Alexander Averin

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Where are you poem?

Dear Diary

I so want to write a poem. I looked hard to find the poem deep inside but I found nothing but jumble; something needs to be born but is not yet conceived.   I am too much of me and of our fast failing world with all its frantic whirring.  My list of things to do today is frozen on my brain which is like a computer screen that just won’t clear.  Where are you poem?  I know you are there somewhere deep; hiding, crouching low but with your words bound tight like a plant neatly entwined, severely choked by bindweed, a flower so delicate looking but deceptively murderous in its habit.

Last night at midnight I sat upon the window’s seat in my bedroom, the still-close-to-full moon was shining across the river - it was so bright that I had taken it for a light glowing somewhere.  I was hypnotised; I should be used to it by now and even though this time there was no life to be seen moving in the water, only the waves and ripples of the mountain’s stream which glinted and danced as they flowed over the stones, I was still entranced.   I should really have gone out into the garden but was already in my pyjamas.
No excuse that as I do actually own a dressing gown. I should have taken my camera out (note to self - never put off what must be done until tomorrow, only ever put off what can be put off).

I’ll leave you with a poem anyway, one so good that I wish I had written it!  It's  a translation from the Welsh and is still amazing .  I  attended one of her workshops once and happen to know  that she is a Welsh speaker and one of Wales’ top poets.   I hope you like the poem too.

I hope you liked American Tune in my previous post.  In my next post I will tell you why I posted it.

Anyway here is Coupling, a poem about love.


Life is a house in ruins. And we mean to fix it up
and make it snug. With our hands we knock it into shape
to the very top. Till beneath this we fasten a roofbeam
that will watch the coming and going of our skyless life,
two crooked segments. They are fitted together,
timbers in concord. Smooth beams, and wide.
Two in touch. That's the craft we nurture in folding
doubled flesh on a frame. Conjoining the smooth couplings
that sometimes arch into one. Aslant above a cold world,
hollow wood wafting passion. Then stock still for a time.
And how clear cut the roof, creaking love at times,
as it chides the worm to keep off and await its turn.

Menna Elfyn

English translation by Joseph Clancy

Bye for now,

Tuesday 27 July 2010

American Tune

Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I'm all right, I'm all right
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it's all right, it's all right
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
road we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what's gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was crying

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age's most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
Oh, and it's alright, it's all right, it's all right
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying to get some rest

Paul Simon

Sunday 25 July 2010

Full Moon

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

The Moon

The moon was but a chin of gold
A night or two ago,
And now she turns her perfect face
Upon the world below.
Her forehead is of amplest blond;
Her cheek like beryl stone;
Her eye unto the summer dew
The likest I have known.
Her lips of amber never part;
But what must be the smile
Upon her friend she could bestow
Were such her silver will!
And what a privilege to be
But the remotest star!
For certainly her way might pass
Beside your twinkling door.
Her bonnet is the firmament,
The universe her shoe,
The stars the trinkets at her belt,
Her dimities of blue.

Emily Dickinson

Friday 23 July 2010

Libraries, books, oh and there's a fairy.

There really are fairies in my garden, here is one I caught on camera.

Dear Diary,

I am writing today about books and so of course our  libraries will get a mention..

Libraries will get you through times of NO money better than money will get you through times of NO Libraries
Anne Herbert.

CUTS to Libraries during a recession are just like CUTS to hospitals during a plague!
Eleanor Crumblehulme

The three most important documents a free society gives are a birth certificate, a passport, and a Library card
E. L. Doctorow.

A Library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people.  
It is a never failing spring in the desert.  
Andrew Carnegie

The public Library is the only public agency which serves the minds of ALL of the population, one individual at a time

We are the only planet, so far as we know, to have invented a communal memory stored neither in our genes or our brains. The warehouse of that memory is called a Library.
Carl Sagan

More than a building that houses books and data, the Library has always been a window to a larger world–a place where we’ve always come to discover big ideas and profound concepts that help move the American story forward. . . . . Libraries remind us that truth isn’t about who yells the loudest, but who has the right information. Because even as we’re the most religious of people, America’s innovative genius has always been preserved because we also have a deep faith in facts. And so the moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold into a Library, we’ve changed their lives forever, and for the better. This is an enormous force for good.
Barack Obamac

I am meant to be away with the fairies today getting on with the gardening but the sun is not out, the ground is very wet and well to be honest I am feeling a trifle lazy so instead I am contemplating a rest on my bed with a Good Book. I have several which you can see if you check out the Books on My Bedside Table list in the right-hand column of this page. I have recently started the Patrick Harpur 'Soul' one which is a gem of a book, please don't be put off by the title or the sound of it, it's not your usual run of the mill New Agey type book, it is so well written and informative and I can't wait to to read more.

