Northern Ireland, Small is Beautiful

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Recently we spent a few days in Northern Ireland.

We were based in Belfast, an up and coming city with a proud industrial heritage, particularly in ship building. It was here, of course, where the legendary ocean liner, The Titanic was built.

In more recent times, though, Belfast has been blighted by what was called ‘The Troubles’. Thankfully, those days are long gone but the scars remain. I won’t talk about those times right now.

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No, I want to talk about the County Antrim coast road, which takes you around the northern tip of the island of Ireland.

I have scarcely seen such beauty, anywhere; the fantastic vistas out to sea, atmospheric views across to Scotland and the Mull of Kintyre; the wonderful, secluded, almost deserted beaches.

And then of course sensational spots like the Giants Causeway.

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In fact, words almost fail, except to say that property sales particulars were consulted. Simply wonderful.

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There will be more pictures to follow in future pieces on the fabulous little corner of the world.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

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Poem: At Cromer

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When I look down toward the beach,
the distant pier seems to stride
forward from the shining sea.
I like to look beyond,
to the bands of turquoise and blue,
an ocean painted in bold,
abandoned strokes.

Why are we drawn to the waves?
Those elemental rhythms,
sounds and colours
of a primary world,
where sparse pointillist spots
busy themselves on
yellow-ochre sands.

Some days the morning
unfolds through mists,
groynes spacing out
the distances along the strand,
until a final fade-out,
well before the sea
can meet the sky.

Overhead, pterodactyl shapes
patrol against fresh patches
of blue. As I approach,
the blurred semblances
of buildings appear, rectangles
feathered violet or grey,
as if stepping off the cliff.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019, 2011

Poem: ‘Picture’

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There’s a picture
it’s been hanging on my wall
You know it tells a story
the truth of it all

Now it’s time to tell you
with the sun streaming in
After all the silent years
I should begin

For love is like the summer time
in the northern lands
This cold barren soil
through my hands:

And we shall never pass this way

So how long did she stand? I don’t know.
Waiting – those poor women –
for a tall mast to show

Yes, he was a treasure
fresh flowers in the jar
Cap in hand, feet ten and two
like an evening star

Most nights she takes the air
down by the sea
Out there she can feel him
where the ocean sets her free

For love is a precious time
a sacred space
Give into the water
and its healing grace

And we shall always have this day

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Inspirational! The North Norfolk Coast

Wells Morning Light

The North Norfolk Coast near Wells Next the Sea.

When I used to paint (I’m hardly picking up a brush these days), I found the North Norfolk coast in eastern England to be most inspirational.

There is something about the quality of the light, perhaps because it is north facing. There is a strong ‘elemental’ feeling to the whole area which is difficult to put into words.

I am not alone in this of course. It is a popular tourist destination, is home to much wildlife and many want to relocate there. The house prices in certain parts have skyrocketed in recent years.

But that can’t stop us visiting. I think I shall have to return soon and who knows – maybe I will be inspired.

Days of Innocence and Eternity

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Summer is not far away, fickle though it may be in England’s northerly reaches.

To us as children the good days were glorious; down at the beach the sun was our friend, the sea and sand our playmates through the days which would last forever. Eternity was within our reach – then.

In reality nothing much has changed, only our perception of reality.

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paintings by Francis Barker

Poem: Summer Coming In

spring summer

Spring finally comes, like your
warm breath on my
desiccate skin. So then
sing to me of careless summers,
your smile, where
love begins

© copyright David F. Barker 2013

Poem: ‘Clothes’

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These are my favourite clothes, I
wear them for days on end.
See?
They retain their shape,
my shape,
even when I toss them
into wardrobes, or hang them from
skeletal frames, dis-
assembled, waiting for warm
odours of my living
return.

So say you’ll never throw them
out, and resist all
temptation to wash. Simply
lay them on a chair or bed – though
mark the creases,
the bulges of cotton limbs, fleshy
legs which have moulded denim,
now hanging in threads. And make sure
to study the greasy collars, precious
oils of my skin. Then take
hold of this shirt, stretch the faded
fabric in your hands and breathe in
the smell of years. Remember
the walks and our talks, when
there was only time to kill. For these
things, which may be nothing now, are
still worthy of note, the relics of
a single life
and not without right

image and poem © copyright David F. Barker 2013