neighbours

It’s Sunday; it’s the first of December. Which means that here in the UK, some people are celebrating the first day of Advent.

But the first day of December is cause for celebration for other reasons and in other places. In Chad, it’s Freedom and Democracy day. In Romania, it’s Great Union Day, celebrating the Union of Transylvania with Romania. It’s Myanmar’s National Day, and it’s Military Abolition Day in Costa Rica.
Continue reading “neighbours”

a lack of biscuits

blue hyacinth close up
When I tweeted that my 888th blog post featured poetry and hyacinths, I was reminded of the quotation:

Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.

but I couldn’t remember who said it.

Knowing I’d kept it as one of a whole list of poetry-associated quotations, I searched my computer for hyacinths.

It turns out it was Carl Sandburg, though further investigation online suggests he may actually have used the subtly different phrase:

poetry is the achievement of the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.

The search for hyacinths also turned up the forgotten draft of a poem.
Continue reading “a lack of biscuits”

summer wilderness

house roof see through overgrown weeds
It’s July, the temperatures are in the forties (or the hundreds, if you prefer), school’s out, and the village population has doubled in the last week as families return to their rural properties for the summer months.
Continue reading “summer wilderness”

neighbours and other animals

toad

When we first moved here, the village seemed to be home to a surfeit of satanic and unholy animals. Some belonged to neighbours, some were just wild visitors.

Emilio had a half a dozen goats and his lad used to herd them across the unfenced part of our land to graze in the olive grove: an enduring image is that of a sleek black goat poised, watchful, on a rock or stone wall, or up on two legs under an olive tree. ( I am glad to say that despite the ease with which he assumed this vertical posture, I never heard the horned one speak.)
Continue reading “neighbours and other animals”

new neighbours

horses grazing
They moved in yesterday, and although they sound very close when I hear them snorting, they are mostly keeping over to the other side of the olive grove where there is a little more shade.

In the garden on the other side, we have a small flock of sheep and a Shetland pony. Maybe I should write a village memoir and call it Fifty shades of graze.

night noises

The last few posts have been fairly rural – which is reasonable given where I am at the moment. But to carry on from yesterday’s insomnia, I’ve dug out this older, rather more urban piece:

night shades

Sounds rise through plaster, wood and dust; they twist
between the ceiling joists, and round ceramic tiles to twine
with moonlight, drifting, woven in dreams, until
they filter into consciousness. Then,

there are no more dreams:

the sounds contract
to words as hard
and tight as fists that punch
into the sobbing night.

I hear the darkness
catch its breath
and a banshee wail
drags the dawn
closer.

Continue reading “night noises”