Wishing at Christmas

Though I’d so like to have you here in my arms

At this time of year with love all around

It’s foolish to think to add even more

With a lovely new baby all safe and sound

I thought of your voice, then sat back and smiled

At the beautiful emptiness of what I was wishing

The true gift of love is to see what you have

And not think a moment of what you are missing

Star Gazing

I look up into the clear night sky
Hoping to see you amongst unmoving stars
The Plough just above the horizon
Pointing up from Major to Minor
And then Polaris to guide you home
Safely past the Dragon of the firmament
Draco, with his flaming tail; with Orion
As your guardian, with belt and shining sword
Do you fly as Pegasus?  Alpheratz so proudly
Winged with silver mane untamed
But no.  You are Virgo, Demeter’s child
We do not see you ’til the Spring returns
East in the late evening, Corvus as your guide
Your feet on the horizon, bounty still in hand
I still wait, I still gaze, I still miss you so

Companions

DSCF0389
 
When we first saw her
As still as the willow
She watched the bright water
Making songs o’er the stones
 
 
Then she was off, a small
Brown fletched arrow
Skimming the water
And darting away
 
 
But she returned
Patiently waiting
Til sighting more fish
Sped her rapid wings
 
 
We silently watched her
Over the stream
Our own tiny huntress
Our Alcyon Artemis
 
 
At one with the river
As we were for those days
The silent companion
Who shared our retreat

L’ Ombra Della Sera – The Shadow of The Night

A man of the shadows

I liked to walk the streets by night. My only companions rats and cats. They shared my grey visage, my silent movements, my unseen observations of The Folk. The Folk, those clumsy noisy prattling herds whose lives are only half lived, I despaired of them then. I despair of them now.

Where are My People now? Lost and gone. We once held sway over great dominions, our words, our very thoughts, were sought out and taken heed of. Not now. Not for a very long time, even in my reckoning of time.

We were as ancient as the stars. Our path had always been enlightenment, to guide the spirit along its path, to bring the knowledge of the Way to all who would hear. We previously lived within the forests, spirits to all who would see. We tended our duties and gave succour to all. Animals, plants, birds of every variety were guided and lived out their days according to their nature.

It started in the Time of Man. Man appeared. At first a tremulous, pale and timid creature, though curious and questing. They soon began to develop their own communities, at first small and held together for common good, but later the first signs of their malignant curse began to show. Unnatural we thought them then, and feared they would destroy themselves with their greed. We little thought that their way would be to destroy all else before themselves.

Some Folk of course would be guided, all unknowing, and seek the Light, explaining the wonders with their halting words and bringing others to the Way. But many saw the path as just another means to power over their brethren, corrupting goodness into vice, and giving preference to those who shared their views. Great Empires and great Religions rose and fell, each containing within itself the seeds of its own destruction, but another and another soon arose. The virtues of Folk were in their indomitable spirit, their refusal to be diminished despite the awful conditions that were imposed or visited upon them. This grace alone commended them to My People and we continued to guide them where we could or when they would hear us.

All too soon though they began to seek further shores and even to subjugate others of their own kind. Oh, they made justifications for all their actions. This man was less than me because of his belief, this other because of his colour, and another because his simplicity enabled me to enslave him.

They were unable to see that often those subjects contained within them the very path they should have followed. And worse still many subjects when freed from tyranny sought themselves to enslave others as if they had no knowledge of injustice in their hearts. These truths confounded us.

This is when My People began to fade away. The shining spirits diminished along with the Rise of the Folk. Their greed for riches beyond what they needed for a good life started to destroy the very fabric of the world. A darkness began to spread along with every tree that died, with every animal lost, with every plant that flowered no more. Our forests declined, burned not by Nature’s fires but by The Folk. Or torn up by the roots and discarded. We found that where ever The Folk spread their ways nature suffered.

At first the bounty of the Earth could contain all that was asked of it. It had after all lived many millennia and held within it all the treasures of the ages. Eventually though it started to become too great a burden. Minerals laid down were ripped from the earth and crafted into machines of destruction. The Folk outdid the worst of Nature’s disasters and if along the way others of their kind perished they took no heed. The very children became sick and ill and still they did not see the error of their ways.

Because of this My People lost heart. The shadows lengthened. If few believe then Truth dies. If no one listens the sounds become stilled. If no one sees the Light becomes lessened. The guiding spirits of woodland and glade were there no more. My People were lost. I alone now remain amongst The Folk, unheeded and unheard except by a few.

Yes a few enlightened Folk have raised their voices against the Greed. But too few and too late I fear. I say to the few that remain to hear, “Whatever Path you choose to walk, let me be the light that will light your way. Wayfarer that you are, You must fare well along the way with Love and Joy, to be kneaded to be fit for the Divine.”

My words may still be heard. My spirit still is there to guide you. My Light though is sadly dimmed.

Beware. I walk amongst you still but I have become The Shadow of The Night.

Seasons

Apart after so many days together

Where have you gone my travelling cloud

Moving over fields anew, but thinking

I will not forget to come back

Though Summer is coming to an end

And Autumn’s seas are cold and grey

 

We walk without immediately

Beginning to talk together

A sharp wind stirs the tree tops

With a rustle, like a sigh

Which hangs in the Winter air

Before falling back to silence

 

I look unseen at your wind-blown hair

Delighting in your unconscious beauty

You are looking, as always, at the wild scene

And the wilderness is looking back at you

Knowing when the Spring comes

The sea will be bluer than the skies above

Patty Pan and the Sicilian Aubergine Mystery

Like many cooks I fear, I do have a habit of lighting upon something that looks very interesting, buying it in a fit of enthusiasm and then forgetting all about it until the fridge thins out and reveals all.

