Out of the Gloom come Gems of Loveliness

Continuing on the theme of   surprises ,  it is surprising what gems of loveliness can be found, tucked away,  in the gloom

There be GLOOM!

There be GLOOM!

of the back rooms of our lives.

Inspired by a friend’s gift of plums from her backyard tree,

Plums, pretty and perfect

Plums, pretty and perfect, rich gems of juicy fruit

I was fossicking in the attic,

in search of my books on  JAM , plum jam, when my eyes lit upon the long-forgotten face of Sister Wendy Beckett,

contemplative nun, writer, broadcaster and art lover, who recently appeared on Desert Island Discs, talking of her life, her love of  Schubert’s Serenade , and confessing to the sin of being nasty to her little sister 😦

I was thrilled to see her again and to reconnect with her meditations on peace, and  to realise how greatly she influenced my understanding of art,  in the days before online art galleries and Wiki and blogging.   What a remarkable person, I heard myself saying, communicating, as she does, so clearly, from the silence and  physical confines  of her world. …

not unlike this poem, of which Sister Wendy, defender of Classics and Latin, would surely  approve, which my daughter wrote for me, in  the solitude of her nights in   Far North Queensland

To a  Peony

(in which my daughter remembers the day, when she was extremely sad, and her mother gave her a sweet-scented peony from the garden )

Welcome back Sweet Peony

Welcome back Sweet Peony

Dark leaves, put forth thy anniversary.
Honey may burn; thy nectar rises up
like sugar syrup in a warmer cup,
ribbons the water. And say how can it be,
thou growest so magenta, when the hew
of thy first stock was white? Unless it was
among the hedgehogs and the heucheras
the lost  god stopped and wept his ancient dew.
Colours stand faster in the dimming air;
so in the long grey drizzling afternoon
of dying hope, was thy expressive bloom
placed by a gentle hand into my care;
I see it still, in my mind, in the gloom
unfolding endless petals in my empty room.

*td* (first draft)

© silkannthreades

Advertisements

66 thoughts on “Out of the Gloom come Gems of Loveliness

  1. Pingback: You can’t keep a good peony down | silkannthreades

  2. Tracy Rhynas

    I cannot believe Desert Island Discs is still going??? I do love the word “fossicking”, it really sounds like something you are doing when you are up to no good, rather than what it actually is!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Fossicking does sound a bit naughty, doesn’t it? Yes, Desert Island Discs.. obviously still as popular as ever, if new ones are being made, as they are 🙂

      Reply
  3. Juliet

    What treasure you found in the attic. I remember how sister Wendy Beckett spoke about art on TV with so much enthusiasm and knowledge. And then your daughter’s poem. She is a good writer! I enjoyed these lines:

    thy nectar rises up
    like sugar syrup in a warmer cup,
    ribbons the water

    with the image of ‘ribbons the water.’ Lovely.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Treasure indeed. Sister Wendy’s TV programmes were wonderful. Someone who has the same vibrant, enthusiastic attitude is Justin Paton. I enjoyed his documentary series on art “Justin is writer and presenter of How to Look at a Painting, a twelve-part documentary series produced by Desert Road Television and screened on TVNZ7” Did you see it? Glad you like my daughter’s poem. She was remembering the exquisite perfume of the peony in her room.

      Reply
      1. Juliet

        I missed Justin Paton’s series, alas, as I don’t watch TV unless there’s something special and not too late. Now I don’t have a TV at all. I’m wondering if the series is on DVD. Might check that out at the library as it sounds well worth watching.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I hardly ever watch TV but sometimes there is a good programme, usually very late at night. I think you may find Paton’s series on DVD at the library.

  4. sf

    I have never had a home with an attic, but goodness, yours looks so clean! And talk about the neatest looking bookshelf too! That’s a great idea how you have that little barrier there to keep the books aligned. Neato!

