Autumn – How I Have Missed Thee

It’s late October and a lot has happened since my last blog post back in January – and that’s pretty much the reason for the lack of blog posts!  In April I said goodbye to Australia and hello to Canada!  The amount of work involved in moving from one country to another cannot be underestimated – especially paperwork.  However, here I am now in Canada and loving it and I’m absolutely relishing my first autumn in six years.

Admittedly, there can be fewer places in the world more spectacular than the east coast of Canada in autumn, or Fall as they call it around here, and I am lucky to live in an older neighbourhood which is full of mature trees. During my daily walks I am surrounded by the golds, greens and reds of the native woodlands and my soul is soothed by the dance-like flutter of colours to the welcoming ground.

As my eye is drawn to the leaves at my feet I am struck by how different each one is – each leaf is its own unique combination of colour, shade and light. I’m fascinated how the same tree produces leaves of such varying hues but of course, despite coming from the same tree, each leaf’s story is different much like that of human beings.

Autumn Leaves.jpg

Autumn Leaves

Autumn, for me, is the season that asks us to consider perspectives, to have a look at life from another angle or at least consider that another perspective exists.

It’s one of the reasons I love this poem by Robert Frost.  It speaks of autumn and how his guest adores it and its stark beauty but she believes he doesn’t love it as much as her.  It addresses his guest’s perspective and her perception of him and in a subconscious manner his perspective of her.  In the end he concludes that despite his own love of “bare November days” she brings even greater enrichment of them with her praise as if it were a part of the autumnal landscape itself.

My November Guest

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me

Thinks these dark days of autumn rain

Are beautiful as days can be;

She loves the bare, the withered tree;

She walked the sodden pasture lane.

 

Her pleasure will not let me stay.

She talks and I am fain to list:

She’s glad the birds are gone away,

She’s glad her simple worsted gray

Is silver now with clinging mist.

 

The desolate, deserted trees,

The faded earth, the heavy sky,

The beauties she so truly sees,

She thinks I have no eye for these,

And vexes me for reason why.

 

Not yesterday I learned to know

The love of bare November days

Before the coming of the snow,

But it were vain to tell her so,

And they are better for her praise.

 

Robert Frost

Love – Perfect, Even When It Isn’t

So, here we are, Valentine’s Day 2016.  Another year and another day where the magic of love is celebrated across the globe.  To mark the occasion I’m going to share one of my favourite poems about love with you.

It’s Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 and those of you who are familiar with it might be scratching your heads right now and wondering why I chose these particular fourteen lines where Shakespeare basically derides the physical attributes of the object of his affections.

However, for me, that is the point.  There is a truth and a reality in this Sonnet that is not present in so many other works.  Here, Shakespeare lays bare the fact he doesn’t find the lady in question particularly attractive and that others exist who are far more beauteous than her.  She is far from perfect but he loves her all the same, if not more so than he could love any of those other goddesses.

The last two lines are so beautiful – where he admits that it is the sum of all her parts and all her physical imperfections that make her a rare find indeed.

Love, even when it (seemingly) isn’t perfect, it is.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all  – Roisin.

SONNET 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

 

Happy Christmas

It’s been a while since I’ve been here and I’ve missed this space.  A lot has been happening in the past seven weeks.  I got to reconnect and spend time with dear friends.  I finished my first full-length novel.  I somehow managed to keep the balls of mother, wife and writer in the air.  I watched my darling Billie, my little four-legged soul sister, come down with cancer and I had to make the impossible decision and let her go.

black dog on beach

Miss Billie

All in all, it’s been something of an emotional roller-coaster since I last connected with this space and to be honest I’m feeling a little wrung out. As regular followers of this blog will know, one of the things I most like to turn to when I’m not feeling the best is poetry.  And as luck would have it, I came across the perfect poem to lift my mood this evening and I’d like to share it with you this Christmas Eve.

The Poem Of Snow

In the loud snowing space as I am waiting for my turn

I can see…

So much snow! Which way to go?

Skate on ice? I don’t know!

I can feel…

I am so cold even with my woolly hat

No-one can get this cold… but

I have my doubts

I can hear…

The last hot chocolate calling my name!