This usually coincides of course with an absence of a few days, and returning home after all the shops have shut!  Thus it was yesterday, and my fresh supplies were running low.  Low enough to reveal though some delicious, albeit unusual combinations to try.  I had been given a few days earlier a Yellow Patty Pan squash and my enthused purchase had been a  wonderful globular Sicilian Aubergine, resplendent in pinkish purple and white.

Sicilian Aubergines

Sicilian Aubergines (Photo credit: designwallah)

To this I thought I had little enough to add, but some rooting about found a few organic supplies still unconsumed.  A carrot, some fresh ginger, a solitary green bean from the allotment, some smoked garlic and a tin of chopped Italian tomatoes along with a packet of Mozzarella.

I am, I freely confess, an Organic produce aficionado.  It may be more expensive (but not always) It may look sometimes a bit misshapen and irregular  (well so do I and what the heck!)

I waste very little of my produce purchases, in fact anything in the way of off-cuts is always destined for the compost anyway so you could say what goes around comes around, as the late, great Bob Marley said!

Anyway, enough prattling and on to the important stuff, FOOD!

Ingredients for 4 hungry people:

One Sicilian Aubergine, topped and then quartered longways and then into further 10 mm slices;  one Patty Pan Squash, topped and tailed, then cut in half across ways and the seeds scooped out, then into 20 mm slices;  one carrot;  2″ fresh ginger peeled;  one green runner bean, cut into 20 mm diagonal chunks;  smoked garlic, 2 fat cloves, just crushed;   1 x 400 ml tin Italian chopped tomatoes; A 275 g packet of organic Mozzarella;  Olive Oil; dried Oregano; 400 g of broad ribbon pasta like Pappardelle or similar, sea salt.

Medium heat your oil in a high sided fry pan, then add the aubergine slices turning to coat with oil (you may need to add a little oil to the later slices).  Keep the heat down to prevent charring and sprinkle the aubergines slices liberally with oregano turning to ensure even distribution.  It is the addition of oregano to aubergine dishes that gives them that Taste of Sicily!  Then add your Patty Pan and stir in gently.  Allow them to get acquainted at a low temperature while you open the tomatoes, pour yourself a glass of wine, etc., etc………………….

When the mix has nicely softened add the chopped tomatoes and the crushed garlic, stir and simmer.  Then using the fairly coarse side to your grater (I bought an OXO one recently and found it great, although a danger to unwary fingertips!) grate first the ginger in and stir well, then the carrot and stir that well in too.  Finally add your green bean!  Allow to simmer ’til the bean is al dente.

With your pasta water (I always put a little salt and olive oil in too) at a rolling boil, add your Pappardelle and ease into the water.  While it is cooking to the famous Al Dente stage, drain the brine from your Mozzarella packet and tear the soft cheese up, scattering it over your simmering dish.

Drain the pasta well and serve with it surrounding the gloriously coloured dish.  If you, and I suspect you won’t, have any left it makes an equally delicious cold Antipasti  for lunch the next day.

Buono Appetito!

Just before the Mozzarella!

Just before the Mozzarella!

Going Slowly Into The Light

One finds in every love a pure clear light

Celestial in its beauty, like moonlight on snow

Its radiance takes away our doubts and fears

Opening the space between two souls

 

At our journey’s end where these truths lie

We can speak those things unsaid to all

Those words we lack courage to say

That we are all the world to each other

 

The pity is we fear we are too vulnerable

We travel slowly towards the light

But where its silvery brilliance falls

At last it is the gift of angels

Listening to the waves

seventh wave

I sometimes seek a strange detachment

A pretence that I never knew you

Then the sea pounds through me

A racing pulse, sounding the

Deep scales of the breakers

Then you are there once more

The waves even dream the future

I realise that I miss you so

That I really fear to keep you

Flooding my heart all the time

But, of course, I then recall

The seascape is a source of joy

Where I can see your face before me

Smiling with those impish eyes

And know that pretence was in vain

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – at Kentwell Hall, Suffolk

Kentwell Hall MND

Sunday afternoon saw me en route to Kentwell Hall, the delightful Tudor house nestling to the north of Long Melford in Suffolk.  The house and gardens, very much a home and not just a ‘Stately Home’ have been a favourite diversion of mine during the course of walks in the area for some time.

My purpose in visiting this time was not The Maze, the Ancient Yews, or the restored Icehouse but to see an open air production of my favourite Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by the GB Theatre Company.

Kentwell has now a tradition of staging open air plays, mainly Shakespeare and Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, using the wonderful house and gardens as both backdrop and “Exit: Stage Right (& Left!)”

Though the forecast had threatened showers, the day held fair; much to the relief of the audience seated around the simple ground-roped auditorium and the Players too!

The usual device of Theseus and Hippolyta playing both themselves and the Faerie King & Queen, Oberon and Titania worked well, thanks to the excellent Jonathan Mulquin and Rosalind Steele.  Doug McRobbie made an excellent Puck, his Scots accent lending an air of quite believable mischief to the part.

My favourites as always were the ‘Rude Mechanicals’ particularly Derek Howard, whose hammy Bottom (hmm that doesn’t sound quite polite does it?) stole the show, and Anil Kumar as both Flute and a reluctant Thisbe, a performance worthy of any great Panto Dame.

Puck’s errors and the ensuing rifts between lovers made for great comedy theatre and the final performance of the Mechanicals in the tragi-comic sub-play Pyramus and Thisbe was hilarious.

All in all a wonderful performance in superb surroundings and the magic of the play was perhaps best reflected in the faces of the many children there.  Clearly captivated by, what was for many of them, their first play it bodes well for the future, which many, I think wrongly, see as children’s imaginations being dominated by computer games.

Lord, what Fools these Mortals be!