A random selection of flotsam and jetsam – a bit of a wander or a wonder – we’ll see

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSXb1vjhmEA      ~ a poem about the purpose of being a poet ~ ”leaving footprints on the sands of time ………….”



The Song of Seven by Walter de la Mare

Far away, and long ago–
May sweet Memory be forgiven!
Came a Wizard in the evening,
And he sang the Song of Seven.
Yes, he plucked his jangling harp-strings
With fingers smooth and even;
And his eyes beneath his dangling hair
Were still as is the sea;
But the Song of Seven has never yet,
One note, come back to me.

The Song of One I know,
A rose its thorns between;

The Song of Two I learned
Where only the birds have been;

The Song of Three I heard
When March was fleet with hares;

The Song of Four was the wind’s–the wind’s,
Where wheat grew thick with tares;

The Song of Five, ah me!
Lovely the midmost one;

The Song of Six, died out
Before the dream was done. . .

One–two–three–four–five, six–
And all the grace notes given:
But widdershins, and witchery-sweet,
Where is the Song of Seven?

seven magpies


Paintings by South Wales painter of Italian descent ~ Ernest Zobole

(c) Nicola Zobole (daughter); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Nicola Zobole (daughter); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Nicola Zobole (daughter); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Nicola Zobole (daughter); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation




the fool


Stories Are Made of Mistakes


Even the pole bean tendrils sought out and gripped their
frames within six hours of my setting them.
                                                               One of the things
that is breaking my heart is that I can’t trust language to
express any thanks.
                            My pole beans, my honeybees, my coyotes,
my dog, all my good horses.
The black mare I shouldn’t have bought and bought, and once
I had, should have shipped, bucked me, too, the first time
I got up.
            But God she was a beauty.
                                                 I thought if I just rode her
I could ride her down.
                               Her name was Sara and we kept it at that.
All she wanted to do was run.
                                          Ears back, flat out, nose pushed
into the next life.
                         I wanted her to learn to walk.
After about a year of chop I turned her uphill on a good gravel
road and said, “OK, you bitch, you want to run?”
                                                                      I let go
her head and gave her the steel.
                                                I’d never been on a horse so
      I’ve never been on one since.
                                                So fast you couldn’t
count the beats in the rhythm of her gait.
                                                                         But when,
after some miles, she started to flag, I said, “I thought you
wanted to run,” and dug her out again.
The pole bean tendrils sought their frames within six hours
of my setting them.
                           They broke my heart.
                                                            They gripped.
A patch of sunlight mottled the shade.
                                                       Whether she never
saw the root that snaked through the shadow or was just too
far in front of herself, I’ll never know.
                                                      She stumbled
and fell.
            First on her knees then over.
                                                      We rasped together
down the gravel road, black mare on top of me.
                                                                     We rasped
to a halt.
             She jumped to her feet.
                                                She stared at me.
could see the bone in both her knees.
                                                      Ribbons of hide hanging.
Blood like volunteer firemen beginning to rise to the occasion.
Ten years later, today, I’m riding her.
                                                       I keep her reined
in most of the time.
                            She tosses her head, snaps tie-downs.
She dances and whirls, doubles under and rears incessantly.
She makes me the butt of ridicule:
                                                 “So, uh, Jim, how old
is that mare?”
                     “She must be twenty now.”
                                                             “Don’t you think
it’s time she was broke?”
                                    Every once in a while I let her
run and break my heart.
                                    Anyone watching stops breathing.
If I ever get to heaven and know who I am, I’d like to over-
hear my daughter tell a story to her children.
my dad used to ride this black mare…”


James Galvin, “Stories Are Made of Mistakes” from Resurrection Update: Collected Poems 1975-1997. Copyright © 1997 by James Galvin. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press, http://www.coppercanyonpress.org.




The Beloved is all, the lover just a veil.

The Beloved is living, the lover a dead thing.

If Love withholds it’s strengthening care,

The lover is left like a bird without wings.

How will I be awake and be aware

If the light of the Beloved is absent?

Love wills that this word be bought forth.

If you find the mirror of the heart dull,

The rust has not been cleaned from its face.

Rumi Jelalludin



Barrier Hessian Matrix from Convex Quadratic Programming


Fifty first lines from great novels – Toni Morrison to Tolstoy – some really great ones here (could also be a reading list if those first lines grab you)



The Golden Ratio


“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison


A good link if you are interested in the Fairy Realm


about 90 on-line articles about archaeology, folklore and mythology


“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.”
― Rumi


Hiraeth by Tim Davis 

Hiraeth beckons with wordless call,
Hear, my soul, with heart enthrall’d.
Hiraeth whispers while earth I roam;
Here I wait the call “come home.”

Like seagull cry, like sea borne wind,
That speak with words beyond my ken,
A longing deep with words unsaid,
Calls a wanderer home instead.

