Tread Softly

He wishes for 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.

William Butler YeatsIMG_0823watercolourWoods at Purleigh Essex. Photo my own.

A tribute to W.B.Yeats

Sailing to Byzantium facebook2 facebook

I have long loved the poems by the Irish poet W.B.Yeats and had been chewing over the possibility of making one of my hand made books illustrating a portion of his magical output.  I remember my first reading of one of his poems when I was a schoolgirl, and was captivated by the musicality , drawn by the  melancholic undertones which so mirror my own natural character.  He makes the act of yearning beautiful. I do not want to analyse or dissect, I simply want to stand and hear the beauty of the words. I do not know really, much about the man – it will make him too real when his legacy is one of magic and dreamtime.  There is so much reality, and as Eliot said, we really cannot stand too much.

I made this for myself, hoping it would delight others too – if it does then I will make one for you too.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/230603270/artistsbook-hand-made-book-coptic-stitch?ref=shop_home_feat_4

A swinger of birches

Cris's trees displate

Fire and Ice

 Some say the world will end in fire,
 Some say in ice.
 From what I've tasted of desire
 I hold with those who favor fire.
 But if it had to perish twice,
 I think I know enough of hate
 To say that for destruction ice
 Is also great
 And would suffice.

Robert Frost

'just as fire and ice may one day destroy the external, physical world,
 desire and hate destroy the internal, spiritual one' -Thomas from 'The Wondering Minstrels.' 

The poet Robert Frost was extraordinary in managing to write poems of deep meaning that resonate with readers using a mastery of language that somehow makes it     appear quite simple. His was a life beleaguered with grief - a father that died   young - Robert was only 11, a mother who shared a propensity for depression, alongside his wife, and only two of his six children outliving him - his son Carol,    sadly committing suicide. His mastery of his art was for him 'a momentary stay    against confusion'
There is a wonderful interview in the Paris Review in which he states 
' All thought is a feat of association: having what’s in front of you bring up something in your mind that you almost didn’t know you knew. Putting this and that together. That click.'

That click is exactly the sense I love to feel when I feel the poetry I read. Some of Frost's poetry gets me there. 

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4678/the-art-of-poetry-no-2-robert-frost

Photograph by my husband - please do not use without permission.
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Just say No!

ttip-eu-komission-infografiken_englisch_722px_1 ttip-eu-komission-infografiken_englisch_722px_3_0 ttip-eu-komission-infografiken_englisch_722px_8

Don’t let the banks and corporations have it their way again on our watch! We need to stop this TTIP from being endorsed by all the major political parties. use this site to help consolidate support against this insidious agreement. This is what Richard Murphy has commented, Economic Justice Campaigner of the Year ad described as an “anti-poverty campaigner and tax expert”.
The second of my concerns with the Labour manifesto is its commitment to TTIP. I’m aware that it has said it will ensure that the NHS is excluded from this Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership but that is not enough. This deal with the USA appears to me, and many other campaigners, to provide legal backing to multinational companies to enforce their right to profit (whether or not they could actually make one) from the supply of services to the government or within what we now think to be the state sector. It is my belief that the entire TTIP agenda is wholly misplaced and represents a belief that wealth is only generated by private sector companies and never by the state. As I have argued, including in The Courageous State, this belief is wholly misplaced. Mariana Mazzucato has done more than anyone to prove this in her book The Entrepreneurial State. So in that case the endorsement by Labour of TTIP is worrying and appears wholly contrary to the philosophy I hope it would adopt.

All the major parties are keeping very quiet about their endorsement of this agreement and I think it deserves alot more attention before we vote in the next government.  This site is not party political – it consolidates views from people of all political persuasions and focuses attention on the concerns of them, please have a look at what they have to say – then make up your mind as to whether our elected representatives should be endorsing it,

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/pages/ttip_more_information

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Become a Fortress

amonikabyanyuvva:

Probably my favourite blogger of all time.

