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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Let Sleeping Ducks Lie

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Morning on the River Lowman, Devon … Photo: WHB – 2017  ©

 

LET SLEEPING DUCKS LIE

Pillowed heads
nestled
self-cushioned
oblivious
to my interference
in their down time

Dead to the busy world
and to my stare
my attempt
to disturb their lives
with my own

Our only mutual assurance
the comfort
of another sunrise
another day
to forage
to survive
to face
new concerns
different uncertainties

 The inbuilt plight
of all creation
fortified only
by a will
to endure
to survive
and thrive

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Inspiration

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Waters of the River Lowman, Devon – Photo:  WHB, 2017   ©

 

INSPIRATION

 

As Lowman meanders
hardly awake
over its pebbled bed
and as clear waters
give back the russet tones
of disturbed sand
of silt-stained rocks
so I muse

Imagination awakes
words flow
with the waters of the stream
transmuting my senses

into visions
of solitude
and silence
of grace in being
delight in life itself

These images
transposed
revisiting me now

with imprinted memories
of awe
of richness

felt in the bones of my youth
replicated now
in the dis-ease of old age

 

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A Broken Heart

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‘Hands On Heart’ Photoshopped  Photo: WHB – Sep., 2017

PALPITATIONS

When palpitations
of the heart
start
that sudden
gulp
that gasp for air

is it love
or lust
or life itself
forcing me to face
my future

that unwonted throb
unwanted gasp
those ensuing reverberations
erupted flutterings
flip-floppings

before I am returned
to that steady beat
that controlled thump
which promises
certitude

My heart
that part
of me
held dear
so near
yet no longer
steady
nor ready
to yearn
to long for
and to desire
to allow free reign
to emotion

now caution
rules
demands attention
ectopic beating
atrial contraction
call it whatever
heart-hiccups
love-stutters
heebie-jeebies
screaming habdabs
all one

palpitations
once a passion
now a symptom

a broken heart
is not
just love forgone
it is
a life in peril

 

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Scotland – 4 Lochs in the Southern Highlands

[ Photo Blog #51 ]

Mainland Scotland has 6,160 miles (9,910 km) of coastline.  Including the numerous islands, this increases to some 10,250 miles (16,500 km).  The west coast in particular is heavily indented, with long promontories separated by fjord-like sea lochs.  In addition to these, there are more than 30,000 freshwater lochs in Scotland.  I give below a selection containing a dozen of my photographs, taken in 2001, of just four of these inland lochs – Loch Earn, Loch Fyne, Loch Lawyers and Loch Voil – all in the southern reaches of the Western Highlands . . . 

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Loch Earn – from Achray House

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Sunrise on Lock Earn – 1

LochEarn3-Sunrise

Sunrise on Loch Earn -2

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Sunrise on Loch Earn – 3

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Sunset on Loch Earn

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Loch Fyne – towards Inverary

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Loch Fyne – 2

LochFynne2

Loch Fyne – 3

LochLawyers

Loch Lawyers

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Loch Voil 1

LochVoil03

Loch Voil – 2

LochVoil04

Loch Voil – 3

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Creative Occlusion

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‘Moon,Sea & Shore’ … Pen – WHB: Aug.2017

CREATIVE OCCLUSION

When the urge lies with me
To feed a need
With willing words
Then will my mind engage
With my pen
And satisfaction follow

But when that dire wound
Of vacuity descends to
Afflict my thoughts
Then I become
As the waves of the sea
Forever seeking to breast the shore
Forever conceding
To the pulse of the moon

 

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Il Dolce Far Niente

‘Il Dolce Far Niente’ translates as ‘Sweet Idleness’, ‘The sweetness of doing nothing’, or perhaps the feeling that doing nothing can be a positive rather than a negative ‘activity’.  The concept is Italian and appears to derive its meaning from the languor of life in those countries which enjoy a Mediterranean climate.

In view of the demands made upon us all in our modern world of hectic activity, where, for many, Facebook and Twitter command more attention than making face-to-face conversation, it seems appropriate for us all on occasion to take time out, to halt life’s frantic pace, to pause every now and again to enjoy our surroundings and our fellow human beings.

