Tag Archives: Robert Herrick

Amazing words

Earlier in the year I mentioned  in  this post that our health authorities were developing strategies to help us maintain  our well-being in the face of the stresses brought about by the earthquakes of 2010/11. Their latest initiative is the  December/Christmas   All Right? campaign  which highlights the importance of giving things that really matter – time and kindness. To this end, we get daily ‘happy’ messages  in our newspaper, like this one that I read  this morning.

You are Amazing

You are Amazing

Kind of nice, isn’t it? To be told you’re amazing by officialdom; to be given a pat on the back, instead of the usual stern, finger-wagging, ( but important ) public service messages of  ‘Don’t drink and drive”, “Pay your taxes”, “Pay your fines or else…”,  which all hold a note of threat, or impending doom, over our heads if we fail to  comply.

I particularly like the  “Let’s remember it’s often the simple things that bring the most joy” part of the messages…..because it fits so well with the theme of my blog ;), and my About  page which states that “Although the big things have changed and continue to change, the little things prevail and bring joy.”

Little, simple things, such as the Cherry Clafouti I made the other day, or

You're an amazing clafouti :)

You’re amazing Clafouti  🙂

little things, like the delight of discovering a very old, and very lovely, interpretation of one of the most loathed words in our city…LIQUEFACTION…..

Liquefaction, as we have come to know it, (much too well),  is the conversion of soil into a fluid like mass during an earthquake or other seismic event.

Take a peek at this video clip to see how parts of city nearly drowned in the stuff a few years ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6-knLM7MZA

And, then, consider the pleasure and sensuous beauty of this type of liquefaction that I found Upon Julia’s Clothes 

Whenas in silk my Julia goes,

Then, then methinks, how sweetly flows

That liquefaction of her clothes!………

O how that glittering taketh me.

by Sweet Robin/Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

‘Liquefaction of her clothes’; oh, how I love that image as it sashays and swirls through my mind and swishes over those other gray and grim memories. What was Julia wearing , I wonder. Was it Watered Silk?;

Portrait, Princess di Sant' Antimo (1840-1844)

Portrait, Princess di Sant’ Antimo [ in watered silk](1840-1844) by  Francesco Hayez

in the style of a princess?

And, isn’t amazing that with a well-chosen phrase, or a slight change of meaning to a word, we can give our world a whole new look?

So, even if you don’t live in Canterbury, make some appropriate changes to the following messages from the All Right? campaign and give someone a kind word and a little time during the holiday season. You may be truly amazed! You may find you’re truly amazing!

“You’re a wee Canterbury gem.”

‘You’re cooler than pirates and ninjas combined.’

‘You’re strong (even if you don’t always think so).’

‘Your smile is life changing.’

‘You’re lovelier than the summer sun in Hagley Park.’

© silkannthreades

ps The cherry clafouti seems to have a certain liquefacted appearance, don’t you think? It was oozing cherry juice 🙂

The sweetness of lines that endure and endear

My newspaper tells me that, today, 15 October, is Virgil’s birthday. He was born in 70 BC. To quote from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/virgil Publius Vergilius Maro was a classical Roman poet, best known for three major works—the Bucolics (or Eclogues), the Georgics, and the Aeneid—although several minor poems are also attributed to him. The son of a farmer in northern Italy, Virgil came to be regarded as one of Rome’s greatest poets; his Aeneid as Rome’s national epic.”

My  poetry book “Poem for the Day”, edited by Nicholas Albery,  tells me that, today, 15 October, is the day that English poet Robert Herrick died in 1674.  Robert Herrick was well-versed ( yes well-versed !) in the ancient authors, and like Virgil, many of his poems are pastoral or bucolic.  He also believed that he would  “triumph over “Times trans-shifting” and live beyond death through his verses” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/robert-herrick

One of Herrick’s poems which lives on is Delight in Disorder

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness:
A lawn* about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction:
An erring lace which here and there
Enthralls the crimson stomacher:
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly:
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat:
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part.
 
(* a lawn is a light scarf)
 
 
 
I think this poem is delightful. It reminds me, for the lace and the
 
petticoats, rather than any disorder, of my favourite portrait paintings by Ingres.

It  also takes me to the abundant and gorgeous

 
disarray of my garden.
 
This morning, I found the lily of the valley, like ‘erring lace’, here
 
and there, threaded through the flowers and greenery along the garden
 
path.
 
Lily of the Valley is another of my favourite plants.
 
It was my maternal grandmother’s favourite flower, and the Lily of the
 
Valley in my garden was given to me by her eldest daughter, my aunt.
Like erring lace

Like erring lace

I look forward to its appearance, every year, in early October, and ,more often than not, it arrives in time to help me  celebrate the October birthdays of my aunt and my grandmother 🙂  Clever little plants!

Another poet, sometimes pastoral,  is Eleanor Farjeon, most widely known for her poem/hymn, A Morning Song, Morning Has Broken.

In 1965, the year of  Eleanor Farjeon’s  death, a friend of my paternal grandmother gave me  Farjeon’s “The Children’s Bells”, ( first  published in 1957 ). It is a book of verse for children but contains this small poem, titled Sweet Robin Herrick (born 20 August 1591).  Although some of Herrick’s poems have a wantonness that  might be considered inappropriate for a child, Eleanor Farjeon obviously thought  him too important a poet to leave out from a child’s literary education!

This day Robin Herrick

Was born in Cheapside,

His father he laughed

And his mother she cried,

So to sweet Robin Herrick

‘Twas given to spy The tear in the marigold’s Laughing eye.”

I have no marigolds at this time of year, so the best I can do, to  perpetuate  this  enduring and wonderful  poetic lineage, is  to show some photos of  the wayward, wanton disorderly  poesie of my garden

Floral Notes: Lily of the Valley symbolises the return of happiness. It is the national flower of Finland and the flower of May in the Northern Hemisphere. And its delicate scent makes it a lovely addition to a small floral bouquet on my kitchen window sill. (It was also in Kate Middleton’s wedding bouquet 🙂 )

© silkannthreades

A sweet disorder in the dresse Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse: – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19791#sthash.zCCuwSq6.dpuf
A sweet disorder in the dresse Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse: A Lawne about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction: An erring Lace, which here and there Enthralls the Crimson Stomacher: A Cuffe neglectfull, and thereby Ribbands to flow confusedly: A winning wave (deserving Note) In the tempestuous petticote: A careless shooe-string, in whose tye I see a wilde civility: Doe more bewitch me, then when Art Is too precise in every part. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19791#sthash.zCCuwSq6.dpuf
A sweet disorder in the dresse Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse: A Lawne about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction: An erring Lace, which here and there Enthralls the Crimson Stomacher: A Cuffe neglectfull, and thereby Ribbands to flow confusedly: A winning wave (deserving Note) In the tempestuous petticote: A careless shooe-string, in whose tye I see a wilde civility: Doe more bewitch me, then when Art Is too precise in every part. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19791#sthash.zCCuwSq6.dpuf
A sweet disorder in the dresse Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse: A Lawne about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction: An erring Lace, which here and there Enthralls the Crimson Stomacher: A Cuffe neglectfull, and thereby Ribbands to flow confusedly: A winning wave (deserving Note) In the tempestuous petticote: A careless shooe-string, in whose tye I see a wilde civility: Doe more bewitch me, then when Art Is too precise in every part. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19791#sthash.zCCuwSq6.dpuf