Do We Ever Know Our Parents?

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My father has been dead a long time now, but I’ve never stopped missing him.

I was brought up in an agricultural community of intensive farming, but with just enough ‘real nature’ around us to appreciate the clean air (usually), the silence, the freedom. I virtually grew up on a bike and cars were relatively rare down our road.

Through all that time my father seemed to be in the background, always there, but quiet, shy. He’d had various jobs before retirement, a butcher, farm labourer mainly, but he was an intelligent man of few words.

And I feel I never really knew or understood him.

I wish I’d asked more questions, about his early life, his family. But we never know or ask enough, do we? We take it for granted that our family are there. For us.

Then one day, one of them is not. It’s too late. Yes, of course, I’m stating the obvious, but most often we ignore the obvious all around us, don’t we?

My abiding memory is of my father on his piece land at the back of our house, digging, simply digging the rich soil, surrounded by the vast fertile fields and eyed by hungry, inquisitive birds.

Thanks Dad.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

 

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300-Year-Old Farmhouse | Germany — Edge of Humanity Magazine

Photographer Robert Mertl is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of these images. From the ‘An Old Farmhouse’ series. To see Robert’s body of work, click on any photograph. Schwarzer House, Grassemann, Germany. Built in 1698. All images © Robert Mertl […]

via 300-Year-Old Farmhouse | Germany — Edge of Humanity Magazine

Johannes Brahms born this day 1833 – What do the ‘stars’ say?

JohannesBrahms.jpg (371×480)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Brahms

With Tchaikovsky also born on this day in 1840, this middle period of Taurus is evidently fertile ground for great musicians and composers.

Born in Hamburg in northern Germany, many aspects of his life and personality are reflected in his birth chart. He is said to have been both an innovator and a traditionalist. I believe we can see the latter in his Sun in Taurus, which though artistic (ruled by Venus), favours the more conventional elements of art and music. His Capricorn Midheaven and Saturn in Virgo, trine his Sun in Taurus in the 6th house, strongly hints at a highly structured, methodical approach to work and career. The latter too probably accounts for his meticulousness and perfectionism which are often referred to. He famously destroyed some of his work, or at least left it unpublished.

However, where might his so called innovative and romantic side stem from? Well, he has Aries rising, which likes to plough new furrows and which traditionally means the ruler of the chart is Mars, which finds itself in emotional, romantic Cancer – which also, incidentally, is conjunct the north node of the Moon in the 4th house: I think he clearly followed the path he was supposed to take.

Even more though, he has a tight Mercury Jupiter conjunction in Aries conjunct the ascendant, sextile Uranus in Aquarius and trine a wide ranging Moon in Sagittarius. Here is the precocious, talented child, a bundle of creative energy and, probably, a very ‘difficult’ child too. Here is great manual dexterity, innovation, flare and sheer raw talent rolled into one. Some might call it genius. Venus in Gemini trine Neptune also evokes an easy romanticism and someone truly inspired at times.

So little wonder then that Johannes Brahms is considered one of the all time greats, to rank alongside Beethoven and Bach.

source: http://www.astro.com

Poem ‘Sea Wall’

The Wash, as seen looking west from Heacham, i...

The Wash, as seen looking west from Heacham, in Norfolk, just south of Hunstanton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sea Wall

Stand and look from here,
you can see the earth’s curve,
a sea-levelled land
bereft of its mother.

Shells we have found
while the silt blew away,
powdered by droughts
and the pitiless wind.

Stand here with me
at the high spring tide—
you know the stark sea
will swell all over this again

poem © copyright df barker 2012

Poem ‘Days in Magic May’

Days in Magic May

And I opened the eyes
you’ve been opening ever since;

from the sweet wafts of mayflower,
whose banks of pure white

herald the long summer days,
to the sudden sight

of all manner of flies,
all busy living their fast fuse lives.

You’d point to the swifts swooping close,
yet so completely removed:

how could we comprehend
a life spent solely in the sky?

But you spoke to me in magic—
the old names for flowers and trees

sitting soft in lush landscapes,
either lost or quite alien now

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012

Poem ‘A Robin’s Descent’

A Robin’s Descent

The rain is gone,
though a heaviness remains.

Between this precious repose
and first glimpses of a lighter day,

a robin drops to drenched grass,
almost tame and curious,

the colour of passion,
his peppy, ardent life

among manifold greens.
Then he pops up once more,

daring closer this time,
an upturned table leg his perch,

to peek inside this house
of false comfort,

bringing life to worn out lives

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012

Poem ‘The Country’ (for England)

“Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget;
For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet.”

from ‘The Secret People’ by G. K. Chesterton

The Country

It’s all around them, though they never see it,
like Jesus said about the Kingdom of Heaven.

Some, even a poet, say it cannot be defined,
even though they are immersed in it,
like fishes swimming blind to the sea.

They take it for granted, spurn it,
but they are born in it and nurtured by it,
educated and employed by it,
and then nursed to the very end.

They say the language is not ours,
that it belongs to the world,
or to the oppressed,
to anyone with a cause
except our own.

Countless cocks have crowed,
but each time its existence is denied,
its very future put up for discussion
by people who owe it everything –
yet who would rather die than accept it
for what it is.

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012

*** For Saint George’s Day on April 23, patron Saint of England (and other places) for around 700 years, at least. William Shakespeare (1564-1616), a candidate surely for ‘Greatest Ever Englishman’, was born, and apparently died, on this day. This is not meant to be overtly nationalistic, but to simply, starkly, re-iterate that the feeling that poets and people in the past saw as a reality, is still clearly evident today.

* First published, without the quotation, in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available at amazon.

**The image is reproduced from a painting based on a scene at Southwold, Suffolk, a quintessentially English seaside town.