I am also enjoying Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, that's a real page-turner but I expect you have all read it years ago. I don't know how I missed actually reading it a few years back, a friend has just recommended it to me and I am so glad that he did.

Joseph O'Connor has a new novel out, I just can't wait for that. what a great writer and story teller he is (see my books on order list on right).

Simon Armitage has a new volume of poetry out, I heard him reading some of them on Radio 4 and I am very eager to get my hands on the book.

Trespass by that great writer Rose Tremain is another book thatI am longing to read, it's set in the South of France.

Philip Pullman's new one is said to be very controversial so I must read that. I will report back on all these but do remind me.

I have been listening to Jackie Kay reading her new book, Red Dust Road which is an 'adoption memoir' as they love to call these books. I am working on my own so was very keen to hear her story. She is a great poet and I have already read her poem 'The Adoption Papers'. The memoir is a great read and she read it beautifully this week on Radio 4's Book of the Week(it ended today but you can Listen Again).

I know I am biaised but aren't libraries wonderful? I pray that not one library is closed in the soon to be announced cuts in our public services, it would be a crime against society in my opinion.

If you have bored children take them to the library and join Space Hop, the Summer Reading Game.

What's on your bedside table?

I am off to see my cranial osteopath this afternoon, I can't wait.... even though I don't know how it works - her ways are ways of magic - but she usually puts me to right for a very long time and I am hoping to be free of headaches for a very long while.

And don't forget....

Whatever the cost of our Libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.
Walter Cronkite

Happy Reading,

Go mbeannai Dia duit,

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Gardens and Blogs

Grandmother's Garden by June Dudley

And when thou art weary, I'll find thee a bed of mosses
and flowers to pillow thy head...
John Keats

Dear Diary,
Finish each day and be done with it.  You have done what you could.  Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely.

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I had a wasted weekend;  Saturday I had an horrendous migraine and had to come home from work; Sunday I had the migraine ‘hangover’ which any fellow sufferer will identify with, that feeling of utter weakness and slight shakiness.

Yesterday morning I was determined to play catch-up and in spite of still feeling a bit on the weak side I donned my gardening togs and spent a very happy couple of hours in the garden - just pottering really, which is one of my favourite pastimes, indoors or out, (please excuse the garden pun there). I also did quite a bit of the never-ending chore that is weeding.  It was very warm yesterday, today it is still very warm but we have had rain - constant rain - that started off so very lightly this morning and now, this evening, is falling heavily. I hope we are not going to have the same weather  we had last year when it rained throughout July and August.  As I am typing this I am watching the river which has taken on a lightish brown tinge and is rising quite quickly.  I pray it won’t flood….

A garden is a bit like a blog, it needs attention every day and much pleasure is gained if you receive positive comments about its appearance or its content.  Both require constancy (I love that word so had to slip it in), hard work, imagination and both benefit from new ideas.  Both require the weeding out of the unnecessary, the unintended or the unattractive.  Both mature with time, they may change direction, stop and start, have growth spurts, parts may die or disappear.  With any luck blossoming occurs.

We like to visit other people’s gardens and a lot of us also visit other folk’s blogs. We may have favourites; many are beautifully designed, are highly original or quirky, we are often moved to make comments, we get ideas, we learn such a lot and we are often inspired.  We may or may not stick to the rules of grammar or the rules of horticulture but we respond to our own moods, to those of the weather or the season, all can affect our practice.  Both can bring rewards; a feeling of satisfaction and achievement and sometimes even a healing of some kind.  Just as writing can be a therapy for the soul so can spending time outdoors in nature working  with the soil and with plants.

Of course both are creative pursuits and seeds are sown which with due care should bring fruit.  However I suppose the difference is that if I gave up tending my garden it would very soon take on a life of its own but with Mother Nature as ever the one in charge but if I gave up posting here my blog would rapidly fade away into obscurity. ……
But I’m not planning to do give up either just yet.

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,

Friday 16 July 2010

Before the famine

Before the famine

On the western tip of Europe
reaching out to Dingle Bay,
a cottage sits, thatched, gilded and always lit up
by the influence of God, or by rainbows
from the mountain rains and the sometimes sun.
Did I dream you into being?
Lying overgrown and ripe, in need of care,
your mellow garden is steeped in wild flowers
while turf is stacked against your stony walls.
Through a wooden door of oxblood red
you welcome me quietly into chiaoscuro light.
Ancestral memories have always sung to me
of your whitewashed walls and your truckle bed.
Now I yearn to sleep there by the glow of oil lamps
in the little alcove beside your hearth.
There, upon your paved floors of slate, lasting and true,
are patchworks and flowers,
a scented geranium in a metal pail.
A crucifix hangs upon a wall,
a rosary by its side.
A meal has been laid on the table:
there are foods that are staple:
potatoes, bread, butter in churns
and the purest honey from the hive.

