This passage was originally for Authors Electric in 2013 and celebrates when Kay Jamieson and I 'eloped' to Gretna Green to get married.
Lines Written For an Auspicious Occasion
The summons having woken me, I hied,
Caring no whit for time or even tide,
Toward the north, where Solway runs its course Through Scotia's windy plains where lies its source, Where Devil's Porridge boils, where fields are bleak And Burns the ploughman makes his rough verse speak. My spirits droop as further still I tread,
When suddenly, like Lazarus from his bed, They rise, as Gretna's purlieus do me face.
For here a miracle I see, a blessed place,
A sanctuary, alive with tree and flower,
With many a bubbling stream and bosky bower, Colourful, lush, abundant, leafy, ferny,
Another Hidcote, Sissinghurst, Giverny.
Nature and man together made this scene.
What beauty now? What barb'rousness has been?
But soft. Figures approach. What is their quest? Do they mean harm or are they for the best?
A ministrant? Who to? What does she carry?
A book? A register of those who marry?
Are those her acolytes who shyly pace
And in the tiny belvedere take their place? And why so quiet? Breathlessly they stand. Surely some revelation is at hand?
Yes. Two I had not thought to see draw near
To start a journey set for many a year.
For sure, there's something rakish in their mien. Have they eloped? To here? To Gretna Green? Their tryst is secret. Is it racked with guilt?
Are heirs disowned? Are families split? Blood spilt? Not so. They glory in their escapade,
Proceeding joyfully once their choice was made.
The bride is beautiful in royal blue.
The birds are hushed in awe; the squirrels too Pause in their business as she passes by.
"Did you not see my lady," is their cry,
"Go down the garden smiling?" As her swain, Faithful and loving, free from every strain, Beside her walks, engarbed in sober grey, Savouring this moment, knowing it will stay, The sea doth murmur and the very tide.
On Solway's firth doth turn and softly glide Towards the land to hear the rite, the vow Confirming that, oh yes! they're married now. The ceremony is short. The ministrant's soft, Mellifluous voice sends loving thoughts aloft. Hymen, the god, and Cupid, meddlesome boy, Hasten to Earth to join in all this joy,
To make a fitting end to this great day
And wish all happiness to Dennis and Kay.
LiterArties Kay Jamieson and Dennis Hamley are an artist, author partnership. The beauty of Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand, inspired Kay to paint her tranquil artwork that, in turn, inspired Dennis to pen a poem.
By Lake Hayes
The sun makes soft shadows on the mountains
Beyond the opposite shore.
Far to our left, beyond the trees, past the town
And across mighty Wakatipu, the shadows are
Sharper, darker and the sun glares
On the jagged Remarkables.
But this is a gentler lake.
Far out on the blue Aotearoan water
A racing four, your granddaughter
Rowing at stroke, practices.
Only the soothing cry of a solitary bell-bird breaks the silence
As we sit companionably together
Under the trees which fringe the water’s edge.
I write and you sketch.
Wooden walkways snake towards us, pause,
Then slide away back into the bush.
Yes, people come here.
But, though a faint roar from far behind us
Says that plane after plane is making
Its approach through the gap in the mountains
Bringing yet more to the honeypot town,
They are not here today.
This scene is archetypal, permanent.
We and the rowers are impertinent intruders.
The lake is for ever.
We are not.
Yet what you and I do as we sketch and write
Will have outcomes.
Fledgling words will seek form,
Questing lines and shapes will strive for unity,
Until they are both complete and satisfying.
So, even if nobody reads them,
Nobody sees them,
They will be for ever too.
Capturing our Creativity
So often a painting will resonate so much with us that it will inspire poetry to flow! It seems this happens frequently.
This blog was initiated as a result of meeting author Sylvia Veta at a recent Writers in Oxford Social (held jointly with the Society of Authors). Sylvia is a freelance writer on art, antiquities and history. She was showing us her latest project, An Anthology of Poems Inspired by Art. Syvia had approached some, mostly Oxford based, poets to contribute to this anthology. The idea is that all proceeds from direct sales will go to Standing Voice for the art summer school they run on the island of Ukerewe in the training centre built by Standing Voice.
Sylvia's latest book also has an artistic theme to it. Called Brushstrokes in Time it is a fictional memoir of a Chinese artist.
Dennis Hamley's Anthology
From his wide ranging and inspirational selection here are three examples. The first is about the experience of visiting the Tate Gallery:
Leaving the Tate
"When the Author Was Painting the Vault of the Sistine Chapel”
'Being Seen and Known' by Karen L French
I dropped the façade,
LiterArties, people who embrace, explore and capture their creativity in many ways.
Capturing Our Creativity
Karen L French
The Hare Trilogy
Wise Dog Next Door
Writers In Oxford
Writing For Children