Outside I can hear kids laughing and giggling

I can smell…

The fresh new smell of the old barked trees

That smell is the best, when it comes with a breeze!

I can taste…

The sweet chocolatey taste of the hot chocolate as I drink

But as I come outside again I start to sink!

ALL THE SNOW HAS RISEN!

Oh, no! Oh, Yes!

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This poem was written for me by my daughter last year and she presented it to me as a present on Christmas morning.  It’s very much her and I love it!  I hope you enjoy it too.

Here’s wishing you a joyful and peaceful Christmas.

Love, Roisin.

 

Happy Birthday William

As regular followers of this blog will know, I’m rather partial to the odd spot of poetry.  Some keen observers may have noted that one of my favourite poets is William Butler Yeats, who just happened to be born on 13th June 1865.  To mark this legendary poet’s birthday, I’m sharing two of my favourite poems of his with you today.  Enjoy.

NO SECOND TROY

by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)

HY should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late
Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great,
Had they but courage equal to desire?
What could have made her peaceful with a mind
That nobleness made simple as a fire,
With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
That is not natural in an age like this,
Being high and solitary and most stern?
Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?
Black and white photo of yeats the  poet

William Butler Yeats

The Cloths Of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Wishbones And Backbones

I was all ready to get stuck into writing a post when I came across a poem that blew me away. Regular followers of this blog will know just how much I love poetry, so I can’t resist sharing this one with you all.  I particularly love the last two lines.  No.  I ADORE the last two lines which are attributed to Clementine Paddleford an American journalist and writer.

Enjoy.

FOR MY DAUGHTER

By Sarah McMane

“Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.” – Clementine Paddleford

Never play the princess when you can
be the queen:
rule the kingdom, swing a scepter,
wear a crown of gold.
Don’t dance in glass slippers,
crystal carving up your toes —
be a barefoot Amazon instead,
for those shoes will surely shatter on your feet.

Never wear only pink
when you can strut in crimson red,
sweat in heather grey, and
shimmer in sky blue,
claim the golden sun upon your hair.
Colors are for everyone,
boys and girls, men and women —
be a verdant garden, the landscape of Versailles,
not a pale primrose blindly pushed aside.

Chase green dragons and one-eyed zombies,
fierce and fiery toothy monsters,
not merely lazy butterflies,
sweet and slow on summer days.
For you can tame the most brutish beasts
with your wily wits and charm,
and lizard scales feel just as smooth
as gossamer insect wings.

Tramp muddy through the house in
a purple tutu and cowboy boots.
Have a tea party in your overalls.
Build a fort of birch branches,
a zoo of Legos, a rocketship of
Queen Anne chairs and coverlets,
first stop on the moon.

Dream of dinosaurs and baby dolls,
bold brontosaurus and bookish Belle,
not Barbie on the runway or
Disney damsels in distress —
you are much too strong to play
the simpering waif.

Don a baseball cap, dance with Daddy,
paint your toenails, climb a cottonwood.
Learn to speak with both your mind and heart.
For the ground beneath will hold you, dear —
know that you are free.
And never grow a wishbone, daughter,
where your backbone ought to be.

Peeling Potatoes

It’s been a hectic and frustrating eight days since I last posted – compounded by a complete, total and utter computer crash.  Therefore, I don’t have the usual amount of time to craft a post as I have a backlog of stuff I need to finish – primarily author interviews and guest posts for my upcoming blog tour for Remember Me.  Exciting!

Usually when I get myself tied up in knots with frustration, I go for a long walk on the beach or a hike. However, with the temperature and humidity levels sky-rocketing this week, the walk / hike just wasn’t an option.  So, I contented myself with a bit of poetry instead.  Yes, it’s a fact, I find poetry incredibly soothing and when I’m fit to blow a gasket or two, I often lose myself in some of my favourite poems for a half an hour or so.  My top three favourite poets are W.B. Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh and Seamus Heaney.

One of my all time favourite poems is, In Memoriam MKH 1911 – 1984 by Seamus Heaney, a wonderful man who sadly passed away in 2013.  It’s Sunday morning here in Australia – a most appropriate time to share the poem with you all.

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.
So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

Irish Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Have a good week – Roisin.