I heed your call, Hiraeth, I come
On westward path to hearth and home.
My path leads on to western shore,
My heart tells me there is yet more.

Within my ears the sea air sighs;
The sunset glow, it fills my eyes.
I stand at edge of sea and earth,
My bare feet washed in gentle surf.

Hiraeth’s longing to call me on,
Here, on shore, in setting sun.
Hiraeth calls past sunset fire,
“Look beyond, come far higher!”


West Country Traditions 

go to youtube page to view all of it as it covers many old traditions in a number of videos


Sonnet 116 – Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


I posted this because it’s my favourite sonnet and I believe in it not just in relationships but in life – Love is the star to every wandering bark


To The Moon

And, like a dying lady lean and pale,
Who totters forth, wrapp’d in a gauzy veil,
Out of her chamber, led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
The moon arose up in the murky east,
A white and shapeless mass.

Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)



by Lewis Carroll 

Child of the pure unclouded brow
And dreaming eyes of wonder!
Though time be fleet, and I and thou
Are half a life asunder,
Thy loving smile will surely hail
The love-gift of a fairy-tale.

I have not seen thy sunny face,
Nor heard thy silver laughter:
No thought of me shall find a place
In thy young life’s hereafter–
Enough that now thou wilt not fail
To listen to my fairy-tale.

A tale begun in other days,
When summer suns were glowing–
A simple chime, that served in time
The rhythm of our rowing–
Whose echoes live in memory yet,
Though envious years would say “forget”.

Come, hearken then, ere voice of dread,
With bitter tidings laden,
Shall summon to unwelcome bed
A melancholy maiden!
We are but older children, dear,
Who fret to find our bedtime near.

Without, the frost, the blinding snow,
The storm-wind’s moody madness–
Within, the firelight’s ruddy glow,
And childhood’s nest of gladness.
The magic words shall hold thee fast:
Thou shalt not heed the raving blast.

And, though the shadow of a sigh
May tremble through the story,
For “happy summer days” gone by,
And vanish’d summer glory–
It shall not touch with breath of bale,
The pleasance of our fairy-tale.


An Excerpt from the book “Sum: Forty Tales of the Afterlives” by David Eagleman


In the afterlife you relive all your experiences, but this time with the events reshuffled into a new order: all the moments that share a quality are grouped together.

You spend two months driving the street in front of your house, seven months having sex. You sleep for thirty years without opening your eyes. For five months straight you flip through magazines while sitting on a toilet.

You take all your pain at once, all twenty-seven intense hours of it. Bones break, cars crash, skin is cut, babies are born. Once you make it through, it’s agony-free for the rest of your afterlife.

But that doesn’t mean it’s always pleasant. you spend six days clipping your nails. Fifteen months looking for lost items. Eighteen months waiting in line. Two years of boredom: staring out a bus window, sitting in an airport terminal. One year reading books. Your eyes hurt, and you itch, because you can’t take a shower until it’s your time to take your marathon two-hundered-day shower. Two weeks wondering what happens when you die. One minute realizing your body is falling. Seventy-seven hours of confusion. One hour realizing you’ve forgotten someone’s name. Three weeks realizing you are wrong. Two days lying. Six weeks waiting for a green light. Seven hours vomiting. Fourteen minutes experiencing pure joy. Three months doing laundry. Fifteen hours writing your signature. Two days tying shoelaces. Sixty-seven days of heartbreak. Five weeks driving lost. Three days calculating restaurant tips. Fifty-one days deciding what to wear. Nine days pretending you know what is being talked about. Two weeks counting money. Eighteen days staring into the refrigerator. Thirty-four days longing. Six months watching commercials. Four weeks sitting in thought, wondering if there is something better you could be doing with your time. Three years swallowing food. Five days working buttons and zippers. Four minutes wondering what your life would be like if you reshuffled the order of events. In this part of the afterlife, you imagine something analogous to your Earthly life, and the thought is blissful: a life where episodes are split into tiny swallowable pieces, where moments do not endure, where one experiences the joy of jumping from one event to the next like a child hopping from spot to spot on the burning sand.


The Elfin Artist from The Elfin Artist and Other Poems, 1920 ~ WONDERFUL poem!!!!!!!!!

In a glade of an elfin forest
When Sussex was Eden-new,
I came on an elvish painter
And watched as his picture grew,
A harebell nodded beside him.
He dipt his brush in the dew.

And it might be the wild thyme round him
That shone in the dark strange ring;
But his brushes were bees’ antennae,
His knife was a wasp’s blue sting;
And his gorgeous exquisite palette
Was a butterfly’s fan-shaped wing.

And he mingled its powdery colours,
And painted the lights that pass,
On a delicate cobweb canvas
That gleamed like a magic glass,
And bloomed like a banner of elf-land,
Between two stalks of grass;

Till it shone like an angel’s feather
With sky-born opal and rose,
And gold from the foot of the rainbow,
And colours that no man knows;
And I laughed in the sweet May weather,
Because of the themes he chose.

