Posts

Showing posts from December, 2019

A POEM A DAY - WINDS OF TARA

Image
Standing on the Hill of Tara with the wind blowing through me was one of the most memorable days of my visit to Ireland. It is said you can see half the counties of Ireland from the hill and the view was spectacular. I walked along the hawthorn hedgerows where people had left their tied wishes, mostly stems of grass but some rags, rosaries or even written prayers. As we approach a new year and a new decade I hope the winds carry your wishes and we can welcome a kinder, more equal and just time for all peoples and the earth we share. 
© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - EL CARRASCAL

Image
The 'El Carrascal' range overlooking the village has its own particular weather system. Clouds can build up on the ridge and tumble over or as it did yesterday, rise swirling from the hills like steam from the rock. The morning was cold and damp but once the sun broke through it was strong enough to strip off layers and warm winter bones. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.


A POEM A DAY - WILD ROSEMARY

Image
I have been reading about the folklore around the use of rosemary at this time of year. It is a culinary herb flavouring stuffings but is also brought into the house for remembrance or lit to smudge away the negative before the New Year. I am lucky to live near hillsides covered in wild rosemary. They grow into head height woody bushes and even in December are in flower. Today I saw tiny blue butterflies and larger speckled red and black butterflies on the bushes, flitting too fast too capture. 



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - BAIX LA MAR

Image
This sculpture is in the Barrio Baix la Mar in Denia where it commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the filming of 'John Paul Jones' in this area. The Barrio was once home to fisherman and is a tangle of low cottage houses gathered around squares within sight of the sea. Now many of the homes are business premises offering meals and drinks to the many tourists but the area has a special charm. I used to sit and read in one of its palm shaded squares with a quiet coffee whilst waiting for my children to finish music at the Denia 'Conservatoire'. 
© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - NEW BEGINNINGS

Image
This image captured on Christmas Eve when we were picking the green for our house reminded me of the tenacity of nature and the hope of new life and new beginnings. 



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - LIGHTENING

Image
This time of year can be difficult for those missing loved ones during a holiday season where we feel almost forced to be of good cheer. It is also the time of the longest night, when despite our hectic lives there is a need for quiet reflection. As the solstice passes and the lighter days return, it is good to remember those we miss, include them in our festivities, enjoy telling their stories. That way being together is more than just a yearly celebration dictated by consumption but a special time for families and friends to reconnect and share their warmth. We should also remember those alone and look into our hearts to open our homes and arms to those in need. 
© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - CHRISTMAS CAT

Image
Wishing everyone who comes across my poetry in all corners of the world a happy day today. May my Christmas wish for peace on earth and goodwill to all be a breath on the wind of necessary change.

A POEM A DAY - FOREVER

Image
Today is the 69th anniversary of my parent's wedding, my mother died 4 months before they were able to celebrate their fiftieth year married. They were an inspiration of lasting love, overcoming poverty, hardship, ill health and all the stresses of life to support each other in old age. I miss them and remember them with love and thanks. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - PEGO SUN

Image
A beautiful day in Pego with unexpected heat after the fierce weekend winds and the warmth of being with my family. 
© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - BLESSINGS

Image
For the Christmas period I will be posting the Christmas wishes tied to the 'rejas' of my house, sending my best wishes to you all. 
© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - CHRISTMAS MAGIC

Image
This is my window display for the Christmas decorations competition run by Parcent Town Hall. We are asked to use recycled materials and it is judged on creativity, the use of materials and illumination. My plan to invite people to take a Christmas wish was nearly blown away for the fierce winds battering the village last night. I will be posting a Christmas wish each day for all who would like a little cheer.

A POEM A DAY - SPARKLES IN THE WOODS

Image
The dew drops on this finger size shoot of new pine reminded me of the hidden world beneath us, where microscopic creatures colonise the soil and bugs and beetles scuttle out of sight. Who knows who might dance around this tiny Christmas tree. 
© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - EXCALIBUR

Image
The hillside was bright today with warming sun. I walked a little nervously as the evidence of wild boar was everywhere, overturned soil, splattered shrubs and broken down stone walls marking their path. This beautiful leaf sprang out from the plant looking like a discarded sword on the forest floor. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.


A POEM A DAY - HEART OF GOLD

Image
Even in December there is light and colour and beauty. This little plant was bright against the moss green as the sun lit up its heart leaf. 
© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - BOAR DANGER

Image
Jabali, or wild boar live in the countryside throughout this area of Eastern Spain. They have no natural predator and are becoming a problem as they come down from the hills into villages and towns. The farmers have long since put up with damage to their crops, my neighbour lost a whole field of watermelon to frolicking boar one summer, however their presence on the road is a danger to the boar and man. This past week my family were returning on the motorway from Alicante at 7 in the evening, just past dusk. A huge male boar came from nowhere, glowing orange in the headlights from the terrecotta clay. It hit the car, was killed and the travellers were very lucky to only damage their car and not themselves. I do not know the answer to the problem, much of the area is not fenced and I do not like fences. I would like to think we can live side by side with our wild neighbours without danger to either. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - GORSE

Image
It is lovely to see a splash of colour in the winter landscape which on a dull day is a palette of mossy greens and grey. When the sun shines every branch and speck of dust comes to life and this yellow gorse was glowing amongst the low shrub of rosemary and spiky holm oak. The flower has a distinctive smell of coconut, which always reminds me of the coconut oil used in summer skin products which at times can be overwhelming on a busy beach. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - STAG

Image
Walking on the Carrascal hillsides this vision of a stag reared up at me from the branches of an old Algaroba tree. The ground was littered with the gnarled, black fruit of the carob, a tree once planted for its crop but now left to grow wild on abandoned terraces that have become wooded with fast growing pine and the slower growing bushes of native holm oak. December bites with cold winds whirling down the valley whilst the midday sun still warms.© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - CYCLE OF LIFE

Image
Back to the healing power of nature today, walking in trees, listening to birdsong, being still, finding beauty in decay as part of the cycle of life. Death leads to rebirth, when all seems lost we can find the strength to reflect, recover and renew as spring follows winter. 
© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - THE LIGHT AHEAD

Image
Today my words seem pointless, only the trust that light and goodness will shine through from the many who value and care for humanity and our earth keeps me from despair.