Cait O’Connor

Painting by James Anderson

Wednesday 14 July 2010


There is Another Sky

There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields -
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come! 
Emily Dickinson










Saturday 10 July 2010

Think of me on Sundays

This poem is inspired by a meme on
Yolanda's Perfectly Imperfect blog.

Think of me on Sundays.

Think of me on Sundays…

For if I were a day I’d like to be a Sunday; quiet and reflective.
If I were a time it would be night with my hours full of moonlight and wonder.
If I were a planet it would surely be the one that’s lost,
just out of reach, still waiting, borne on imagination.
If I were a direction it would have to be west for it is my spirit’s home,
to where I am drawn, from whence I came.
If I were a piece of furniture I’d love to be the bentwood rocker
on your sweet New England porch.
To calm you down I’d rock and soothe you off to sleep;
you’d be forever cradled in my arms of polished wood.
If I were liquid I’d be pure water in your streams or in sea water’s waves
or in cascades that play God’s music in their waterfalls.
If I were precious I would not be gold but would dress always in amethyst
encased in silver so I could lie at all times near your heart.
If I were a flower I’d want be the wildest rose, persistent, understated, seldom found.
If I were weather I would be in Ireland’s rain
so my drops would be gentle, soft and warm.
If I were an instrument I’d be
uilleann pipes;
you’d hear me and I’d touch you somewhere deep within,
If I were a colour I’d have to steal the blue of summer skies
and be unapologetic in my crime.
If I were an emotion I’d strive hard to be thoughtful, always deep but wholly kind.
If I were a sound you’d hear me in the waves on oceanic crossings.
If I were an element I would strive to dance within the fire
that lights the blessing candle in your home.
If I were a place I’d be an island, small and safe, protected,
a haven for the poor lost souls and rescued beasts of burden on this Earth.
If I were textile I’d be the softest silk in pastels
or cotton paisley in bright colours, depending on your mood.
If I were a song it would always be the rebel’s tune
played loud and always shouting for a cause.
If I were a city I’d be Dublin, I’d feel at home there
and would sincerely hope you’d stay.
I’d be the doorway in a photo, a piece of history or art.
But if I were a gift for you I’d like to be a book,
one of wild, unruly poems, unstructured, wrapped with care, 
something to treasure all your days.
I’d hope you’d bring it out on Sundays .

Think of me on Sundays…

Cait O’Connor

Thursday 8 July 2010

Monday 5 July 2010

The Joys of Gardening

Dear Diary,

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.  My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.  The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.
Abram L Urban

My garden is not huge but it wraps itself around the cottage and there is more than enough for me to cope with, I am so lucky to have the mountain stream flowing through it and the beautiful views. I have taken photos before for the blog but I shall try to take some more this week.

The growing season is short in this upland area of Wales and certain plants just will not grow and those that do are way behind those at lower altitudes.  You soon learn what keels over at this altitude in this acid soil and what thrives I am a bit of a fair weather gardener which probably explains why I am writing today about the joys of gardening. We have had so many weeks of real summer for a change. 

Shall I list these joys?  There are many.

To start with working with the soil ‘earths’ me which does me the world of good as I live too much in my head most of the time.  I love the feel of earth in my hands and the smell of it too.  Although I have to wear gardening gloves there are some jobs that I just can’t do properly with gloves on.  Transplanting seedlings for example, or potting on. 

There is the solitude too which I just have to have at times and I enjoy my own company very much but I am not always completely alone, I am joined sometimes by M who helps out with certain tasks.  I am accompanied at times by a dog or two or a cat and always surrounded by birds; some watch from a distance, some are braver like the robins and the blackbirds who watch patiently in case some tasty morsel is turned over and laid out at their feet,  (Do birds have feet?).  I am watched by squirrels and sometimes spied on by birds of prey like the red kites who swoop above me.  There are more bees this year which is good news and always butterflies around me.  Sometimes there are sheep in the field across the river and they will stand and watch my movements from afar. I wonder what they are thinking.  Perhaps they wonder what I am thinking,

Tending a garden is similar to the practice of meditation because I concentrate fully on the task in hand and become totally absorbed within it.  I am happy and purposeful and the garden seems to be the only place where I can put aside, if only for a while, any worries that I may have.  It is rewarding when a job is done, a ‘corner’ or a bed sorted and improved, an area cleared of weeds brings much satisfaction and reward for much hard work.  And it is ongoing as plants GROW (usually).  Weeds GROW too but I have learned to enjoy, well perhaps enjoy is not the right word; endure perhaps, the chore that is weeding.  My thoughts wander and I often find inspiration while I am doing it.

