Wondrous the stone of these ancient walls, shattered by fate.
The districts of the city have crumbled.
The work of giants of old lies decayed.
Roofs are long tumbled down,
The lofty towers are in ruins.
Frost covers the mortar,
Tiles weathered and fallen, undermined by age.
The original builders are long in the earth’s cruel grip,
generations since have passed.
These broad walls, now reddened and lichen-aged, brown and gray:
once they withstood invading kingdoms.
Now, beneath countless seasons, they have fallen.
The rampart assembled by many, crumbles still,
Though hewn together with skill of sharpening and joining,
Strengthened ingeniously with chain and cabled rib-walls.
In the town, urbane buildings, bathhouses, lofty rooftops,
a multitude gathered.
Many a hall filled with humans
until Fate inexorably changed everything.
All the inhabitants succumbed to pestilence.
Swept away are the great warriors.
Their towers and walls are deserted,
the desolate place crumbles away.
Who could repair any of it,
for they are long dead.
So the courtyards and gates have collapsed,
and the pavilion roofs of vaulted beams crumbled.
Here where once men in resplendent clothes, proud, gazed upon their gold and silver treasure,
their gems and precious stones,
upon their wealth, and property:
the bright city of a broad kingdom.
Stone courtyards ran streams of ample water, heating the great bathes,
conveniently flowing into the great stone vats …
From “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The “Rime“ is one of the greatest pieces of Romantic literature. And the section of this epic poem in which the dead sailors get up and start sailing the boat again without seeing anything is as terrifying as anything in the horror genre.
The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The Moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.
The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the Moon
The dead men gave a groan.
They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.
The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up-blew;
The mariners all ‘gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools—
We were a ghastly crew.
The body of my brother’s son
Stood by me, knee to knee:
The body and I pulled at one rope,
But he said nought to me.
‘I fear thee, ancient Mariner!’
Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest!
‘Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits blest:
For when it dawned—they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.
Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the sky-lark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning!
And now ’twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute;
And now it is an angel’s song,
That makes the heavens be mute.
It ceased; yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.
Till noon we quietly sailed on,
Yet never a breeze did breathe:
Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
Moved onward from beneath.
Under the keel nine fathom deep,
From the land of mist and snow,
The spirit slid: and it was he
That made the ship to go.
The sails at noon left off their tune,
And the ship stood still also.
The Sun, right up above the mast,
Had fixed her to the ocean:
But in a minute she ‘gan stir,
With a short uneasy motion—
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.
Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.
Last weekend I visited the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin, to take a good look at some of the pagan/ per-christian objects that they have on permanent display.
One of the items that really captured my attention was the Corleck Hill – Carved stone head, a sculpture in the form of a triple deity. I think this stone is fascinating and provides a mythological link between per-christian Ireland and the wider world, well before the 1st century AD.
I have spent sometime this week doing a little study on the stone head and reading as much as I can find about its form, so I just wanted to share some on the images I took from the visit and some of the details I have found so far.
The Corleck Hill stone head
Object Number: IA:1998.72
Stone HeadCarved stone head. Early Iron Age, 1st – 2nd century AD. Known since it came to scientific attention in 1937 as the Corleck head, this three-faced stone idol was found in the townland of Drumeague, Co. Cavan around the year 1855. It appears that it was one of a number of carvings found, including a bearded bust now known as the Corraghy head that was later built into a barn in the nearby townland of that name. Thomas Barron, the local historian who brought the three-faced head to the attention of the National Museum spent a lifetime researching the local traditions concerning the find and he concluded that the figures were associated with a shrine located at Drumeague Hill. Nearby is Corleck Hill where it appears that between 1832 and 1900 a Passage Tomb surrounded by a stone circle and a circular embankment 70 yards in diameter were dismantled. The site of these monuments was the center of an important Lughnasa festival that celebrated the harvest, an ancient Celtic tradition that survives into modern times. Other Celtic stone heads have been found in the vicinity such as those from Corravilla and Cavan Town and the find place of the three-faced idol is but twelve miles distant from Loughcrew, Co. Meath. A little further north there is another group of Iron Age stone carvings that appear to be centred on the vicinity of Emhain Macha, the main political and ritual site of ancient Ulster. The likelihood is that the Corleck Head was associated with a shrine reflecting Romano-British traditions located close to where the carving was discovered. The three-faced carving is the finest of its type and there is a small hole in the base to assist its being stood securely, perhaps on a pedestal. One of the faces is heavy browed and all of them have bossed eyes, a broad nose and slit mouth. One of the mouths has a small circular hole at the centre and this feature is also found on two of the Co. Armagh carvings and on another from Woodlands, Co. Donegal. There are several examples of this feature from Yorkshire the best known occurring on two three-faced idols from Greetland, near Halifax. The feature also occurs on a stone head from Anglesey, Wales. H. 33cm; Max. W. 22.5cm.
