First Class Quotations #Shakespeare #quotes #theatre #plays #stamps #StGeorge #Passover

The 23rd April is a very busy date. 

Firstly we must commemorate Mr William Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon who died on 23rd April 1616, 400 years ago today.  

Shakespeare was also born on the 23rd April 1564.

The 23rd April happens to be St George’s Day; St George is the patron saint of England, often depicted slaying a dragon to rescue the fair maiden.

 “Love is a smoke made with the fumes of sighs” from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

This quote seems to tie the two together perfectly.

Royal Mail has issued 10 Shakespeare quotes as 1st class stamps. You could have issued a 100 stamps going by the popularity and love of a Shakespeare line:

“To thine own self be true…” A quote for this day of all days, and everyday thereafter.

‘The fair and the mighty, such characters enthral

Indulge all our senses, give rowdy applause

To rousing great speeches, the lines well rehearsed

The sonnets and quotes, perfect prose of sweet verse…’

From The Bard by K.Barnwell

Today is also The First Day of Passover (Pesach = Hebrew ‘to pass over’) – the freedom of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery by the Pharaohs (rulers over the kingdom of Egypt, considered half man, half god, but not King).  

Only unleavened bread called Matzo is eaten. The festival lasts 15 days.
A Great weekend to come…

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Rhymes and Reasons #nursery-rhymes #theatre #Easter #moral #happy


‘Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the Kings horses and all the Kings men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again…’

This sweet little nursery rhyme actually has a more sinister overtone. Often you find that when you dig a little deeper into the origins and meanings of nursery rhymes, they are not the innocent, dainty tales we enjoy humming and reciting.

Let’s look (photo below) at this Humpty – one too many glasses of wine will tip him over the edge of the wall, on which he precariously balances; in turn his ‘Easter egg’ head will crack open and no matter what help can be provided, no one will be able to mend him.  

Moral: watch your drinking.

But let’s not be sour on a day like today, Easter Monday: the sweetest and stickiest day of the year. The days are getting longer, the gardens are getting brighter, and I am seeing a play tonight called ‘Reasons To Be Happy’ at London’s Hampstead Theatre … start counting your reasons.

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March Mothers, no stress #poetry #sculpture #MothersDay #March

English poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born on 6th March, 1806 (210 years ago today). She was mother of a boy called Robert and nicknamed Pen (!)

‘How I love thee? Let me count the ways…’


Italian painter, sculptor, architect and poet, Michelangelo Buonarotti was born on 6th March, 1475. Here is a poetical piece by him, in sculptural terms giving birth to a beautiful figure of Carrara marble. Listen to him explain it, my lady…

‘My lady it’s the taking 

away that gives the marble grace

and bares the figure’s face

to grow beneath the flaking.

And like the figure I’m encased:

so hard the rough excess

of carnal appetite,

which closes me from light,

that straining is no use.

But lady you can carve distress

away and sculpt me lose.’

Carve away all stresses and strains and enjoy a peaceful day of mother’s love this Mother’s Day; long wonderful hours, united under an umbrella of happiness.  

No phones at the table, focus on the here and now; the happening not the must-have need of a small piece of matter (iPad, mobile phone etc) allowing you to exist in a mammoth technological space.  

The only world you need today is the mothering one.

A bigger and greater world is made in sharing time and being together.

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No mothers were harmed or alarmed in the taking of this ‘shop window’ photo.
  

Devotion and Emotion #Spain #France #poetry #poets #OnThisDay #pilgrimage

Spanish poet from Seville, Antonio Machado, died in Collioure, the little fishing village in southern France on 22nd February 1939.  
As a boy and without financial support, he and his young brother were driven to write and to act to make money. Later as a supporter of the loyalist cause, and living in Madrid at the outbreak of The Spanish Civil War, he was subsequently forced into exile. He and his family joined thousands of refugees on a long, perilous journey on foot over the Pyrenees. One month later he passed away, aged 63.

No, my soul is not asleep.

It’s awake, wide awake.

It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches,

it’s eyes wide open

far-off things, and listens

at the shores of the great silence.

From ‘Is my soul asleep?’ by Antonio Machado, translated by Robert Bly.