For he painted the things that matter,
The tints that we all pass by,
Like the little blue wreaths of incense
That the wild thyme breathes to the sky;
Or the first white bud of the hawthorn,
And the light in a blackbird’s eye;

And the shadows on soft white cloud-peaks
That carolling skylarks throw,–
Dark dots on the slumbering splendours
That under the wild wings flow,
Wee shadows like violets trembling
On the unseen breasts of snow;

With petals too lovely for colour
That shake to the rapturous wings,
And grow as the bird draws near them,
And die as he mounts and sings,–
Ah, only those exquisite brushes
Could paint these marvellous things.



If you end up in bed with flu this winter take one or more of these books with you …………

Siddartha – Hesse
The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck
Phantastes – George McDonald
Jitterbug Perfume – Tom Robbins
The Man Who Planted Trees – Jean Giono
Orlando – Virginia Woolfe
Chocolat – Joanne Harris
Lilith – George McDonald
At the back of the north wind – George McDonald
The Little White Horse – Elizabeth Goudge
Knulp – Hesse
Sheherazade – Anthony O’Neill
The Annotated Alice – Lewis Carroll and Martin Gardner
Immortality – Milan Kundera
The Conference of the Birds – Farid al-din Attar
Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkein
Stardust – Neil Gaiman
Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel
Love in a Time of Cholera – Gabriel Maria Marquez
The Householder – Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
On the Road to Baghdad – Guneli Gun
Whats Eating Gilbert Grape – Peter Hedges
The Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Gormanghast Trilogy – Mervyn Peake
His Dark Materials Philip Pullman
Dune – Frank Herbert
Travels with my Elephant – Mark Shand


Take a look at this beautiful fantasy art with an Elizabethan and Faerie flavour



My favourite poem …….

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would
take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.


sunset at trevone


Immortality Relish 

If you like chilli and would like to make the best relish in the world go to this weblink

and make yourself some Immortality Relish



An Odd Occurence

I often gaze out of my upstairs window seeking inspiration for poems and today I saw an odd thing, which could perhaps be a poem, but I just want to describe what I saw this time.

I was looking down from above and saw three wood pigeons on the lawn. They seemed to like symmetry, they expressed it. They were arranged on the points of an invisible equilateral triangle. The triangle had sides that were to my eye three metres long and so each wood pigeon was three metres away from each of its companions. Two pigeons sat, nested in the grass, at what I thought of as the base of the triangle, exactly parallel to each other and facing outward toward the garden wall like silent sentinels or guards on an invisible door to the triangles centre.  The third pigeon stood at the peak and made rare pecks at the grass.

I watched this for ten minutes. Nothing happened. None of the usual cats turned up, thankfully. I left. I have no idea how long they held this shape between them. It was an oddly still scene.


October’s Party
by George Cooper

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came,—
The Ashes, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The sunshine spread a carpet,
And every thing was grand;
Miss Weather led the dancing;
Professor Wind, the band….
The sight was like a rainbow
New-fallen from the sky….



In about 1975 I was briefly in hospital in Truro and there I met a lighthouse keeper. His light was somewhere off Lands End – I don’t recall exactly where but I asked him a lot of questions and was sad to hear all lights were to be automated. I would have liked to think that one day I might have done the job myself but the days of lighthouse keepers were coming to an end.

It was for this reason that I recently read Stargazing by Peter Hill (available on Kindle). He worked on three Scottish lights as far out as the Hebrides in that era and so, although a young man then escaping from art college, he must have been one of the last. It’s a great read. He has a very natural writing style and the book is full of anecdotes and the dreams of a young would-be writer, as well as full details of life on a lighthouse and the workings of the light which conjure up a vision of fine engineering and gleaming brass. I recommend the book.


Crow Goes Hunting 

by Ted Hughes
Decided to try words.

He imagined some words for the job, a lovely pack-
Clear-eyed, resounding, well-trained,
With strong teeth.
You could not find a better bred lot.

He pointed out the hare and away went the words
Crow was Crow without fail, but what is a hare?

It converted itself to a concrete bunker.
The words circled protesting, resounding.

Crow turned the words into bombs-they blasted the bunker.
The bits of bunker flew up-a flock of starlings.

Crow turned the words into shotguns, they shot down the starlings.
The falling starlings turned to a cloudburst.

Crow turned the words into a reservoir, collecting the water.
The water turned into an earthquake, swallowing the reservoir.

The earthquake turned into a hare and leaped for the hill
Having eaten Crow’s words.

Crow gazed after the bounding hare
Speechless with admiration.




Bright Star by John Keats 

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—
         Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
         Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
         Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
         Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
         Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
         Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.
by Cath Blackfeather
Beneath the overhanging armpits
On the London Underground
A woman reads her Koran.
Soaking up the prophet’s words
A small oasis, brimful of sweet water.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s