What is the triple deity
A triple deity (sometimes referred to as threefold, tripled, triplicate, tripartite, triune or triadic, or as a trinity) is a deity associated with the number three. Such deities are common throughout world mythology; the number three has a long history of mythical associations. Carl Jung considered the arrangement of deities into triplets an archetype in the history of religion.
In mythological and its art,three separate beings may represent either a triad who always appear as a group (Greek Moirai, Charites, Erinnyes; Norse Norns; or the Irish Morrígna) or a single deity known from literary sources as having three aspects (Greek Hecate, Diana Nemorensis). In the case of the Irish Brigid it can be ambiguous whether she is a single goddess or three sisters, all named Brigid. The Morrígan also appears sometimes as one being, and at other times as three sisters, as do the three Irish goddesses of sovereignty, Ériu, Fódla and Banba.
The Matres or Matronae are usually represented as a group of three but sometimes with as many as 27 (3 × 3 × 3) inscriptions. They were associated with motherhood and fertility. Inscriptions to these deities have been found in Gaul, Spain, Italy, the Rhineland and Britain, as their worship was carried by Roman soldiery dating from the mid 1st century to the 3rd century AD. Miranda Green observes that “triplism” reflects a way of “expressing the divine rather than presentation of specific god-types. Triads or triple beings are ubiquitous in the Welsh and Irish mythic imagery” (she gives examples including the Irish battle-furies, Macha, and Brigit). “The religious iconographic repertoire of Gaul and Britain during the Roman period includes a wide range of triple forms: the most common triadic depiction is that of the triple mother goddess” (she lists numerous examples).
More ( A fascinating read !!!)
Flora & Fauna
Flora and Fauna, the sisters of Season
Of Spring and of Summer
Allow now our drummer
To drum out the beat
For the feet of the sisters
To glide and to creep
Like the encroaching sleep
Which may perch on your shoulder if we cannot keep you awake
And on the edge of your seat, sir.
Now the former, sweet Flora, will finger the flute
While the other continues to glide and to slide
Like a sequined Venetian harlequin bride;
And now Fauna will mimic the movements of bird and of beast
As she graces the work of our landscape artiste
And all is completely unfeasible
Completely lacks reason
In the eye of the beholder
Sweet Flora seemingly draws from the aether a lyre
And with flourishing fingers she plucks from the heavens
A song of the seasons, a pagan ode to Pan!
Behold! No aid of hoops, no strings
The vestal-virgin-harlot sisters sing
Of beautiful Persephone
And with unseen damselfly wings
Ascend from mediocrity
All melody forgotten
All the drums create cacophony
And you will find serenity in chaotic monotony
Now let this climaxing crescendo banish all your sorrowing!
No more that light; no more that sacred realm
Life’s door was dappled gloam; now all is black.
A man of wax with saintly, hollow eyes
Devoid of sin, devoid of love and light
That golden room is lost – you can’t turn back.
Now love has lost its lustre – lust lost joy
And coy eyes turn to watch the empty man
Struck by eternal beauty, and condemned
To haunt the broken world of mortal men;
And shrilling wind caresses empty hand.
Each day this month as I go for a walk with our dog Molly, into some of our local woodland I have noticed all the wildflowers of May time and they have been a wonderful sight .
Greater Stichwort with its pure white flower heads and tall stems are just some of these.
Greater Stitchwort grows in woods, roadside verges, hedgerows and grassy banks. It has many other common names including ‘Wedding Cakes’, ‘Star-of-Bethlehem’, ‘Daddy’s-shirt-buttons’ and ‘Snapdragon’ – the latter because its stems are brittle and easily break. It’s pretty star-shaped, white flowers bloom from April to June; as the seed capsules ripen, they can be heard ‘popping’ in late spring.
How to identify
Greater Stitchwort has five white petals, each deeply notched and almost divided into two. Its green leaves are grass-like in appearance and its brittle stems are square. Greater Stitchwort has larger flowers (2-3cm across) than its relative, Lesser Stitchwort (0.5-1cm across).
Summertime in County Kilkenny can bring some wonderful changes to the surrounding landscape and today I just want to share a gallery of images taken during the following months.
It a great time of year with so much to look forward to ……
County Kilkenny Landscape Gallery
On Saturday I spent the day in Dublin , shopping and visiting different Museums , including the National Museum of Ireland .
