Alexander Averin

Friday, 5 June 2009

New Discoveries and No Pain

Dear Diary,

Nothing is so beautiful as spring -- when weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush; Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring the ear, it strikes like lightning to hear him sing.

Gerald Manley Hopkins

It’s Friday!

Many blessings today. I had a good night’s sleep after going to bed at a reasonable time; for once I avoided Question Time as I was sleepy and felt I couldn’t take much more political discussion in these dark, dark days. My back is better thanks to my treatment on Wednesday and I spent the morning in the garden making a start on the Big Weed. I restricted myself to just a morning’s work but may have another little go this evening, it is quite enjoyable really and rewarding to see some plants once more! The sun shone but was not too strong so it was just perfect for me to get on with weed pulling. And all around me the birds were singing - I refilled their feeders as a reward. Best news of all is that I heard the cuckoo, it was very close by and cuckooing away madly.

I have many new finds to write about, the first is a new author who has written her first novel and it is on the shortlist for this year's Orange prize. It is The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey. I have only just started it but it is beautifully written, I will report back.

Isn't it a beautiful cover?

I am also reading Irma Kurtz’s new book About Time and enjoying it very much - all about growing old disgracefully.

Not such a great cover!

I am soon going to add a list to my blog sidebar of books that I would ‘force upon you’, ones that I think you really must read. I would like your suggestions as well so do let me know if you find any gems.

I saw another great programme last night on BBC4 that was part of their Poetry Season. It was presented by the great poet Owen Sheers and his subject was Lynnette Roberts, a Carmarthenshire poet (1909-1995 - born in Argentina of Welsh stock) who I am ashamed to say I had never heard of before. Dylan Thomas stole the limelight from her methinks. Here is a wee extract from the poem he featured.

From Llanybri

If you come my way that is...
Between now and then, I will offer you
A fist full of rock cress fresh from the bank
The valley tips of garlic red with dew
Cooler than shallots, a breath you can swank

In the village when you come! At noon-day
I will offer you a choice bowl of cowl
Served with a 'lover's' spoon and a chopped spray
Of leeks or savori fach, not used now

In the old way you'll understand! The din
Of children singing through the eyelet sheds
Ringing 'smith hoops, chasing the butt of hens;
Or I can offer you Cwmcelyn spread

With quartz stones, from the wild scratchings of men;
You will have to go carefully with clogs
Or thick shoes for it's treacherous the fen,
The East and West Marshes also have bogs.

Lynette Roberts

I have also discovered a new artist, you may well know of her but I didn't - her name is Sherree Valentine Daines and I saw one of her paintings on the front of a Country Life magazine that comes to the library. I love paintings of children and this artist has done many of those.
The two pics at the top are also by this gifted artist.

That’s all for today,
May all your weeds be wildflowers
Bye for now,


Pondside said...

Cait I'm so glad to read that you're feeling better and able to get back to the things that you like to do.
I'll watch your book list with interest.

Bee said...

May all your weeds be wildflowers is such a nice parting thought . . .

I'm very intrigued by these books (I wonder what tree is on the cover of The Wilderness?) and the paintings are exquisite. They express your theme so well -- and for me, too, as I don't know the artist's work.

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

So happy that your strained back is better. Oh my yes! I have those happenings too. -le sigh-

I applaud you avoiding political discussion! I am now in total denial of all news mode. Weak, probably. But necessary for my sanity and blood pressure. I spent many a year, being all rilled up, over political things. I'm now too old for it, and for my well being, must avoid. {Even though it still can feel like sticking my head in the sand....} Must... Must... Must....

Keep taking TLC of that back!

Looked for that book on time, in my library and they don't yet have that one, of hers. Maybe soon? I can suggest that the library system get it.

Sound great!!!!! And yes, I'll point 'Blondie' to your post too. Thank you.

Aunt Amelia
P.S. Take good care of that back! Yes, I'm repeating myself. It's important. :-))))))))))

Frances said...

As always, Cait, I thank you for the poetry, and for the book recommendations.

Please do take care with that precious back of yours. Weed gently, listen to those bird songs, rest a bit. Repeat as you wish to. xo

ds said...

Thank you for the Hopkins, the paintings (they are beautiful), the poem and The Wilderness. Take care of that back, and may all your weeds be wildflowers so that you don't have to pull them and strain yourself again!

Debs said...

Glad your back is feeling much better. Do go easy on the weeding though, you don't want to hurt it again.

I love those paintings, they are gorgeous, and the cover of the book by Samantha Harvey is lovely. In fact I want to read both those books.

Elizabethd said...

Be careful how much weeding you do, it's easy to put your back out again.
I love the cover of The Wilderness, it makes one want to read it, will look forward to hearing what you think.

Calico Kate said...

Really love those pictures Cait. They make me want to reproduce them in fabric - felt or embroidery somehow.
I also love the 'blessing' at the end. What a lovely seasonal way to sign off.

ChrisH said...

Owen Sheer's poetry programmes have been an absolute delight, haven't they? I shall be so sorry when this poetry season concludes.

I'd be very interested in your book sidebar - I love your book recommendations and will look up your current recommendations.

ChrisH said...

Damn - forgot to say that I'm glad your back is better. Bad backs make you feel wretched.

pinkfairygran said...

I have the Irma Kurtz book on my TO BUY list, good to hear someone enjoying it, nobody else I know has read it, some not even heard of it. ANd that artist's work is just so lovely.. thanks for sharing. I love your blog.. only just discovered and come to visit today, but will be back....

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

So many wonderful literary temptations here!! I shall add these books to my ever expanding list! And thanks so much for introducing me to this lovely poem!

I'm glad you are feeling a bit better. I know from eight years of experience....sometimes you just have to tune out political discussion in order to salvage your sanity!!

Milla said...

Cait, you terrible tease! I saw the last post thing and HOPED you meant the music but scurried over anyway and very glad that it was. So with you on QT (as you probably know from reading Rot Watch, E and I watch it and go to bed with hearts thumping in annoyance). I DO like that cover, it reminds me of something rather French, a bit like the Madeleine books. Love Hopkins. Sympathise greatly with bad back.

CAMILLA said...

I am so pleased you are feeling better Cait with your back, wonderful news.

What a truly lovely post, gorgeous pictures, and such beautiful poems too. I have been watching all the Poetry programmes on the TV, the poem by Lynette Roberts when I first heard it,..... I thought at the time, I must save it, wonderful words.

Thank you for the info of those books Cait, I so look forward to checking by on your posts for books that I have not read.

Your header picture is one of my favourites, love the artist Volegov.


Mark said...

I saw the Owen Shears programme too and thought it was excellent. He can't half write too.

I believe he started at the Ty Newydd writing centre - a place close to my heart.

Books I'd force on people:

George Orwells Essay
Jean Rhys - Wide Sargasso Sea
Humanity - a history of 20 century morality, by Jonathan Glover (shocking but necessary, I think)
Raymond Carver - Cathedral or Elephant

And a hundred others...

Exmoorjane said...

So looking forward to the books you're going to *force* on us! Yes, that cover is gorgeous...will put that on my list for sure.