Categories
Literary

The Monday Poem – The South Country by Hilaire Belloc

Hilaire Belloc
Hilaire Belloc

HILAIRE BELLOC

THE SOUTH COUNTRY

 

When I am living in the Midlands
That are sodden and unkind,
I light my lamp in the evening:
My work is left behind;
And the great hills of the South Country
Come back into my mind.

The great hills of the South Country
They stand along the sea;
And it’s there walking in the high woods
That I could wish to be,
And the men that were boys when I was a boy
Walking along with me.

The men that live in North England
I saw them for a day;
Their hearts are set upon the waste fells,
Their skies are fast and grey;
From their castle-walls a man may see
The mountains far away.

The men that live in West England
They see the Severn strong,
A-rolling on rough water brown
Light aspen leaves along.
They have the secret of the Rocks,
And the oldest kind of song.

But the men that live in the South Country
Are the kindest and most wise,
They get their laughter from the loud surf,
And the faith in their happy eyes
Comes surely from our Sister the Spring
When over the sea she flies;
The violets suddenly bloom at her feet,
She blesses us with surprise.

I never get between the pines
But I smell the Sussex air;
Nor I never come on a belt of sand
But my home is there.
And along the sky the line of the Downs
So noble and so bare.

A lost thing could I never find,
Nor a broken thing mend:
And I fear I shall be all alone
When I get towards the end.
Who will there be to comfort me
Or who will be my friend?

I will gather and carefully make my friends
Of the men of the Sussex Weald,
They watch the stars from silent folds,
They stiffly plough the field,
By them and the God of the South Country
My poor soul shall be healed.

If I ever become a rich man,
Of if ever I grow to be old,
I will build a house with deep thatch
To shelter me from the cold,
And there shall the Sussex songs be sung
And the story of Sussex told.

I will hold my house in the high wood
Within a walk of the sea,
And the men that were boys when I was a boy
Shall sit and drink with me.

Categories
Literary

The Monday Poem: Screw-Guns

This week’s poem is more of a song and it’s by Rudyard Kipling.

Screw-Guns

IMG_0131

   Smokin’ my pipe on the mountings, sniffin’ the mornin’ cool,
   I walks in my old brown gaiters along o’ my old brown mule,
   With seventy gunners be’ind me, an’ never a beggar forgets
   It’s only the pick of the Army
             that handles the dear little pets—‘Tss! ‘Tss!
       For you all love the screw-guns—the screw-guns they all love you!
       So when we call round with a few guns,
                 o’ course you will know what to do—hoo! hoo!
       Jest send in your Chief an’ surrender—
                 it’s worse if you fights or you runs:
       You can go where you please, you can skid up the trees,
                 but you don’t get away from the guns!

   They sends us along where the roads are, but mostly we goes where they ain’t:
   We’d climb up the side of a sign-board an’ trust to the stick o’ the paint:
   We’ve chivied the Naga an’ Looshai, we’ve give the Afreedeeman fits,
   For we fancies ourselves at two thousand,
             we guns that are built in two bits—‘Tss! ‘Tss!
       For you all love the screw-guns...

   If a man doesn’t work, why, we drills ‘im an’ teaches ‘im ‘ow to behave;
   If a beggar can’t march, why, we kills ‘im an’ rattles ‘im into ‘is grave.
   You’ve got to stand up to our business an’ spring without snatchin’ or fuss.
   D’you say that you sweat with the field-guns?
             By God, you must lather with us—‘Tss! ‘Tss!
       For you all love the screw-guns...

   The eagles is screamin’ around us, the river’s a-moanin’ below,
   We’re clear o’ the pine an’ the oak-scrub,
             we’re out on the rocks an’ the snow,
   An’ the wind is as thin as a whip-lash what carries away to the plains
   The rattle an’ stamp o’ the lead-mules—
             the jinglety-jink o’ the chains—‘Tss! ‘Tss!
       For you all love the screw-guns...

   There’s a wheel on the Horns o’ the Mornin’,
             an’ a wheel on the edge o’ the Pit,
   An’ a drop into nothin’ beneath you as straight as a beggar can spit:
   With the sweat runnin’ out o’ your shirt-sleeves,
             an’ the sun off the snow in your face,
   An’ ‘arf o’ the men on the drag-ropes
             to hold the old gun in ‘er place—‘Tss! ‘Tss!
       For you all love the screw-guns...