One of my main interests in doing so was to take a fresh look and the Derrynaflan Hoard, I posted on the items in this collection and about the Island of Derrynaflan , county Tipperary – last October.
The Derrynaflan chalice is one of the most amazing historic items to view and the story (Below) of how it was discovered just as fascinating. Seeing this hoard just make you wonder how many more items like it have yet to be found or sadly never will be.
The following two images are from Saturdays vistit :
Island of Derrynaflan
The Island of Derrynaflan is located in County Tipperary and these days it is surrounded by recovered drained land that is harvested for it’s peat, this peat being turned into fuel.
The images below and the text are from my post last year :
Discovering the Hoard
The Derrynaflan hoard is one of the most spectacular hoard discoveries in Ireland, which led first to an increase in enthusiasm for metal detecting as a hobby, but ultimately contributed to the prohibition of unlicensed searching for archaeological material.
On 17 February 1980, Michael Webb and his son, also called Michael, discovered a significant hoard of early church treasure in Derrynaflan, in the townland of Lurgoe, County Tipperary, using metal detectors (Kelly 1994: 213; O’Riordain 1983: 1). The hoard included a chalice, a bronze strainer ladle and a paten (a kind of small plate) (and see Ryan 1983 for a detailed description), and the discovery was described as ‘one of the most exciting events in the history of Irish art’ (Stalley 1990: 186). The large monastic enclosure in which the hoard was found was partially protected as a National Monument (Kelly 1993: 378). The finders reported their discovery to an archaeologist from University College Cork, Dr. Elizabeth Shee Twohig (Kelly, pers. comm., 2012), who advised them that they must take the finds to the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin (Houses of the Oireachtas 1986; O’Riordain 1983: 1). Under Irish law at that time, the finders were entitled to a reward for making the discovery, in this case decided at IR£10,000 (Houses of the Oireachtas 1986), although this was initially rejected by the finders as insufficient compared to the value of the find (Kelly 1994: 213).
Six years later, the High Court made a ruling that the find or its value (estimated at IR£5.5 million) should be returned to the finders (Kelly 1994: 113). The public mood turned against the Webbs, who were shown on the main evening television news drinking champagne to celebrate the ruling. Ireland was then in deep recession with massive public service cuts which led to resentment that the Webbs might benefit to the tune of IR£5.5 million from the public purse (Kelly, pers comm., 2012). A year later, in 1987, a further final judgement was delivered by the Supreme Court that the Derrynaflan Hoard in fact belonged to the state and not to the finders (Kelly 1995a). The finders finally received a reward of IR£50,000 (Kelly 1994: 214).
The impact of the case on Irish law concerning the protection of heritage was significant. Debates in the Seánad Éireann (upper house of the Irish Parliament) in 1986 indicate the split in opinions regarding the validity of the claim of the finders to the hoard (as had been decided in court the previous year), with one Senator suggesting that the state should have been trying to prove that the Webbs had no legal claim to the hoard, one Senator regarding such discoveries as no more than looting, and another claiming that the finders should instead be praised for the care with which they removed the hoard from the ground and for going to the National Museum to report the discovery (Houses of the Oireachtas 1986). In 1987 the National Monuments (Amendment) Bill, which included clauses on metal detecting and ancient shipwrecks (another area becoming vulnerable to looting), passed through its final stages in the Dáil Éireann (lower house of the Irish Parliament) (Gosling 1987: 23).
Ireland’s National Monuments Act 1930 had prohibited the excavation of archaeological objects other than under license (Kelly 1995a). However, the maximum fine for a successful prosecution at that time, at IR£10, proved not to be a strong deterrent (Kelly 1995b: 235). The discovery of the Derrynaflan Hoard had reputedly contributed to the growth of the metal detecting hobby in Ireland, which by the time of the discovery saw hobbyists searching not only ploughed land and other locations away from archaeological sites, but also on known archaeological sites (Kelly 1993: 378). A 2012 Irish news item, which described an athlete as having ‘more gold than they found in Derrynaflan’ (Keane 2012) indicates that the finding of the hoard is still recalled in Irish popular memory. However, with the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1987, ‘it became illegal to search for archaeological objects with metal detectors or other electronic detecting devices without license’. A further National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994 specified the state ownership of archaeological objects, and made it ‘an offence to trade in unreported antiquities, or withhold information about archaeological discoveries’ (Kelly 1995a). Under the 1994 legislation, the maximum penalty was also increased to a fine of IR£50,000 and five years imprisonment (National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994, Section 13). The National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1987 had been in preparation for many years and so was not a direct reaction solely to the controversy surrounding the hoard (Kelly, pers. comm., 2012), although there were observations made that the upsurge in metal detecting as a result of the discovery led to changes in the law (Kelly 1994: 214).
