The Lark Ascending

The Lark Ascending

THE LARK ASCENDING

 

As the morning lark ascends 

So my spirits fly,

Replaying my life. 

The memories spill

Across the cloudless sky,

And I consider time well spent 

Because it was spent with you.

And what the future has in store 

Holds no fears for me. 

The past was rich; 

We caught the wind,

Soared with each new gust,

Through dips and dives

We stayed alive.

Fruition came anew.

With each new swoop,

Each twist and turn,

A new path was revealed.

We that were two

Are now as one,

Our destinies are sealed.

 

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A poem written to keep in my memory the thoughts engendered by the music played at my wife’s funeral eight weeks ago today.  Composed by Vaughan Williams, ‘The Lark Ascending’ was very much her favourite piece of classical music.  The version used was played on the violin by the Scottish violinist, Nicola Benedetti, and can be heard on YouTube at: ‘The Lark Ascending’

 

 

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My Dancing Heart

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My heart has danced
has trembled to the music of time
has rejoiced in the moment
throbbed in both joy and pain

I’ve moved to the music
done all that
travelled where no one has been before
listened to the wind
whispered to the trees
sighed with the sea
in its motion-hungry fervour
and trembled with the waves
as they shuddered towards the shore

I have given my time to the poetry of life
sung its stanzas
rhymed with its lusting lilt
in tune with its echoing cadences

Now in the fullness of my seasons
I recline and muse
over time passed by

Is it to be experienced again
does renewal with the Spring follow
perhaps
in another life
whilst this one fades

The gaps which are left
the shreds in the curtain of my hopes
tear through the seams of my mind
crossing the border into
the parallel worlds in which
my existence lives on
matching my movements
mirroring the moments
since birth in the old
to death in the  now
thus bringing on the new

And my heart now murmurs
to itself
in mockery and mime
bridging the chasm
that separates this world from the next

 

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Saudade

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‘Saudade’: 2017 –  Photograph used with kind permission of AK  ©

 


Saudade‘ is a Portuguese word which does not have a direct equivalent in English. It is usually described as ‘a nostalgic longing to be near something or someone that is distant, or that has been loved and lost’  or as ‘the love that remains’ after someone or some place is gone. In its wider sense it conveys feelings, of experiences, places, events that once brought pleasure, but which now trigger the senses and make one live again, although often with an underlying sense that the object of longing will never return.

Several pieces of music have been composed which attempt to convey such feelings of nostalgia and melancholy, mostly by the Brazilian composers for the classical guitar. One of my favourite pieces of guitar music is the ‘SAUDADE’ composed by Diermando Reis.  I have used it here to accompany my poem.  It is played beautifully with great tenderness and technique, by the French classical guitar maestro, Frédéric BERNARD (“Cyrloud”).

I encourage viewers to turn up the volume, then click on this YouTube video link to the music which will open the video in a separate window.  If you then return to this main screen window you will be able to read the poem whilst the music is playing . . .

Guitar from Brazil: Eterna Saudade, Dilermando Reis

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SAUDADE

I retain
a longing that never leaves
a love that heeds
neither present
nor future
but clings to the past
as suckers of ivy
cleave to my crumbling walls
as the unceasing tide
embraces
the shore

and, as the guitar’s
velvet fingerings
hold me in their thrall
its mellow notes
take me
to that soft spring time
of my youth
when life had begun
to take on meaning
memory then
had no significance
and zeal and lust
freshly formed
were all

now
those times long past
remain with me
brighter than yesterday
clearer than today
the music returns me
to that other time
that other place
bound by hiraeth
bringing with it
regret
for opportunities gone
for loss of that distant
loved land
and people

enchanted in memory
and now
all too bitingly missed
loved
lost
and longed for
… saudade

 

AmorSaudade

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Sidmouth, Devon #3

To round off my visits to Sidmouth on the Jurassic Coast of South Devon,  I add just a few more of my photographs taken there last month . . .

 

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Railway poster from the early 20th Century

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The annual Folk Festival takes place in the early part of August. Ad hoc groups of musicians can be found throughout the town and seafront – just enjoying themselves

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. . . and throughout the rest of the year too.

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‘The Sidmouth Fiddler’ – reminder of the Folk Festival in Connaught Gardens

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Splendid croquet courts along the sea front – often used for National and International competitions.

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‘When Evening Shadows Fall’ … an elongated cameraman!

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… To the top of Jacob’s Ladder

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Views from the top of Jacob’s Ladder

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The River Sid runs through the centre of the town

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Grief’s Threnody

On 4th June, The Isle of Barra came together as “one big family” to celebrate the life of  14 year-old Eilidh Macleod, the “dear, beautiful” teenager who died in the Manchester bombing terrorist attack on 22 May.
Eilidh herself was a piper with Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band.

