LISTEN to Two poems read by James Graham from his collections, Clairvoyance and Becoming a Tree
April has indeed been cruel to The Linnet’s Wings. We lost Peter Gilkes. Marie has been in through the mill this month for sure. The title of our Spring Issue was never more appropriate and we salute their work together.
The Linnet’s Wings: Take All My Loves
I have the Easter Sunday slot with Easter Sunday at Writing in a Woman’s Voice. A memory of those spring straw hats with elasticated chin strap, and the deeper marks of Easter on a child’s mind.
Don’t forget to listen to the April poems in Gyroscope Review this month. I am up on the final day and there’s some fascinating poetry there. I love the voices — the accents. You can catch up HERE
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This was eye-watering yonks ago somewhere about 2012? At Pink Lane when I seemed to have a lot of confidence. I don’t go out much these days. I have only read once this year. So for those of you who want to know what I sound like:
Source: Liberation by Oonah V Joslin
Tea spoon on napkin
beside tall glass, ice cubes
still spinning, undissolved
sugar crystals, one lemon seed
upside down tornado at the bottom,
she looks down at the table
draws a long breath.
Here it comes, boy.
In Caesura I wanted to put the reader into that moment before the big moment. The tornado in the glass is a pretty easy metaphor for barely contained emotion I guess.I am terrible at Japanese short forms — mine turn into punch lines. But Caesura is definitely influenced by haiku and tanka. And in the history of Jeff, Caesura is a prequel to Unsweet Tea.
I love a tea break. Break — Caesura? Oh never mind then 🙂
Go back and reread Unsweet Tea now and then if you missed it, here is Jeff’s INTERVIEW
My plan was to walk all round Holy Island on my 60th birthday; contemplate life and age and that stuff. But in order to do that you need a fairly dry day. We have been all round the island before in the wet on my birthday. It wasn’t what you’d call great fun.
This time the Island had other plans. It rained all night. Dawn saw a window of light and lovely colours, then it rained again. There were puddles everywhere. No day for that walk.
So my sister and Noel and I headed for The Lindisfarne Centre where we learned all about Vikings and how the Gospels were made using all the interactive displays; pigments, gold leaf illumination and book binding; and we tried our hand at tracing celtic knots and pencil rubbings. Any ten year old would have been better than we were, trust me. But it was fun! It was just the sort of things that Esme and I used to do when we little (not that we ever got big).
We’d met a couple walking up on the Heugh the night before. Karen and Charlie Slade and they looked familiar somehow. After a brief conversation about the spooky sound of seals and the Island we found out where we’d seen them — TV. They were part of the team on BBC’s Tudor Monastry Farm. They were on Lindisfarne for the weekend doing demonstrations of medieval tile making and ecclesiatical design and so we said we’d come along. After lunch we went to the Priory to see what they were up to and that was fun too, hands-on, informative fun. Here are some of the photos.
Karen carves the design in wood, makes the clay tile and presses it, adds slip to form the design, allows that to harden for a long time — weeks and scrapes off the excess. Then the tiles have to be glazed and fired. Smaller tiles are marked in the process as four in one tiles or diagonals. It’s a long painstaking process and Karen has made thousands of tiles for projects and come to a real understanding of what they meant to people. This was a time when raw materials were taken from the earth and used to the glory of God — not just for money. Soul was important then. Mortality was ever present.
I was wearing a badge my sister Christine sent me to inform everyone I was 60 YEARS YOUNG! When Karen saw it she gave me one of her precious handmade initialled tiles 🙂 THANKYOU KAREN X. I treasure it.
It’s all based on gerometric patterns and it reminded me of our old Spyrograph, a toy with which I was never adept. Naturally I had to have a go — it involved giant compasses and a sandbox — what 6 eherm… I mean 60 year old, could resist? My first teacher never let me play in the sand box until I had done my maths — maybe she should have taken a leaf out of Charlie’s book — I might have got the hang of geometry sooner!
Visit their website (click on their name) and see what they are up to. They may be somewhere near you!
and walked back quite sore footed having spent 6 hours in anything other than the contemplation of life, age and all that stuff.
Dinner with Dorothy, Esme and Noel at the Manor House Hotel — a perfect round-off to a perfect birthday.
Sister, remember how we used to be?
Always creating our own history.
Illuminated manuscripts made old
with tea; pencil-rubbed pennies, sixpences,
thre’penny bits. Buildings, interiors,
painting and mapping islands of our own.
Sixty was to wake before sunrise, peek
from my cosy bed toward the north-east
sky streaked with colours of a younger youth;
purled white, baby blues, the sweet blush of peach
delight at dawn; yawn and watch violet,
turquoise, sapphire, silver-wet grey, the day
born. I would give sixty serious thought.
Rain split the clouds and brought my plans to nought;
spilt on the cobbles such colours as fears
are made of. A Lindisfarne lamb looked up
at my window. The Island knows the needs
of the soul I left there for safekeeping.
Today it generates a place to play
at making medieval tiles with clay;
drawing squares and triangles in circles
like the master masons used to do with
giant compasses in a box of sand.
Learning about trade, scribes and Viking raids,
trying my hand at everything; I find
my true self again in every moment;
and at every age, whole. I could be six
or sixteen. But I’m me. Holy Island’s
best, most sacred birthday gift to my soul.
Oonah V Joslin © 2014
And a BIG THANKS to everyone who sent the 67 messages and 15 cards!
I have reached a conclusion:
contemplation of life, age and all that stuff
is very over-rated!
It’s strange I remarked to my husband today, that a special place, when you’ve shared it with friends becomes even more special. You’re no longer walking there alone. You are walking with memories of their being there. My husband’s favourite corner of Belsay is this:
and this is my favourite place to sit and listen to the wind in the tall trees.
This bank of bluebells reminds me of my sister Esme
Today at Belsay was magnificent! Sunshine and flowers all the way from the croquet lawns to the crag wood and borders of the Quarry garden. Just thought I would share that with you.
Before: In fact several years ago (when the old fence was still there) but it gives the best match photo-wise.
After: This was done yesterday involving about 4 tons of stones and slate.
A little better wouldn’t you say.
We reused the old grey stones, had summer gold in the middle and plum Welsh slate to contrast. Now all we need is somewhere to sit so it can RAIN on us! 😉
Ironic me buying so many stones when this week my own home growns are giving me so much trouble 😦