A visit two Derrynaflan island Gallery
The Old Lane Through The Woods –
Poem by jim hogg
There’s a track through the trees from the White to the Black
that I walked as a kid and I often went back.
Now the years slip away and the distances grow,
but if time gives us time and we get to change tack
if the notion should take you then I’d gladly go:
in wildest November before winter’s trance,
at the height of the spring when the daffodils dance.
We could stand on the bank where the Rhodies convene,
like the first of our kind who looked down on that scene,
on a loch with no name, with no castles around,
or old burial ground of the meek and the mean;
though the rich bled the poor, by the sod they’re all bound.
Or we’ll maybe just stay on the old woodland road
and head north to the Black with the odd jumping toad.
There’s a whole constellation of things we can view.
In the summer there’s herons and sometimes deer too,
and there’s dodging and weaving through armies of leaves.
Though the foxgloves are rare I’ll find one just for you,
and then swing on the Ivy through Sycamore trees.
If you ever have time we could wander off down
that old lane through the woods whether wintry or lown.
But I know all too well that this life is a crush.
There’d be too much to do if we didn’t all rush.
And I wonder sometimes how it all went so wrong;
but they’re calling it progress with hardly a blush –
in a world where rich hippies can still sing along.
There’s a place where that craziness doesn’t hold sway;
if you’re ever back home we could go there some day
In late springtime here in county Kilkenny – Ireland, I always notice when the wild flower come out.
Some of the most noticeable are the Cuckoo flowers, they grow at the side of rivers and along damp woodland paths.
I always feel like summer has started in full when I first see them …..
Cuckoo-flower / Lady’s Smock
Flowering time: March-June. Perennial. Native.
Large white to pinkish-mauve flowers. Yellow anthers. Colour depends
on habitat, pink-mauve on dryer ground. Fruit with long or short style.
Basal leaves round / oval, in rosette. Stem leaves narrow-lanceolate.
Variable plant, sometimes with runners. Height: To 60 cm
Very frequent. Damp meadows and lawns, stream sides, open moist woodland.
This Friday (May 22nd) Ireland votes in a referendum for same-sex marriage and its a big moment for this country !!!
I don’t usually comment here , if at all about social of political issues , this is my area of personal escape in many ways from these areas !!!
However by posting one of my rainbow images here , I hope I make it very clear what I am thinking !!!
We as a race (HUMAN RACE!!!) need everyone – all ( colors, shapes and sizes ) and this involves everyone being equal and thus having the same rights in all areas of life !!!
SO Clearly I will be Voting YES!!!! 🙂 🙂
by Sharon MacDonald
A rainbow of colors,
In the light, after rain.
There are seven of them,
And, each one has a name.
Red is the first
Rainbow color in the sky.
Orange is next
Like jack-o-lantern pie.
Yellow is the third,
Lemons come to mind.
Color four is green,
Think of grassy hills to climb
Blue is color five,
Like the water in a lake
The sixth is indigo
Blue-gray blends that you can make.
Violet is the color
Of the last rainbow band.
Violet is flowery;
Like the pedals in your hand.
So, wave your arms above you
Cast your colors high
And, try to make a rainbow
Across a cloudy sky
Free the alternatives of life !!!!!
God, A Poem –
Poem by James Fenton
A nasty surprise in a sandwich,
A drawing-pin caught in your sock,
The limpest of shakes from a hand which
You’d thought would be firm as a rock,
A serious mistake in a nightie,
A grave disappointment all round
Is all that you’ll get from th’Almighty,
Is all that you’ll get underground.
Oh he said: ‘If you lay off the crumpet
I’ll see you alright in the end.
Just hang on until the last trumpet.
Have faith in me, chum-I’m your friend.’
But if you remind him, he’ll tell you:
‘I’m sorry, I must have been pissed-
Though your name rings a sort of a bell. You
Should have guessed that I do not exist.
‘I didn’t exist at Creation,
I didn’t exist at the Flood,
And I won’t be around for Salvation
To sort out the sheep from the cud-
‘Or whatever the phrase is. The fact is
In soteriological terms
I’m a crude existential malpractice
And you are a diet of worms.
‘You’re a nasty surprise in a sandwich.
You’re a drawing-pin caught in my sock.