Gardening is physically exhausting sometimes and I have to limit myself in case I overdo things but at least it beats going to a gym and it is so lovely to be out in the pure fresh Welsh mountain air. The best advice I can give is to take it in small doses and set a time limit - stop when you are still wanting more and then there is the next day to look forward to.  A bit like writing I guess.

Yesterday I gardened in soft rainfall - West Cork weather I call it  - which suits me well.  It was warm but with the softest of rain, real Irish weather, rain that started off more like a mist but soon became the sort that quickly makes you wet through without you realising.  But for me it beat the sweltering heat any day, I was so happy.

Gardening presents challenges which for me, being an Aries, I relish.  However, being an Aries my enthusiasm is apt to wane before the job is finished.  I must try harder….  It is an inexpensive hobby if I restrict myself when I go to garden centres (very hard) and if I wanted to I could grow a lot of my own food…perhaps one day.

Just lately I have begun to see the garden as somewhere I can be creative rather than just somewhere to sweep, cut back, weed and tidy. This is quite exciting.  Just recently our phone line was down and I could not go on the net for a week - I turned to the garden as the weather was so inviting.  I realised that my life had become out of balance because I was spending too much time indoors looking at a computer screen, both at work and at home. I have had a few days off work and am just starting to feel rested.  Pottering is one of my passions and I have been concentrating on practising this one a lot.

Well I must sign off now.  The garden is quite tidy but the cottage needs a clean.  Not today though, I am not in housework mode (or cooking!). Maybe it will rain soon.  I found this quote recently, it is so true.

God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done.  ~Author Unknown

I must leave you with a poem. 

My dear cat Molly roams among the roses  - she’s not black but is pure white -  but I still loved the poem by Amy Lowell. I hope you like it too.

A Black Cat Among Roses

A black cat among roses,
Phlox, lilac-misted under a first-quarter moon,
The sweet smells of heliotrope and night-scented stock.
The garden is very still,
It is dazed with moonlight,
Contented with perfume,
Dreaming the opium dreams of its folded poppies.
Firefly lights open and vanish
High as the tip buds of the golden glow
Low as the sweet alyssum flowers at my feet.
Moon-shimmer on leaves and trellises,
Moon-spikes shafting through the snowball bush.
Only the little faces of the ladies' delight are alert and staring,
Only the cat, padding between the roses,
Shakes a branch and breaks the chequered pattern
As water is broken by the falling of a leaf.
Then you come,
And you are quiet like the garden,
And white like the alyssum flowers,
And beautiful as the silent sparks of the fireflies.
Ah, Beloved, do you see those orange lilies?
They knew my mother,
But who belonging to me will they know
When I am gone.

Amy Lowell

Bye for now,
Happy Gardening,


Saturday 3 July 2010

 Dear Diary,

Well it has been a long time since my last posting. I have missed you all but I've had a little holiday from work and from blogging and have been spending hours battling with weeds, trying to tame my unruly garden.  I hate pulling up weeds as they are after all just living plants that are unwanted and have landed up in the wrong place.  But I have been resolute and cast out any guilt feelings.  

And hasn't the weather been heavenly?  In between pulling up weeds I've been enjoying watching Wimbledon, it's always a treat for me to sit down and watch the tennis at this time of year.  (No Safin to drool over this year but never mind).   And I've been enjoying the World Cup too, I really love to watch good football, I always have done and while I was growing up I was a Crystal Palace supporter.  I'll say no more about England's performance in the World Cup though, it's really best forgotten.

I watched two good films this week - Julie and Julia with Meryl Streep. such a good one, especially if you love cooking and it's based on a book which was originally a blog. (a true story). The other one was The Queen with Helen Mirren.  Neither films are new but I hadn't got round to seeing either.

I  will sign off with a poem, something that just came into my head. 

Positive Thoughts

The trouble with you is you are always buried
deep beneath the negatives. Shall I list them? 
Can you spare me that much of your precious time?
I thought not and in any case upon them
you and I should never wish to dwell.
You lie so deep sometimes, submerged and overwhelmed
and guarding you, on high alert and always dressed to kill,
the thought police are on permanent patrol.

I must never give up the search for you
for positives parade in many ways,
are found in truth in all our days.
Sometimes the human heroes we encounter on our daily round
are truly saints or angels in our lives.
We almost disregard them as we heed our demons’  daily noise,
ignoring at our peril all the value in a loving, kindly face,
a baby’s smile, a laugh, a hope, a rush of love,
a real belief, some words of comfort and a strength of will,
an angel’s intervention in our life.

And unbeknown to us, amidst the graveyards in our minds
we give unholy funerals to them all
when we should seek their daily resurrection
and speak, for all to hear of good news, in a mantra
or some well-worn, bright, but long-forgotten silent prayer.

Cait O’Connor

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,