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Showing posts from September, 2019

A POEM A DAY - WHISPERING KNIGHTS

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This beautiful woodland arch is in the woods adjoining the Whispering Knights Dolmen and Rollright stone circle in Oxfordshire which date back 6000 years. The arch is made out of brash, the remains of tree thinning and is one of a number of sculptural works dotted through the wood, along with a large labyrinth called Neolithic echoes. On a rainy morning the whole area had a mystical and inspiring feel and the management of the trees was enhanced by the beauty of the brash works. The woods and art are part of a project called 'The Whispering Knights Project' and their website below gives more information on the project and the history of the portal dolmen tomb and the stone circle. 
https://www.whisperingknights.org/


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - PIRATES

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I sent this photograph of a boat moored in the harbour at Kinvara, Galway Bay to my grandson who loves pirates. The imaginative play of small children is an absolute joy to share.



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - THE LAST BRIAR ROSE

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This briar rose was blooming in the herb garden in The Burren Perfumery in the Burren area of Country Clare. It took me back to our garden where my father picked a briar rose for my mother every day of her final illness. We picked the last rose to place in her hand as she lay at peace. My visit to Ireland was an emotional one, in the footsteps of my mother and her people. I felt at home there, comforted by the beautiful green countryside, cheered by the warmth of everyone we met. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.


A POEM A DAY - DANCING WATER

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Now in Wales I am lightened by the company of old friends and the familiarity of the landscape. I spent many family holidays in this area, swapping the streets of Coventry for the rivers, hills and trees of mid Wales. We paddled in brooks, walked in the rain and loved the wind and freedom of the high hills. As I stood washing the stream, brim full with recent rains, I felt my mind ease as my worries floated away downstream. 



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - REFLECTIONS

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We waited to see the wild Atlantic on Ireland's west coast but day after day the sea in Galway Bay and the Atlantic coast winding south was calm, at times barely a ripple broke the mirrored surface.





© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - EQUALITY EMERGING

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This magnificent sculpture by John Behan stands overlooking Galway Cathedral, in sight of thousands of visiting tourists and students from the nearby Galway University buildings. The vision of ‘Equality Emerging’ with strength and determination reminds me of the admirable strong women who are making a difference in our world today. From the young Greta Thunberg showing the way on the environment and the inspiring young women fighting gun violence in USA, to the women standing up for our democratic rights and the rule of law. Gina Millar and Joanna Cherry have faced an onslaught of abuse in person and on social media and have continued to take their case to the highest courts where yesterday Lady Hale gave her eloquent and clear address on behalf of the unanimous judgement of the Supreme Court. I am thankful we live in a world where equality is recognised as not just a needed in terms of justice but an opportunity and necessity for the courage, intelligence, determination and spirit wo…

A POEM A DAY - LACE MAKERS

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The beauty of nature astounds me,  the complexity of this spider's web highlighted with the morning dew a good example of the detail we often do not even notice.


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SEA RIBBONS

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The seaweed scattering Traught Beach in County Galway reminded me of my childhood, walking on the beach at Blue Anchor Bay. I loved popping the bubbles, watching scuttling crabs in rock pools and finding the treasure of a mermaid's purse. The sand on Traught beach was grainy, peppered black, worn down from the dark grey stones. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - WISH

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My last evening in Ireland at Traught Beach, near Kinvara. The beauty of the countryside only surpassed by the welcome of everyone we met. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved. 

A POEM A DAY - MAGENTA DROPS

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Hedgerows in County Galway were bright with cherry red berries of hawthorn and riotous purples and pinks of wild fuchsia.
© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - CLIFFS OF MOHER

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These spectacular cliffs face the Atlantic, on the western coast of Ireland, south of Galway Bay. They are only accessible via a visitor centre (or farmer's car park) and the area was packed with tourists even on a September week day. However even the number of people wanting to see the natural beauty of the coastline could not dim my thoughts of the millions of Irish people who looked west and left their homes for a new life in America. Between 1820 and 1930 4.5 million Irish citizens arrived in America, the majority driven by hunger in the famine years, poverty and the desire for a better life. I came to Ireland to see where my mother lived and bring to life her memories and the stories she told us. Likewise we have come across many American tourists visiting Ireland looking for a connection with their ancestors, people who looked out over the Atlantic towards their new country. I am an immigrant, happy to have been welcomed in Spain where I have enjoyed a good life, with improv…

