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Archive for the category “about helen carey”

The Dog Star

 

This is a poem written by my lovely husband about our beautiful dog Phoebe who died four weeks ago.

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For

Phoebe, the dog star.

(i) The joy of running.

A bolt from the blue,

A golden arrow streaking , skirting Newport bay

Effortlessly matching sand sail and surf.

A pimple, possibly canine, on the farthest horizon

was enough to take you away,

bullet running, wide pawed dancing.

Find the fiercest dog you could – and make it chase you!

You and Maisie rising and falling like dolphins

in the meadow sweet, long grass of summer.

In Wiltshire woods the intoxicating frustration of putting up deer,

glad running into the copses,

thundering through bramble and bracken,

off, into the dim distance.

Leaving us with the panicky emptiness of the long wait.

half an hour, maybe more,

then you would appear, purple tongue, seemingly a mile long,

hawking for breath, flat out on the green downs.

(ii) A wolf god.

Eyes, soul pooled,

kohl lined.

Anput, Egyptian dog princess,

Pharaoh dog…

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A poem for St David’s Day

I have to reblog this – wonderful!

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My angels were singing : a poem for St David’s Day 

This poem was written a few years a go now – and I have shared it previously. I wondered about ‘recycling it ‘ but (rightly or wrongly) I love this poem, and, given that St David’s Day is an annual event, well….here’s to him, to Wales and the Welsh, and ultimately ; to us all!

Ddiwrnod da ac yn flwyddyn wych I ddod.

I stood near the house

where Grace once lived,

My angels were singing.

 

I watched as birds

and daffodils dived.

My angels were singing.

 

It’s spring and the sun

bursts fat and alive.

And my angels were singing.

 

Old crow, silhouetted against Carningli rock,

purple shadowed on blackened burnt bracken,

gorse and heather reeling :

the after shock.

But my angels were singing, still.

As seagulls wheeled across the bay,

catching sea…

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In celebration of St David’s Day

Happy St David’s Day everyone – I wanted to share this to celebrate …

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My angels were singing : a poem for St David’s Day

 

Concocted over the last few spring like days, out walking the dogs, watching the birds, and thinking of those who have died : Derek, who loved Pembrokeshire and rode on Carningli most days, and also of my grandparents (and others), who do – I believe – watch over me.

 

I stood near the house

where Grace once lived,

My angels were singing.

 

I watched as birds

and daffodils dived.

My angels were singing.

 

It’s spring and the sun

bursts fat and alive.

And my angels were singing.

 

Old crow, silhouetted against Carningli rock,

purple shadowed on blackened burnt bracken,

gorse and heather reeling :

the after shock.

But my angels were singing, still.

As seagulls wheeled across the bay,

catching sea breezes,

tumbling at will.

 

The Irish Sea lies beneath

becalmed and silvered…

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Veterans ( 6th June 1944)

To commemorate D-day I am reblogging Marc Mordey’s wonderful, moving poem. Find more of his work at: http://themarcistagenda.wordpress.com

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70 years before…….

Young men stumbling into the shell bound surf

Silver flying fish

Stunned

The boys, wading on and in

Falling, camouflaged no more

Booming, battling forth

Whistling bullets, the siren song of war

Deafening the ocean’s unerring roar.

Years ago

in Juneau

I watched ‘Saving Private Ryan’

With Pete Bibb

Self appointed ‘old timer’

Who left the movie house

“Cannot watch this, have to go”

he muttered

As the faux machine guns

Cinematically stuttered.

This D Day morning

The robes of priests, clustered

The coat tails of politicians

And hats of royalty

Fluttered

As the bemedalled veterans

Mustered

Attendant, attentive,

Old men now

Memories shared, perhaps, despairs

Some stood and stared

As the peace yearning prayers

Were uttered.

In the fields at home

The buttercups, the thistle heads

Were bowing in the stiffening wind

That blows across the Channel

Westward, ho!

The clouds scud seawards

A breath of memory passes

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wearing my poppy with pride

I’ve had terrible trouble with my poppy this year. The first one’s stalk broke within ten minutes. I replaced it with a stick-on one which had disappeared before I had even got home. The third one fell to bits today as I put on my coat after a delicious lunch in a tapas bar  (aubergine stuffed with pine nuts, fresh anchovies, a warm beetroot salad and tortilla). As I scrabbled under the tables to retrieve the various bits, the cardboardy red flower, the flimsy leaf and the black centre button, I heard someone mutter, ‘Why do you bother?’

