In my quest, I begin to understand how the woof of many silences is woven through the warp of my life. The unfolding pattern surprises me, delights me, comforts me, saddens me, enriches me.
In the light of the silent stars that shine on the struggling sea,
In the weary cry of the wind and the whisper of flower and tree,
Under the breath of laughter, deep in the tide of tears,
I hear the Loom of the Weaver that weaves the Web of Years.
from the The Loom of Years by Alfred Noyes (1902)
ps The image features a selection of gifts received over many years. The wooden sculptures come from Malawi. They were given to me over 30 years ago and have travelled to many countries with me. Faithful friends, I call them Thomas and Sarah.
I really like your image! So beautiful and peaceful. I have my collection of wooden friends too. A couple from Zambia has followed around the world with us for 32 years and my large warrior from Kenya has been guarding my home now for 25 years 🙂 In complete silence.
He has been doing a good job! We lost our Malawi warrior somewhere in our travels. Very careless of us.
The days go by so quickly. Christmas has come. May it be your best day ever. Micheline 💕
Thank you, Micheline. It was a lovely day, enjoyed with friends and family (family via video and phone calls) . I hope your day is blessed.
I was alone at home, but it was a good Christmas Day. I lost my voice on December 11, and I’m waiting for it to return. It was bronchitis. Wishing you the very best, Amanda. Love 💛
Hope your voice will be back soon.
Oh I just love this … beautiful! And that poem .. thank you again
Thank you, Julie. It was lovely to have an excuse to showcase my faithful ‘friends’. Hope the next fews days are bright and cheerful and filled with good company.
As it happens, I have two pieces of Ethiopian embroidery framed and hanging on my wall: gifts during my own African time from a member of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus. The thought of Lutherans in Ethiopia still can sound a bit odd to me, but so it is. When a friend asked where I’d like to go for a birthday dinner this year, I named the best Ethiopian restaurant in Houston. After being introduced to the food in New York many years ago, it’s become one of my favorite cuisines.
I like the phrase “the woof of many silences,” although it reminds me that silence can be marked by radical absence as well as presence. The experience at Stonehenge was all presence, but another Christmas experience provided an experience of utter silence and complete absence. As you might surmise, it wasn’t a pleasant experience, and it remains painful in memory. Still, William Blake once put your own point in his words:
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine,
Under every grief and pine,
Runs a joy with silken twine.
It is right it should be so,
We were made for joy and woe,
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.
I am envious of your meal at the best Ethiopian restaurant in Houston. And I am pleased to know you own some lovely pieces of Ethiopian embroidery. As for Blake’s words, they have given me great succour for some years now, although how safely I am going may be debatable.
Noyes again! How funny that the old Highwayman chestnut is the one that got well known when some of these others are so much ore interesting. And I suppose you’d expect me to like the weaving metaphor! It’s such a useful device for thinking about the threads of our lives. . .
Oh, yes, I was counting on you to like the weaving metaphor. 🙂 I thought of you the first time I read this poem. The first time being just a few weeks ago!
Beautifully done ♥
Thank you, Ute. 🙂
I find the refrain of the poem comforting. (I waited all day to read it until I was alone and the house was silent.)
Bless you for dedicating your silent time to the poem and my post.
Smelling the roses. 🙂 🙂 I didn’t know you had an African connection, Ann. They are beautiful.
Thank you, Jo. Yes, there is an African connection but I hadn’t realized until this post just how much I neglect the wonder and beauty of it. We lived in Zambia and Botswana for a time and my husband is Ethiopian.
That’s a wonderful connection, to a continent that has its own raft of sorrows as well as all that beauty. 🙂 🙂
Yes, and, sadly, even I dwell too much on the sorrows, which is silly because our years in Africa were good ones, on the whole.
Like Steve the only Noyes I was familiar with is The Highwayman. I love your weaving of his poem with your poem.
Thank you, Don. I am glad you enjoyed the way the words were woven together.
I have my sculptures as well, well traveled by now. And they have become one with our journey. Wonderful post, dear friend. I wish you & yours a blessed Christmas season 💝
And the same to you, Tiny. With our current sensitivity to environmental concerns, I feel some guilt about these wooden sculptures. But what’s done, is done, and all I can do now is to continue to treasure them.
