Algie

Under laurel leaves, slick
with sunlight, pink nose snuffles
wild strawberries.

Cream petals drift and seagulls
mew overhead.

I then checked and found that the rumour was unfounded. The best I can find is that February 21st is International Mother Language Day, first announced by UNESCO in late 1999 and intended to “promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.”
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the tender-hearted artichoke

artichoke flower beginning to open on the plant
I was so impressed by this glorious artichoke plant with its flowers in all the different stages that I thought about writing a poem.
artichoke in flower
Then I remembered that Neruda had already written an Ode to the artichoke.
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biscuits and other ambiguities

coffee and ginger biscuits
When I’ve quoted Sandburg – “poetry is the achievement of the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits” – in the past, I have always felt the biscuits were there to represent the everyday, functional side of life: I’ve always assumed he meant Rich Tea, not Hobnobs.

But apparently yesterday was National Biscuit Day, which set me thinking: as I am not really sure which nation was celebrating, I don’t know whether the biscuits in question are the ones you eat with morning coffee or with gravy. And even if it were definitely a British celebration, they might be cheesy biscuits rather than gingersnaps.

Now I am wondering whether Sandberg was thinking of American biscuits – the plain scones eaten with thick sausage gravy – with all the social and regional connotations that they bring to bear. Suddenly hyacinths have become the clear and unambiguous aspect of the quote: a natural Truth alongside the unnecessarily complex human view of things.
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lost in translation

Sadly, the utter magnificence and glory of this rhododendron has been lost in my attempt to translate it into a photograph.

pink rhododendron
I, too, am – or should be – lost in translation, as I have a deadline approaching at a worrying rate of knots.

it’s complicated

I’ve posted this poem before, but this time I have a photo to go with it.

bobbin lace close up

Lacemaker



You sit, bent over the pillow;

beaded memories

click back and forth.


Deftly, you weave silk threads:

over, under, twist and hitch;

under, over, pin and twist.


Beneath your fingers

a brass forest grows

shrouded in gossamer.

 
(In the photo, the forest is silver rather than brass, but I think it still illustrates the point.)
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