If Walls Could Talk, Concrete Confess

The post that was Freshly Pressed two years ago, gaining me close to a thousand new followers: family, connections, generations and ghosts.

City Jackdaw

If walls could talk.

If concrete could confess.

If soul could seep through cement.

If only one of those monochrome apparitions could reach out and take me by the hand, leading me into a world of smoke and ale and revelation.

image

The woman stood by the door on the right of the picture is my great grandmother. The two little girls are my grandfather’s older sisters. The guy on the far left, in the bowler hat, is my great grandfather. The other two younger men could be family, I don’t know. Will probably never know. Posing with a football and a trophy of an unknown triumph, they remain silent, anonymous ghosts. Enigmas of imagination.

The building itself, its very brick and mortar, contains more than can be revealed in a two dimensional image. It contains that which is valued in meaning.

Ancestors of mine dwelt in that place between 1901…

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Dylan And The Nightingale

In honour of Dylan’s recently bestowed honour, I thought I’d repost this from the summer just passed.

City Jackdaw

I’m behind with my Springwatch. So much so that it is now summer. I watched one of the episodes I recorded yesterday, and learned an amazing fact about the nightingale.

This bird, in an attempt to woo a female mate, chooses around 600 notes, and then combines them into about 250 phrases. From these it produces its song, and every time it sings, its song is different every single time.

Think about that: from the combination and variants open to them, every time these birds sing, they never repeat the same song. Each time they come up with something original.

The latest research seems to indicate that females select males on the quality of his song, because the nightingales that sing the best are the best providers of food for chicks. Ready to pull, they clear their throat and give it there all.

Never worked for me on Karaoke night.

Each year…

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A Glimpse Through The Dark Glass

Two years ago, and I still haven’t re-discovered that quote.

City Jackdaw

A few of my recent posts have been a little time-oriented.

I came across a quote a while ago in a book, and now I can’t find who it was that made it, or exactly what it was, verbatim. But it was something along the lines of how we cannot appreciate the present because we are too caught up thinking about the past, and planning for the future.

Or was it re-living the past and fearing the future?

If only we could learn to live in the eternal now, letting nothing pass us by. Opening our senses to the full, letting life flood us as it is happening. If we could but appreciate and experience all the good things that are occurring, and attempt to deal with the bad, so that they can be dealt with and filed away. Not hinder us, tearing us this way and that. Splitting us…

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Farewell, Old Friend

A year ago today we lost our family dog, how fast it has gone. When I posted this last year it seems I inadvertently upset people: mothers on the school run was asking me not to post anything else about him, I got a message from a girl on holiday in Spain: ‘I’m in tears, my mum’s in tears, the waitress serving us has two Labradors and she’s in tears!’ It wasn’t my intention then or now, I’m just remembering our old friend.

City Jackdaw

Dog lovers: why do we do it? I mean really, why do we fucking put ourselves through it?

We know, when we let them into our homes and incorporate them into our family dynamics, exactly what their lifespan is. We know that they don’t live as long as we do, and that there is going to be an emotional payback for all of the years of unconditional love and non-judgemental companionship that they offer us. But it is only when you reach that devastating moment of reckoning when you ask the question: is it all worth it?

I’m a Doctor Who fan. How many times have I heard it said, courtesy of the script writers, that the Doctor doesn’t stay with his companions because the hurt of watching them age and die, while he goes on, is too much. Having watched the programme since the 80’s, you think I’d have…

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Adieu to my Viking sister…

I read this post in shock last night. Poppy, whose blog I follow, posted about the death (and alleged murder) of another, lovely blogger that I followed (and she followed me). It was strange how the death of someone so far away affected me. The words we write, the words you write, matter. Technology allows us to make connections with people we would otherwise never meet. It can bring both joy and sorrow. R.I.P Caroline. Thanks for all of your encouraging words and sentiment.

A Viking Saga

We never know…

This world is beautiful, messy and bloody with no way of avoiding what is coming. We have so little time to take it by the horns and live it with dignity, courage and humour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Caroline Van Ewijk, my friend, my viking sister and an example of just how well life can be lived.

My viking sister, Caroline Van Ewijk was one of those who did, before her life was cruelly taken in the Dutch port of Hoorn, two days ago.

