The Hills of my Childhood
The hills of my childhood
Mountains to me
Remain in my memory
And still I can see
Their contours throbbing
Against the bright sky
With every sigh.
I climbed, scrambled upwards
To grasp what they pledged
In heedless delight
My keenness knife-edged.
The summit had beckoned
Becoming my mission
My reason for living
My only ambition.
And as my heart pounded,
As upwards I raced,
It presaged my future,
The world that I faced.
To view from the summit
The expanse of my world
Was a glimpse of hereafter
When the Quietus comes
Then is the Night
The end of my Beginning
The start of The NEXT
That infinite Unknown
That never wished for Future
So far safely hidden
Forestalling the Pain
Though shrouding the Bliss
Of what has passed
By drawing Life’s Curtain
Its obscuring Haze
Over its ever-darkening Window
It becomes the Harbinger
Of that Unmapped Ocean
Horizon’s New Dawn
Only so am I granted
That indeterminate Vision
Of the meaning of Destiny
Of what lies NEXT
In hope of re-charging my old batteries I shall be taking a short break from blogging for the remainder of this week.
‘Roland’s Ragbag’ will renew its regular weekday postings from next Monday – 3rd September.
Nature’s steady hand
Its season’s sure permanence
Gives respite from doubt
As the dawn broke
In the pregnant East
And beams of burgeoning day
Stretched across the yellowed sky
The songbirds’ treetop threnody
Broke into my dream
Sleep giving way
And all too soon replaced
In that initial gentle awareness
Of life renewed once more
Its promise and its worries
Suddenly looming large
Within my newly unlocked consciousness
Potently recalling life’s commitments
Of my obligations
And accompanied by the knowledge
Of decisions to be made
Promises to be met
Expectations to be fulfilled
Only the guarantee of Nature’s steady hand
Of each day’s new dawn,
Of the cycle of each recurring season
Promising a prospect of its permanence
Thus bestowing respite from our doubts
[ Photo Gallery # 98 ]
The Fife Coast: 3
Kellie Castle, Cambo Gardens and Hew Lorimer
Kellie Castle is situated near Arncroach, about 5 kilometres north of Pittenweem in Fife on the Scottish East coast.
The castle is one of fairytale stone towers and stepped gables. The oldest parts are 14th century, but much of the rest of was refurbished and added to in the late 19th century by the Lorimers, a famous artistic family. Indoors can be found elaborate plaster ceilings and painted panelling, together with fine furniture designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, who spent much of his childhood at Kellie.
Not far away, near to St.Andrews, is the Cambo Walled Gardens. This Victorian walled garden has been brought up to date with the introduction of lovely woodland walks leading beside a sparkling burn down to the nearby sea.
[ # 92 of My Favourite Short Poems ]
Love’s Philosophy . . . By Percy Bysshe Shelley
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?—
See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?
[ # 91 of My Favourite Short Poems ]
‘Leda and the Swan’ by W.B.Yeats
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
The Irish poet, W.B.Yeats, wrote ‘Leda and the Swan’ in 1923, the year in which he was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature. Yeats, who had a great love of both folklore and mythology, chose to write his version of the story of Leda and the Swan as a Petrarchan sonnet. It tells the story of Zeus, the Father of the Greek Gods, and his seduction in the form of a swan, of Leda, daughter of King Thestius. One interpretation of the story as presented by Yeats, is to see its theme as a metaphor for British involvement in Ireland. Alternatively, it can be read as a generalised representation of the way western civilisation has developed. His choice to write the poem as a sonnet can also be viewed as an ironic comment, contrasting what is a rape with a poetic form normally associated with love and romance.
[ Photo Gallery # 95 ]
Málaga is a port city on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, known for its high-rise hotels and resorts jutting up from yellow-sand beaches. The photographs below were taken by me on a visit to the city in 2006 . . .
( Click on any photograph to open an enlarged view; click again to move on through the remaining enlarged photographs )
[ Photo Gallery # 94 ]
Palma is capital of the Spanish island of Mallorca (Majorca), in the western Mediterranean. The massive Santa María cathedral, a Gothic landmark begun in the 13th century, overlooks the Bay of Palma. West of the city, hilltop Bellver Castle is a medieval fortress with a distinctive circular shape.
Valldemossa , directly north of Palma, is a favourite stop for fans touring the island. The area is famous for one landmark in particular. That is the Royal Charterhouse, built at the beginning of the 14th century. Since the 19th century Valldemossa has been promoted internationally as a place of outstanding beauty. In the 1830s the Spanish government confiscated monasteries and the historic estate has since that time hosted some prominent guests. These have included the Polish composer Frederick Chopin and his lover, the pioneering French writer known by her pseudonym, George Sand. Every summer the monastery stages an acclaimed Chopin Festival, and visitors can tour the cells where the outrageous couple resided.
Despite problems encountered during their visit, their time there proved a famously creative period. While Sand’s book on Majorca has proved to be an enjoyable portrait of the island, Chopin meanwhile, although he realised whilst on the island that his sickness was incurable, wrote or completed some of his most loved works, including his Prelude in D flat major, appropriately known as the “Raindrop”.
Saint Catherine of Palma (1533–1574) was a Spanish nun canonised in 1930. She was born 1 May 1533 into a peasant family. She worked as a servant in a household in Palma where she learned to read and embroider, before joining the Canonnesses of St Augustine at the convent of St Mary Magdalene in Palma. She was visited by devils and angels, and went into ecstasy for the last years of her life. She died 5 April 1574 at Palma, Mallorca. The house in Valldemossa where she was born has become a shrine, and many houses in the village bear a plaque in her honour.
The photographs below were taken during my visit to the island in 2006 . . .