Happy belated Beltane..

To all of you a happy Beltane – for me my most favourite celebration, marking the beginning of summer and the flowering before the dying.

I hope that all that you wish for comes to fruition – just be careful what you wish for 😉

Blessed Be


Heron Rises from the Dark, Summer Pond  

So heavy is the long-necked,long-bodied heron,

always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings open
and she turns from the thick water,

from the black sticks of the summer pond,
and slowly rises into the air
and is gone.

Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath of happiness,
and I think how unlikely it is

that death
is a hole
in the ground,

how improbable
that ascension
is not possible,

though everything seems so inert,
so nailed back into itself –

the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the turtle, the fallen gate.

And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,

and therefore it isn’t a miracle
but the common thing, this decision,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,

this opening up of the heavy body
into a new life:

see how the sudden gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind;

see how the clasp
of nothing

takes her in.

Mary Oliver

Goddess of Small Things - Helena Nelson-Reed

In the Words of the Artist: “Goddess of Small Things is about caring for seemingly insignificant creatures; mice, moles etc. There are so many worthy causes, but there are also less dramatic issues and situations we confront everyday and in our own lives, the one place where one can make a difference. On a deeper level its about compassion for all beings, including those right beneath our feet and that make us squeamish. Also, caring for oneself and the parts of oneself that feel ‘unexceptional’ or less than desirable.”

be here now..


by Jeffrey Harrison

It’s a gift, this cloudless November morning
warm enough for you to walk without a jacket
along your favorite path. The rhythmic shushing
of your feet through fallen leaves should be
enough to quiet the mind, so it surprises you
when you catch yourself telling off your boss
for a decade of accumulated injustices,
all the things you’ve never said circling inside you.

It’s the rising wind that pulls you out of it,
and you look up to see a cloud of leaves
swirling in sunlight, flickering against the blue
and rising above the treetops, as if the whole day
were sighing, Let it go, let it go,
for this moment at least, let it all go.

Autumn - Hay Castle

This ancient building is at the heart of our small town and believe it or not there is a enormous book shop in the other, not so ruined, end of the castle.  For more information about it go here

Autumn - Hay Castle

May Your Embers Still Glow in the Morning..

I have started off the day firstly pleased, because the flu seems to have shifted itself and then secondly saddened after reading of the suicide of Elspeth Thompson.    I didn’t know of her at all, although I may have read one or two of her Observer articles without realising.

However, reading her obituary, I was struck by how much I wanted to have had her life.  The great education, the travel, fashion sense , creativity, the writing of books and articles for major newspapers, lots of wonderful things to have had in a life, in fact to me, it sounded like the perfect life – and then I read how she had died, a year older than me.  Feck..

For any of you out there who still think that depression is  ‘all in the mind’, something imaginary – that we have power over and is all about self-pity, that it can’t cause physical symptoms, or that it is something to be ashamed of – think on..

Depression thrives in the dark, in the secret, on shame and self-hatred, it likes you to be ashamed of it and try to cover it up.  It likes to be alone and silent, a huge, yellow, invisible bruise that covers your body and soul. It also likes anger and irritation, sarcasm and hatred and pain. It will try to remove you from every person who you have loved or who loves you.  It likes to hide and lurk in your body, showing itself in symptoms similar to other diseases, fatigue, sleeplessness, aching limbs, wearing you down like a great vulture on your back.  It will lift off for a while, just giving you time enough to think yourself free, before settling once more and taking itself another strip of flesh..

What it doesn’t like is openness and understanding.  It hates mindfulness – it wants you to dwell on the past and worry about the future.  It hates love, self-love, self understanding, thankfulness, tenderness, kindness, fresh air, people moving, talking, caring, companions, laughter, optimism, patience,  hope..

If you are out there reading this and haven’t got it already – please seek help.

A poem from Elspeth’s blog..


  1. by Thomas Clark

    May the best hour of the day be yours.
    May luck go with you from hill to sea.
    May you stand against the prevailing wind.
    May no forest intimidate you.
    May you look out from your own eyes.
    May near and far attend you.
    May you bathe your face in the sun’s rays.
    May you have milk, cream, substance.
    May your actions be effective.
    May your thoughts be affective.
    May you will both the wild and the mild.
    May you sing the lark from the sky.
    May you place yourself in circumstance.
    May you be surrounded by goldfinches.
    May you pause among alders.
    May your desire be infinite.
    May what you touch be touched.
    May the company be less for your leaving.
    May you walk alone beneath the stars.
    May your embers still glow in the morning.


Each one is a gift, no doubt,
mysteriously placed in your waking hand
or set upon your forehead
moments before you open your eyes.
Today begins cold and bright,
the ground heavy with snow
and the thick masonry of ice,
the sun glinting off the turrets of clouds.
Through the calm eye of the window
everything is in its place
but so precariously
this day might be resting somehow
on the one before it,
all the days of the past stacked high
like the impossible tower of dishes
entertainers used to build on stage.
No wonder you find yourself
perched on the top of a tall ladder
hoping to add one more.
Just another Wednesday
you whisper,
then holding your breath,
place this cup on yesterday’s saucer
without the slightest clink.

– Billy Collins

Not So Exciting, but Interesting..