Straightening up I glanced at him, wondering whether he meant why did I bother rescue the poppy pieces, or why did I bother wear one at all. I was tempted to say that I bothered because, whatever the rights and wrongs of it, young men just like him had died fighting in wars. But my friends were waiting at the door and I didn’t want to get into a big discussion (and judging by the look of him it wouldn’t have been a fruitful discussion anyway). So I just smiled apologetically and left. Later of course I wished I had said something.

Several years ago we spent a week in Sicily with some friends. Before setting off we happened to visit my elderly aunt who reminded me that her brother Basil (my uncle, a  wartime glider pilot) had died during the invasion of Sicily in 1943 and was buried in Siracusa.  ‘It would be so lovely if you could go and put some flowers on his grave,’ she said and we promised that we would if we could.

Unfortunately when we arrived in Sicily we discovered that we were staying right at the other end of the island. ‘It’s too far,’ we said to each other. ‘It would take hours to drive all over there.’

But we felt guilty – after all my uncle had sacrificed his life and we wouldn’t sacrifice one day of our holiday. So we decided to go.

It took us seven hours solid driving to get from from Capo San Vito to Siracusa. (Sicily is somewhat bigger than it looks on the map.)

We arrived at about three in the afternoon, bought two bunches of flowers and made our way to the cemetery.

We were completely unprepared for the emotion that hit us. Lines and lines of small white headstones, each engraved with a young man’s name. We found my uncle’s grave quite easily, it was in the front row. Capt Basil Beazley, 29 years old.

The glider assault had been a disaster. They were launched from too far out to sea and the winds were too strong. Most landed in the water, some even crashed into Mount Etna. Military planning at its worst. Those young men must have known their chances were slim, but they did it anyway. Amazingly my uncle survived the landings but was killed later trying to hold a crucial bridge.

Seven hours later we arrived back at the villa in the pitch dark. ‘Did you have a good day?’ Our friends asked as we staggered in.

We looked at each other. For some reason I wasn’t on the car insurance so my partner (now husband) had had to drive the whole way. ‘Oh yes,’ I said. ‘We drove for seven hours, cried for twenty minutes and then drove seven hours back again!’

But it had been worth it.

We had picked up some pebbles and a bit of dry earth from the grave and when we gave these to my aunt a few weeks later she cried too. ‘I still miss him so much,’ she said.

That’s why I rescued my poppy.

Is romance on the rise?

Over the last couple of years there has been a significant rise in sales of romantic novels. For a while the industry was puzzled, but gradually the reason has become clear. With the advent of Kindles and other eReaders people have suddenly found themselves able to read romantic fiction without detection. Gone are the days when you had to conceal your Mills&Boon in the pages of War and Peace in case your boss caught you reading in your lunch break. Now you can upload romances to your heart’s content (as long as you also have The Catcher in the Rye handy to flip over to when someone asks what you are reading!) and eRomance sales have consequently boomed. 

So why are we so shy about our love of romantic fiction? Perhaps it is partly because the so called trashy romances gave the genre a bad name. But there’s also plenty of badly written crime fiction around and that hasn’t given the crime genre a bad name. Of course the British literati have turned their noses up at romance for years, often refusing even to acknowledge it as an important element in the popularity of certain ‘literary’ novels. Runaway bestsellers such as Birdsong and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin are praised by literary critics for the quality of the writing, the historical accuracy and powerful characterisation, but very few praise them for including a cracking love story! 

And why shouldn’t we relish a good romantic read? They are just as difficult to write. What is any novel after all but a means to escape the real world and lose ourselves in an exploration of make-believe, whether it be cliff top chases, gun battles, gruesome murders, ancient history, psychology, fantasy, science fiction or human relationships? Whether we like to admit it or not, romance, in one form or another, plays a huge part in our lives. We are emotional beings and it’s not surprising that we seek out novels that allow us to explore our feelings and fantasies. What is more surprising is that we still feel the need to have The Catcher in the Rye on standby! 

In my next blog I will outline some of my all time favourite romantic reads, but in the meantime, especially as Valentine’s Day is approaching, I encourage you to take your courage in your hands and lose yourself in a romantic novel.

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