Reading My Way Around the World

Saturday 13 June 2015

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Unwrought with golden and silver light,
the blue and the dim and dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I , being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of Ireland's greatest poets ... William Butler  Yeats.

The poem above is one of my very favourite pieces of writing - it moves me to tears every time I read it.

We learned some of Yeats' poems at primary school and although I feel very uneducated in my knowledge of poetry, the words I learned by rote back then still have a beauty that resonates with me. The Lake Isle of Innisfree was one of those.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Happy Birthday WB - thank you for all the beautiful words.

Friday 12 June 2015

A week offline

Our neighbour who keeps the bees and grows Christmas trees in the field beside our house is now building a new house.  And in the first throes of clearing the site, the guy with the digger cut our telephone lines - woohoo!   Not!   One whole week we've been offline and out of contact.  No phone, no internet, no mobile, no cable tv.   (Our mobile phones are boosted through wifi cos we're so close to the border and have a terrible signal).

For the first day or two it was weird - driving into the village to sit outside the pub where there's a good global wifi signal - then for the next few days we realised we were getting loads done around the house and offline, but after the 5th day it turned to utter frustration having to go to a cafe in town to get a good enough signal to collect emails and check bank and do any work.

It was an interesting experiment.  Hopefully as this house progresses it doesn't become a repeat occurrence.  With a bit of care, the red tape he's put up to mark out the phone line will keep that digger in its place.

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Full Moon and a new choir

Last night the last of my new projects for this year got off to a flying start. Another community choir for a regeneration project that's been happening in the Mourne Mountains.   We met at Tory Bush Cottages - if you're ever looking for a self catering place to stay in this area this is beautiful.

27 people showed up on a freezing cold night (it was 5C last night! What is going on? 1st June) and they made a really good sound.   I had gathered together lots of mountain themed songs with simple harmonies and my favourite of all - rounds.  Lots of African pieces have made their way into my repertoire in the years since I started leading groups for singing and they make a fabulous instant harmony that makes all the singers feel good.  

Community choirs are wonderful.   They're informal and the repertoire is often more folk based and taught by ear.  There's no audition process as the ethos is that they should be all inclusive so they're a great place for building strength in your voice.  And while there are high and low parts, the focus is not on soprano, alto, tenor, bass, and for this one anyway, which isn't performance based, it's relaxing for people to sing for an evening, enjoy a cup of tea and a chat and go home again without worrying about practicing, learning words, or dressing up (for them anyway).   The age group last night ranged between 35 and 75 and it looks like it'll be a fun group.   We're running for the four Mondays of June and possibly another four weeks later in the Autumn.

Driving home through the mountains the moon was full and spectacular.   I tried a couple of quick photos on my phone.  Will definitely remember to bring my camera with me next week - I"m still not much past pointing and clicking but it is such fun.

What is it about the full moon?  It's so awe inspiring, or just plain inspiring.   I cannot look at it without thinking about the people who would have lived here 1000 or more years ago - I wonder were they scared of the moon?  No wonder they worshipped her.   I would like to learn to take good moon pictures.

Where were you watching the full moon this month?  Actually just thinking about it, will we have a blue moon this month?  We may well do.