A POEM A DAY - LIGHT OF HOPE

Image
Today, once again, I have no vote in an election that will have a major bearing on my future. My disenfranchisement affects me deeply and the situation facing people can feel despairing. In such times I strive to remember the good in the world, to feel hope in the kindness and care I see daily and to recall that in time, even the dark days see the light of the sun. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.


A POEM A DAY - FLARE

Image
I am struck often by the transformative effect of light. Here a humble stalk of grass was illuminated by the filtered sun, from one angle it was dry, dusty green but standing in the light it became a golden torch.

A POEM A DAY - STIRRING HOPE

Image
This year as I stirred the Christmas pudding, my wishes were for more than my family health and prosperity. With a world were suffering is normal for so many with worse to come if nothing is done about climate change my wishes are for humanity. That we may wake from the deep sleep and apathy, open our eyes and hearts to truth and work for justice. 
© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SPARK OF GREEN

Image
The patio can look a little sad in winter, the geraniums hibernate, the flowers wait for the warm and without the prompt of summer heat we can forget to water the pots. Slowly the bright green leaches from the leaves until a good watering from a few days rain and a burst of mid day sun is enough to bring life to the winter plants. 




© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - THE SPARROW FLOWN

Image
This little bird is one of the treasures I bought home to Spain after selling our parents house, our family home. He once lived by the front door, watching over the pocket front garden as children walked past to school, slowing to wobble on the low garden wall. Now the bird seems at home on our patio wall, amongst the geraniums.


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - PEACE IN THE WOODS

Image
As it is still too wet for me to walk in the trees near my Spanish home, here is a reminder of the beautiful woods in Ireland This is Cnoc Meadha Wood in County Galway, a peaceful and magical place. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.



A POEM A DAY - SACRED STONES

Image
White quartz stones and granite pebbles have been found scattered around the Neolithic passage tombs at Knowth and Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland. These stones were traced to areas 60 or so miles north and south of the site so were chosen by Neolithic people to place around their tombs. I saw similar stone in the grass around the passage tomb at Loughcrew and white quartz stones are often found around grave sites int the British Isles up until the 15th century. Whilst we have no idea why ancient people collected and worked these stones and used them at sacred sites, it is easy to imagine they had a ritual significance. It is interesting that even today white stone and granite is used to make gravestones and stone chips are placed around graves. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - THE LONG WALK

Image
Seeing a lost photograph of my mother's parents the other day has my mind wandering back to Galway and my mother's stories of her life there during the war. I knew the Long Walk before I walked it for the first time this September, I recognised the fiery swell of the river Corrib dashing into the Atlantic, had seen in my mind the mist over Galway Bay, the view over to The Claddagh. My regret now is I didn't question her stories, I listened and took them into my heart without asking more about the family, their histories, the details of her young life. It is only when we can no longer ask those questions that we realise their importance. 


© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - RAIN IN SPAIN

Image
A reminder that the sky is not always blue in the Mediterranean. This area is at high risk from extremes of weather. We can suffer long periods of drought with its consequent effects on the water supply for human use and agriculture. When it rains in Spring and Autumn it is often in the form of devastating storms that swoop up water from the sea and dump it over the land. This can be very damaging, flooding rivers and low land, stripping the hills of their top soil, damaging roads and infrastructure and in the worst cases taking lives. It is also very targeted, one village can have four days of heavy, insistent rain but little damage where 5 miles away another village can take the main hit and suffer extreme effects. These storms are known locally as 'Gota Fria' or the cold drop or now by the letters 'DANA' which in Spanish stand for upper level isolated depression. 
So far my village has escaped the damage of the coastal towns of Denia and Xabia. I slept little during …

A POEM A DAY - BLESSED RAIN

Image
If you raise your eyes from street level you can spot the rusting faces adorning drain pipes on old houses in the village. No one I have asked has an explanation for them, other than as decoration but in this land blighted by drought and flooding rain, I like to think she is offering up a prayer for gentle rain. Not rain that washes away roads and strips the hills of topsoil, flooding the plains and coastal towns but rain to nurture the earth, fill the underground rivers, to gush out of the ground in natural springs. 




© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - DOLLY MIXTURE

Image
On a dull day with the valley covered in cloud these tiny bursts of flower lit the bushes with colour. They reminded me of the sweets I loved as a small child, playing with the shapes and colours, organising them in my hand.  I am glad of gentle rain, the trees are suffering after a long, dry year and the air needs washing clean of wind borne pollens. 
© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - PINE BUTTONS

Image
On the first day of December the sun is shining, the light playing across the bands of pines snaking across the hillside. On the way to the shortest day I feel the need to make use of every hour of light and look forward to sitting still, listening to the trees. 




© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.