A POEM A DAY - SKY WINDOW

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It is hard to choose one of many stunning images of the countryside in Ireland, from sunsets over Galway Bay to the stark rock landscape of the burren or the lush green of trees and hedges. This hedgerow attracted my eye as different plants wound together, the leaf dotted with the red berries of hawthorn, drifting white cloud through a window of blue. 




© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - CNOC MEADHA

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Cnoc Meadha (Knockma) is a wooded hill near Tuam also known as The Hill of Maeve. The forest walk takes you to the top of the hill where there are magnificent views of the Burren and west to Galway Bay. There are 4 cairns, the largest of which is said to be the burial place of Queen Maeve of Connacht. (One of 3 possible burial sites).  It is thought the cairns may cover passage tombs but they have yet to be excavated. 
The woods and hill are also believed in Irish mythology to be the home and court of Finnbheara, the High King of the  Daoine Sidhe, the Connacht fairies. He is said to be buried in one of the stone cairns . The woods certainly felt magical, a combination of the jewel colours of leaf and moss, the filtered September sunlight, the ethereal stillness and silence, broken only by the caw of crows and buzzing of bees on the pink heather.
© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - GALWAY BAY

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Driving out from Galway, through Salthill, towards the tip of Galway Bay our view of the Aran Islands was shrouded in morning mist. The beach was busy with gangs of birds, fat sparrows in the bushes, jet black crows pecking in the seaweed, seagulls swooping overhead, ducks bobbing on the waves, waders spiking the sand and cormorants fishing from the rocks. Leaving the beach a mischief of magpies flocked around us, I counted 8 but there could have been more as they hopped and flew from the rocky path. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - LILIAN'S GALWAY

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I am in Galway and this morning walked over Salmon Weir Bridge where my mother watched the salmon leap. I spent my childhood listening to her stories about her early years in Galway, memories she revisited in the last years of her life. Walking these streets with her in my mind and meeting her cousins has been a moving and rewarding few days and I am grateful to the generosity and welcome of everyone I have met and the lovely City of Galway. 



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - THE HAG'S CHAIR

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The Hag's Chair at Sliabh na Calliagh, Loughcrew in County Meath, Ireland is a kerbstone on the edge of the passage tomb known as Cairn T. This passage tomb aligns with the rising sun which enters the chamber on the Spring and Autumn equinoxes. 
This kerbstone is unlike any other on surrounding passage tombs and its significance is unknown but the subject of much myth and folklore. The hill is also known as Witch's Hill and the myth refers to the Hag, or the Cailleach BhÊarta, witch, Queen or Goddess of Earth and Sky. She is said to have created the 3 cairns around Loughcrew by dropping stones from her apron as she leaped from hill to hill in the attempt to gain great power if she managed four leaps. On her final jump she fell to her death in Patrickstown. 
It is said if you sit in the Hag's Chair she will grant you a wish. It did feel a powerful place, on the slope of the ancient tomb which still welcomes the sun, with a magnificent view over the landscape to the horizon. 

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A POEM A DAY - KNOWTH

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This is the carving on one of the 17 kerb stones surrounding the Megalithic passage tomb at Knowth in Country Meath, Ireland. The passage tomb was  built over 5000 years ago and the 200 stone carvings represent over a third of all such art work in the whole of Europe. Some stones show the pit and chip marks of a chisel technique and the shapes include spirals, zig zag lines, geometrical shapes and representations of moons. There are various theories about the meaning behind the shapes, ranging from pure art to a deeply spiritual significance. Knowth is one of many passage tomb complexes in this area, many aligned to the equinoxes like Newgrange and Loughcrew which are illuminated with the rising sun at the Winter and Autumn equinoxes (respectively). The kerb stones on the main mound at Knowth, (there are 17 other smaller mounds) can weigh up to 2 tonnes were transported from over 80km away from the site, as were smaller stones of white quartz and granite that are thought to have cover…

