variation on a theme

I’ve been a writer for a long time and I’ve written in a lot of different genres and styles. At the end of the day, though, I think my strengths lie in poetry and non-fiction. The latter includes memoir, creative non-fiction, essays and opinion pieces.

When it comes to fiction, I’ve never really done more than dabble. Certainly I’ve never been tempted by long-form fiction and can’t imagine writing a full-length novel. In my files there are a handful of short romances, fantasy, twist-in-the-tale magazine-style pieces and not much more, other than a few children’s stories.
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celebratory

According to the news, the Queen celebrated her 91st birthday yesterday by going to Newbury races.

As far as I can ascertain, there was no special monarch’s trophy awarded or race run to mark either the Queen’s birthday or her presence at the event; even so, it’s as good a reason as any for starting this post with a photo of a magnificent golden kingcup.
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roost, rooster, roostest

I first came across the word “palimpsest” years ago, when I was training to teach English as a foreign language: in one of the classes we were given a list of words that we were not expected to know and asked to chat with a partner and guess their meanings.

Presumably, the idea was to simulate the stress suffered by the students we would encounter once we qualified, but, of course, our situation was vastly different as we were all native speakers and there was really no great pressure to get the answers right, anyway.
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watercolour

The weather has been mostly grey recently and I’ve barely bothered to take my camera out with me as I haven’t expected to find much to take pictures of. Today, though, I decided to go out in the drizzle and within five minutes of leaving the house I came across a tree in full blossom.

Naturally, I decided to take pictures, but when I looked at them later on the computer I was disappointed to find that they might as well have been in black and white.

grey blossom against grey sky
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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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