   Smokin’ my pipe on the mountings, sniffin’ the mornin’ cool,
   I climbs in my old brown gaiters along o’ my old brown mule.
   The monkey can say what our road was—
             the wild-goat ‘e knows where we passed.
   Stand easy, you long-eared old darlin’s!
             Out drag-ropes!  With shrapnel!  Hold fast—‘Tss! ‘Tss!
       For you all love the screw-guns—the screw-guns they all love you!
       So when we take tea with a few guns,
                 o’ course you will know what to do—hoo! hoo!
       Jest send in your Chief an’ surrender—
                 it’s worse if you fights or you runs:
       You may hide in the caves, they’ll be only your graves,
                 but you can’t get away from the guns!
Categories
Literary

The Little Brother and Sister

This story was collected and written by the Brothers Grimm. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

THE LITTLE BROTHER AND SISTER

There was once a little brother who took his Sister by the hand, and said, “Since our own dear mother’s death we have not had one happy hour; our stepmother beats us every day, and, when we come near her, kicks us away with her foot. Come, let us wander forth into the wide world.” So all day long they travelled over meadows, fields, and stony roads. By the evening they came into a large forest, and laid themselves down in a hollow tree, and went to sleep. When they awoke the next morning, the sun had already risen high in the heavens, and its beams made the tree so hot that the little boy said to his sister, “I am so very thirsty, that if I knew where there was a brook, I would go and drink. Ah! I think I hear one running;” and so saying, he got up, and taking his Sister’s hand they went to look for the brook.

The wicked stepmother, however, was a witch, and had witnessed the departure of the two children: so, sneaking after them secretly, as is the habit of witches, she had enchanted all the springs in the forest.

Presently they found a brook, which ran trippingly over the pebbles, and the Brother would have drunk out of it, but the Sister heard how it said as it ran along, “Who drinks of me will become a tiger!” So the Sister exclaimed, “I pray you, Brother, drink not, or you will become a tiger, and tear me to pieces!” So the Brother did not drink, although his thirst was very great, and he said, “I will wait till the next brook.” As they came to the second, the Sister heard it say, “Who drinks of me becomes a wolf!” The Sister ran up crying, “Brother, do not, pray do not drink, or you will become a wolf and eat me up!” Then the Brother did not drink, saying, “I will wait until we come to the next spring, but then I must drink, you may say what you will; my thirst is much too great.” Just as they reached the third brook, the Sister heard the voice saying, “Who drinks of me will become a fawn—who drinks of me will become a fawn!” So the Sister said, “Oh, my Brother do not drink, or you will be changed into a fawn, and run away from me!” But he had already kneeled down, and he drank of the water, and, as the first drops passed his lips, his shape took that of a fawn.

At first the Sister wept over her little, changed Brother, and he wept too, and knelt by her, very sorrowful; but at last the maiden said, “Be still, dear little fawn, and I will never forsake you!” and, taking off her golden garter, she placed it around his neck, and, weaving rushes, made a girdle to lead him with. This she tied to him, and taking the other end in her hand, she led him away, and they travelled deeper and deeper into the forest. After they had gone a long distance they came to a little hut, and the maiden, peeping in, found it empty, and thought, “Here we can stay and dwell.” Then she looked for leaves and moss to make a soft couch for the Fawn, and every morning she went out and collected roots and berries and nuts for herself, and tender grass for the Fawn. In the evening when the Sister was tired, and had said her prayers, she laid her head upon the back of the Fawn, which served for a pillow, on which she slept soundly. Had but the Brother regained his own proper form, their lives would have been happy indeed.

Thus they dwelt in this wilderness, and some time had elapsed when it happened that the King of the country had a great hunt in the forest; and now sounded through the trees the blowing of horns, the barking of dogs, and the lusty cry of the hunters, so that the little Fawn heard them, and wanted very much to join in. “Ah!” said he to his Sister, “let me go to the hunt, I cannot restrain myself any longer;” and he begged so hard that at last she consented. “But,” she told him,” “return again in the evening, for I shall shut my door against the wild huntsmen, and, that I may know you, do you knock, and say, ‘Sister, dear, let me in,’ and if you do not speak I shall not open the door.”