Originally posted on Eddie Two Hawks:

Buddha scroll 3

Do no evil, for suffering comes to those who
cause suffering. But suffering cannot assail
those who do good. Become a fortress,
both on the outside, and within yourself,
so that nothing can overcome you. Life
is short; there is not a moment to lose.

source: The Dhammapada
image: Eddie Two Hawks, Image Files, Buddha Scroll

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Where the spirit meets the bone

miller

 

 

Today I heard Clive James, the well known and loved writer and presenter talk about his imminent death and what he was thinking about while still in the here and now.  His regret centred on not feeling that he had been kind enough, that he had not paid enough attention to generosity of spirit, nor to being a good enough husband .  I expect many of us feel regrets  – some more than others and some without facing death as a close encounter – there must be time for reflection in all of us.  Kindness seems to be an underrated virtue, one almost meeting scorn and mockery in our cynical age.  There’s a tide that may be turning – in the words of Plato – ‘Be Kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle’.

It may be no coincidence that Clive James is also a poet – it behoves a poet to be reflective, and one of poetry’s great gifts is that it often takes us down a path that leads us to some introverted consideration that questions our behaviours and attitudes.  A good poem is like a shortcut to something we need to know about ourselves, a spotlight that focuses our attention and drives us to exploration.  Poetry is a signpost that can direct us to to where we want to be, to who we want to be.

Richard Porty wrote  in an essay “Pragmatism and Romanticism”;

‘Shortly after finishing “Pragmatism and Romanticism,” I was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Some months after I learned the bad news, I was sitting around having coffee with my elder son and a visiting cousin. My cousin (who is a Baptist minister) asked me whether I had found my thoughts turning toward religious topics, and I said no. “Well, what about philosophy?” my son asked. “No,” I replied, neither the philosophy I had written nor that which I had read seemed to have any particular bearing on my situation. I had no quarrel with Epicurus’s argument that it is irrational to fear death, nor with Heidegger’s suggestion that ontotheology originates in an attempt to evade our mortality. But neither ataraxia (freedom from disturbance) nor Sein zum Tode (being toward death) seemed in point.

 

“Hasn’t anything you’ve read been of any use?” my son persisted. “Yes,” I found myself blurting out, “poetry.” “Which poems?” he asked. I quoted two old chestnuts that I had recently dredged up from memory and been oddly cheered by, the most quoted lines of Swinburne’s “Garden of  Proserpine”:

 

We thank with brief thanksgiving

Whatever gods may be

That no life lives for ever;

That dead men rise up never;

That even the weariest river

Winds somewhere safe to sea.

 

and Landor’s “On His Seventy-Fifth Birthday”:

 

Nature I loved, and next to Nature, Art;

I warmed both hands before the fire of life,

It sinks, and I am ready to depart.’

 

It doesn’t seem melancholy to me to begin to consider the brevity of our lives – it seems sanguine to work out while we still have life how best to use the minutes and seconds.  Life is busy, demanding, inconsiderate in it’s relentless drive to succeed, to impress. I like the impressions of poets and philosophers – they help me get to where I want to be.

Richard Rorty (1931-2007) was an American philosopher best known for revitalizing the school of American pragmatism. He served as a professor emeritus of comparative literature at Stanford and was the author of several books -http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/richard-rorty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nonsensical Rhyme of no Reason

 

life

These are disordered and disorderly thoughts that are pressing themselves to share with you, and have been doing so for some time. I have been distracted – illness, family , restlessness – the ordinary consequences of being human.  Half a century has passed since I landed here – and strangely I feel as new and strange and unfamiliar as that birth must have seemed to a tiny creature unused to light and air .  For some odd reason I laboured under the delusion that some sort of sense would ultimately dawn upon my consciousness, there would unroll some measure of meaning amongst the maelstrom of existence. I don’t think I am going to discern it if there is. So I continue to hop through the pattern of my days, bringing to them any sense of fulfilment and pleasure and meaning I can.  Probably as you do too. Anyways, I present these in no particular order, and offer them with no promise of enlightenment. I just like them, and thought you might too.

 

Live your ecstasy amongst the dog eared maps of desire,

Search for the glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask

Amongst the extraordinary in plain sight.

 Existence is eternal but life has end.

 

The Ways We Touch

Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don’t want it.
What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism
is always a sign of things no ears have heard,
no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets
the bone.

Miller Williams

 As here, so is everywhere.

Be safe, be kind.