Claws For The Weekend: A Dog Named Rebel

Rebel by name and rebel by nature.

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Have a great weekend everybody. Don’t get arrested.

See you on the flip side.

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A Review Of Heading North

The musician and writer Laura Bruno Lilly recently posted a great, incisive review of my poetry collection on her blog, in which she quotes some of the included poems.

It’s always good to be mentioned in the same breath as The Beatles!

My thanks to her for her ‘shoutout’ post.

Here is the link:

http://laurabrunolilly.com/poetry-shoutout-heading-north-by-andrew-james-murray/

 

Tranströmer, 3.30am

I tossed and turned but could not sleep, so got up in the early hours, reading by lamplight, in the creeping silence, some Tomas Tranströmer.

3.30am, the following lines:

 

At home stood the all-knowing Encyclopedia, a yard of bookshelf,

in it I learned to read.

But each one of us has his own encyclopedia written, it grows out

of each soul,

 

it’s written from birth onwards, the hundreds of thousands of pages

stand pressed against each other

and yet with air between them! Like the quivering leaves in a forest.

The book of contradictions.

 

– Brief Pause in the Organ Recital, 1983

nor, north, northern

My book and a glimpse of a poem, along with two other books, feature in this post by Nat Hall, the next and soon-to-be crowned Songs Of The North poet. I will let you guys know when her book is out. In the meanwhile, check out her post on the link below.

Source: nor, north, northern

On This Day: The One-Armed Man

In a list of saints native to the British Isles, today is the day of Nathalan, (?-678), who legend says was a wealthy man who became a hermit near Aberdeen, in Scotland, supporting himself by cultivating his smallholding:

‘which work approaches nearest to divine contemplation.’

Couldnt have had cows, then.

Born into a noble Pictish family, he produced surplus food to help pilgrims and the needy of the area. So far so good. Saintly material.

But, when the crops failed one summer, Nathalan cursed God for the wet weather. (Seems like nothing has changed climate wise in those parts.) Full of remorse, he repented by having one arm chained to his side. The only key to the padlock he dispensed into the depths of the River Dee. He then set off on foot to do penance in Rome. At least he still had one arm free to thumb a lift in case he grew too weary.

Arriving in Rome months later, he bought a fish in the market. When he cut it open, guess what he found inside? Only the key to the padlock on his chained arm. How’s that for a divine sign of forgiveness?

On hearing of this miracle, the Pope had Nathalan made into a bishop (some say the Bishop of Aberdeen). The poor fish is never mentioned again though. Such is the fate of fish throughout history.

He returned to Scotland, (Nathalan, not the fish), establishing a second church at Coull, in the Howe of Cromar, and another at Cowie near Stonehaven.

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Cowie Kirk, originally dedicated to St. Nathalan.

 

An old Cowie rhyme states:

‘Atween the Kirk and the Kirk ford,

there lies St. Nathalan’s hoard’

His hoard or treasure is believed wrapped in a bull’s hide, tied with a rope which, according to folklore, will hang anyone uncovering it.

Think I’ll leave the spade in the shed then.