Return to Barra

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Coffin on the sands of Barra
Processed across the bay
Piped to eternity
By the winds of the Hebrides
Lost to the world
That nurtured her here
In youth still full of joy
At large on that southern stage
Whereon she was slaughtered
Bombed to death by bitterness
Unleashed unbidden on humanity
By senseless gross insanity
By gullibility beyond belief
Returned now in remembrance
A life’s peroration

Grief’s threnody
On love’s lasting hold on life

 

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St Petersburg

1Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage Museum from Palace Square

St. Petersburg is a Russian port city on the Baltic Sea. It was the imperial capital for 2 centuries, having been founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, subject of the city’s iconic “Bronze Horseman” statue. It remains Russia’s cultural centre, with venues like the ultramodern Mariinsky Theatre hosting opera and ballet, and the State Russian Museum showcasing Russian art, from Orthodox icon paintings to Kandinsky works.

Below is a gallery of some of my photographs of St. Petersburg taken during a brief visit in 2004

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Sea approach to St Petersburg from the Gulf of Finland

3St Isaacs cathedral

St. Isaac’s Cathedral

4Canal

One of the city’s many Canals

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Front façade of Catherine’s Palace

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Front façade of Catherine’s Palace – closer view

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Interior of Catherine’s Palace

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Grand Staircase – Interior of Catherine’s Palace

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Saint Petersburg Conservatory – Music School and ballet venue

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Saint Petersburg Conservatory – Music School and ballet venue; Statue of Tchaikovsky

12Moscow Truimphal Gate

The Moscow Triumphal Gate

13Monument To The Heroic Defenders of Leningrad

Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad

14The Bronze Horseman-Eternal Defender of St.P

The Bronze Horseman – Eternal Defender of St. Petersburg

15Sunset over St Petersburg

Sunset Over St. Petersburg

 

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The Torch I Carry

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‘The Depths Of The Sea’ (The Lure Of The Sirens’) … Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1881)

THE TORCH I CARRY

I carry a torch for the ocean,
In her relentless swell I am held;
My light will see me to the foreshore
Where vast wave and mild ripple meld.

For though my love’s unrequited,
As I walk on the shore by the sea,
The sight and the sound of her motion
Bring solace and hope back to me.

For when I watch her crescendo
Its beauty and force I admire;
The sigh and the roar of her surges
Are those of a celestial choir.

My heart is in thrall to her passion,
Her awesome breakers I ride;
White horses call me ever forward
To meet the turn of the tide.

And when she is still as a millpond
My senses respond in repose;
My life consummates in devotion,
All yearning brought to a close.

Yes, the lure of the Siren defeats me;
I am snared by her destructive song.

I have given my all to her beauty;
Now only to her I belong.

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Larkin – ‘Love Songs In Age’

(Poem No.36 of my favourite short poems)

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Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones … ‘Chant d’Amour’ Oil on canvas – 1868-87

LOVE SONGS IN AGE

She kept her songs, they kept so little space,
      The covers pleased her:
One bleached from lying in a sunny place,
One marked in circles by a vase of water,
One mended, when a tidy fit had seized her,
       And coloured, by her daughter –
So they had waited, till, in widowhood
She found them, looking for something else, and stood 

Relearning how each frank submissive chord
      Had ushered in
Word after sprawling hyphenated word,
And the unfailing sense of being young
Spread out like a spring-woken tree, wherein
      That hidden freshness sung,
That certainty of time laid up in store
As when she played them first. But, even more,

The glare of that much-mentioned brilliance, love,
      Broke out, to show
Its bright incipience sailing above,
Still promising to solve, and satisfy,
And set unchangeably in order. So
      To pile them back, to cry,
Was hard, without lamely admitting how
It had not done so then, and could not now.

By Philip Larkin

Re-printed from:  ‘Everyman’s Poetry’

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EBB TIDE

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‘Ebb Tide’ … WHB – 2017

EBB TIDE

The tide turns

As for me it wanes
I feel your presence

There
Where
For you
It begins
Its encroachment
Knowing you will be there
To welcome its  return
To follow its path
Waiting
Watching
Until bite by bite
Ripple by ripple
It will wash your words
Across oceans
To my shore

Here
Where
My foot printed
Passage
Replicates your own
And signs itself
With love

But in turn
That will come
For you
Too
And my own shells
Of words
Will flow
And flood
Where your bare feet
Choose to follow

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There is a beautiful song, composed by the American songwriter, Carl Sigman, called ‘EBB TIDE’.  I came across this beautiful and moving rendering of it by my favourite male voice a capella choir, The Westminster Chorus.  I have brought these to your attention in a previous blog.   please do listen to their version of ‘Ebb Tide’ at this YouTube link …

Click here to watch and listen.

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Then Will I Sing

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Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898) … St.Cecilia – Stained Glass – 2nd Presbyterian Church, Chicago

 

When time at last has caught its fearful breath
And I have cause to think again of you,
I will return to our far distant past
And then relive those old desires anew.

For when in trepidation I now pray
For health and strength in my remaining years,
Memories flood back of youthful days
When you and I brushed eyes and shed some tears.

Now, when hearts may meet and lips may touch,
And old less supple bodies bond in bliss,
Now, when you give to me your self in love,
Then will I sing and long remember this.

That youth and age together make a life,
Related sides of but a single page.
This truth becomes at last to us apparent,
Allows our hearts in love to re-engage.

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