A POEM A DAY - CROWS CIRCLE

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I have never seen so many crows as today in Country Meath. Flocks filled the sky from the swaying tops of trees lining the roadside and fields, their flapping wings cracking the air. In the busy visitor areas around Newgrange, Knowth and the Hill of Tara they have obviously become used to people, strutting around the long, wet grass, stopping to stare at those willing to look back into the coal black eyes. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - ART IN NATURE

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One for the pleasures in doing my 'A POEM A DAY' series is the effect it is having on my observation when out for a walk. I am now much more aware of my surroundings, take more notice of small details, spotting insects, unusual flora and changes in the ground I walk on. This stone was in my path, it is small, the size of a small match box, but the details on it jumped out at me. When I had a good look at it, cleaned of mud, the markings in the stone looked like prehistoric cave art. As well as this spiral and bird, I could see another bird head, a face and other rune like markings. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - ACORN GREEN

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This holly or holm oak tree is covered in ripening acorns, peeping out from their cups. The vibrancy of the green in the sunshine lit up the hillside, bright against the duller shades of pine, rosemary and dry summer grasses. Today I am travelling to Ireland and looking forward to a change of scenery, away from the Mediterranean to a northern autumn. 






© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.


A POEM A DAY - RUNES

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I love the pattern these flowers made against the damp pine needles. We are waiting for the rain, a 'Gota Fria' is forecast. This is torrential rain that falls in autumn when there is a combination of atmospheric conditions related to the dropping air temperature and the temperature of the sea. This rain can be very destructive. Massive amounts fall in a short time, washing away country roads, bringing down trees and shrubs and flooding rivers. I hope this year's rains will be gentle. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - DEN

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The campo is covered in signs of wild boar activity. The recent rains show their tracks more clearly but all summer they have been roaming the countryside, eating crops, digging up fields and coming close to villages in search of food. You can see where they trample down stone walls, making trails down the hillside. When I walk there in the daytime I wonder how near the 'jabali' are, sleeping in their daytime dens. This photograph shows a cosy space under a stone wall, hidden by foliage, a perfect spot for a sleeping boar. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - TO MY BROTHER WITH LOVE

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Best birthday wishes to my brother Chris, for always being there for me. 



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - GARLANDS

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It is far too early to be thinking of Christmas but these bright berries reminded me of lights on the tree, winding round the branches. The campo is changing a little more each day, leaves starting to wither, colours turning, berries ripening, swifts flying ready to leave for Africa. 







© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - AUTUMN HUM

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The countryside is still blooming, despite the shortening days. This blossom was buzzing with bees finding nectar before winter. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - GUARD OF HONOUR

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This old tree stump on the 'El Carrascal' hillside is in an area of mixed holm oak and pine. I like the way new saplings are growing around it, bringing new life but in their circling of the dying tree also appearing to honour and protect the old. As we are learning more about the underground communication and support system between trees I wonder if the old stump maintains a role in the tree community via its roots, being nurtured by others.


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SPITTLEBUG

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This bubble of sunlight caught me eye on the hillside. The froghopper or spittle bug nymph drains sap from the plant and forms the bubble to protect it from other insects and birds. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - TWILIGHT

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The night sky from my roof terrace, looking down the valley towards Benichembla. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SEA DAFFODILS

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The low dunes on the 'Deveses' beach, near Pego are covered in white flowers which release their perfume in the evening. The leaves and bulb are mainly buried in the sand, leaving the low lying white blooms. The latin name is 'pancratium maritimum' and it is also known as sand daffodil, sand lily or St Nicholas lily. In some areas of the Mediterranean it is near extinction so it is good to see it growing on our local dunes. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SEPTEMBER STING

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The mornings feel cool and fresh but beware the sting of September sun.


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.