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Showing posts from October, 2019

A POEM A DAY - SOUL CAKES

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Here is a little something I cooked up last year. Today I will be stirring Irish tea brack which I enjoyed on my holiday in Ireland and combines two of my favourite things, tea and cake. 




© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - TRAUGHT BEACH

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The beautiful Traught Beach, near Kinvara on Galway Bay. Families were still swimming on a hot afternoon in late September. I watched the sun rise and set over this beach where I felt a great sense of peace. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

DISENCFRANCHISED

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A Parliamentary vote on a General Election when our future as European citizens will once again be in front of the electorate is taking place in Westminster.  Once again hundreds of thousands of affected citizens will be denied a vote, a voice in their own future. Re posting this poem in anger. 
DISENFRANCHISEDI am a second class citizen, oneof millions, the disenfranchised in aplebiscite now deemed ‘the people’s will’.Denied a vote the most affected,we with lives enriched by the despised,demonised, ‘freedom to move’  a right to be removed from the young,born Europeans, now choked silent. Whoever could imagine progress ending,a world where rights are threatened,where on an arbitrary date we'rethird country nationals, foreigners,stripped not just of rights but identity.Whoever thought our children could losethe freedoms we enjoyed, whilst millionaireLeavers buy their passports stamped hypocrisy.Still I have no vote as our Governmentdeclares suffrage reversible not universal.This fro…

A POEM A DAY - MARGARITA

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This daisy was winking from the crunchy, dry woodland floor, a touch of spring as the days grow shorter and the land prepares for winter. The camera flash darkened the background and details the simple beauty of the 'Margarita'. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.






A POEM A DAY - CELTIC KNOT

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The branches of this beautiful tree were hanging over the banks of the River Boyne in Navan, Ireland. The river side was overgrown with fern and wide leafed plants that looked like verdant swamps with willows weeping over the water. The intricate knot tied around the trunk reminded me of the Celtic symbols on imagery and jewellry seen in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, even used as an image of love on wedding rings. 




© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - ENCHANTED

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The woods at this time of year are sprinkled with mushrooms and toadstools that remind me of the faerie rings of my childhood. I was brought up on faery tales, left tasty treats for the faeries in my garden and went to the field of faery tables for picnics. I have never stood in a ring so can not say if the music plays or if I would disappear into the otherworld. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.




A POEM A DAY - THE KING'S MEN

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The King's Men  is a stone circle near the village of Great Rollright in Oxfordshire. It is one of three megalithic monuments known as the Rollright Stones which also feature a single standing stone, the King Stone and a group of stones thought to be a burial chamber called The Whispering Knights.The monuments are from three different time periods, the oldest being The Whispering Knights from the early Neolithic, about 3,500 to 3,800 BC. The stone circle dates to the late Neolithic, circa 2,500 years BC and the King's Stone from the early Bronze age, approximately 1,500 BC. More information on the archaeological investigation of the stones is given on the Rollright website, https://www.rollrightstones.co.uk/A number of myths have grown up to explain the sites. One describes how a witch  challenged a King and his army saying 'Seven long strides shalt thou take and if Long Compton thou canst see, King of England thou shalt be'. As he took his seventh stride the view was …

A POEM A DAY - STORM ANGEL

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I have had to spend more time than I would like resting, grateful for my third floor view over the valley, the hills and the changing skies. These spectacular clouds at dusk lasted minutes, before the light disappeared and tinges of pink and gold lightened the night sky.  






© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved

A POEM OF DAY - TWIST OF JASMINE

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From my roof terrace I overlook a number of empty houses whose patios and terraces are over run with bushes of luminous green, dotted with white jasmine flower. The flowers release their perfume in the evening when the air is sweet with scent, mixing now with the drift of wood smoke as villagers light their Autumn fires. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SPIDERLINGS

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There is so much to see if we take our gaze from the path ahead and really look at the nature under our noses. A bonus today is how much I love the word spiderlings.





© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - RAYS OF HOPE

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When I first moved to Spain I was struck by not just the sunshine but the light. Even on a grey day like today, when the valley is lashed with rain and clouds hang low, I know the light will soon return. I still remember long months of cloud in England so appreciate the brightening of weather and mood. As I struggle with fear and uncertainty over my future when EU citizenship is removed from all UK citizens, along with our rights, I retain hope that, like the sun, light will continue to burn. I remember the majority of kind and good people who will keep working to improve our world and the future we leave to our children. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SHEPHERD'S BLUNDER

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Red sky at night, shepherd's delight is usually an accurate country saying but last night's spectacular sunset heralded a mornings heavy rain. The valley is clouded, the air smells of woods and the trees drink deep as they recover from the long summer drought. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - MUSHROOM MAGIC

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Just as we are watching the trees lose their leaves in Autumn's release, the woodland floor is speckled with new life. Overnight fungal spores buried deep in the earth sprout into a display ranging from the tiniest finger size parasol to the bright, flashy spotted caps that attract our attention. Soon locals in the know will be going to their secret patches in Valencian woods to hunt for 'setas', the mustard coloured, fleshy mushroom which is a prized treat here in Autumn. 



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - FREEDOM

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With my thanks to all those marching today to protect our rights as European citizens. Freedom of Movement saved my life, I am proud to be a European citizen.

A POEM A DAY - HIDDEN DOORS

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I came across many places in Ireland where peoples' desire for all things fairy was reflected in fairy gardens, trails and parks. I am sure this commercial response to part of the rich folklore of Ireland is enjoyed by many visitors and their children. I was happy enjoying the natural spirit of the countryside and the fascinating ancient sites but found myself surprisingly moved by the 'fairy doors' hidden in the Cnoc Meadha woods. They are all home made, many look like they were decorated by children and they showed an innocence that seemed completely at home with their natural setting, in the beautiful Knockma woods.  



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - CNOC MEADHA

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Cnoc Meadha woods in County Galway cover the hill celebrated in legend both as Witches Hill, The Hill of Maeve and the place where Finnbheara, the King of the Connacht Fairies held court. Winding through oak, ash, hazel and beech trees to the stone cairn at the top of the hill where Queen Maeve is said to be buried, there is a magnificent panoramic view of the surrounding counties, to the sea. On a warm Autumn morning, with light filtering through the trees, it seemed a place of magic and mystery, both in its woodland elements and with the numerous fairy doors at the base of trees which rather than seeming twee or commercial appeared as a natural part of the wood. It was certainly a place to stir the imagination. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved

A POEM A DAY - THORN OF TARA

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The Hill of Tara was among the special places I visited in Ireland. Freed in late afternoon from the tour buses of the Newgrange complex, the hill was quiet, with just a few local walkers with their dogs braving the blustering wind. The view was spectacular and it was easy to feel why the High Kings of Ireland would be at home here. The landscape revealed the remains of the ancient ceremonial and buriel site with a passage tomb (The Mound of Hostages), standing stone (the Lia Fáil or Stone of Destiny) and visible round enclosures and a ceremonial avenue. 
Battered by winds stand a row of hawthorn trees, known as the Wishing trees, Rag trees, May trees or Fairy trees. Believed to be the home of the good neighbours who protect the boundaries, these trees have longstanding spiritual and mythical significance and the tradition of asking for a wish by leaving a token in the tree is an old one. Originally it would be a small rag of cloth, tied to ask for help with ill health. In recent years…

A POEM A DAY - SUNBURST

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As the seasons turn the countryside is marked by signs of plant death and decay. I am reminded once more of the beauty in all seasons, how the dried husk of a dead plant can be as beautiful and poignant as the vibrant green of full health. This simple lesson was revealed to me some years ago by a perceptive friend and led me to also reflect on our own seasons. Past spring and summer bloom, autumn is a time of life for letting go, as the leaves in their glory fall from the trees, in the process of life, death and rebirth. It is uplifting when we recognise the beauty, wisdom and freedom the third age can bring if we are able to accept the physical changes we face. 



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - THE WATER NYMPH

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She graced our garden from when I was a small child, at home amongst rose bushes, overlooking the ponds, quiet under the beech hedge. When the house was sold we moved her to Wales, where she overlooks the brook, rushing down the hillside. I am thankful she has found such a perfect new home with our friends, in an area of Wales my parents loved and visited often.

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - FRUIT OF THE GODS

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The countryside is bursting with Autumn fruit, the end of the blackberries, the cascading berries of ivy, ripening droplets of red which I normally see nearing Christmas. The swallows have left but the hedges flush with flocks of sparrows and starlings are arriving. 



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - WINTER'S SLEEP

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Signs of Autumn as wild boar snuffle the earth, eating acorns and burying others to grow as new shiny shoots in Spring. This vibrant green is this year's growth, the ground under the holm oak trees covered with tiny, spiky holly oak trees. 





© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - WATERING HORSES

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Imagine the pleasure of drinking tea overlooking the distant hills and these beautiful horses jumping, playing, rolling in mud in the field. Birds accompanied my short idyll, filling the trees with early morning song. With thanks to my friends for their warm welcome. 




© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - GRAND OAK

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Returning to childhood haunts to face my loss and grief, I felt the healing power of the trees ease the sadness as I left the woods smiling. 







© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - WHIRLPOOLS

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The beach at Aberdovey was not just beautiful in its reflected light, or the vast expanse of sand and horizon, but also in the patterns on the beach. Some were transient, undulations blown by the wind but others were the circular, contoured shapes left by the effect of water pooled on the sand. This photograph shows the beach pocked with islands of silver sea. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SNAIL TRAIL

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This tiny snail was creeping across the stony path running alongside the river in the Marjal. The trails of silver around it looked like a whole family had been crossing from bank to hedgerow. I hope they all made safety and found food and shelter to cling to, before curling up in their shells. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - REFLECTIONS

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Today the river running through the Marjal marshes near Pego was still, the joining canal blocked as the rice paddies fed by the canals are harvested. The air was calm, all felt still until a breeze shook the leaves of the poplar, hanging over the river bank, the silver backed leaves reflecting on the water. 



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - NETTLERASH

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I have always loved how nature provides for us and would like to learn more about plants, herbs and their uses in the kitchen and as cures. Seeing nettle and dock growing together takes me back to childhood, the instant lumpy rash of nettle sting, the green stain of dock rubbed on skin, the surprise relief that it really did work. 





© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - RAINBOW MAGIC

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There is something of magic about rainbows, despite knowing the science we still stop to stare and smile at a rainbow as the sunlight splits into colour. The idea of the pot of gold at the rainbow's end remains beguiling. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - CRACKLEY DRAGON

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Crackley Woods near Kenilworth is one of 11 ancient woodlands in Warwickshire and Staffordshire threatened with tree removal by the HS2 rail building works. A long campaign has been fought to stop this damage and this week a partial reprieve has been won with work partly halted whilst a review into the project is carried out. This is very good news, some woods will remain untouched until Autumn 2020 whilst others will have clearing work continue for site access with a promise not to fell ancient trees. However the danger to these woodlands is still there, the trees can not be replaced or the environment moved and HS2 may yet go ahead and the woods remain in the way.  I am grateful to all the campaigners, camping out in the woods, publicising the case and leading peaceful protests. 

A POEM A DAY - FAERY RING

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Travelling around Ireland I came across many atmospheric and beautiful places. Some had a clear archaeological history such as Newgrange and Loughcrew but all the ancient sites and woodlands I walked were also described in folklore and myths. Stories of Irish Kings and Queens, Gods and Goddesses, warriors and the other folk accompanied me. This photograph of a tiny ring of toadstools hidden within the trunk of an old beech tree was at Knockma Wood in County Galway. The magnificent beech trees bedded in moss, lit with golden light after rain, were a magical sight. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.


A POEM A DAY - HEALING WORDS

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A second short poem today to celebrate National Poetry Day. I continue to believe that reading and writing poetry and prose can be a healing process. The strike of empathy we can feel when someone's words touch us and remind us that we are not alone with our emotions and experiences. The joy in sharing writing and finding it resonates with others and lightens their load. Just today I read one such piece of prose that beautifully told a story of loss and recovery and made me think of my own father with love. I wish you all peace and light on this special day. 

A POEM A DAY - TY LLARWYDD

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This stone circle is not ancient but seems as if has sat under the Larch tree for all time. I am thankful for my restoring stay at Ty Llarwydd where blustery air, the best company and fine food did me so much good. 







© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - THE MIGRANT RETURNS

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I have lived in Spain for nearly 30 years but still feel the pull between my Spanish home and the North I left behind. Like migrating birds I live between two worlds and am grateful I was given the opportunity to improve my health by being given the chance to live and raise my family in Spain. I am devastated that this right and freedom is being removed by Brexit, denying future generations the chance to experience the welcome and new life I have enjoyed here. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - UNDER REDWOODS

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I was not able to identify this beautiful, delicate tree dancing among the giant redwoods at the Royal Forestry Society's redwood grove in Leighton, Wales but it had an oriental feel amongst the huge, straight trunks of the surrounding trees. The oldest redwoods were first planted in 1857 by John Naylor with more planted by Charles Acker since 1931 as other trees were also added to the 'Naylor Pinetum which now has over 100 species. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.