winter webs

Some people hate their neighbours. Others are best friends with them. Others simply tolerate them. Personally, I wouldn’t recognise mine even if they came and knocked at the door. We simply don’t coincide and I know nothing about them.

Actually, I found out something about them this last week that was rather reassuring.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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neighbours and other animals


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”

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