I never used to like tulips. The colours were pretty enough in the park flowerbeds of my childhood, but the neat rows of tight scarlet blooms perched atop rigidly straight stalks reminded me too closely of redcoat soldiers. I was never much of one for the military or for regimented discipline and precision.
Then, some years ago, I read a poem that made me look at tulips afresh and see that they express more personality and attitude than many cut flowers.
Continue reading “floral personality”
Apparently today is World Oceans Day, in honour of which, I have spent a stupidly long time researching things online. I started with the innocent question “How far am I from the sea?” and then fell down the rabbit hole of “What’s the centre of England?”
The answer to the latter question is by no means clear cut: according to the Wikipedia page on centre points of the UK, depending on the calculation method used, and on how much of Great Britain or the UK is included, you can even find a centre that is in the middle of Morecombe Bay. That would be a centroid point, the calculation of which is described by Rob Andrews from the Ordnance Survey in a BBC article as: “If you imagine cutting out the whole of the UK with a giant pair of scissors and balancing it on a church spire, it’s the balancing point.”
Continue reading “(not very) centred”
At this time of year, there are flowers everywhere.
Whether you look up…
Or whether you look down…
Despite the apparent difference in light conditions, those two photos are actually of exactly the same corner. Now I’m wondering whether the two plants will eventually meet in the middle.
Way back in the distant past, I studied maths. In fact, due to some bad choices early in my life, I actually got as far as starting to study maths at university, although I moved to a less challenging course after the first year.
Despite not completing the maths degree, I remember enjoying the history of maths module and I have fond – though somewhat blurred – memories of learning about relativity through stories of stick figures who chased each other across the blackboard, one of them flashing a torch at the other with the light never arriving as they were travelling so fast.
Continue reading “correlations”
According to Google, today is the 971st anniversary of the birth of Omar Khayyam, Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet. It seems slightly strange to me that we would know the exact date of birth of someone born nearly 1000 years ago, and I wonder how eastern and western calendar differences and the change from the Julian to Gregorian calendar affect things.
But even if there were good reason to doubt the accuracy of the date, I have no objections to celebrating Khayaam; I may not be able to read the original, but I’ve loved Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat since I first came across it.
Continue reading “hazy memories”
I mentioned yesterday that I’d acquired a new – secondhand – poetry book at the words and music event on Friday night. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled to find it thrust into my hands during the interval just before I was due to read, especially as the accompanying, “You might want to read this,” sounded so like a criticism – as if my upcoming performance was bound to be inadequate as I don’t read enough poetry by other people.
But it’s true that most of my poetry books remain in storage somewhere in central Spain and I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to read them again, so I decided not to take things personally and bought the book.
Continue reading “a hazy kind of man”
Open mike nights are a chance to discover the words of other poets, writers and musicians and I usually sit with notebook and pen ready to jot down the ideas and phrases that appeal most, that capture my imagination or that challenge me to think more.
Last night I was a reader at a fund-raising event where the theme was homelessness. One of the phrases I wrote down was from local poet John Turner: “How to compare spring flower to crack den?” It’s a question that challenged me as it relates to why I wimped out of writing new and socially relevant poems for the event, instead reaching into my files, which overflow with spring flowers and poetry of place, to create a set based around the ideas of home, belonging and alienation.
Continue reading “of words and wild swans”