Posts

THE LONG WALK

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  One of the positives of social media is being able to enjoy distant places. I love seeing the photographs posted by https://www.facebook.com/visitgalway/ which remind me of my visit last year. I walked the streets and shared the steps my mother took 80 years ago and met with some of her dear relatives who welcomed me with a warmth that healed many years of separation. The day before she died my mother sang to me of Galway, it was always on her mind in her last few years. I will be there again, as soon as it is safe to be. Meanwhile I send my love to Galway and all its people. 

MISSING YOU

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Four years have passed since I lost my Dad and with him my link to my Mum and our family home. It has been a hard few years but I am blessed with my memories and the knowledge that they were the best of parents. I know I am fortunate to have had a happy, secure and loving childhood and their love, strength and example has sustained me my whole life. 

DON'T WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW

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  In these difficult days of lock downs and enforced isolation I have been reminded how much the special people in  my life mean to me. This week I felt the need to tell them. 

A POEM A DAY - FLYING FREE

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I started this 'A POEM A DAY' project on July 4th 2019 with the intention of continuing until the November anniversary of this blog. Somehow I continued, through ill health, busy days, quiet times and lockdown. Writing three simple lines each day became part of my routine, bringing unexpected benefits. I doubt that many more people read my longer poems on this blog but I was touched by the number of people who expressed their pleasure in reading them. It also helped motivate me to get out into nature, to look more carefully at my environment, to slow down and enjoy the smallest petal or insect, the movement of clouds, the patterns in waves and sand.  I feel it is time to move on before I run out of inspiration and try something new. I intend to finish the memoir of an intense period of my life in Spain when our village worked together to protect our environment. With trees still be destroyed all over the world in the name of progress and with my appreciation of the role of our

A POEM A DAY - DANCING LIGHT

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In a few more days these threads of delicate light will be floating free over the countryside, seeding a new beginning for the thistle. 

A POEM A DAY - TANGLE

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The first month of our Spring lockdown passed in a mist of cloud and gentle rain. Day after day we looked out over a mountain shrouded in grey and wondered when the sun would ever shine again. At the time it had the useful effect of making staying indoors less arduous whilst the longing for sunshine grew day by day. Now I am thankful for that rain, the campo and countryside is still green as July ticks by, a time when normally everything is looking parched and brown. The hills are still dotted by myriad colours as flowers survive the summer heat. 

A POEM A DAY - STAR DANCER

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On my wall I have a print of a Cambodian dancer by Rodin. This constellation of scattered flowers reminds me of the energy of a Rodin dancer lighting up the dry, stony land. 

A POEM A DAY - WILD CARROT

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This striking plant covers the hills and fields here in July, the flowers slowly drying and folding inwards to form a husked cage. Today I watched a flitting bird land on the flower which whipped back and forth like a circus act as it flew off me reminding me of spinning plates on spindly sticks. 

A POEM A DAY - PEACE

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The beauty of a quiet evening by the sea, night falling as a rosy glow spreads across the sky bringing a moment of tranquility. 

A POEM A DAY - OLIVE ROOTS

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This is a good example of the slow degrading of the terraces in this area. If the dry stone walls are not maintained the action of wind, rain and roaming jabali break down the walls, letting the earth wash away, in this case exposing the roots of the olive tree. What is amazing is the length of these roots, spreading farther than the height of the tree itself in search of water. The hillsides are covered with abandoned terraces, stone walls still standing in many places but the trees olive trees grown wild, the terraces filled in with slow growing holm oak overshadowed by the faster growing pine. 

A POEM A DAY - CONSTELLATIONS

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These beautiful pink flowers appear in small clusters scattered over the banks and paths through the wooded areas on our hillsides. Their vibrant colour lights up the dull earth and fallen pine needles as if they have been scattered like seeds sown from a farmer's apron. 

A POEM A DAY - COOL WATER

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This little spring is known as the 'Font de Pascualet' and is just off the road winding up to the Penya Blanca near Benichembla. The water trickles out from a crack in the rock to gather in a small stone pool, still decorated with verdant green despite the July heat. 

A POEM A DAY - FAIRY WIND

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Coming into July the Summer heat has finally arrived after a pleasant June. For the first few days of intense heat and humidity we are all flaking, low blood pressure dropping lower, water, coffee, salt and wine the medicine. Last night the humidity reached 100%, it felt like breathing soup. I came downstairs to the patio to slightly cooler air, sat with my early morning tea and was instantly refreshed when a wind rose from nowhere, tinkling my Dad's chimes as they did in our Warwickshire garden where the fae always found a home.  Here is my terracotta wind Goddess, blowing over my patio. 

A POEM A DAY - FISHING

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As dusk fell over the sea the fisherman waded into the waves, throwing their nets by hand over the water. I didn't see the catch, leaving the beach before darkness. 