As soon as she had said this, the little Fawn sprang off quite glad and merry in the fresh breeze. The King and his huntsmen perceived the beautiful animal, and pursued him; but they could not catch him, and when they thought they certainly had him, he sprang away over the bushes, and got out of sight. Just as it was getting dark, he ran up to the hut, and, knocking, said, “Sister mine, let me in.” Then she unfastened the little door, and he went in, and rested all night long upon his soft couch. The next morning the hunt was commenced again, and as soon as the little Fawn heard the horns and the tally-ho of the sportsmen he could not rest, and said, “Sister, dear, open the door; I must be off.” The Sister opened it, saying, “Return at evening, mind, and say the words as before.” When the King and his huntsmen saw him again, the Fawn with the golden necklace, they followed him, close, but he was too nimble and quick for them. The whole day long they kept up with him, but towards evening the huntsmen made a circle around him, and one wounded him slightly in the hinder foot, so that he could run but slowly. Then one of them slipped after him to the little hut, and heard him say, “Sister, dear, open the door,” and saw that the door was opened and immediately shut behind him. The huntsman, having observed all this, went and told the King what he had seen and heard, and he said, “On the morrow I will pursue him once again.”

The Sister, however, was terribly afraid when she saw that her Fawn was wounded, and, washing off the blood, she put herbs upon the foot, and said, “Go and rest upon your bed, dear Fawn, that your wound may heal.” It was so slight, that the next morning he felt nothing of it, and when he heard the hunting cries outside, he exclaimed, “I cannot stop away—I must be there, and none shall catch me so easily again!” The Sister wept very much and told him, “Soon will they kill you, and I shall be here alone in this forest, forsaken by all the world: I cannot let you go.”

“I shall die here in vexation,” answered the Fawn, “if you do not, for when I hear the horn, I think I shall jump out of my skin.” The Sister, finding she could not prevent him, opened the door, with a heavy heart, and the Fawn jumped out, quite delighted, into the forest. As soon as the King perceived him, he said to his huntsmen, “Follow him all day long till the evening, but let no one do him any harm.” Then when the sun had set, the King asked his huntsman to show him the hut; and as they came to it he knocked at the door and said, “Let me in, dear Sister.” Upon this the door opened, and, stepping in, the King saw a maiden more beautiful than he had ever beheld before. She was frightened when she saw not her Fawn, but a man enter, who had a golden crown upon his head. But the King, looking at her with a kindly glance, held out to her his hand, saying, “Will you go with me to my castle, and be my dear wife?” “Oh, yes,” replied the maiden; “but the Fawn must go too: him I will never forsake.” The King replied, “He shall remain with you as long as you live, and shall never want.”

The King took the beautiful maiden upon his horse, and rode to his castle, where the wedding was celebrated with great splendor and she became Queen, and they lived together a long time; while the Fawn was taken care of and played about the castle garden.

The wicked stepmother, however, on whose account the children had wandered forth into the world, had supposed that long ago the Sister had been torn into pieces by the wild beasts, and the little Brother in his Fawn’s shape hunted to death by the hunters. As soon, therefore, as she heard how happy they had become, and how everything prospered with them, envy and jealousy were aroused in her wicked heart, and left her no peace; and she was always thinking in what way she could bring misfortune upon them.

Her own daughter, who was as ugly as night, and had but one eye, for which she was continually reproached, said, “The luck of being a Queen has never happened to me.” “Be quiet, now,” replied the old woman, “and make yourself contented: when the time comes I will help and assist you.” As soon, then, as the time came when the Queen gave birth to a beautiful little boy, which happened when the King was out hunting, the old witch took the form of a chambermaid, and got into the room where the Queen was lying, and said to her, “The bath is ready, which will restore you and give you fresh strength; be quick before it gets cold.” Her daughter being at hand, they carried the weak Queen between them into the room, and laid her in the bath, and then, shutting the door, they ran off; but first they made up an immense fire in the stove, which must soon suffocate the poor young Queen.

When this was done, the old woman took her daughter, and, putting a cap upon her head, laid her in the bed in the Queen’s place. She gave her, too, the form and appearance of the real Queen, as far as she was able; but she could not restore the lost eye, and, so that the King might not notice it, she turned her upon that side where there was no eye.

When midnight came, and every one was asleep, the nurse, who sat by herself, wide awake, near the cradle, in the nursery, saw the door open and the true Queen come in. She took the child in her arms, and rocked it a while, and then, shaking up its pillow, laid it down in its cradle, and covered it over again. She did not forget the Fawn, either, but going to the corner where he was, stroked his head, and then went silently out of the door. The nurse asked in the morning of the guards if any one had passed into the castle during the night; but they answered, “No, we have not seen anybody.” For many nights afterwards she came constantly, but never spoke a word; and the nurse saw her always, but she would not trust herself to speak about it to any one.

When some time had passed away, the Queen one night began to speak, and said—

“How fares my child! how fares my fawn?