Beautifully done again dear Gallivanta! The photo echoes the theme perfectly. This is the web I should like to sit in and drink coffee (or tea) with you!
And you would be most welcome, Pauline.
Profound and inspirational image and words.
Thank you, Sally. 🙂 🙂
Beyond “The Highwayman” I knew practically nothing about Noyes. In your linked article, this caught my eye: “The story of scientific discovery has its own epic unity – a unity of purpose and endeavour – the single torch passing from hand to hand through the centuries; and the great moments of science when, after long labour, the pioneers saw their accumulated facts falling into a significant order – sometimes in the form of a law that revolutionised the whole world of thought – have an intense human interest, and belong essentially to the creative imagination of poetry.”
And now I’m reminded of a jibe made by the professor of the one astronomy course I took in college. He noted that while astronomy majors might read the Roman poet Lucretius, literature majors don’t (or can’t!) read books about astronomy.
Hmmm…… an interesting jibe but I may have had to pick a quarrel with him on behalf of some literature majors. I may have shown you this before but we have fascinating research projects at the University of Canterbury which are overseen by Dr Clemency Montelle who could have been described as an arts major who read astronomy. https://royalsociety.org.nz/what-we-do/funds-and-opportunities/marsden/celebrating-marsden-research/in-focus/clemency-montelle-many-faces-of-mathematics/
It’s been half a century since my astronomy professor made his remark, and I don’t remember what brought it on or how serious or non-serious he was. In any case, you followed the interesting jibe with an interesting article (and no, you hadn’t shown it to me before, so thanks for doing so now). Back in the 1970s a friend introduced me to an interesting math book from India
that I still have (though with a much plainer cover). When I was teaching an honors section of Algebra 2 I taught my students a few of the techniques from that book.
I hope they enjoyed the experience. I remember my teacher trying to teach us ‘new maths’. I never quite understood the ‘new’ or the ‘maths’. Perhaps she should have taught us ‘old maths’ instead. It may have been more enlightening.
Would your “new maths” be the New Math I was subjected to in 1961? Here the satirical song singer-songwriter-mathematician came out with: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UIKGV2cTgqA
Oh that was a laugh. And, yes, it was something like that. At one stage it also involved cuisenaire rods.
Alas, one of the “virtues” of reaching a certain age is that you see follies repeat themselves. From what I’ve read in the news, it seems there’s a new new math pervading American schools now, so that once again even numerate parents sometimes don’t understand how their children are supposed to do their arithmetic or algebra homework.
The exclamation, Heavens to Betsy (Betsy, being another of life’s mysteries) seems an appropriate response to the news of this new new math.
Speaking of (or to) Betsy:
🙂 🙂 🙂
I just watched a 1936 comedy called “Snowed Under,” and guess what: one of the characters used the phrase “Heavens to Betsy.” Also in the movie was “for Pete’s sake.” In case you’re now wondering who Pete was, I found this:
Ah, I had quite forgotten about Pete. He reminded me that we sometimes heard our elders say, “For the love of Mike.”
The thread of Africa. You are doing mystic weaving of your own here, Ann.
Smiley face, yes. Africa is firmly woven into my tapestry both in memory and in fact. My children carry the bloodline of an ancient African land, the domain of the Queen of Sheba.
And that would be Nubia? Just to know this is thrilling 🙂
Hmmm….well, one never knows, but it depends on who is telling the story. In this case, I am speaking of my children’s Ethiopian heritage, through their father. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kebra_Nagast
Oh well that’s even more fascinating, and of course who knows where one kingdom ended or another began way back in Sheba’s day, or if she was many times re-invented. I’m sorry I’ve not been to Ethiopia. We used to go to an Ethiopian restaurant in Nairobi, much frequented by Ethopians of course. They were so gracious. And the food so delicious.
Oh my goodness, yes, Tish, you are right about the food. Sadly, I haven’t been to Ethiopia and neither have our children. Initially, visits weren’t possible because of my husbands refugee status. Later the problem was distance and cost.