It’s interesting watching the way events play out.  After yesterdays excitement,  the people who were going to buy our bed to enable the plane ticket purchase have backed out, at least for the mean time, so we shall just have to exercise our patience a bit longer.  I am very much not bothered by this and actually – I love our bed and was not looking forward to seeing it go so soon.  So it’s all good.  And it will all happen when the time is right..


My good friend Kate, who lives in Wellington, is getting married in April this year and is looking for a extra special poem to read at the ceremony.  This is her request of me:

I loved the Wild Geese poem you put up, and it got me thinking. I’ve been trying to find something for one of Colin’s siblings to read at our wedding, but I can’t seem to find anything that isn’t too mushy or archaic or god-ish or been used at a million other weddings. I wonder if you might know of something. I’m not sure exactly what I want, but something about love or relationships I guess, something different, maybe funny, could be modern could be old… Dunno – any ideas gratefully received!

I had a thought that someone out there in interweb land might be able to help – so leave a comment if you can, most appreciated.

And talking of poetry, here is one for older love.

from Twenty-one Love Poems

Since we’re not young, weeks have to do time

for years of missing each other. Yet only this odd warp

in time tells me we’re not young.

Did I ever walk the morning streets at twenty,

my limbs streaming with a purer joy?

Did I lean from any window over the city

listening for the future

as I listen here with nerves tuned for your ring?

And you, you move toward me with the same tempo.

Your eyes are everlasting, the green spark

of the blue-eyed grass of early summer,

the green-blue wild cress washed by the spring.

At twenty, yes:  we thought we’d live forever.

At forty-five, I want to know even our limits.

I touch you knowing we weren’t born tomorrow,

and somehow, each of us will help the other live,

and somewhere, each of us must help the other die.

Adrienne Rich

Wild Geese

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.       Mary Oliver

A Train of Moods like a String of Beads..

It is Friday evening and we have a weekend of socialising coming up. I have to admit, although thankful to be invited, I am not feeling in the best mood for it.

Tomorrow night we have a 50th birthday party to go to out in the country, we are supposed to be taking a tent and staying the night but that is unlikely to happen.  I have my Mother coming to stay with me for four days from Monday and if we take a tent to the party I will be quite likely to stay up most of the night, especially if there is a fire blazing to sit around.  Which would not be conducive to feeling great Monday morning at 8am when Ma is arriving. Any form of over drinking and under sleeping takes me at least two days to get over now, I am getting old and have to pick my moments to play up.

We also have our book club meeting on Sunday evening. It is taking the form of a pot luck dinner this time as well as a movie viewing. I can’t guarantee that I will be in the best of spaces if I have been up too late, drinking wine the night before….

So here I am, already worrying about things that have not happened yet, and in the process, spoiling what is happening now. Ha, ha –  caught myself!

Dinner is in progress and smells wonderful, the evening is golden and green. I have all I need now and more than enough. Life is good and I am thankful.

I read this lovely quote the other day when I was thinking about art and about how our perception of a work of art changes depending on what is happening within and without of ourselves.

“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads and as we pass through them

they prove to be many coloured lenses, which paint the world their own hue,

and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday Lite

Cheese Hound Report

Although a lot better in most respects, Titch has taken to weeing inside. Cannot seem to last an evening anymore. I will be talking to Richard the vet tomorrow and see what he thinks.

Favourite Poems

Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep A Gun In The House

The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.

Billy Collins

Vintage Picture

vintage animals 409

..and maybe you don’t need that skin anymore

I love Kris Delmhorst. She just really does it for me. Summer Breeze is my fave song of hers – and I used to listen to it over and over. Must have been the space I was in at the time. It’s funny how you find certain songs that just seem to fit the circumstances , the words relate – or sometimes not,  many years ago I had a friend who killed himself and now every time I hear Neil Young’s  Harvest Moon, I think of David. And Harvest Moon has NOTHING AT ALL to do with suicide. Weird.

There are a couple of things about this song I love in particular.  The image of building your own shell to hide in, I can get with that. But then of course – if you don’t feel the bad you also can’t feel the good, and there is sooo much good out there. And then there is the bit about safety, it is totally an illusion that can stifle us if we let it.

summer breeze

Once you’ve been bitten
You get a little bit shy
Start looking round for any place that you can hide
Once you’ve been naked
You get a thick thick skin
Build it up layer by layer and you climb on in

And then you’re wrapped up oh so tightly
That I don’t think you feel a thing
No sting of snowflakes, no kiss of angel’s wings
And maybe you don’t need that skin anymore
Maybe if you took it off you would not have to breathe
Maybe air would just flow in and out of you as it pleased

Look at all the heaviness
And the weight in this world
Put an old lady backbone in a little baby girl
Left no room for no lover
Left no time for no friend
Just a little voice saying never never never again

But if there’s no such thing as safety
And if there ain’t no guarantee
Maybe the coast is just as clear as it is ever gonna be
And maybe you don’t need that skin anymore
Maybe if you took it off you would not even have to breathe
Maybe air would just flow in and out of you as it pleased

Like a summer breeze
Don’t you want to feel the breeze
Don’t you want to feel it now
Sweet summer breeze

lyrics & music by kris delmhorst © 1998 big bean music/ASCAP