A his grave is a site of pilgrimage for the Spanish, French and Catalan communities. All year this man, this poet, is visited and adored; his resting place is a shrine of devotion, emotion, and poetry…

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Epiphany  #epiphany #poetry #Shakespeare #January #quotes #TwelfthNight 

To have an epiphany is to experience a sudden and striking realisation, which would then lead on to extraordinary revelations, like those experienced by Archimedes (mathematics, invention) Issac Newton, (gravity, mechanics, physics) Albert Einstein (theoretical physics) Charles Darwin (Creation & natural selection).  
Please note these are all examples of The Sciences, The Arts are not represented as examples of ‘epiphanies.’ I suggest everyone choose their own…eg. The Sunflowers (painting) by Vincent Van Gogh or A Christmas Carol (book) by Charles Dickens or Bright Star (poem) by John Keats etc. These are wonderful realisations; what they reveal is what you choose to seek and take from them; no formulas, no theories, no statistics, just pure, emotive, personal satisfaction.

In the Christian calendar the 6th of January, the 12th day of Christmas; Twelfth Night is Epiphany: the visit and adoration of the Magi and their realisation of the Virgin Mary’s incarnation and the revelation that Christ is the son of God. (phew!)

Fast forward to the 17th century

On the 6th January 1601 the comedy play ‘Twelfth Night’ by William Shakespeare was entered in the Stationer’s Register.

It’s the beginning of the year, we need some comedy, especially as one realises that the resolutions, so resolutely written, are now starting to dwindle and the still-winter months lie ahead.

The Magi ended their journey to see the new-born babe.

Shakespeare wrote a love song to be sung by the clown Feste to Sir Toby Belch and Andrew Aguecheek (great names!)

‘Trip no further, pretty sweeting;

Journeys end in lovers meeting,

Every wise man’s son doth know…’

From Twelfth Night ‘Sweet-and Twenty’

So it seems we are surrounded by wise men, adoration, revelation, realisation, journeys, love and poetry.

‘What’s to come is still unsure:

In delay there lies no plenty;

Then come kiss me, sweet-and-twenty!’

Shakespeare’s quotes and poetry still widely endure; their greatness, their humility, their magnificence, their grace, their morals… and their beauty.  

They search the soul for the same secret qualities; allow yourself to realise it; no equation or theory required.

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Happy New Year from London, England #BigBen #NewYear #London #poetry

To avoid the crowds this year, a jolly, good fellow has made me a model of The Houses of Parliament, which means Big Ben, (St Stephen’s Tower) a little imagination and ‘the bare necessities (of life) have come to me’ …(see pic)…

On the last day of the year in 1865 (1 day after Rudyard Kipling’s birth in Bombay). Poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) wrote the poem ‘I Stood on a Tower’

‘I stood on a tower in the wet,

And New Year and Old Year met,

And winds were roaring and blowing;

And I said, “O years, that meet in tears,

Have you all that is worth the knowing?

Science enough and exploring,

Wanderers coming and going,

Matter enough for deploring,

But aught that is worth the knowing?”‘


The last 4 lines of this poem shall be the feature of tomorrow’s blog, on the 1st January 2016, with a photo that best suits the passing of the wet, weary Old Year and the revealing of the shiny New.

12 days of Christmas, 12 bells of New Year…

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One ‘If,’ no ‘buts’  #Kipling #poetry #December #history

‘If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on others…’

From ‘If-‘ the masculine ideal poem written by Rudyard Kipling in 1895 and based on Dr Jameson, leader of the fiasco which came to be known as the Jameson raid, (1895-1896) in the war with South Africa.

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay (now, Mumbai) India on 30th December 1865, 150 years ago today.  

His parents, John Lockwood Kipling and Alice MacDonald, first met at Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire (North England) in 1863; a popular place for courting with its rowing boats, funfair, brass band concerts and dozens of tea rooms.

By the end of the 1800s, 20,000 excursionists bought cheap train tickets to Rudyard Lake. Blondin, the world’s greatest trapeze artist, fresh from his feat crossing Niagara Falls on high wire, came to repeat his achievement at the lake.

Rudyard Kipling would take his very British name and his strong legacy into world history.

(Poetry– ‘My Boy Jack’, ‘If-‘, Literature– ‘The Jungle Book,’ (the last-animated-film made by Walt Disney in 1966) the book ‘Kim’ as well as The War Graves Commission in World War I). Along the way, at some point, everyone will meet Rudyard.

