Tuesday, October 28, 2008
This painting is rather beautiful, formed of five panels. The tree is an oak, on the right hand side we find St.Cede sitting under it in a tranquil scene of golden corn but on the left, the tree is dying and depicts the environmental degradation we subject our land to. Also there is a skeleton on this side, this is Judas Iscariot, 30 pieces of silver falling from his skeletal hand, a reminder that the oil rigs that we see in the picture is the price we are paying for the destruction of the Earth; the painting has several messages, and there is a certain pagan air to it, the great tree so much a symbol of other religions stands tall and magnificent centre stage, highlighted by the gold of the sun, but up above the moon shines, a darkening sky signifying the threat of coming disaster.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Typically English, small and beamed, local people on a Sunday in for a drink, a meal of roast beef with all the trimmings or a ploughman.. Robust conversation in the small bar, friendly chatter, people greeting each other who have lived here a long time.
The Cats pub has little cats all over the place, china ones around the fireplace, chasing mice, swishing tails. A great cat outside and a little china cat on the roof, a man unloading logs for the woodstove has to pump up the flat wheel of his old open back van outside in the car park. Two old men gossip at the table in front of the window. A certain peaceful air invades the room, time well spent, of quiet happiness in the ordinariness of life.
One's soul sinks into the peace, you could sit here forever lost and faraway from the bustle of life..... but look up on the beam, and an grotesque 'green man' is hung carved in wood, a lurking creature...
Thursday, October 16, 2008
All Hallows, when the thin veil of time is split asunder and the dead come back to visit their family or tribe, and sometimes, just sometimes, they take back the living with them to their spectral homes. Yes, All Souls/All Saints night, that time when paganism and christianity meet on the same date. Samhain it is called in the pagan world, a time of festival, of slaughtering the surplus beasts for a great feast before the famine of winter looms large. Apples gathered, the wheat safely harvested, the spirit still whirls into our modern time, a thanksgiving for the harvest of the year.
It is the time when we look back into the past and invite the dead to join in the revelry, the time when we tell our children terrible tales of ghosts, and towns under the sea such as Dunwich when the old church bell tolls beneath the sea. Of the dead walking through the streets from the graveyard to knock on our doors, don't open though, you may not like what you see, and skeleton fingers are very strong.
And what prompted this rash of words you may ask, well it was that old Faerie book with its drawings of Bogies and Spriggans, it captured those rather dreadful fairy stories I used to read as a child, not the nice fairy but wicked creatures who set out to torment you a bit like Christina Rossetti's Goblins....
This is a bogie, a shape shifting creature
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The River Dart
just the beginning.....
between Black Ridge and White Horse Hill into a bowl of the moor where echoes can't get out.
and I find you in the reeds, a trickle coming out of a bank, a foal of a river
one step-width water
of linked stones
trills in the stones
glides in the trills
eels in the glides
in each eel a fingerwidth of sea
It also reminded me of of another famous poem Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, another weird sensuous poem written by a rather staid Victorian woman, sister to Dante Gabriel Rossetti. In my book the poem is illustrated by Martin Ware, but in another book on Faeries I have, the illustration is more fulsome and dark.
We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits;
Who knows upon what soil they fed,
Their hungry thirsty roots.