June My whole life Will never get past “June”
June, when my heart died When my poetry died
When my lover Died in romance’s pool of blood June,
the scorching sun burns open my skin
Revealing the true nature of my wound June,
the fish swims out of the blood-red sea
Toward another place to hibernate June,
the earth shifts, the rivers fall silent
Piled up letters unable to be delivered to the dead
Translated to English from Chinese by Chip Rolley. Shi Tao. a journalist and the author of this poem was imprisoned by the Chinese Government after forwarding to an overseas website a document from Chinese government censors warning their media not to report on the 15th anniversary of the June 4 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and 2 years’ deprivation of political rights. Although he remains in prison his poem is free and is following the Olympic torch around the world. International PEN, the worldwide writers’ organisation, are campaigning for the release of around 40 writers currently imprisoned in China. Shi Tao is one of them. Please share this poem.
It doesn’t seem like summer but here are a few photos taken in my garden that may convince you that it really is May, well nearly the end of May to be exact. Do you like the buttercups photos? I want to speak up in praise of buttercups but first I will own up to digging up ever so many before I became poorly with this virus. The ones that escaped my fork have flowered in abundance and I have to admit that they are beautiful and their yellow so cheering. So in their honour I have entitled this blog In praise of buttercups. They did have to be thinned out though because, as you know, they would take over if left to their own devices. But is anyone like me, a softie where plants are concerned? Anyone else feel a pang of guilt when they pull weeds?
I also love the bluebells at the moment they are in flower. This is a pic of a wood near here.
Buttercups among the Granny's Bonnets, Columbines, Aquilegiae, call them what you will.
June is beckoning with heady promises of delight to come. Warm evenings, family meals in the garden, late night forays and magical moonlight vigils by the river. Is She all talk I wonder? You can never trust Her even if she comes carrying bouquets of roses, (she knows I am a sucker for those).
I will let you into a secret now, just between you and me. I am not enamoured with Her as She usually brings armloads of grass pollen that render me breathless. To be honest, and I am going to be contrary now, such is my habit, Hers is the month that I am most likely to be found hiding away indoors, trying to escape the allergen-infested air that surrounds Her and the cottage as the farmers, (God bless them all), grow and harvest their seemingly ever-so-large fields of hay. (That sentence was far too long). In June I am most likely to be found looking dreadful, feeling depressed and to anyone who encounters me I am dangerously irritable. So I welcome any May rains. I see Her raindrops dampening down the rising pollen grains and making for me and for some of the female members of my family, a ‘kinder’ hay fever season. There has to be some advantage to this poor weather we are having doesn’t there?
Everything is growing like mad. That is the way of May I suppose. All the plants seem to be drinking in every fluid ounce of the rain which has been falling in abundance this week and I have never seen the area looking so green; it reminds me of Ireland. Torrents of the wet stuff are meant to be coming our way later today and possible thunderstorms.
Talking of which: last week S, my son, narrowly
escaped being struck by lightning as he stood polishing his boots by the open window of his first floor flat. He lives in a local market town and the lightning struck literally right in front of him, its accompanying thunder deafening him for a while. Everyone’s Sky boxes were blown but that was nothing, it was lucky no-one was hurt.
(Thanks to the guardian angel who was protecting him that evening).
A, my dear son-in-law, has ploughed our field this week so that will be a blessing - no pollen blowing my way from outside the cottage. M is to go round with his metal detector which is very exciting. There is the remains of a Roman Road diagonally crossing our field and I think that will be the area M will concentrate on. A medieval loom weight was discovered there a few weeks ago (see earlier blog) so I am very hopeful that more treasures might be unearthed.
The ploughed field that heralds the reduction in pollen this year and a chance to dig for artefacts.
M’s wonderful photographs.
Guardian angels and the spirits who watch over us.
The written word.
I was meditating on words in bed this morning, as you do. How, when you boil it down, they are just squiggles, lines in a particular shape that convert to everyone’s particular language. How they can mean so much, everything really to writers and readers, lovers of their very being.
Some words have been uplifting for me this week as I have been running on empty. Some were blogged, some in emails, some in good books of course.
I’ll finish with a good book then, the late Nuala O’Faolain’s memoir Are You Somebody? I am enjoying every one of the squiggles in this one.
Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Did duit,