Keep ‘keeping your head’…and keep the peace…two days to New Year.
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A Square Tree #Christmas #London #Norway 

“This tree is given by the city of Oslo as a token of Norwegian gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during the years 1940-45.
A tree has been given annually since 1947.”

In Trafalgar Square, stands a 50-60 year old Norway Spruce. It is shipped across the North Sea, travels up to London and is adorned simply in the Nordic style with 500 white lights.

Around this tree congregate Carollers (singers of traditional Carols), happy school children, rockers, onlookers and fundraisers, proving that under the protection and beauty of green, spiky branches all sorts of people can come together safely.

Each year new poems are displayed on banners about the base.

‘Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree thy leaves are so unchanging…’

Here she will stand until 6th January 2016, if you are about come and take a look at Trafalgar Square’s perfect triangular Tree for 2015 – day or night! Follow the star

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A Birthday In The Bleak Mid-Winter #Rossetti #December #OnThisDay #poetry #music

On the 5th of December 1830 (85 years ago today) Christina Rossetti, the youngest of the artistic Rossetti family, was born in London.
She wrote the well-known, wintry, Christian lyrics of the carol ‘In The Bleak Mid-Winter.’  The widely-hummed music was composed by Gustav Holst (1874-1934).  Holst was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and is most famous for his composition ‘The Planets.’
The words and the melody come together perfectly to form a delicate, soft and slowly journeying hymn. There is nothing too trying for the vocal chords, one could almost read the verses over a log fire with the cold wind locked outside.

‘In the bleak mid-winter 

Frosty winds may moan;

Earth stood hard as iron,

Water like a stone;

Snow had fallen, snow on snow,

Snow on snow,

In the bleak mid-winter,

Long ago…’

First verse of In The Bleak Mid-Winter’

It is perhaps appropriate to mention that Christina also wrote a poem entitled: ‘A Birthday’

‘Because the birthday of my life 

Is come, my love is come to me.’

There is plenty of singing and rejoicing this time of year; we are deep in the heart of poetry, music and storytelling.
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Burning bright #OnThisDay #poetry #history #London

William Blake was born in London on 28th November, 1757 (d.12th August, 1827) and lived all his life in the city, apart from an absence of 3 years, when he lived in Felpham (Sussex).
He is difficult man to fathom, despite detailed and comprehensive study of his work, particularly in the late 20th century; he seems to stand entirely alone in his collection of crafts.

He was pre-Romantic, yet a Romantic poet; a printmaker and painter (engraver, printer and illustrator of his own illuminated poems and manuscripts).  

Blake was described by writer and scholar William Rossetti (1860s) as ‘a glorious luminary’ and as ‘a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors.’

Artist or genius, or mystic or madman?

Perhaps an element of each; unafraid to show, explore and reveal his true self.

Tyger, tyger, burning bright

In the forests of the night 

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy perfect symmetry?’

  From ‘The Tyger‘ William Blake

His home in Soho, London was demolished in 1965, and is recognised by this plaque below; his grave is unmarked, he lies somewhere in Bunhill fields, (Islington, London), where there is a memorial stone.

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Persons of notable repute to this place came … #history #poetry #GreatBritain #London

The old church garden on Marylebone High Street, London commemorates the site of the old parish church of St Mary on the River Tyburn, in the village of St Mary le Bourne, hence Marylebone. It was built 1400, rebuilt 1741, and demolished 1949.

On this site ‘Persons of notable repute in The History of Great Britain,’ are remembered.

Who are they?

Sir Francis Bacon (born 1561) English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist and author.  

In the mid 19th century some of the plays conventionally attributed to Shakespeare were believed to have been written by him. He was MARRIED here in 1606.

William Hogarth, painter, engraver, satirist PORTRAYED the church interior, 1735.

James Gibbs, architect and pupil of Wren, was BURIED here, 1754.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Irish playwright and poet, MARRIED here 1773; he is buried in Poets Corner, Westminster Abbey.

Charles Wesley, co-founder of the Methodist Movement, BURIED here, 1788.

Lord Byron, poet, BAPTISED here, 1788.

Lord Nelson, WORSHIPPED here and his daughter Horatia, BAPTISED here, 1803.