You’re the limpest of shakes from a hand which
I’d have thought would be firm as a rock,
‘You’re a serious mistake in a nightie,
You’re a grave disappointment all round-
That’s all you are, ‘ says th’Almighty,
‘And that’s all that you’ll be underground.’
The River Of Life
Poem by Thomas Campbell
The more we live, more brief appear
Our life’s succeeding stages;
A day to childhood seems a year,
And years like passing ages.
The gladsome current of our youth,
Ere passion yet disorders,
Steals lingering like a river smooth
Along its grassy borders.
But as the careworn cheek grows wan,
And sorrow’s shafts fly thicker,
Ye stars, that measure life to man,
Why seem your courses quicker?
When joys have lost their bloom and breath,
And life itself is vapid,
Why, as we reach the Falls of Death
Feel we its tide more rapid?
It may be strange—yet who would change
Time’s course to slower speeding,
When one by one our friends have gone,
And left our bosoms bleeding?
Heaven gives our years of fading strength
And those of youth, a seeming length,
Proportioned to their sweetness.
The River Of Life
The Growth of a Seed
– By Dan Farella
The growth of a seed
Starts with a need
A feeling inside her
Like a burning fire
Glowing to inspire
And the growth transpires
Inside her that fire
Burning brighter and brighter
Ignites her into a frenzy of burning desire
To lift herself higher, and higher, and higher…
A desire to surrender to the growth that transpires
And she never grows tired, growing, and growing
And a sprout grows out from beyond the doubt
The shadows get exposed to the light of insight
As the stem grows longer getting stronger and stronger
The days get brighter and her spirit feels lighter
The pulsing emanates from a sacred place…
Babump…. babump… babump….
Reaching for the light radiating inner sight
[And an animal comes to take a little bite]
And the nutrients they grow as the energy it flows
And the time has come for her soul to become one
So she sends out her leaves allows herself to be alive
No running no hiding and nowhere to go
So it waits and it grows and it sits and it flows
As the thoughts pass by and she holds her composure
Growing and growing flowing and flowing
Getting taller and stronger
Allowing herself to be seen
It goes on and on as she reaches her dawn
Only to know that its time for her to move on
And release her seeds to the wind, set sail
And she trusts they will grow through wind, rain, or hail
As she brings all the energy up into her crown
The wind begins to blow as she listens to the sound
And she knows its time to let her children take flight
Getting lost in the life, the love, and de-light
She completes her deed and she dies a slow death
But she knows she will go back into the goddess breath
Where she feeds the soil that will grow her kin
With the nutrients she once used to help her begin
And she feels a sense of right-ness and completeness inside
As she knows that she worked with Natures highest design
And she never grows tired, growing and growing
Reaping and sowing, reaping and sowing.
– By Dan Farella
Blue flowers must be one of the hardest types of wild flowers to find, these Field-Speedwell’s are just some of a few we have in our local woodlands.
Blue in nature has been used as a powerful symbol, the following uses are just a few …..
A blue flower is a central symbol of inspiration. It stands for desire, love, and the metaphysical striving for the infinite and unreachable. It symbolizes hope and the beauty of things.
Early use of the symbol of blue flowers
German author Novalis used the symbol in his unfinished Bildungsroman, entitled Heinrich von Ofterdingen. After contemplating a meeting with a stranger, the young Heinrich von Ofterdingen dreams about a blue flower which calls to him and absorbs his attention.
Explanation of the symbol of blue flowers
In the book Heinrich von Ofterdingen the blue flower symbolises the joining of human with nature and the spirit so the understanding of nature and coincident of the self is growing. In the Romantic the meaning of human was a continuation from Humanism and the Age of Enlightenment, but the focus was on the own emotions not on abstract theory. Understanding and thinking rise in the comprehension of Romantic from own individual love. Feeling is based on the self, thinking is based on the self and the development of the self leads the individual person. Also very important is contemplation. About the feeling, the thinking and contemplation personal inward cognition is possible. The process of cognition merge again with own individual love. The self and the nature is in this theory always linked.
Use of the symbol
Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff wrote a poem called Die blaue Blume (The blue flower). Adelbert von Chamisso saw the core of Romanticism in the motif, and Goethe searched for the “Urpflanze” or “original plant” in Italy, which in some interpretations could refer to the blue flower. E. T. A. Hoffmann used the Blue Flower as a symbol for the poetry of Novalis and the “holy miracle of nature” in his short tale “Nachricht von den neuesten Schicksalen des Hundes Berganza”.
In 1902, Charles Scribner’s Sons published “The Blue Flower”, a collection of short stories by Henry Van Dyke, the first two of which, “The Blue Flower” and “The Source” refer to the blue flower as a symbol of desire and hope, and the object of the narrator’s search. This volume also includes Van Dyke’s most famous story, “The Other Wise Man”.
