Christmas – Three Haiku of Hope

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Expectation Haiku

A birth is announced;

All is high expectation.

Christmas approaches.

The Promised One comes,

We hope for more than we dare

As history screams.

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 . . .

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The sea approach to Palma – early morning
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 Santa María Cathedral  in Palma
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Palma with the hilltop Bellver Castle
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View of Palma from the nearby heights
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Santa María Cathedral – from my coach window
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The hills around Valldemossa
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View of Valldemossa village
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La Vila De Valldemossina – Entrance
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View from Valldemossa
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Room in the Charterhoue, Valldemossa
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Bust of Chopin at the Charterhouse
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During a Chopin piano recital at the Charterhouse
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Ceramic plaque telling the story of Saint Catherine in Valldemossa
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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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Gotland, Sweden

[ Photo Gallery # 82 }

Gotland is Sweden’s largest island.  It is (approximately) 176 km (109 miles) by 52 km (32 miles), with a coastline of c. 800 km (500 miles) and a population of round about 58,003,  over 23,000 of whom live in Visby, the island’s main town.  The island has had a long and colourful history, due in large measure to its strategic position in the Baltic Sea.  Gotland’s main activities today centre around agriculture, food processing, tourism, and information technology services.  There is a small amount of heavy industry, particularly associated with concrete production from limestone which is mined on the island.

My photographs below were taken on a visit to the island in 2004.

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Gotland’s position on the Baltic Sea

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View across the roofs of Visby towards the Baltic Sea, with the ruins of the Saint Catherine church on the left. 

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View towards the Cathedral in Visby

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Visby Cathedral, now known as St. Mary’s Church

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View of Visby Cathedral’s towers from outside the city wall

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On the Baltic shore near Visby

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Interior of a reconstructed Viking Longhouse on Gotland

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Further view of the Interior of a reconstructed Viking Longhouse on Gotland

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Västerhejde Church on Gotland

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The Iron Age Stone Ship burial place at Gnisvärd.   Such stone ships are burial places for the chieftain of a village, built of many large stones, placed in the shape of a ship. The persons remains are cremated in a large bonfire and then placed in a vessel in the centre of the stone ship.  This one at Gnisvärd is Gotland’s second largest ship at 45 metres in length

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Another view of the Iron Age Stone Ship burial place at Gnisvärd. 

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Houses of God

FAITH

1AtStoweBucks

Stowe, Buckinghamshire

Strength in stone,
Hope in height,
Testament in time
Prove its lasting might.

2Selworthy-Somerset

Selworthy, Somerset

To those with faith,
Those who believe,
Those who rejoice,
And those who grieve.

3St Justin Church-Cornwall

St Just’s Church, St. Just in Roseland, Cornwall

Here present hope
And future need,
Through prayer and praise
Help fears recede.

4Yorks-Lastingham-Blacksmiths Arms

Lastingham, North Yorkshire

Church and chapel
Hold their place
In loving hearts,
With God’s good grace.

5Salisbury Sunset

Cathedral, Chichester, West Sussex

Cathedral cloisters,
Calm retreat,
Where stress and pain
With courage meet.

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St.Colman’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Cobh, Eire

Houses of God,
Built for prayer,
For those with faith,
Somehow, somewhere.

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Churchyard Blues– Five HAIKU

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Haworth Churchyard, Yorkshire.  The Brontes are buried in a vault inside the church , except Anne who was buried at Scarborough.   Pen & Ink Sketch – WHB, 1983    ©

 

CHURCHYARD BLUES – Five HAIKU

 

ACCEPTANCE:

Cradle of their births,
Shrouds for their future demise;
A place to belong. 

  

BELIEF:

To those with belief
Death does not come as an end;
With faith no one dies.

 

 HOPE:

Stay, hear, be silent;
Listen to the song thrush bring
Hope to the living

 

OPTIMISM:

Know, amongst these stones,
That life always precedes death;
Make the most of it.

 

 DOUBT:

If only God’s faith
Would strike my doubt ridden soul
I would die content.

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Aysgarth Churchyard, Yorkshire – Pen & Ink Sketch – WHB, 1981   ©

 

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Killarney

[ Photo Blog #54 ]

One of the highlights of my visit to the South West of Ireland in 2003 was a tour by horse-drawn Jaunting (or jaunty) Car of Killarney’s Muckross House and gardens and of the world famous Killarney National Park and its lakes and mountains.

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A still extant relic of the reign of Queen Victoria

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This nineteenth century Victorian mansion is set against the stunning beauty of Killarney National Park.

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The jaunty car taxi rank

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By Killarney’s Lakes and Fells

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A pause to take in the view

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The Ruins of Killegy Chapel

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In the graveyard of Killegy Chapel

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Wild flowers in the Graveyard overlooking the lake

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Tree growing inside the roofless nave of the chapel

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The roofless chapel

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Close-up view of a memorial – now open to the sky.

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Return to Mucross House

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