Thursday, 3 December 2015

Dec 2nd 2015 Evening

December 2nd 2015 Evening.
Barbican Theatre, London: Shakespeare’s ‘Henry 5th
Parliament, London:  Should Britain use Air strikes against Syria?


   On stage, Henry queries, ‘Is it legal to go to war’?
   In Parliament, Cameron urges airstrikes on Syria:
War by another name, a fight from distant skies.
Henry leads his men, encouraging, determined,
Fighting for land, for victory over old enemies.
It’s defence of France today, to support victims
Of honourless slaughter, bombed by fanatics
   With aims buried in bloodlust, nurtured far away.
The Chorus begs us to use ‘imaginary forces’
     To see the ‘vasty fields of France’ on a bare stage;
      We do, but with ravaged lands, refugees, evil, also.
    Henry’s past fight entwines with current choices,
The safety of the play, of known triumph
 Lets us wonder at past decisions, ponder glory,
But all the while, irony stalks our thoughts -

To what will air strikes lead?

Glasgow

Filling the void
Grayson Perry Reflection
A Billboard!

Friday, 30 October 2015

A Green Bottle Blue Tarantula from Venezuela at Butterfly World!


The Sunflower Head Harvest


The Sunflower Harvest

There is beauty in decay.
The sunflower's yellow cartwheel
Of summer is only a memory,
The heads bow now with seed,
Arching to scatter before
The harvesters' guillotine ends them.
The heads are sculptural,
A maze of chambers of precious
Progeny; brown, protective,
Muted in design, but generous.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

A Gynandromorph Butterfly (exactly half male and half female)

The full name of this butterfly is a Papilionidae Lowii
- an Asian Swallowtail. It has  been 'born' exactly half male 
and half female ( a gynandromorph). The female half
is the more colourful half on the right hand side and
although it is difficult to see even the body is half black
 (male) and half yellow-ish.This very rare occurrence took
 place at Butterfly World, St Albans. 

"Where the bee sucks...."


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Chicory


Abbaye de Beauport Bretagne



High arches of lost grandeur
Remain, unattached to roofs,
Empty of glass but enough:
Imagination fills the holes.
Medicinal plants grow with vigour
Through traces of cloister,
Wind sighs through leaves
Bringing sound to stones
Imbibed with deep tranquillity.
Our modern minds feel a peace
We seek. Were the monks at ease?
Did their faith, care of souls,
Husbanding the soil,
Give sufficient purpose?

Four wooden sheds edge the garden
Insignificant at first amongst
The quadrants of flowers, herbs
And wild grasses. They stand
With no symmetry or clear design:
Only as symbols of human needs.
One shows tools which tilled the earth
Another, a saint's shrine for wonder;
The door opens of the third to luxury,
Satin cushions, gold framed pictures
And a book left idly by: our desire
Made manifest for ease and beauty.
The final door remains shut
With only peep holes, to glimpse
Objects, shapes, forms, of secret
Thoughts, of darker possibilities. 

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Palmyra


                                                                 
                                                                   Palmyra 2010

Palmyra August 2015

The barrels of explosives are laid.
Callous indifference to the destruction
About to take place marks the workers.
Boyish glee, jokes and hardly a qualm
As the match, flame and fuse unite
To unbuild the ancient temple.

A few days before, the eighty years
Of scholarship amassed in one man,
The lover, the guardian, the sage
Of Palmyra were erased
With the swipe of an axe. Beheaded.
 People have little worth,
A temple still less: a cluster of stones
Which used to be a city: so what?

For what effect were they hoping?
Fame? No. Page 44 in The Times
Is hardly that. Notoriety, perhaps.
That we care, that the old crossroads
Of trade was unique and loved
That is enough, to destroy.


The Temple of Baal was blown up on Aug 23rd 2015
Khaled al_ Asaad was killed August 22nd 2015 at the Palmyra site

Friday, 3 April 2015

Final week of Lent Challenge

Wednesday April 1st
Art lies in a box
Ignored - then
someone looks.....
Light
Purpose is restored.

Maundy Thursday Day
Nobility lost,
The old oak lies rotting,
Its fibres breaking down,
Bark and branches gone,
Its history in cross section
Exposed. A home and banquet
Now for insects, its new life
Is humbler but still relevant.