Twice more will I come, but never again.”

The nurse made no reply; but, when she had disappeared, went to the King, and told him. The King exclaimed, “Oh, mercy! what does this mean?—the next night I will watch myself by the child.” So in the evening he went into the nursery, and about midnight the Queen appeared, and said—

“How fares my child! how fares my fawn?

Once more will I come, but never again.”

And she nursed the child, as she usually did, and then disappeared. The King dared not speak; but he watched the following night, and this time she said—

“How fares my child! how fares my fawn?

This time have I come, but never again.”

At these words the King could hold back no longer, but, springing up, cried, “You can be no other than my dear wife!” Then she answered, “Yes, I am your dear wife;” and at that moment her life was restored by God’s mercy, and she was again as beautiful and charming as ever. She told the King the fraud which the witch and her daughter had practised upon him, and he had them both tried, and sentence was pronounced against them. The little Fawn was disenchanted, and received once more his human form; and the Brother and Sister lived happily together to the end of their days.

Categories
Literary

5 Days of Oscar Wilde – 3: The Tomb of Keats

THE TOMB OF KEATS

(Irish Monthly, July 1877.)

As one enters Rome from the Via Ostiensis by the Porta San Paolo, the first object that meets the eye is a marble pyramid which stands close at hand on the left.

There are many Egyptian obelisks in Rome—tall, snakelike spires of red sandstone, mottled with strange writings, which remind us of the pillars of flame which led the children of Israel through the desert away from the land of the Pharaohs; but more wonderful than these to look upon is this gaunt, wedge-shaped pyramid standing here in this Italian city, unshattered amid the ruins and wrecks of time, looking older than the Eternal City itself, like terrible impassiveness turned to stone.  And so in the Middle Ages men supposed this to be the sepulchre of Remus, who was slain by his own brother at the founding of the city, so ancient and mysterious it appears; but we have now, perhaps unfortunately, more accurate information about it, and know that it is the tomb of one Caius Cestius, a Roman gentleman of small note, who died about 30 B.C.

Yet though we cannot care much for the dead man who lies in lonely state beneath it, and who is only known to the world through his sepulchre, still this pyramid will be ever dear to the eyes of all English-speaking people, because at evening its shadows fall on the tomb of one who walks with Spenser, and Shakespeare, and Byron, and Shelley, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the great procession of the sweet singers of England.

For at its foot there is a green, sunny slope, known as the Old Protestant Cemetery, and on this a common-looking grave, which bears the following inscription:

This grave contains all that was mortal of a young English poet, who on his deathbed, in the bitterness of his heart, desired these words to be engraven on his tombstone: HERE LIES ONE WHOSE NAME WAS WRIT IN WATER.  February 24, 1821.

And the name of the young English poet is John Keats.

Lord Houghton calls this cemetery ‘one of the most beautiful spots on which the eye and heart of man can rest,’ and Shelley speaks of it as making one ‘in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place’; and indeed when I saw the violets and the daisies and the poppies that overgrow the tomb, I remembered how the dead poet had once told his friend that he thought the ‘intensest pleasure he had received in life was in watching the growth of flowers,’ and how another time, after lying a while quite still, he murmured in some strange prescience of early death, ‘I feel the flowers growing over me.’

But this time-worn stone and these wildflowers are but poor memorials {3} of one so great as Keats; most of all, too, in this city of Rome, which pays such honour to her dead; where popes, and emperors, and saints, and cardinals lie hidden in ‘porphyry wombs,’ or couched in baths of jasper and chalcedony and malachite, ablaze with precious stones and metals, and tended with continual service.  For very noble is the site, and worthy of a noble monument; behind looms the grey pyramid, symbol of the world’s age, and filled with memories of the sphinx, and the lotus leaf, and the glories of old Nile; in front is the Monte Testaccio, built, it is said, with the broken fragments of the vessels in which all the nations of the East and the West brought their tribute to Rome; and a little distance off, along the slope of the hill under the Aurelian wall, some tall gaunt cypresses rise, like burnt-out funeral torches, to mark the spot where Shelley’s heart (that ‘heart of hearts’!) lies in the earth; and, above all, the soil on which we tread is very Rome!

