Why do the charmed play hide and seek
and flee the story in the wings,
as if disporting on the stage
could set alight the curtain fringe?
Illusion's limelight's highly prized
and channelled sentiment extolled
If structured context cramps the style,
another's script makes players bold
The play's the thing, so says the Bard,
our psyche's lineaments laid bare
We revel in the story told
and all vicarious life is there
The Safety Curtain functions well
as acts meet their appointed ends
Perplexing shadows haunt the wings
Beyond, the brave face skylit lands
So who'll forsake bewitching masks
and don his natural God-given role
and tread the existential boards
and free the glittering eyelets' soul?
See comments at Redroom.com
'Wee Sleekit Cow'rin Tim'rous Beastie'
Postcard from a Westie to his companion at Boarding School
I'm a Westie from Scotland,
The Isles are m'friends,
But this one's a dot in the ocean,
No survey would map it,
The coastguard would scrap it.
It seems a good time for devotion!
With my dog-collar on
And prayers up to date,
I keep safely short of the brink,
If I put a paw wrong
Or lap sea with m'tongue,
I think I'll end up in the drink!
We're renowned for our tipple
On this part of the globe
It's golden and clear as can be,
Though I've not lost m'bottle,
Send a boat at full throttle,
It's a landlubber's life for me!
It's true my name's Skipper
And the brine's in m'blood,
The forebears sailed full tilt for Skye
To take the Bonnie Prince over,
To 'Jamie the Rover',
When Culloden's dog-fight went awry!
So I think all in all
I'll be glad when you call,
For I'll not make old bones on this rock,
Don't delay at half-term,
Any port in a storm,
But I'd like to be home with m'pack!
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, in the very dead of winter, the Epiphany...
Random reflections celebrating the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, whose transcendent luminosity transports us to its source.
There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
Any great art work … revives and re-adapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world - the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air.
And God said: 'Let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from darkness.
Genesis 1:3,4 NIV
Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.
When you possess light within, you see it externally.
Nature poets can't walk across the backyard without tripping over an epiphany.
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.
Love is not consolation. It is light.
Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.
Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.
Who are you, Lord?
Acts 9:5 NIV
The epiphany was simply tucked away for consideration after we were back on campus. Sometimes a revelation comes with a flash of heavenly light and a booming voice - and sometimes it is jotted in a sun-bleached spiral notebook.
Jeffrey A Lockwood
There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
Light tomorrow with today.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
To continue one's journey in the darkness with one's footsteps guided by illumination of remembered radiance is to know courage of a peculiar kind – the courage to demand that light continue to be light even in the surrounding darkness.
Howard Thurman (quoted by Aberjhani as a preface to The Bridge of Silver Wings)
'I hope that Susan Cain (with the book and her Ted talk) would be able to convince real and closet introverts to feel proud of who they are. I also pray that educators would stop insisting on group work for every assignment as many children could get much better results thinking quietly and working on their own.'
I could write a whole thesis about quiet children, though well-disposed towards others, who are perceived a threat as unknown quantities and become the target of various shades of bullying. In group activity, they never function at their natural best and may even underplay their capabilities in order to stay out of the limelight.
This does not mean they lack team spirit when such is required.
The compliment I'm proudest of, against any other kind, is that of being a 'good sport'. After all the struggles to interact and to understand where others are coming from and what the dynamic of situations is, this is a strong achievement and an overwhelming surprise. But while introversion is necessary for the security and advancement of the species, it's true it can become overly self-indulgent. Only if you're Mozart is it wholly excusable.
Today, I guess orna's 'closet introvert' description fits. Which, of course, is still bewildering to faithful friends when you shy from social events that encroach on precious writing time and snap the crucial thread and flow of your piece. It isn't just that; writers have to be in alternative mind-spaces and switching willy-nilly is a recipe for breakdown all round. Organisation of time is an ongoing issue, on the cusp of resolution, but never quite satisfactory.
wonder that in these days of social media and easy exposure, it's
actually possible for friends and acquaintances not to know that you
write books, such are our solipsist agendas and the pace of living.
Perhaps that says something about the concept and overall quality of
friendship in the twenty-first century. There's too much to distract
us from the particularity and essence of the people we meet. But
that's to do with the fever for extroversion, the demand that we be overweeningly and aggressively self-confident. We are all called to be major players onstage and cede a share in the illusory stardust.
Introversion per se is no handicap to noticing and appreciating others. Rather, it's a paradox: introversion hones perspicuity. It mines the truth of who we are and thereby refines an honest way of relating to others. In retrospect, I cannot usually tell you what a person was wearing, but I can tell you the colour of their eyes, remember their mannerisms, their turns of phrase, their aura. Very often I can spontaneously image them in scenarios which turn out to be uncannily accurate.
I find it hard to discuss my interior world. When I was growing up, being focused on anything that wasn't prescribed by others, was seen as somewhat unnerving. So I tend not to enlighten people as to the novel-writing. The prevailing silence is powerful. Even the few friends who do know seldom mention it. They are prepared to accept as they find. But one of my friends distinctly recoiled in amazement when she discovered. I had related to her on her own terms, in her distress, and wouldn't have wanted any species of awe to get in the way. We're still friends, but with just a faint tincture of betrayal on my part. I suppose there's always a chance that while some folk (who don't understand writerly methods and composite characters) want to be immortalised between hard covers, others may imagine that authors are out to exploit their situations through the connection. But writers have to be introverts. Let's face it, if Jane Austen hadn't been a closet scribe, we'd never have had Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.