Maundy Thursday evening
I looked up and saw the angel,
Normally a faded blur in a small alcove,
 but
Vibrant tonight, shadows and light
Fused in making the ascetic
head seem fresh.
As if this ancient painted figure
Was given life while our
feet were washed
And blessed us in our uncertainty.

Good Friday
Caught in a hollow of the rocks
A stone is harried and pounded
Tide by tide. With no escape,
The hard walls of the niche
Are its prison. Pain, like the stone
Worries its way round and round,
A gyre of anguish, bent on repetition.
Nailed, mocked, betrayed,
Love trampled in the dust,
Jesus bore his pain, for us,
For a world which cares little,
But he offers the chance
that 'our  stone' could.....
        ....... find a way out.

Easter Saturday
The Day after the Crucifixion

Three empty crosses stand
Empty now, the agony is
Yesterday's memory. The sign
'King of Jews' lies abandoned
Half hidden in a muddle of rocks.
What does it all mean:
The testimony, miracles, promises,
Message of love one another, now?
Jesus is dead, his body is buried.
Our eyes will not meet his,
We will not hear him speak,
Touch him, Again.
It is a death, an end.
How we will miss him.

Two days after the Crucifixion
I was wrong, horribly wrong
My faith wavered and I doubted.
I went to the tomb this morning
And the stone was rolled aside -
Jesus had gone.
He told us to trust,
that he would rise again,
And I didn't see how it could be done.
All that he promised has come true,
It is not the end.
I don't know what will happen now,
Where to start to tell what we've seen
But my fragile faith has learnt a bit:
I have to trust more.




Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Lent Challenge Week 6

Wednesday March 25th

Quails eat spiders
Stopping killer webs
Saving butterflies...
Who drink!

Thursday March 26th
The 60s pulsed with
'Twisting and shouting'
Now it's used for keeping fit.

Friday March 27th

Making someone happy,
Kindness freely given,
Are roses without thorns.

Saturday March 28th
Time has us in thrall,
It plays us like an oboe
But often goes too fast.

Sunday March 29th
From a clear sky comes a storm,
A telephone is answered,
A pilot makes a fatal decision,
Jesus is kissed by Judas.
Tranquillity is shattered and
Our lives are twisted to fall
In a different pattern.
Faith gives us an anchor point.

Monday March 30th
Crossing the desert,
Sharing a camel
Would mean learning
Harmony.

Tuesday March 31st

Last night wind waged war
Roaring its destruction
            And
Daffodils lie snapped.


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Lent Challenge Week 5


Wednesday March 18th
Plants tucked into soil
Feed our hopes for growth, bees, moths,
Beauty in the wings.

Thursday March19th
Consider blossom
It brings light to dark places
How can we do that?

Friday March 20th

Loss
Sometimes the mind plays tricks,
Anniversaries slip away
Almost unheeded, then
As if to make up time
Loss swoops in
Shattering sturdy barricades.
Babies who should have been,
Should now be grown with lives
Being lived, part of their own
And our, families:
Identities, characters,
loved and cherished
But weren't able to gain life,
Lost in the word, 'miscarriage'.
'What might have been.....'
sterile thoughts, but they
peep out sometimes.
Love which didn't happen
Was channelled elsewhere.
Loss has been aired today
Looked at, valued, but even so
I think I'll rebuild the barricade.

Saturday March 21st
Londonderry
One God, two beliefs:
Division
But old foes burn their past
To begin friendship.
                                                                                                                        
Sunday March 22nd Monday March 23rd
Richard 111rd's re-burial.
 
Bones betray our past:
Curvature of the spine
Sword cuts, axe swipes,
Richard's mortal blow perhaps.
All tell their tale to those
Who can read the clues.
Once a man, a king, whose skull
Once held memories of the deeds
We debate so hard now.
Grey-friars Priory held his bones
But walls fell, stones 'borrowed',
Monks dispersed, graves were lost,
Til a car park hid all
Plantagenet traces.
 
Crowds stand in awed hush as
The bier moves through modern streets,
White roses arc to rest beside
His coffin on his last ceremonial journey.
The University give him to the Church
The Church blesses his soul and
God's gift, if given, will bring him peace.
Death in 1485 is honoured now.
As witnesses our sense of time
Flickers between realities,
His discovered bones
in their curve of death
Makes the past a present
But his truth remains obscured.
 