The concept matches well with the thoughts of W.H.Davies expressed in his famous poem   ‘Leisure’  (q.v.).   The idea has also long been a favourite subject of both poets and pictorial artists, particularly during the 19th Century.

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‘Dolce Far Niente’ by John Singer Sargent – 1907 (Brooklyn Museum, New York)

IL DOLCE FAR NIENTE

how mellow is the stillness
of a moment’s rest
the tranquility of a pause
to catch one’s breath

 merely to sit
and let life’s gladness in
to squander time
bask in the quietude
embrace serenity
and savour solitude

such dulcet times
are gifted to us
as blessings
to counter
life’s feverish pace
how pleasant to give in
let the world go 
without a fight
relax and let time pass
submit to lethargy
such rest is
cathartic
curative

in the moment
seek stillness
let life lapse
take time out from caring
to sit and look
relax and watch
unbend
allow the strain
to become becalmed

be still
in the silence of the day
give thoughts
the space to bloom
and eyes the time
to gaze

empower the present
and let it be enjoyed
for what it is
not for what will follow
for in the present
the past is severed
and be sure
the future
will have its day

look to the now
the sun, the moon
the stars, the sea
the wind, the rain
the warmth, the chill
ponder upon them
and upon life

or ponder not
just accept them
be glad
and be still

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 ‘Dolce Far Niente’ by John William Waterhouse – … 1880  (Kirkcaldy Galleries)

ETHEREE

ETHEREE

Today I am ‘having a go’ at the Etheree poetic form.  It is somewhat similar to the Cinquain and the Rictameter, both of which I have tackled previously.   The Etheree is a ten line form ascending in syllable count for ten unrhymed lines, and it should focus on a single idea or subject.    Thus the syllable count is in the form:  1.2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 
This can be altered to give a Reverse Etheree:  10.9.8.7.6.5.4.3.2.1.

The form is attributed to an American poet, Etheree Taylor Armstrong of Arkansas (1918 – 1994).  Little seems to be known of her life except the poetic form she devised.

Notes adapted from ‘The Poets’ Garret’ et al.  

I have attempted both forms below – on the subjects of ‘Idleness’  and  ‘Life’ …

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IDLENESS – A Reverse Etheree

Today I vow to spend in idleness,
to do no more than listen keenly,
allow the world to speak to me,
while I, in turn, consider
which way my life now  leads,
trying to find peace
within my mind
that will see
my life
through.

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LIFE – A Regular Etheree

Life,
in truth,
defeats me.
Midst storm and stress
I struggle to keep
that equilibrium
which holds me in its stillness,
waiting with some trepidation
for that final push to reach the stars
where my disquietude will cease to be.

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Verses and sketch by:  Roland (WHB)

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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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A Sign Too Far . . . TAKE 2

I have previously (See my blog entry of  February 16th 2017, …   ‘A Sign Too Far’  ) dealt with the modern day scourge which the multitude of signs and advertisements are to the pedestrian and to side-walks and pavements.  At that time I used my own photograph which I use again below to illustrate this different take on the same subject . . .

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A SIGN TOO FAR   . . .  TAKE 2

So often have I been
attacked by signs
Throughout the day
Plethora
Of signals
Face me as I walk
Innocuous one by one
But fearsome in phalanx
Threatening my advance
Discouraging my progress
Terrorising travel
Note to myself –
Beware
Be wary

A sign
Is a sign
Is a sign
I need to tell you that
I need to let you know
To say it loud and clear
Please notice me
Notice my notice
If I say it often enough
You are bound to notice
Allow me to grab
Your attention
And your money
Let me
tell you about myself
I’m not shy
Passer by
I’ll tell you why
Just shout it out
And cry
To the sky
Saying by the by
Please notice me
Please don’t go
You need to know
I’ve much to say
In every way
All through the day

Too much
Too far
I say
Just clear the way
And let me pass
Your sinister intent
Not heaven sent
You need me more
Than I need you
So please take notice
I refuse
To take notice
Of your notice.

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Photographs … WHB – 2017