‘So we’ll go no more a-roving

So late into the night

Though the heart still be as loving

And the moon still be as bright.’

‘We’ll go no more a-roving’ 

by Lord Byron, and his Romantic ideals.

If the building has to go, write down its memories and remember them, so we can pass it all on … This is what comes of wandering, look left and look right, stop and stare

  

A Rosette to a Rossetti #poetry #poets #London

The Rossetti family of 19th century, central London, became a distinguished bunch of people, dedicated to their talents of Art and Literature.  

The family house in Bloomsbury was filled with the old master influences of Petrarch and Dante Aligheri, as well as the visiting presence of Italian scholars, artists and revolutionaries.

Let’s be briefly introduced… 

Father of the family, Gabriele Rossetti was a poet and political exile from Vasto, Abruzzo, Italy.

Mother of the family was Frances Polidori, the sister of John William who was friend and physician to Lord Byron. John was also an enthusiastic writer; the first to create the idea of a blood-sucking-vampire, whose gentlemanly breeding, manners, and sophistication were based on Byron.

Son, William and daughter, Maria both became writers.

Son, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (and William too) was co-founder of the artistic group, The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; he was an influential artist and poet.

And finally Christina Rossetti, the youngest child, was an intelligent and creative poet; with a mix of her own troubles and experiences, she channelled her ideas into poetry and prose.  

Today I wish to announce that it is she, Christina, who shall wear the rosette for writing some of the most beautiful, imaginative and evocative lines in the English language. She followed in the steps of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning as the main female poet of her time (1860s) and was highly regarded and much appreciated by the critics of this male-dominated society.

At some point in your life, in some way and maybe without realising it, you will come across a Rossetti.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;

Hang it with vair and purple dyes;

Carve it in doves and pomegranates,

And peacocks with a hundred eyes;

Work it in silver gold and grapes,

In leaves and in silver fleur-de-lys;

Because the birthday of my life

Is come, my love is come to me.

Second and final verse from ‘A Birthday’ by Christina Rossetti.

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Refuge and Respite in Poetry #poetry #peace #War #France #GreatBritain

Legend has it that during the Second World War, the RAF (British Aircraft) parachuted thousands of copies of the poemLiberte‘ over occupied France. It was written in 1942 by French bohemian poet, and founder of the surrealist movement, Paul Eluard (1895-1952).
This act illustrates the social and spiritual power of poetry in the face of terror, and the delicacy and beauty of hope founded in effective words, which unite, inspire and console people.

Paul himself, was a sickly man; a wounded and scarred (mentally and physically) soldier of the First World War, at one point writing up to 150 letters a day to families, announcing the death of fellow soldiers.  

The War soon over, he wrote home in 1919, ‘We will now fight for happiness after having fought for Life.’ 

He found solace in poetry and in friendships with other writers.
His wife, Gaia, helped him with his poetry verses, and gave him the confidence, encouragement and security he needed to achieve her own belief, that he would be ‘a great poet.’ Never underestimate the power of the woman behind the man.

‘Liberte’ is a poem of 21 short stanzas with 4 lines per verse, each ending with 

‘I write your name’

The verses reflect on daily life: ‘my dog greedy,’ ‘the lamp that gives light,’ ‘the sill of my door,’ ‘the wakened paths,’ ‘desk and the trees’ as well as incorporating powerful images such as ‘naked solitude,’ ‘marches of death,’ ‘soldiers weapons.’  

The final verse states:

‘By the power of the word

I regain my life

I was born to know you

And to name you

LIBERTY.’

When Paul died in November 1952, ‘the whole world was in mourning,’ stated Robert Sabatier. He was buried at Pere-Lachaise cemetery, just outside Paris, where a crowd of thousands had spontaneously gathered in the streets to accompany his casket to its final resting place.

Freedom, Equality, Democracy, Love, Brotherhood and Peace.

For this we fight (and so we write) every day.

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Silence please #remembrance #OnThisDay #VeteransDay #Poppy

2 minutes of silent remembrance is held today 11.11.2015.
On 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, it is customary to take a short, respectful, commemorative moment to remember those who sacrificed the gift of life for freedom, all unknown and known warriors and heroes, during the Great War, the Second World War and all global wars and conflicts.

‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them…’

From ‘For The Fallen’ written in 1914 by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

This is the Pride of the Poppy; the symbol of ‘the few’

A simple, yet profound statement: “this is my thanks, I remember you.”
A picture paints a thousand words…a picture speaks volumes…picturing this field at the Tower of London in November 2014 was extremely moving…888,246 ceramic red poppies. 
Two weeks later, there was a knock at the door, a postal delivery for me, and then a tear of joy and a tear of sadness at the realisation of the gravity of the moment, for One of these beautiful Poppies is now mine.

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Having a blast! A rhyme for a reason… #BonfireNight #GuyFawkes #OnThisDay

‘Remember, remember 

The 5th of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot

I see no reason, 

Why gunpowder, treason

Should ever be forgot!’

In 1605 (410 years ago today) a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London, His Majesty James I and Their Lordships was very narrowly avoided. It was hatched by a conspiratorial group of Catholics, headed by Robert Catesby, in protest at the increasingly oppressive treatment by the King and his ministers. 

The date was the 5th November: the State Opening of Parliament.

The plot was foiled.

It is Guido (Guy) Fawkes (a 35 year old Yorkshireman) who was discovered in the tunnels under Parliament with piles of wood hiding 36 barrels of gunpowder. Fawkes, noted for his coolness and bravery, was consequently stretched and tortured on the rack, then hung, drawn and quartered in Westminster Yard on 31st January 1606.

He is sometimes toasted as ‘the last man to enter Parliament with good intentions!’

Traditional Bonfires and Fireworks are lit all across the country on 5th November, and a good old ‘guy’ (‘a penny for the guy’) is made and burned to rapturous delight!
Lights, fire, explosions and danger all for a plan that never succeeded…how the course of history ignites us!

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Ps These dashing men dressed in hats, leather and exhibiting masterful beards are not Musketeers but Conspirateurs

  

Tune in to the story of Hastings and the television #Hastings #television #history

Hastings in East Sussex, England has a long line of extraordinarily illustrious accomplishments and now I must ‘get on my high horse’ and add another ‘string to its bow’ by claiming it also as the birthplace of television.  

The glorious television (TV) has become a customary piece of household furniture and has allowed us access to the whole world, and to our favourite programmes – fiction, non fiction, semi fiction…so much to choose from and still you hear a voice shout, ‘there’s nothing on!’

Well for the television we must thank, Scottish-born engineer and innovator, John Logie Baird (14th August 1888 – 14th June 1946).  

In the year 1923 he was unwell, and a dose of sea-air was prescribed. He rented a workshop in the new district of Hastings and from here he built the world’s first television set. He used a series of miscellaneous items including a tea chest, old hat box, darning needles, sealing wax, scissors and bicycle light lenses. Amazing what can be achieved when you are sick and bored indoors – perhaps this is exactly what got him started; a television to heal boredom and sickness.

In March 1925 his first public demonstration of moving silhouette images was delivered to a captivated audience in Selfridges department store, London.

From William the Conqueror to John the Television Inventor… 

I am ‘over the moon’ in saying this was ‘one giant leap for mankind‘ (!)

  

London Poppy Day  #RoyalBritishLegion #remembrance #poppy

Today is LONDON POPPY DAY, 29th October 2015.

‘By wearing a Royal British Legion poppy, you are helping provide support to thousands of veterans, Service men and women.’

The photo below was one of the very many striking images from last year’s (2014) 100 year anniversary of the commemoration of the outbreak of The Great War 1914-1918.

The bronze statue depicts a valiant, yet humble, ordinary War soldier, with hat and rifle. He is coated in red paper poppies, floating all around him, in his arms and at his feet. The monument itself was placed in Trafalgar Square, where during the war rallying speeches were delivered and after the war, joyful celebrations took place.  

He faces the direction of Westminster Abbey, where the tomb of the unknown warrior lies, and towards St Stephens Tower: Big Ben, whose powerful chimes of 11 bells at 11 o’clock on the 11th November, 1918 marked the end of The Great War.

In the background is the glorious St Martin-in-the-Fields church, and behind him lies the National Gallery, home to an incredible collection of paintings.  

He is immortalised and He is home.

I am so in awe of this incredible city.

Do I feel proud of my capital? Absolutely!

