Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Tuesday 10th December - Advent Book Club 10

Winter Rain                                                      Memories

Every valley drinks,                                       and suddenly the music from 
        Every dell and hollow:                           'Messiah' is filling my head, as
Where the kind rain sinks and sinks,            Isaiah is one of the other things
        Green of Spring will follow.                   I am reading in Advent

Yet a lapse of weeks                                     As I drive along the lanes to the
        Buds will burst their edges,                  various village schools I visit 
Strip their wool-coats, glue-coats, streaks,     I notice the hedges and trees.
        In the woods and hedges;                                                                                                                                                               
Weave a bower of love                                I look for the first leaves in the   
        For birds to meet each other,                hedges, the first daffodils and 
Weave a canopy above                                primroses. 
        Nest and egg and mother.                    I watch the rooks rebuilding 
                                                                                     their nests, sitting on their eggs
But for fattening rain                                    
        We should have no flowers,                   
Never a bud or leaf again                           And there's a particular chestnut 
        But for soaking showers;                    tree by the road that I look for 
                                                                     to see the leaves explode from  
Never a mated bird                                   the buds, and the candle-flowers
        In the rocking tree-tops,                       growing tall.    
Never indeed a flock or herd
        To graze upon the lea-crops.

Lambs so woolly white,                                                 
        Sheep the sun-bright leas on,                      
They could have no grass to bite                 Today was a grey and dank and
        But for rain in season.                            wet and cold. So I didn't do 
                                                                     any 'nature appreciation'.
We should find no moss                              I had my head tucked into my 
        In the shadiest places,                           collar and my eyes half-closed
Find no waving meadow-grass                     against the horrible weather.   
        Pied with broad-eyed daisies;               I wonder what I missed seeing?

But miles of barren sand,                           When I was a teenager, my
        With never a son or daughter,            parents lived in Indonesia.
Not a lily on the land,                                  I remember the long haul flights
        Or lily on the water.                             (we used to stop in Bahrain back
                                                                    then!) across hours and hours
We should find no moss                              of what seemed like an
        In the shadiest places,                        un-ending desert - brown,
Find no waving meadow-grass                   sandy, red, grey... no greens,
        Pied with broad-eyed daisies;             apparently feature-less; 
                                                                                            nothing but
But miles of barren sand,                                     miles of barren sand
        With never a son or daughter,
Not a lily on the land,
        Or lily on the water.

Tuesday 10th December - Advent Book Club 9

The poem for Monday was utterly depressing; 

Vanity of Vanities


Ah, woe is me for pleasure that is vain,
Ah, woe is me for glory that is past:
Pleasure that bringeth sorrow at the last,
Glory that at the last bringeth no gain!
So saith the sinking heart; and so again
It shall say till the mighty angel-blast
Is blown, making the sun and moon aghast
And showering down the stars like sudden rain.
And evermore men shall go fearfully
Bending beneath their weight of heaviness;
And ancient men shall lie down wearily,
And strong men shall rise up in weariness;
Yea, even the young shall answer sighingly
Saying one to another: How vain it is!

and I really wasn't in the mood to accept an invitation to sink into despondency and nihilism.

Today - Tuesday evening - I'm also tired. These last few teaching days of term are going to be an endurance test, and meditating on negativity isn't going to be an encouragement.

Suddenly, just now, this came into mind;

's-o-o-lid joy and la-a-sting treasure' - you have to imagine me singing it to the tune 'Abbotts Leigh' while trying to work out how the verse starts... got it...it's the last verse of 'Glorious things of thee are spoken' by John Newton.

Saviour, if of Zion's city
I through grace a member am,
let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in thy name.Fading is the worldling's pleasure,
all his boasted pomp and show;
solid joys, and lasting treasure
none but Zion's children know.

Yes! Enough of that 'woe' and 'vain' and 'sighingly' stuff. Rise up! Look; the colours of the sunrise and the sunset proclaim the glory of the Lord and the promise of solid joys and lasting pleasure!

No pictures today - I'm having a problem uploading them, and although my technical advisor is right beside me, he is watching a favourite TV program and I don't want to disturb him until afterwards! 

UPDATE - my Technical Expert had a moment and worked his magic!


Sunday, 8 December 2019

Sunday 8th December 2019 - When seasons overlap

Today my birthday over lapped with Christmas, the one running late, the other starting early.

These sweet little lanterns are a late birthday present which was given to me earlier in the week. Today I was able to light them up with the most decadent tea-lights, battery operated, so they can sit among the bits and pieces without fear of fire, and operated by a REMOTE CONTROL.... oh wow!

My birthday flowers are still just about surviving too; I need to add water and remove the roses but everything else looks fine.

So, what's this about Christmas arriving early?

We met up with my brother  and my sister-in-law and my father for lunch today, and a partial Christmas present exchange. Partial, because not all Christmas presents were actually present for the occasion.

My sister-in-law has a real knack for choosing books for me. Previous choices have included a Wendy Cope anthology of poems, and 'Archbishop' by Michele Guinness. Today I have received this

which I will start reading tonights, no, hang on, should I wait until Christmas?

The latest knitted mouse is also in the photograph....