A secret door,
leading into the rocky cliff face –
to enter and explore.
What if behind that door,
in the gloomy depths
of the mountain’s roots,
and emerged to see
the skeleton trees
dancing with golden sunlit clouds?
This was the sky this afternoon at sunset.
A happy and blessed New Year to you all
as you dance with the trees and the clouds.
The longest darkest night
Bereft of moon or stars
Morning muffled grey.
Soft snow that drifted
Light as down
And lay like crisp meringue
In whipped cream
Now starts to thaw
Weeping into the sodden soil.
This pallid day though
Dull and drear
Has one thing in its favour:
It will stay
Minutes longer light
I have this little poem, written long ago, on my Cats and Catterel page – a typical example of my catterel, I think. It’s a tribute to our dear departed Miss Sophie:
Miss Sophie, grande dame par excellence,
Has an air of distinction and elegance,
As she daintily poses her purposeful toes
Neatly and carefully under her nose.
A toss of the head, a disdainful stare,
If you haven’t brought supper, a dismissive glare;
She sits on the staircase and looks through the rails
Listening to gossip and storing up tales.
Oh, how could you think that she’s Little Miss Snooty?
A cat white and ginger, a soft-hearted beauty,
Never was any so misunderstood
As Sophie, who really is gentle and good.
Just look how she dotes on the people who love her;
Remember, you can’t judge a book by its cover.
I put my hand in yours.
Please hold it tight.
For my own grasp may weaken as I tire
And stumble on this narrow, stony way,
But though I slip and trip, I will not fall
If you will hold my hand.
Please hold my hand
And guide me through the fog
As well as through the bright and sunny days
When I’m thinking I can manage on my own.
Please hold it tight.
I put my hand in yours
And leave it there.
I trust in you.
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! He chortled in his joy …
Way back in 2011, when I first started blogging, a photo I had taken of a wall in a vineyard reminded me of a translation I’d made of a poem by Jörg Zink, and I posted it here. At the time, I didn’t remember where I’d read the original German poem, and was frustrated by the fact that without it, it was difficult to polish my English version. Over the last few years I’ve browsed the Internet occasionally but never found the German poem. However, last week I suddenly discovered that at the age of 90+ Jörg Zink had launched a website , and there was actually a “Contact” button. So on the off-chance I sent an e-mail asking where I could find the elusive poem.
To my delight, I received a reply the following morning from the author’s son, telling me that it was in a collection called “Unter weitem Himmel”. (Hurrah!) Sadly, this was now out of print (Boo-hoo!). However, it might be available second-hand (Hurrah!). Yes, there it is on Amazon, at the amazing price of 0.01 €. (Hip-hip-hip Hurrah!)
Of course, there’s postage to pay, but I don’t think I’ve ever paid so little for such a longed-for book. At last I can hone my version in the light of the original, and – Callooh! Callay! – there’s a wealth of gold for me to mine here, as I shall now endeavour to render the rest of the anthology into English. It will make a pleasant change from wrestling with Nelly Sachs’ tortuous syntax and excruciating themes, and I’m looking forward to this new challenge I have set myself.
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty” (John Keats) Photo by Avi
“Beware of liars,” said my Dad.
“Liars are cowards, scared
of the truth, wanting to save their skins.
Have no truck with liars.
And don’t you go telling lies.
I’d be ashamed to own you as my child
If you didn’t tell the truth.”
At 8 years old, a principle or precept
Thus instilled takes root.
Sometimes the truth is very hard to bear
And I’ve preferred
Silence rather than to tell
Everything I know. But if I try
To twist the truth or tell a lie
My body language contradicts it all.
I blush, my eyes go shifty, and I stammer.
I couldn’t be a spy!
My problem is discernment:
When someone I believe in
I don’t want to see the signs.
I am no polygraph.
I love, therefore I trust
Yes, I must
Beware of liars,
Out to save their skins.
Thank you to George Ody Photography for this fantastic photo, used with special permission. I love how George has captured that first sliver of Earth shadow.
It was a perfect night for viewing the Super Harvest Blood Moon. Not a cloud to be seen. The only problem was that at its zenith, where all the drama took place, the moon was directly over our chimney pots, and invisible from any of the windows.
I could have popped outside to look, but my bed was a warm nest and it would have meant getting dressed again. So I missed it. But I did see the huge, magnificent golden globe that rose so majestically in the evening, and by 4.30 am it had moved sufficiently far across the sky to be visible again as a pale yellow crescent as it emerged from the Earth’s shadow, so I suppose I can claim to have seen at least part of the show.
It reminded me of another eclipse that I watched – in full – from my Alpine home years ago when the moon rose from behind the mountains and gave a stupendous performance. Taking advantage of poetic licence, I have updated some lines I wrote at that time to imagine how this would have looked had I still been sitting gazing out at the event over the snow-capped Alps.
Wants midnight in black velvet
– Or will possibly concede navy blue and a few diamonds –
But this night is all swathed in white satin
With swansdown and pearls
The mountains are wearing grey silk off-the-shoulder clouds
And the moon is auditioning for the role of the sun
And hamming it up –
Flaunting herself like a pneumatic peroxide blonde
Outsize, with excess candlepower,
Preening and pouting,
Parading on her zenith catwalk
For her One-Moon Show
Her Exclusive Special Performance
Extra-full in an empty sky with
A professional act, perfectly rehearsed,
Leading up to the super-dramatic climax
Applauded by the stars:
Her total eclipse.