Walter Benjamin used the image of the blue flower several times in his writing. For example the opening sentence of his essay Dream Kitsch: “No one really dreams any longer of the Blue Flower. Whoever awakes as Heinrich von Ofterdingen today must have overslept.” Also in his Work of Art essay: “The equipment-free aspect of reality has here become the height of artifice, and the vision of immediate reality the Blue Flower in the land of technology.”
C.S. Lewis, in his autobiographical book, Surprised By Joy, references the “Blue Flower” when speaking of the feelings of longing that beauty ellicited when he was a child of six. He associates it with the German word sehnsucht, and states that this intense longing for things transcendent made him “a votary of the Blue Flower.”
English writer Penelope Fitzgerald’s historical novel The Blue Flower is based on Novalis’s early life. In John le Carré’s 1968 novel A Small Town in Germany, the character Bradfield says, “I used to think I was a Romantic, always looking for the blue flower.” (Pan edition, p. 286 – chap. 17) Substance D, a fictitious drug in Philip K. Dick’s 1977 novel A Scanner Darkly, is derived from a plant with blue flower.
Tennessee Williams used images of blue roses in his play, The Glass Menagerie, to symbolize the frailty and uniqueness of Laura, a central character that reflects the life of Williams’ sister, who underwent a lobotomy. In the play, Laura is nicknamed “Blue Roses” after another character misheard her say “pleurosis”.
In his fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, American author George R. R. Martin uses the blue flower as a reoccurring symbol to represent young women of the noble House Stark, often with hints to an illicit love affair. In one instance, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen uses blue winter roses to crown the Lady Lyanna Stark as the “Queen of Love and Beauty” at the Tournament of Harrenhal, passing over his own wife, Princess Elia of Dorne.
“Blue Flower” is the name of a song by the British avant-garde pop band of the early 1970s, Slapp Happy, later covered by the 1990s indy rock bands Pale Saints and Mazzy Star. “Blue Flowers” is a song by the alternative MC, Kool Keith (AKA Dr. Octagon), on his 1996 album, Dr. Octagonecologyst.
By : Li-Young Lee
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
– Li-Young Lee
Lilleshall Abbey Shropshire, England
On a very wet day back in April 2015, I visited Lilleshall Abbey Shropshire, while driving back from London to a friends home in North Wales. The Abbey is located just north of the M54 junction 5, near the village of Lilleshall.
To find the Abbey just follow the Brown tourist signs when you leave the motorway.
The weather was somehow fitting for making a visit here as it made it very clear just how life would have been for the 11th century monks who lived their lives here ( cold , wet and isolated ).
This text form wikipedia on the Abbey, describes very well the life of a monk and contains a great history of the Abbey …
Lilleshall Abbey Shropshire, England
The monastic life
The abbey’s community were Augustinian Canons Regular or conventual canons, not technically monks. Although the Arrouaisians were at first noted for their austerity of life, they were less enclosed than Benedictine or Cistercian monks. Arrouaisian houses were noted for the high quality of their liturgical observance. A prayer roll of about 1375 confirms that this was so at Lilleshall more than two centuries after the foundation.
There was a large number of benefactions from lay landowners and these often came with requests to be buried or prayed for at Lilleshall or for membership of the fraternity of the abbey. Late in the 12th century, for example, John Lestrange, a local baron with holdings further afield, got into a dispute with Ramsey Abbey over the church at Holme-next-the-Sea in Norfolk. In a settlement acceptable to all, he gave the church to Lilleshall Abbey, for the health of his own and his wife’s souls. Shortly afterwards he added the church at Shangton in Leicestershire, adding specifically “the body of his wife Amicia when she shall have gone the way of all flesh.” Similarly, Robert de Kayley gave the abbey two thirds of his land at Freasley, in Dordon, Warwickshire, on condition that it accept his body for burial.This suggests that its monastic life quickly built up a reputation for holiness that could be acquired by proximity, and one that clearly persisted into the later Middle Ages. John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, spent two days at the abbey, together with his wife Katherine Swynford and a large retinue. He had fallen ill after the 24th parliament of Richard II’s reign was held at Shrewsbury, dissolving on 31 January 1398. Gaunt himself, his wife, and his squire, William Chetwynd, were received into the fraternity, and Gaunt made a gift of twenty pounds of gold.
