LINDISFARNE – Holy Island

Lindisfarne – Off the North-West coast of England in Northumbria

Below is a selection of sketches and photographs based on my previous visits to this beautiful historic and sacred island off the North Sea coast of England

Stanley Spencer – A Happy Resurrection

Photograph of Spencer at work in Cookham Village … by WHB . . . 1957

Stanley Spencer, CBE RA (1891 – 1959)was an English painter. Shortly after leaving the Slade School of Art, Spencer became well known for his paintings depicting Biblical scenes occurring as if in Cookham, the small village beside the River Thames where he was born and spent much of his life. Wikipedia

The sleepers awake
from an imagined death
A teasing adventure in insubstantial earth

Pram pusher extraordinaire
in the Village that lit up his life
inspired his vision
Trundled easel hearse
put to work in progress
To see, to feel, to breathe
destiny on the village green
The past become the present
resurrected in tranquillity
Life-lite under the churchyard yew
this moulded flesh – full featured
bringing joy from the stern grave
Life’s resurrection imagined
in hope and the churchyard
in his eyes and his pigment
Drawn and deified
Death and Resurrection as Spring
As buttercups in the greenest of fields.


The sleepers awake
from an imagined death
A pleasing adventure in insubstantial earth

Stanley Spencer: ‘The Resurrection, Cobham … 1924-27. Tate Gallery

The Grass Above His Grave

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 The end of World War I took effect on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.  The inscription on this war grave in the churchyard of St.Mary’s, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, commemorates the short life of Private F.J . Harvey of the Middlesex Regiment, who sadly died just 12 days before this.
He was 18 years of age.

The Grass Above His Grave

And the grasses sway above his grave,
Reminding me of what he gave,
Of hopes as his new life began,
No more a boy, nor yet a man.

*     *     *

The promises of a war, just ended,
Lay before him, starkly spread.
Tempting him to rejoice
In the swollen face of victory.

A life to live, a promise to keep,
Beckoned his youth to greater glory,
But time and life were not for him,
Nor was death a friend.

They conspired to rob him of
The future he had bought,
And, in victory, the fate of so many
Became his own fate too.

*     *     *

And the grasses sway above his grave
Reminding me of what he gave
Of hopes as his new life began
No more a boy, nor yet a man. 

 

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Photos: WHB-2020  …  ©

Murder In The Cathedral – Two-Word Tale #14

The Cathedral

‘The Cathedral’ (detail): WHB – Pen & Wash

Murder In The Cathedral

Agog
With awe
And gripped
With fright
How can
I last
For one
More night

My awe
My fear
Hold me
In thrall
A lasting
Longing
Curtain call

I sleep
I dream
I know
My place
‘Tis full
Of pain
With-out
God’s grace

For all
My sins
I can’t
A-tone
I’m lost
I’m gone
I am
Mere bone

Des-pair
And dread
Are my
Mill-stone
Worn as
Penance
On my
Head-stone

——–

To you
Who now
Will hear
My story
I pray
You will
My fate
Be-moan 

——–


 

History generally lays the blame for the murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, on his former close friend, King Henry II, who, in 1174, did penance at Becket’s tomb in Canterbury Cathedral. 


 

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Christmas – Three Haiku of Hope

 

round brown wooden lanterns

Photo by Pradipna Lodh on Pexels.com

Christmas brings good cheer
But not to all God’s children
Pray time will change that.

Long has it been said
Hope came down at Christmas time
May that be true now

May Christmas bring love
As once it brought Lord Jesus
This Hope still remains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shaftesbury and Sherborne

[ Photo Gallery # 101 ]

Shaftesbury (in Dorset) and Sherborne (in Wiltshire) are towns only about 12 miles apart in South West England – in the area formerly part of Wessex. Both are charming historic towns with much to offer the visitor. Perhaps the best known features of these two market towns are the picturesque Gold Hill in Shaftesbury and the magnificent Abbey in Sherborne. I include just a few photographs of these two features in my Gallery below.

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Gold Hill is a steep cobbled street in the town of Shaftesbury. It is famous for its picturesque appearance; the view looking down from the top of the street has been described as “one of the most romantic sights in England.” The image of this view appears on the covers of many books about Dorset and rural England, as well as on chocolate boxes and calendars and Television advertisements.

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Gol Hill, Shaftesbury

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The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin at Sherborne is usually called Sherborne Abbey. It has been a Saxon Cathedral (705–1075), a Benedictine abbey (998–1539), and now, a parish church.

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Majorca – Palma and Valldemossa

 [ 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.

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The photographs below were taken during my visit to the island in 2006 . . .

Majorca (1)
The sea approach to Palma – early morning
Majorca (8)
 Santa María Cathedral  in Palma
Majorca (11)
Palma with the hilltop Bellver Castle
Majorca (12)
View of Palma from the nearby heights
Majorca (13)
Santa María Cathedral – from my coach window
Majorca (14)
The hills around Valldemossa
Majorca (15)
View of Valldemossa village
Majorca (16)
La Vila De Valldemossina – Entrance
Majorca (17)
View from Valldemossa
Majorca (18)
Room in the Charterhoue, Valldemossa
Majorca (19)
Bust of Chopin at the Charterhouse
Majorca (20)
During a Chopin piano recital at the Charterhouse
Majorca (21)
Ceramic plaque telling the story of Saint Catherine in Valldemossa
Majorca (22)
Ceramic telling the story of Saint Catherine in Valldemossa
 

. . . and Love Will Not Cease

 

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‘The Good Shepherd’ – Burne-Jones – Stained G;ass – Frome 

When life ends in tears
Memory holds Heaven’s key
And Love will not cease.

 

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I plan to re-commence my regular weekday posts from Wednesday 2nd May.

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