    That’s awesome that you’re able to make jam at home! And talk about seriously perfectly-shaped and colored plums. I can’t believe they’re from a friend’s plum tree! I used to be thrilled when I lived near an apartment that had a lime tree because I’d always pick the limes off of it whenever I’d pass by from the grocery store. Free fruit is always wonderful!

    These sure are surprising gems! Thanks for sharing ’em!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I haven’t had to make jam yet because my friend gave me some jam as well as some plums. Aren’t I the lucky one? But I may make some in the next few days.
      This is my first home with an attic, too. I love it. The little barrier on the bookshelves is to help prevent the books from falling out during an earthquake. It seems to work quite well.

      Reply
  5. Miss Lou

    Currently being in a bit of an OCD mood, the very first thing I noted when looking at this post was the attic. It doesn’t seem at all cluttered and more like an organised treasure trove of forgotten things to explore.

    And forgotten things to explore you had – and found and #Excitement.

    #Beautiful Peony

    and your daughter is such a talent, with a flair for moving words (like her mum)

    ML
    xx

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Miss Lou, the attic is reasonably well organised but many things in there are in boxes; boxes without labels, so there are many forgotten/hidden treasures, and, maybe, some very boring stuff too. In fact, at one time, the attic was so much more organised than the rest of the house, I considered hiding up there for a few days to get away from the chaos!

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Yep, it gets like that. You would like my garage too, although it was looking better before my son came home and dumped his garbage/stuff in there.

  6. Clanmother

    Poetry is a language that allows us to communicate beyond the words of conversation. It uses all of the senses to connect us to a deeper understanding, a longing to be whole. An extraordinary poem.

    “Colours stand faster in the dimming air;
    so in the long grey drizzling afternoon
    of dying hope”

    “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Clanmother, I am happy you find the poem extraordinary. I love it dearly, even though my daughter says it’s not perfect yet; that it can still be refined.
      I am in perfect agreement with Charles Darwin. I am making up for lost time by reading a poem a day and listening to a little music every day.

      Reply
  7. teamgloria

    gosh.

    your daughter has a loveliness about her soul.

    “in the long grey drizzling afternoon
    of dying hope, was thy expressive bloom
    placed by a gentle hand into my care;
    I see it still, in my mind, in the gloom
    unfolding endless petals in my empty room.”

    more please.

    how wonderful.

    *exhales*

    and your plums, and jam, and peonies and watercolours and the Attic *shivers* and OH – divine!

    Reply
  8. Travelling Kiwi

    Lovely, lovely poem. Something of your daughter’s to treasure while you are separated by an ocean. Thank you for sharing it.
    I knew of Sister Wendy but haven’t seen her ‘Meditations on Peace’ – I will try and find it in the library.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The poem is a treasure 🙂 . What treasure have you brought home with you to remind you of your daughter 😉 Hope you find Sister Wendy in your library. You made me want to check our library . I found 10 items in the catalogue http://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/search?t=smart&search_category=keyword&q=Sister+Wendy+Beckett Considering she devotes only two hours a day to making an income, her output is prolific. However, perhaps, she considers some of her writing as prayer since she referenced her Desert Island Disc interview as prayer 🙂

      Reply
  9. Just Add Attitude

    Lovely poem. I remember Sister Wendy and more importantly your post reminded me that I have her Book of Meditations which I have just taken down from a book shelf and I am going to leave it my bedside table for dipping into. Thank you. 😉

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      You do, you do! How wonderful. If you have time, I do recommend her interview for Desert Island Discs. The music is gorgeous and her conversation is so heartwarming. I was so pleased to realise that she is alive and well.

      Reply
  10. KerryCan

    I know nothing about poetry but your daughter’s poem seems remarkable to me! I feel sort of inspired, too, to go “fossicking” in my gloom, to see what I find!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am hopeless with poetry but my daughter has been writing poetry since she was very young and has a deep understanding of it and all its many forms. And I encourage you to fossick!!! You may turn up gold!