Carro, you welcomed me into your life in that freezing cold Amsterdam winter, where I had no refuge on my old boat with her limited heating. With Swedish hospitality ‘Happy Six’ became almost a second home and you taught me about the Baltic and connected me with your uncle Micke at Borka up in the north of Sweden.  How many bitterly cold winter evenings did you ply me with hot tea…

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reviewing jackdaw’s songs of the north

Here is a wonderful review of my book, Heading North, written by the great poet Nat Hall from her Shetland perch. My gratitude to her.

nordicblackbird

img_8071Out of darkness, the bleakest point from the island, came cobbled thoughts, a flash of ink blended with salt – now nights have cleared, here comes my humble impressions of jackdaw’s blend of geopoetics inside his début collection, Heading North.

“Heading North”, by Andrew James Murray, is the second volume from Nordland Publishing’s Song of the North Series. Its author defines himself as a northern guy with a northern accent and attitude, yet attracted to even more northern latitudes, landscapes and who follows in the tradition of both geographical and inner landscapes – bleaker in places, mysterious and remote. His journey takes us from the comfort of his familiar Manchester world to the Ring of Brodgar on a far away archipelago bathed by both a sea and an ocean, via a myriad of known & unknown places – Berlin, Prague to the cobbled streets of Stromness. But it also…

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When all is said and done

I’m rubbish at art, I wish I could draw. Anna can-here are sketches inspired by the lyrics of When All Is Said And Done by some of her fellow Swedes that you may know as Abba. I love them. Even picked up a pencil. Put it back down again.

Annas Art - FärgaregårdsAnna

More Swedish music inspiration.
Viktoria Tolstoy with Benny Andersson (from ABBA) at the piano.
http://youtu.be/ZqthtyD7Dg4

A song from the Nils Landgren album Funky ABBA
Funky Abba | Nils Landgren
http://www.nilslandgren.com/funky-abba/
An awesome album by the way!

“When all is said and done” is one of my favorite ABBA songs. Love the lyrics and the Nils Landgren/Benny Andersson/Viktoria Tolstoy version is great.

So great that the version of the song inspired me to draw the lyricss. I borrowed (didn’t ask for permission) the lyrics and did some drawings.

Here are the drawings. Have fun!

Anna

WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE

when all is said and done_Sida_01when all is said and done_Sida_02when all is said and done_Sida_03when all is said and done_Sida_04when all is said and done_Sida_05when all is said and done_Sida_06when all is said and done_Sida_07when all is said and done_Sida_08when all is said and done_Sida_09when all is said and done_Sida_10when all is said and done_Sida_11when all is said and done_Sida_12when all is said and done_Sida_13when all is said and done_Sida_14when all is said and done_Sida_15when all is said and done_Sida_16when all is said and done_Sida_17when all is said and done_Sida_18when all is said and done_Sida_19

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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

The Winter 2016 Showcase is now published

Crows. Here is a selection of poems by poets from all over the world. Hopefully a good omen for 2016, I have a couple of things in it. Some good stuff here.

the zen space

crows6And it’s all about crows! Now there’s a surprise, after all that’s been said, eh?

Find your way by hovering your pointer over ‘Experience’ and scrolling down, or click here.

Most of all, enjoy – and Happy New Year!

Marie Marshall
editor
the zen space

PS. Due to technical reasons I have had to omit several contributions, and I would like to apologise for that. In particular I have to apologise to regular contributor Tyler Pruett.

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The Fox In The Night

This was from the eve of the last new year: the cusp of transition; ghosts of the past; and my old faithful friend who, if only I knew it back then, would be with us only for six months more.

City Jackdaw

On the night of New Year’s Eve, before the celebrations began in earnest, I took the dog for a walk. The mind often wanders when outdoors, and I began to reflect on how, being on the cusp of 2015, I would, in the coming year, be turning forty four. With my attention turned inward, I started to think of all of the ways we, as a family, celebrated Christmas and New Year when I was a child. And, for the first time ever, I felt a sudden, brief, twinge of sadness. Sadness that I am moving still further away from my beginnings, and sadness that some of the loved ones who contributed to those happy memories have been left behind, some far behind.

It was only a fleeting emotion, for I am seldom morose and normally quite sanguine and accepting of the order of things. On life’s journey we all…

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