As I stood beside the mean grave of this divine boy, I thought of him as of a Priest of Beauty slain before his time; and the vision of Guido’s St. Sebastian came before my eyes as I saw him at Genoa, a lovely brown boy, with crisp, clustering hair and red lips, bound by his evil enemies to a tree, and though pierced by arrows, raising his eyes with divine, impassioned gaze towards the Eternal Beauty of the opening heavens.  And thus my thoughts shaped themselves to rhyme:

HEU MISERANDE PUER

Rid of the world’s injustice and its pain,
He rests at last beneath God’s veil of blue;
Taken from life while life and love were new
The youngest of the martyrs here is lain,
Fair as Sebastian and as foully slain.
No cypress shades his grave, nor funeral yew,
But red-lipped daisies, violets drenched with dew,
And sleepy poppies, catch the evening rain.

O proudest heart that broke for misery!
O saddest poet that the world hath seen!
O sweetest singer of the English land!
Thy name was writ in water on the sand,
But our tears shall keep thy memory green,
And make it flourish like a Basil-tree.

Borne, 1877.


keats-deathbed

A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

John Keats was a poet.

He inspired the film, Arterial.

Known for Endymion (1818), The Eve of St. Agnes (1800), and many more.

 

Categories
Visual art

Ethel Le Rossignol – Psychic Artist

13288621593_8fa5e0b8ea_qConsummation – Ethel Le Rossignol

Ethel Le Rossignol was a psychic artist who channelled beautiful paintings and drawings from the spirit world. I was lucky enough to see a rare exhibition of her paintings at the Horse Hospital in London.

Many of her paintings are on permanent display at the College of Psychic Studies in London. Each painting is a rich rainbow of floating figures adorned with thick golden paint.

ethellerossignolfull

From 22 February to 22 March 2014, The Horse Hospital in London, situated a hoof beat from Russell Square tube, showed a number of paintings by the medium Ethel le Rossignol.  Possessing mediumistic abilities, she created forty-four paintings between 1920 and 1933 which depicted her interpretation of the world of Spirit.  Twenty-one of these painting belong to the College of Psychic Studies (CPS) and were loaned for the exhibition, which was mounted in association with Mark Pilkington’s Strange Attractor. The exhibition was called A Goodly Company: Ethel le Rossignol, and the accompanying leaflet was subtitled ‘A series of psychic drawings given through her hand as an assurance of survival after death.’  The words were taken from her book the full, very full, title of which is A Goodly Company: A Series of Psychic Drawings Given through the Hand of Ethel le Rossignol as an Assurance of Survival After Death this Sequence of Designs is Shown to Open the Eyes of All Men to the Glorious World of Spiritual Power Which Lies About Them.  A Goodly Company was published in 1933 by The Chiswick Press, and a copy was on display at the exhibition. (1) Le Rossignol does not seem to have had much of a profile while she was alive; details of her life are sketchy, and those here are lifted from the exhibition leaflet… She died in London in 1970, aged 96. Her pictures were designed to represent a ‘story’ of spiritual evolution, as indicated in the book’s conclusion: To those who have followed the story of these pictures to this final page it can only be repeated that they were given as a joyful reassurance of the spiritual spheres, showing the archangels, the angels and the different creations – lower and higher – as man has slowly evolved through animal to man, from man to spirit, from spirit to angel and from angel to participator in the unveiled purpose of God. The pictures certainly are joyful, and while access to their meaning might be restricted to adepts of some kind, even those among us who are unenlightened can obtain a great deal of pleasure from these remarkable images. – Tom Ruffles

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Categories
Visual art

Doodle Tuesday

It’s Doodle Tuesday 🙂 I hope you enjoy this week’s doodles.

A doodle by Jay Snelling. 2014
A doodle by Jay Snelling. 2014
Sylvia made the journey from the flaming sea of plastic eyeballs, through the labyrinth of warm water and love, to her home: a hut in a tree, surrounded by life, with God above and soap raining down. But Sylvia felt trapped and restricted, catching her tears to give to no one in particular, until death comes to smash them out of their bottle. 2014. A doodle by Jay Snelling
Sylvia made the journey from the flaming sea of plastic eyeballs, through the labyrinth of warm water and love, to her home: a hut in a tree, surrounded by life, with God above and soap raining down. But Sylvia felt trapped and restricted, catching her tears to give to no one in particular, until death comes to smash them out of their bottle. 2014. A doodle by Jay Snelling
This couple are stuck in a pocket on a mountain. They are building energy collected from the moon. They could escape if they pushed the rods out but why would they want to leave? A doodle by Jay Snelling
This couple are stuck in a pocket on a mountain. They are building energy collected from the moon. They could escape if they pushed the rods out but why would they want to leave? A doodle by Jay Snelling