Summertime

The winter has at last loosened its cruel grip upon the land and has allowed the sun to come to play a merry tune over field and stream, meadow and woodland, in the towns and villages, on city streets and seaside strands.  The nation basks and bakes, summer dresses flouncing in the breeze as pallid skin warms, glows and finally fries red and raw.  Break out the sunscreen.

This is the day I change my own rhythm, trading car for train on my commute.  It takes me longer to travel, but on the plus side, I get time to write my blog.  That can’t be all bad.

This it seems is a year of Moment (capitalisation intentional).  My oldest brother celebrates his 60th Birthday.  He is 10 years my senior.  And to add to those two landmarks Louise & I celebrate 20 years of marriage this June.  What to do?

With any luck I will finally rid myself of the stinker of a cold that has been dogging me for the last two weeks.  I finally figured out the Aircon in work today.  It is hidden in a cupboard.  Someone had set the sensor over my head to deliver 16 degrees C.  With the rest of the office at an ambient 21 the system was dumping freezing air on me to compensate.  No wonder I caught cold.

Now that we have this lovely sunny June I am minded to celebrate the joys of the April we should have had.  So I give you the “poet of the blackbirds”.

A Rainy Day in April: by Francis Ledwidge

When the clouds shake their hyssops, and the rain
Like holy water falls upon the plain,
‘Tis sweet to gaze upon the springing grain
And see your harvest born.

And sweet the little breeze of melody
The blackbird puffs upon the budding tree,
While the wild poppy lights upon the lea
And blazes ‘mid the corn.

The skylark soars the freshening shower to hail,
And the meek daisy holds aloft her pail.
And Spring all radiant by the wayside pale
Sets up her rock and reel.

See how she weaves her mantle fold on fold,
Hemming the woods and carpeting the wold.
Her warp is of the green, her woof the gold,
The spinning world her wheel.

Plunder & flesh

Ouzel plaque on site of original Chamber of Commerce, Dublin

Ouzel plaque on site of original Chamber of Commerce, Dublin

There is a great story from Dublin about the Galley Ouzel(Blackbird).  She was declared lost at sea and insurance was paid out when she failed to return after three years at sea.  Two years after being declared lost the Ouzel sailed up the Liffey river into immortality.  Her hold was filled with spices and pirate booty.  The funds realised by her sale created the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, and the chamber has to this day, as its seal, the galley Ouzel.  Was the galley siezed by pirates?  Or were the sailors pirates themselves?  To this day, who knows?

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Home is the sailor, home from sea:

Her far-borne canvas furled

The ship pours shining on the quay

The plunder of the world.

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Home is the hunter from the hill:

Fast in the boundless snare

All flesh lies taken at his will

And every fowl of air.

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‘Tis evening on the moorland free,

The starlit wave is still:

Home is the sailor from the sea,

The hunter from the hill.

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A.E. Housman