Although the fraternity was important in diffusing the influence of the abbey, there is no evidence of lay brothers and sisters being admitted to the abbey community itself. This is unexpected as the Abbey of Arrouaise had admitted lay members at least since the time of Abbot Gervais. There were many employees, however. In the mid-15th century, there were over twenty household servants, including two porters, a butler, a chamberlain, two cooks, a baker, a bell-ringer, a cobbler, and washerwoman, as well as a carpenter and a group of apprentices to carry out repairs. There was a tannery on the premises, as well as a brewery. Self-sufficiency was an important feature of Arrouaisian houses. Arrouaise itself had a similar but even larger and more differentiated lay labour force.
The canons were much employed in managing the abbey’s substantial estates, which seem to have been worked mainly by indentured servants and later by wage labour. A fairly high proportion of the abbey’s land was kept in demesne, cultivated from granges. The Lilleshall estate alone had four of these and there was a ring of further granges in Shropshire and Staffordshire, with two outlying at Blackfordby and Grindlow. The grange at Blackfordby seems to have absorbed a good deal of time and labour, with canons often staying there. There was even a chapel on site, with mass said three times a week. This was strictly irregular, as it was considered perilous to the soul for a canon to reside anywhere alone, and there were complaints about it from the Bishop of Lichfield. However, the nature of the abbey’s estates meant that canons would often require leave to travel. Both this and the increasingly unfavourable agrarian conditions and labour market of the 14th century meant that direct exploitation of demesnes was gradually reduced in favour of leasing out land.
The abbey was not noted for its intellectual life. However, there was some kind of library and a copy of a chronicle ascribed to Peter of Ickham has survived from it, with additions made locally. There is also evidence of a canon being licensed to study at university for 10 years from 1400.
John Mirk, a Lilleshall canon of the late 14th and early 15th centuries did make a literary mark. He wrote in the local West Midland dialect of Middle English and at least two of his works were widely copied and used. Festial is a collection of homilies for the festivals of the Liturgical year as it was celebrated in his time in Shropshire. Instructions for Parish Priests is in lively vernacular verse, using octosyllabic lines and rhyming couplets throughout. Mirk intended to ensure that priests had the resources to give good counsel to their flock. The existence of such works suggests that the canons were actively engaged with the liturgical and pastoral work of their region, if not at the highest scholarly level.
I really enjoyed taking a pause in my long drive here, even in the heavy British rains and would recommend a visit if your ever passing by …..
Lilleshall Abbey a Gallery
Her divine skill taught me this,
That from every thing I saw
I could some instruction draw,
And raise pleasure to the height
Through the meanest objects sight.
By the murmur of a spring,
Or the least bough’s rustelling;
By a Daisy whose leaves spread
Shut when Titan goes to bed;
Or a shady bush or tree;
She could more infuse in me
Than all Nature’s beauties can
In some other wiser man.
in youth from rock to rock I went,
From hill to hill in discontent
Of pleasure high and turbulent,
Most pleased when most uneasy;
But now my own delights I make,–
My thirst at every rill can slake,
And gladly Nature’s love partake,
Of Thee, sweet Daisy!
Thee Winter in the garland wears
That thinly decks his few grey hairs;
Spring parts the clouds with softest airs,
That she may sun thee;
Whole Summer-fields are thine by right;
And Autumn, melancholy Wight!
Doth in thy crimson head delight
When rains are on thee.
In shoals and bands, a morrice train,
Thou greet’st the traveller in the lane;
Pleased at his greeting thee again;
Yet nothing daunted,
Nor grieved if thou be set at nought:
And oft alone in nooks remote
We meet thee, like a pleasant thought,
When such are wanted.
Be violets in their secret mews
The flowers the wanton Zephyrs choose;
Proud be the rose, with rains and dews
Her head impearling,
Thou liv’st with less ambitious aim,
Yet hast not gone without thy fame;
Thou art indeed by many a claim
The Poet’s darling.
If to a rock from rains he fly,
Or, some bright day of April sky,
Imprisoned by hot sunshine lie
Near the green holly,
And wearily at length should fare;
He needs but look about, and there
Thou art!–a friend at hand, to scare
A hundred times, by rock or bower,
Ere thus I have lain couched an hour,
Have I derived from thy sweet power
Some steady love; some brief delight;
Some memory that had taken flight;
Some chime of fancy wrong or right;
Or stray invention.
If stately passions in me burn,
And one chance look to Thee should turn,
I drink out of an humbler urn
A lowlier pleasure;
The homely sympathy that heeds
The common life, our nature breeds;
A wisdom fitted to the needs
Of hearts at leisure.