Tuesday March 24th
Deadly silken threads
Woven round leaves lure their prey
With evil beauty.
 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Lent Challenge Week 4


Wednesday March 11th
A butterfly moves,
Eyes and hearts
lift in wonder
beyond the funeral.

Thursday March 12th
Syria
Four years of war,
Sides unclear, reasons muddled
Purpose lost in rubble.

Friday March 13th
Working together
For each other and their queen
Leaf cutter ants thrive.

Saturday March 14th

Across centuries
A Chinese horse laughs
We smile too - a mood is caught.

Sunday March 15th
I woke up listening:
The plaintive cries of lambs,
Sounding like desperate babies
muddled my responses;
the deep notes of the cuckoo
Sounded after breakfast,
Distant but the first of Spring.
Wind blustered around our walking
With accompanying birdsong
Indecipherable but lyrical
Except for squawking pheasants;
A natural soundscape,
Shattered by a gunshot.

Monday March 16th
Gradations of grey
Swallow up views
Like brain murk
Which hides a choice name.

Tuesday March 17th

Slowly, with great care
The stained glass is slotted back

Christ replaces trees.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Lent Challenge Week 3

Glass at Baddesley Clinton 


Wednesday March 4th
A rich, weathered wall,
Wrinkles,
Patina,
Snowdrops drooping,
Time plays randomly!

Thursday March 5th
Simple pencil lines
Shape a child's head,
They make quiet sadness real.

Friday March 6th

As bees seek nectar,
Primroses smile in the sun,
Hope is in the air.

Saturday March 7th

Fundamental words:
'The English Church shall be free'
Magna Carta now.

Sunday March 8th Monday March 9th
A brief blaze of sun
Outlines the Malvern Hills:
A flash of the past flicks in....
Tramping the ancient paths
Over the skyline heights,
Gazing down, along, outwards,
God's hills, bedrock of our land:
 Then
The snapshot of sun-flare goes
The spotlight has been switched off,
Black clouds assert themselves
Drizzle and fog in tow
The intense moment’s gone.

Tuesday March 10th
Stealthily, a shape
Moves in the darkness,
A badger and I fix eyes.

Elgar looking at Hereford Cathedral

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Lent Challenge Week 2


Wednesday Feb 25th
Three Spitfire engines
Purred through the war thanks to Cath,
Don't knock the old!

Thursday Feb 26th
Kites circle grey skies,
On damp, grey land, nothing stirs,
Sunset's a surprise.

Friday/ Saturday Feb 27th 28th

Betrayed again,
Greedy MPs accept
Money for introductions;
Squandering trust,
Entrenching cynicism
Bruising the electorate
Again.
In Russia bullets
Eliminate opposition,
Ravening greed to keep power,
Gorging on the 'me' ideology.
There is another way:
'Neighbour’ could replace 'I'.

Sunday March 1st
Gurgles of laughter,
Loved faces, minds in accord:
Treasured spots of time.

Monday March 2nd
Bounding hares, munching
Leeks, wearing daffodils, give
March its imagery!

Tuesday March 3rd

Slowly the boa shrugs off
Its old skin like sins
Which have been forgiven.


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Lent Challenge Week one

Wednesday Feb 18th
St Albans
The market buzzes
Haggling and deals vie where once
Swords clashed in battle.

Thursday Feb 19th
Shrug, turn away, leave;
Is saying thank you so hard?
Frost instead of warmth.

Friday Feb 20th
Old routes, known buildings
Nostalgia has a hard edge
Struggle balances joy.

Sat Feb 21st


"Your phone's ringing"
Everything stops
Conversation,
Awareness, all,
It's demand must be met,
Sharing dissolves.
The ball and chain of today
Are phones not books.

Sun Feb 22nd
Snowdrop heads laid low
Flattened by ice particles,
They too await sun.

Monday Feb 23rd
Tourist or pilgrim?
Walk, trek, seek adventure and
Find soul peace perhaps.


Tuesday Feb 24th
On Looking at a  British Library Treasure
The curls and slopes of handwriting
Are a fading, near lost, art form,
We write if necessary,
Type for preference. Letters are rare.
Jane Eyre, the original
In Charlotte’s neat hand is a wonder,
Words flowed and odd amendments
Were elegantly bracketed
Neatness counted in the only copy.
The creator and the created fuse
As we ponder the truth behind the hand,
A crossing out, a clue to when
Words did not capture intention.