nocturne

Yesterday was the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere.

Over the years, I have posted lots of poems here on on the blog marking season changes, solstices, equinoxes, the day we change the clocks, meteor showers and other astronomical and astrological events, but since I’ve been back in the UK this has become increasingly difficult: I’m writing less, and I’m far less tied to the natural rhythms of the planet.
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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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home to roost

In the Chinese calendar, the year of the rooster starts today, 28th January 2017, so it seems a good reason to have some cockerels, roosters and chickens on the blog this weekend.

The photo at the top was taken at the Bristol Balloon Festival some ten years ago. I feel it’s a bit cartoonish to go with this poetry vignette of dawn breaking in the Spanish pueblo where I used to live, but I don’t seem to have many photos on file that are right for the topic.
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second post

This post dodges about a bit between the UK and Spain, so it’s probably not unreasonable that although I start off talking about the UK postal service, the lions in the picture are actually from the post office in Avila, Spain.

Back in the dim and distant past, you could post a letter in the morning at one end of the country and know it would be delivered at the other end of the country the next day. Indeed, I think that if you caught the early collection, or if it had to go a shorter distance, it would be delivered that same afternoon.
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autumn memories

Despite the glorious flowers still to be found in window boxes and tubs around the town, summer is officially over: the days have been getting shorter and Thursday was the Autumn Equinox.

I think all the local churches have either had their harvest festival or have it scheduled for tomorrow and the thought of harvest has reminded me once more of Spain. We didn’t pay much attention to the garden but even untended trees produce blossom and fruit as the year turns.
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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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perfumed memories

Linden flowersThe scent of linden flowers after rain – from the tree the English call lime – has brought memories of the garden in Spain.
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