Fresh-smitten by the morning ray,
When thou art up, alert and gay,
Then, cheerful Flower! my spirits play
With kindred gladness:
And when, at dusk, by dews opprest
Thou sink’st, the image of thy rest
Hath often eased my pensive breast
Of careful sadness.
And all day long I number yet,
All seasons through, another debt,
Which I, wherever thou art met,
To thee am owing;
An instinct call it, a blind sense;
A happy, genial influence,
Coming one knows not how, nor whence,
Nor whither going.
Child of the Year! that round dost run
Thy pleasant course,–when day’s begun
As ready to salute the sun
As lark or leveret,
Thy long-lost praise thou shalt regain;
Nor be less dear to future men
Than in old time;–thou not in vain
Art Nature’s favourite
Spring Herb’s : Herb-Robert
Familiar little pink flower from April to November, Herb-Robert is a hairy, unpleasant-smelling plant which grows on banks, bases of walls, shingle and shady places throughout the country. Its pink flowers (8-15mm across) have five un-notched petals and in the center of the flower are orange anthers. Each petal is marked by small lighter-pink lines running into the center of the flower. The hairy, stalked leaves are often tinged red and have three to five deeply cut lobes. The fruit is hairy and beak-like. This is a native plant belonging to the family Geraniaceae.
This plant has been introduced into North and South America from Europe and Asia. In traditional medicine in the Americas it has been used to stop nosebleeds. Its leaves are also made into a herbal tea which is recommended as a gargle and an eyewash. (you would not recommend this course of action).
One wonders who is the ‘Robert’ of this plant. Maybe the name comes from the Latin word ‘ruber’ meaning red which may have referred to the colouring of the leaves and stems.
Poem by Michael Shepherd
The hover fly
that’s just demonstrated
that it’s one of the Creation’s greatest
and smallest, most compact miracles of lawful
imagination (imagine flying, then stopping
quite still in the air, no slowing down,
just, zap, like that, dead steady,
and it’s smaller (!) than a helicopter, wow)
right here in front of me in silhouette, but
illuminated on one wing by the PC screen,
and pausing for a freeze-frame moment of eternity
as if to tell me something
(illumination, too?) –
all this, and yet it
doesn’t know I’m writing about it.
Poem by William Blake
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.
Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?
For I dance
And drink, and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.
If thought is life
And strength and breath
And the want
Of thought is death;
Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.
by: Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
I cannot tell you how it was;
But this I know: it came to pass–
Upon a bright and breezy day
When May was young, ah pleasant May!
As yet the poppies were not born
Between the blades of tender corn;
The last eggs had not hatched as yet,
Nor any bird forgone its mate.
I cannot tell you what it was;
But this I know: it did but pass.
It passed away with sunny May,
With all sweet things it passed away,
And left me old, and cold, and grey.
Beltane or Beltain
(/ˈbɛl.teɪn/)is the Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on 1 May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. In Irish it is Bealtaine ([ˈbʲal̪ˠt̪ˠənʲə]), in Scottish Gaelic Bealltainn ([ˈpjaul̪ˠt̪ˠɪɲ]) and in Manx Gaelic Boaltinn or Boaldyn. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasadh—and is similar to the Welsh Calan Mai.
Beltane is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and it is associated with important events in Irish mythology. It marked the beginning of summer and was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops and people, and to encourage growth. Special bonfires were kindled, and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective powers. The people and their cattle would walk around the bonfire, or between two bonfires, and sometimes leap over the flames or embers. All household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the Beltane bonfire. These gatherings would be accompanied by a feast, and some of the food and drink would be offered to the aos sí. Doors, windows, byres and the cattle themselves would be decorated with yellow May flowers, perhaps because they evoked fire. In parts of Ireland, people would make a May Bush; a thorn bush decorated with flowers, ribbons and bright shells. Holy wells were also visited, while Beltane dew was thought to bring beauty and maintain youthfulness. Many of these customs were part of May Day or Midsummer festivals in other parts of Great Britain and Europe.
Historic Beltane customs
Beltane was one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals: Samhain (~1 November), Imbolc (~1 February), Beltane (~1 May) and Lughnasadh (~1 August). Beltane marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season, when livestock were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were held at that time to protect them from harm, both natural and supernatural, and this mainly involved the “symbolic use of fire”. There were also rituals to protect crops, dairy products and people, and to encourage growth. The aos sí (often referred to as spirits or fairies) were thought to be especially active at Beltane (as at Samhain) and the goal of many Beltane rituals was to appease them. Most scholars see the aos sí as remnants of the pagan gods and nature spirits. Beltaine was a “spring time festival of optimism” during which “fertility ritual again was important, perhaps connecting with the waxing power of the sun”.