Why have ye no routhe on my child?

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Why have ye no routhe on my child?

Have routhe on me ful of mourning;

Tak doun o rode my derworth child,

Or prik me o rode with my derling!

More pine ne may me ben y-don

Than lete me live in sorwe and shame;

As love me bindëth to my sone,

So let us deyen bothe y-same.

A medieval  lament for a lost child sums up my feelings today. ‘Routhe’ means compassion , those lacking in compassion are thus said to be ruthless.

Message from the heart


If our species could just try to hold this thought in the forefront of the mind, wouldn’t we be looking on at a different world?  We have such a marvellous potential from the start.

Be kind to one another.  Even when its tough. Love is the remarkable ineffable force that enables us to continue to hope .  When we love well,  the world changes.

Practice – its all it takes. Iris Murdoch once encapsulated the imperative of what love is-

‘Love is the difficult realization that something other than ourselves is real’

Which by extension involves examining our own reactions and behaviours and reflecting on whether we are loving enough. It’s that giant leap when you are in the middle of feeling justified in your own feelings, and suddenly you stop to think ‘How would I feel if someone said/did that to me? ‘

12th century French

Let it out

161_6106crop Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
Crack nature’s moulds, and germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!

[ FOOL:  O nuncle, court holy-water in a dry house is better than this
rain-water out o’ door. Good nuncle, in, and ask thy daughters’ blessing: here’s
a night pities neither wise man nor fool. ]

Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! Spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, call’d you children,
You owe me no subscription: then let fall
Your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man:
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That have with two pernicious daughters join’d
Your high engender’d battles ‘gainst a head
So old and white as this. O! O! ’tis foul!

A speech from Mr William Shakespeare to vent the spleen.  King Lear was raging at a storm that was reflecting his inner turmoil.  I hate turmoil. And yet is is so much part of being human that who avoids it?

The Universe in a Flower


I took my camera out yesterday, not really expecting to achieve anything – rather in the hope that I might kickstart my mojo, as I am climbing out of that hole in my head and I will try anything as soon as I am able!  So imagine my delight when the universe sent me a heart shaped message amongst the briars.

I remembered the  Buddhist monk Sengai Gibon who made simplicity look , well simple- managing at the same time to raise the deepest questions we ask ourselves- what and why is the Universe?

Go quietly in the world. Be kind.

The moon is no door.


To introduce you to somewhere I go to renew my spirit – and I am off there within a few weeks.  It is definitely overdue – I am strung out and my reserves are all run dry.  I surprised myself by having a mini melt down on Friday.  It was a scary reminder of the landscape of breakdown, and I am keeping myself as safe as I can by reminding myself of all the positives in my life.  The greatest being the family relationships I have, but even these are unable sometimes to stave off the harsh reality of living with a fragility of mind that can be threatened by the stresses of everyday life. I know that to want to remain in the land of the living I need to renew my connections with people – the cruel paradox being that the feelings are strong drivers in the opposite direction. I want to run to the hills.

Actually, in the midst of it, I don’t want the hills. I want oblivion.

That’s the scariest part.  I grieve for all those like Sylvia Plath that were unable to access the help modern drugs can give – I know I am frightened to contemplate a reality without mine – perhaps one day.

The Moon and the Yew tree

“This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary.
The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.
The grasses unload their griefs at my feet as if I were God,
Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility.
Fumy spiritious mists inhabit this place
Separated from my house by a row of headstones.
I simply cannot see where there is to get to.

The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,
White as a knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet
With the O-gape of complete despair. I live here.
Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky –
Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection.
At the end, they soberly bong out their names.

The yew tree points up. It has a Gothic shape.
The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness –
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

I have fallen a long way. Clouds are flowering
Blue and mystical over the face of the stars.
Inside the church, the saints will be all blue,
Floating on their delicate feet over cold pews,
Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this. She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness – blackness and silence.”

Sylvia Plath

Contemplations at the onset of Autumn


The First Days of Autumn

Sometimes it Happens

 And sometimes it happens that you are friends and then
 You are not friends,
 And friendship has passed.
 And whole days are lost and among them
 A fountain empties itself.

 And sometimes it happens that you are loved and then
 You are not loved,
 And love is past.
 And whole days are lost and among them
 A fountain empties itself into the grass.

 And sometimes you want to speak to her and then
 You do not want to speak,
 Then the opportunity has passed.
 Your dreams flare up, they suddenly vanish.

 And also it happens that there is nowhere to go and then
 There is somewhere to go,
 Then you have bypassed.
 And the years flare up and are gone,
 Quicker than a minute.

 So you have nothing.
 You wonder if these things matter and then
 As soon you begin to wonder if these things matter
 They cease to matter,
 And caring is past.
 And a fountain empties itself into the grass.      Brian Patten