A POEM A DAY - DAPPLING

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It rained for weeks this Spring during the early lockdown,  gentle, good rain, not the torrential downpours which strip the land and damage the roads. It has resulted in a glorious greening of the campo, grass is growing under trees, shrubs and herbs are verdant and glowing. The heat has suddenly struck and within days we will see the grass wilting and browning but for a little while longer the campo is a verdant and beautiful as I have ever seen it. 

A POEM A DAY - BEACH SUNSET

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A wonderful evening with all our family together at the beach. Once six, we are now twelve.  It felt very safe, everyone was carefully distanced, walkers apart, fisherman in the sea. Families enjoying the cooling evening, swimming, eating picnic cenas, children splashing in the waves. We are fortunate to live near to both mountains and sea, able to enjoy the refreshing beauty of nature. 

A POEM A DAY - THE MADONNA

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We came across this Madonna in a small cave off the side of a country road near Uña in the province of Cuenca. The cave was easy to miss, small steps led up the hillside, marked by a discreet, wooden side. Inside the grotto was adorned with rosaries and statuettes and the Madonna herself draped in rosaries. There was a feeling of serene peace in a place where the faithful of years had deposited their prayers and thanks. 

A POEM A DAY - REFLECTIONS

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Stopping for a picnic on the road from Loughcrew to Galway, mesmerised by the slow drifting of clouds. 

A POEM A DAY - PATH OF DREAMS

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Forest bathing is now prescribed as a treatment for stress and anxiety and general good health. I find walking a path through trees has a meditative quality that brings me peace. Problems are paced out step by step and calm restored. 

A POEM A DAY - DREAMTIME

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I was enchanted by this beautiful field of wild chamomile. It has been a good year this year with the golden plants thriving, their scent filling the air. 

A POEM A DAY - UNDER THE OAK

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I reminded today of my lovely Dad and his fairy stories, told to me when I was a child and repeated to his grandchildren. I miss him today and everyday and the garden where he and my mother created a wildlife haven and where we sat together with the birds and the fae. 

A POEM A DAY - ENTICING

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The colours of mountain flowers this year seem more vibrant than ever. Maybe it is the result of being locked away for two months and coming back into a natural world livened by spring rains, lack of contamination and peace. I am sure the bees and wildlife have enjoyed this quiet time. 

A POEM A DAY - DRY WALL

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Here is another example of the tenacity of nature. This plant clings to a dry stone wall with no earth to root in and no visible source of water. Not only does it survive but seems to thrive, flushing the sandstone pink. 

A POEM A DAY - MILLIPEDE

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One of the pleasures of this year long daily photo poem project has been learning to really look when I am out in nature. I used to enjoy walking when I was able and always loved being out in woods, by the sea, on country lanes, but I didn't appreciate the detailed beauty of what was around me. Now I spot tiny insects, lichen on rocks, flowers, petals, the bark on the trees, the movement of clouds and waves.  

A POEM A DAY - SOLSTICE EVE

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This year the Summer Solstice falls on the 20th June, today is the longest day before our hours of sunlight slowly reduce. This is a view of the Penyal D'Ifach in Calp, also known as the Peñon. Night falls quickly in Spain, this was taken at dusk as the sun left the sky. I the previous half hour the sky was alive with swooping swifts, flying at great speed towards the cliffs, skimming the rocks before entering their roosts in the crumbling cracks.  

POEM A DAY - FELICIDADES

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Congratulations to my son, with love and pride for his achievements and best wishes for his future. 

A POEM A DAY - RAIN DROPS

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Our pocket patio is looking at its best in mid June. The geraniums are blooming all shades from crimson to pink, the green is yet to fade in the heat of Summer and the flowering herbs are attracting the bees. This photo was taken after a sudden downpour of rain washed the plants clean. 

A POEM A DAY - SAINT BRIGID

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This statue of Saint Brigid stands in the middle of a circular garden to the side of the Holy Well at Liscannor in County Clare, Ireland. It is a beautiful place, at the foot of a peaceful graveyard, looking out towards the Atlantic Ocean. Both the garden and the shrine of the Holy Well are a place of pilgrimage for people looking for the intercession of Saint Brigid, with a collective memory of the pagan Goddess who shared her name.  We were there alone in the afternoon sunshine and felt the ripple of the generations of prayer and hope gathered in the humble offerings and natural beauty. 

A POEM A DAY - SEA HEALING

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Standing in the waves at the water's edge, lulled by the ebb and flow, the slow trickle as worries wash away into the salt sea. 

A POEM A DAY - SWALLOWS

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The swallow population is at its peak now with the fledglings all now gaining strength and joining their flock. At dusk and zone our house seems to be at the centre of a vortex of birds as they fly over the roof, skimming the terrace, whizzing past the front windows. There is a flock of maybe 50 or more birds and they swoop in formations of up to 10, missing windows and walls by mere inches. It is an incredible sight with the added benefit of clearing up the mosquitos before they bite! I have spent hours trying to capture them in a photograph, arms up until it makes me dizzy but the birds are too fast. I am left with a trace of their amazing flight as I gasp at the speed and agility.