All this is not the popular view of what an author ought to be. (Poets, maybe, can get away with it.) The modern pressure to self-promote militates against creativity. It used to be well-recognised in literary circles that to talk about your story in advance undermined energy and the ability to realise it. This was respected by all in the publishing world.
To pick up on the sports analogy, there is a comparison to be made with players in that arena, for whom abstinence is recommended when the big contest looms!
Teach your children poetry; it opens the mind, lends grace to wisdom and makes the heroic virtues hereditary.
Sir Walter Scott
One of my clearest memories in primary school was of writing a poem. It must have been my first. I loved poetry because it was fun and fascinating on a variety of levels, but it had never occurred to me that I could compose one. It was at this season of the year. Our teacher was a stern but well-loved Catholic. She kept a cane clipped to the side of her desk and did not scruple to whip the living daylights out of its forbearing oak to rally us to order. One day, she challenged the class to write a poem on the topic of Christmas. At that age, we did not associate free verse with what was commonly called 'poetry' and we instinctively resorted to well-recognised forms. My offering is still branded upon memory:
In winter, Father Christmas comes
Across the pure white snow,
He bring us toys
For girls and boys
And other things for show.
Not exactly genius in embryo, but I was relieved to be able to step up to the plate, despite a niggling dissatisfaction. I got a 'B' for this effort and was inclined to feel that the mark was fair. I had struggled over the balance of syllables, requiring 'snow' to need two adjectives, or at least two stresses, that 'white white' would not do and that truth decreed snow was not always 'pure white'. I knew the last line was feeble. But it rhymed. And Christmas was not just about gifts, it was about a transient sparkle and magic that gave way to January gloom and the ailments adrenalin and excitement had succeeded in fending off. What a brutal awakening to discover Santa Claus was a myth! I still wanted the golden mists of dreaming. I never did believe he came down the chimney, but the goblet drained of ginger wine and the abandoned plate of mince pie crumbs somehow seemed sounder evidence of a visitation than the filled stocking and parcels. The benevolent guest hadn't passed me by. Oh, wide-eyed wonderment!
One verse that teacher taught us to recite and inflect was taken from John Keats' poem There Was A Naughty Boy.
There was a naughty boy,
And a naughty boy was he,
He ran away to Scotland
The people for to see-
There he found
That the ground
Was as hard,
That a yard
Was as long,
That a song
Was as merry,
That a cherry
Was as red-
Was as weighty
Was as eighty,
That a door
Was as wooden
As in England-
So he stood in his shoes
And he wondered,
He stood in his shoes
And he wondered.
It's a piece that beguiles and is packed with philosophy. In entertaining, it sums up an ideal of universal brotherhood and of feet being grounded where they are before striking out for pastures new.
year later, we went on to learn by heart the First Psalm, and the
greater portion of The Pied Piper of Hamelin which was proudly
recited at a concert. The cadences of Browning's august tale were
forged on an anvil of immemorial wisdom, at once ironic and
whimsical, vivid, cautionary, authoritative, and ultimately
satisfying as it wended a path to a secret kingdom lost to the adult
realm with all its ducking and weaving. If anything served as a
spiritual metaphor, that did. We had been taught Greensleeves,
too, which we sang at the same concert. We had little idea about
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, knew nothing about the stained gowns of
courtesans who had rolled in the grass, or that green was deemed the
colour of light and love. Yet the strange melodic minors of Tudor
music, the suave lament describing unrequited passion in the face of
lavish gifts and protestations of chivalry, belonged to the landscape
of a past we sensed was ours. We were part of a tapestry that was
bigger than we were.
Nor did we need calculators, because multiplication tables were rehearsed parrot-fashion and, though they didn't rhyme, the phonic word patterns became engraved in the mind's ear for ever.
From these and the nursery nonsense inspired by snippets of history, we found our bearings in a material world where rhymes encapsulated lore and fact and were hoarded for reference.
A friend in need is a friend indeed
Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded survived (of Henry VIII's wives)
I before E except after C
Sun before seven, rain before eleven
In 1492 Columbus sailed the sea so blue
When George IV from earth descended, thank God the reign of Georges ended
The goat that reeks on yonder hill has browsed all day on chlorophyll
An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Many a slip 'twixt cup and lip
Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise
Children have a fine-tuned ear for metre. They are closest to the pulse of the earth. They remember the welling blood and throb of the womb, the predictable scansion of a moon exerting its influence on the inner waters, as yet not drowned out by the cacophany of a universe whose multiple agendas vie for attention. Children know things the world is anxious to ween them from. Rhyme becomes uncoupled in the labyrinth of reason and expediency.
Maybe if that lyric sense could be retained to keep the soul grounded as it grows, there would be no urge to punctuate green life with bullets.
Wishing you blessings at Christmas and throughout 2013. May it be a year of health, hope and inspiration!