The generosity of the British for charitable work is unsurpassable. The ability of people to raise money for so many worthwhile causes is commendable and the kindness shown and the astonishing amounts saved and donated is amazing.
With one Poppy pinned with pride to your coat, you say so much…

You remember all those who have fought for freedom and kept our country safe.

In your honour, London salutes you.

‘When you part from me, and depart our earth,

Your scarlet poppy will grow to bow in a breeze,

Their trembling wave of ‘cheerio, goodbye!’

Makes desert red; while silence bleeds into a distant cry.’

K.B. – 2015


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Brothers in Arms and Battles #OnThisDay #anniversary #history #brothers


This month we have remembered two particular battles:
The Battle Of Hastings, 14th October 1066.
The Battle of Trafalgar, 21st October 1805.

and now ‘once more into the breach, dear friends, once more…’
we must remember another, precisely 600 years ago today – 

25th October, 1415 The Battle of Agincourt, Northern France.
It is Shakespeare’s great, patriotic play, ‘Henry V’ written in 1598 and consistently performed in England since the 1730s that dramatises the Battle of Agincourt.

The French outnumbered the English, by 5:1, yet victory prevailed in English favour.

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”

England itself is personified in the famous St Crispian’s Day speech on the eve of battle as a small island nation that valiantly overcomes powerful enemies. 

To brush up on this story, one might brush up one’s Shakespeare and watch the very many interpretations of this history play.

Henry V is believed to be the first play presented to the new Globe Theatre (referenced as the ‘wooden O’ in the play) in Southwark in 1599.  

We now have a new Globe in Southwark opened in 1997, a hundred yards from the original site.
Gentlemen please take a bow, Ladies please curtesy…

 ‘O Kate, nice customs curtesy to great kings…’

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Words, words, words #words #poetry #BritishLibrary

It is greatly upsetting when you pass by someone who swears loudly and profusely, using every unpleasant word you can think of in all its many variations (verb, adjective etc.).  It is, furthermore, intensely upsetting if these words are directed at you for no other reason than the liberation of one man’s angst and frustrations. Yes, this happened to me at the start of the day…so how to proceed if you are a sensitive type? 

Actually it struck me as sad and pitying to think that so many people know so many ugly words when there are so many beautiful ones. 
Poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge maintained that “the true end of poetry is to give pleasure through the medium of beauty.”

Wonderful words to strengthen and enrich us; to be shared, enjoyed and passed on… like those in verse, prose and poetry.

“Quieten down, hear the sound

The sound of the world spinning round

Around the corners of your lip

He will plant a daring kiss

A kiss disappears like a whispering prayer

But the sound of his voice lies everywhere

Wherever I pass or travel through

His soft words shall journey too.”



It doesn’t hurt to have the last word on the matter.

This photo shows the British library in London whose vast collection holds the original, hand-written documents of Jane Austen, Winston Churchill, John Lennon, President Roosevelt…to name a few great writers; those who used words to change the world, to make our lives and enrich ourselves.

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Nelson triumphs at sea, then falls on Victory #victory #OnThisDay #Nelson #history

“Now gentlemen, let us do something today which the world may talk of hereafter.”
Lord Collingwood, British admiral, before the Battle of Trafalgar, 21st October, 1805…210 years ago today.

After four hours of fierce exchanges and superlative manoeuvring by British commanders off the south west coast of Spain, the French Admiral Villeneuve (Pierre-Charles-Jean-Baptiste Silvestre de Villeneuve – a man not short of names, but short of ideas) was humiliatingly beaten by the British. Of the combined Franco-Spanish fleet, 18 ships were destroyed, more than half its strength; they were no match in this game of battleships. The superb strategic moves and unconventional tactics of the British Naval Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, were masterfully winning.
  

“First gain the victory and then make the best use of it you can.”

However our Inspirational leader (now aged 47 years) had already greatly suffered in Napoleonic battles-of-the-seas, with the loss of an eye at Corsica and an arm at Tenerife. On this ‘Trafalgar‘ day, he was mortally wounded by a French sniper as he stood on the deck of his flagship Victory.  
V for Victory and sadly, V for Victim.
His body was first preserved in a barrel of brandy and then transported back to London from Gibraltar in a lead-lined coffin filled with spirits of wine.  

He was buried in St Pauls Cathedral on 9th January, 1806.

Toast our British hero with a swig of brandy, maybe in one of the many Lord Nelson pubs?!
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