      Reply
  11. Leya

    Rummaging is often fun – you might find new words too! Love that – never heard of it before. Your plums and the cat are really lovely, and the words of your daughter – beautiful. What a gift. Just beautiful post again. I feel so calm and relaxed whenever I’m here!

    Today was a busy day with some difficulties that I have a hard time overcoming…I was introducing a new theme and a co- work with two other teachers. This student interrupted and refused to listen. He claimed we had no right to use entrepreneur thinking in our program (Nature and science, where I work) and he frantically hammered his PC in order to find proof of this in rules and regulations…We were 42 people, of which three teachers, in the room and he was very agressive in his approach. And he’s my student. I’ve had some trouble with him before, but now he even talked back to the other teachers. I have to talk to his parents before he turns 18 now and i also contacted the head of school. I tend to think more of these things and let them get to me… as I grow older. Sometimes i feel retirement is VERY close.

    Thank you,, .thank you for always making me feel better…your posts breathe calmness and the kind of thinking my mind needs.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ah, I am grateful I could offer some calm with my post. Your day was not easy! Teaching is not easy, and you seem to have a very large class to teach, which, surely, must be exhausting, even when all the students behave 🙂 I am puzzled about why entrepreneur thinking would be against rules and why a student would object?

      Reply
  12. Mrs. P

    I too, love the Gloom…there is something which draws me near. Love the plums and just the other day was daydreaming of making plum jam…my favorite! Your daughter is very good, and quite intelligent in her prose.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oops! In the time it has taken me to respond to your comment, you have not only dreamed of plum jam but written a villanelle about plums. Now I need to make haste to visit your blog and follow up on the like I left there yesterday.

      Reply
  13. utesmile

    Lovely peony and poem. I wished my attic looked so tidy and clean….I need to do a big clear out again. Half my attic is full of traintracks and trains which my ex build with the boys. It was more his dream then theirs. To be fair we had some nice hours up there together with trains chugging along. It has to go though. Let’s see what else I find in boxes…..

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ute, my attic had to have a big tidy-up after the earthquakes. Now the shelves and items up there have been organised and secured. But it was all done so quickly that I can’t really remember what is up there or exactly where it is, so that is why I find surprises…or things I have forgotten! I am not likely to find any train tracks though! But there are certainly boxes full of the children’s toys. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am glad you like it. An attic is an encouragement to store what one doesn’t really need but, then, just sometimes, I find that I have stored something very wonderful!

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Well, I think that Australian Mining Company needs some re-education! Actually, I am guessing that fossicking is an old-fashioned word, probably more used by my parents’ generation.

        2. Gallivanta Post author

          I use a lot of words that belong to an older generation. Do you find that you use language that you remember from your grandparents? I try to keep up with the young one’s language/words too but that can be more of an effort because it changes so quickly 😀

        3. pleisbilongtumi

          Well,… Yes I do. My children, my friends and neighbors usually laugh at me when they hear it. My friends or neighbors said; you always remind me to my grandma/ grandpa or my mother/father using those words. younger generation don’t speak it up anymore. 😀

  14. lensandpensbysally

    The serendipitous quality of our individual journeys is heartwarming. Talk about gloom or maybe joy: our forecast is for a foot and a half of snow. Still, maybe I can go treasure hunting inside.

    Reply
  15. YellowCable

    I find the “GLOOM” (the black cat paint) is a gem. Though it looks sinister but he might be a good guard for protection 🙂

    The peony picture is so lovey and the plums look delicious 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Joanne, I didn’t realise it was such a NZ/Australian expression till after I had written the post. I use the word very often in the context of rummage. The poem was written by my daughter; I love it.

      “Fossicking is a term found in Cornwall, Australia and New Zealand referring to prospecting, especially in more recent times, when carried out as a recreational activity. This can be for gold, precious stones, fossils, etc. by sifting through a prospective area. In Australian English and New Zealand English, the term has an extended use meaning to “rummage”.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossicking

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s