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To celebrate what would have been Maya Angelou’s 90th birthday, here is the great lady herself with ‘I Rise’. She is never less than inspiring. I’ve posted this video before but it never fails to touch my soul.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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Holocaust Remembrance Day

Beauty Bellezza Beauté

ilse

Letter To My Son

(Ilse Weber – 1903-1944).

My dear boy, three years ago today
You were sent into the world alone.
I still see you, at the station in Prague,
how you cry from the compartment, and hesitate.
You lean your brown head against me
and how you beg; let me stay with you!
That we let you go, seemed hard for you —
You were just eight, and small and delicate.
And as we left for home without you,
I felt, my heart would explode
and nevertheless I am happy that you’re not here.
The stranger who is taking you in
will surely go to Heaven.
I bless her with every breath I take —
Your love for her will not be enough.
It has become so murky around us here,
Everything has been taken away from us.
House, home, not even a corner of it left,
Not…

View original post 343 more words


remembrance_baby_t_shirt-re9d702f6f4b74f0a88d45426fefc8f33_j2nhu_700
Remembrance Baby T-Shirt (sold in all different sizes and styles)

by FirstNightDesign

The t-shirt contains the following verse from Laurence Binyon’s famous poem below the poppy image.

For the Fallen

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Autumn Effect at Argenteuil – Claude Monet

Autumn Song

Now’s the time when children’s noses
All become as red as roses
And the colour of their faces
Makes me think of orchard places
Where the juicy apples grow,
And tomatoes in …

Source: “Autumn Song” by Katherine Mansfield #Poetry – The Last Island


oshaughnessyWe are the music makers
We are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams; —

World-losers and world-forsakers
On whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

Source: Arthur O’Shaughnessy says:


Portrait of Mary Robinson by Thomas Gainsborough, 1781 [Wikipedia]

Portrait of Mary Robinson by Thomas Gainsborough, 1781 [Wikipedia]

“She overloads everything; but I never knew a human being with so full a mind – bad, good and indifferent, I grant you, but full and overflowing.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772 – 1834] on actress and writer Mary Robinson [1757-1800], both of whom were said to be an influence the other.


FROM THE ARCHIVE 8th April 2013

The Liverpool poet Roger McGough never ceases to enthrall me. I was reminded of this marvellous poem by a friend who posted it on Facebook yesterday.  McGough makes you smile and always makes trenc…

Source: Carpe Diem: Let me die a youngman’s death by Roger McGough | First Night Design


rossetti“Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad.”

Source: Christina Georgina Rossetti says: | The Müscleheaded Blog


Sir John Betjeman in 1961 [Wikimedia]

Sir John Betjeman in 1961 [Wikimedia]

To mark World Poetry Day, here is one of my favourite poems by one of my favourite writers. I dedicate this post to Jane Morley whose recent Thursday’s Doors displayed some wonderfully Gothic arches which John Betjeman would have adored. Jane revealed that her knowledge of Betjeman and his work was severely lacking so I nudged her in what I hope was the right direction.

I have a particular connection to this poem as Miss Joan Hunter Dunn’s father (yes, she was a real girl with a real family) was a Farnborough GP who just happened to deliver my mother in 1922!

Sir John first met Joan Hunter Dunn in 1940 when he was working at the Films Division of the Ministry of Information, which was based at the University of London where Miss Hunter Dunn was working in the canteen.

The poem was published in Cyril Connolly‘s Horizon magazine in February 1941. Betjeman invited her to lunch, and presented her with a copy of the magazine containing the poem, begging her forgiveness. In an interview in The Sunday Times magazine in 1965, illustrated with photographs by Lord Snowdon, she said: “It was such a marvellous break from the monotony of the war. It really was remarkable the way he imagined it all. Actually, all that about the subaltern, and the engagement is sheer fantasy, but my life was very like the poem.” Wikipedia

A Subaltern’s Love Song

Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,
Furnish’d and burnish’d by Aldershot sun,
What strenuous singles we played after tea,
We in the tournament – you against me!

Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,
The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,
With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,
I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
How mad I am, sad I am, glad that you won,
The warm-handled racket is back in its press,
But my shock-headed victor, she loves me no less.

Her father’s euonymus shines as we walk,
And swing past the summer-house, buried in talk,
And cool the verandah that welcomes us in
To the six-o’clock news and a lime-juice and gin.

The scent of the conifers, sound of the bath,
The view from my bedroom of moss-dappled path,
As I struggle with double-end evening tie,
For we dance at the Golf Club, my victor and I.

On the floor of her bedroom lie blazer and shorts,
And the cream-coloured walls are be-trophied with sports,
And westering, questioning settles the sun,
On your low-leaded window, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

The Hillman is waiting, the light’s in the hall,
The pictures of Egypt are bright on the wall,
My sweet, I am standing beside the oak stair
And there on the landing’s the light on your hair.

By roads “not adopted”, by woodlanded ways,
She drove to the club in the late summer haze,
Into nine-o’clock Camberley, heavy with bells
And mushroomy, pine-woody, evergreen smells.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
I can hear from the car park the dance has begun,
Oh! Surrey twilight! importunate band!
Oh! strongly adorable tennis-girl’s hand!

Around us are Rovers and Austins afar,
Above us the intimate roof of the car,
And here on my right is the girl of my choice,
With the tilt of her nose and the chime of her voice.

And the scent of her wrap, and the words never said,
And the ominous, ominous dancing ahead.
We sat in the car park till twenty to one
And now I’m engaged to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

John Betjeman

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Portrait of John Keats by William Hilton

“The roaring of the wind is my wife and the Stars through the window pane are my Children… I do not live in this world alone but in a thousand worlds.”

BY MARIA POPOVA

“Nourish yourself with grand and austere ideas of beauty that feed the soul… Seek solitude,” the great French artist Eugène Delacroix counseled himself in 1824. Just a few years earlier, another timeless patron saint of the creative spirit extolled the rewards of solitude as a supreme conduit to truth and beauty.

Celebrated as one of the greatest poets humanity has ever produced, John Keats (October 31, 1795–February 23, 1821) married an extraordinary capacity for transcendence with an uncommon share of sorrow. His short life was suffused with loss from a young age — his father died after a horseback accident when Keats was eight and his mother died of tuberculosis when he was fourteen. And yet even amid his darkest despair, Keats…

Source: Keats on the Joy of Singledom and How Solitude Opens Our Creative Channels to Truth and Beauty – Brain Pickings


ONE FROM THE ARCHIVE FOR REMEMBRANCE DAY.

Prints & Greeting Cards available – click through to original post for the link to buy.

FOR THE FALLEN by Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against…

Source: First Night Design | At the Going Down of the Sun


FROM THE ARCHIVE 15th January 2013

Portrait of W.H. Auden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was rather amused the other day to read this quote by the poet  W.H. Auden:

“We are here on earth to do good unto others.  What the others are here for, I have no idea.”

Auden’s poetry certainly does me good.  However, if I never hear Funeral Blues (Stop All the Clocks) again—the poem read by John Hannah in Four Weddings and a Funeral—it will be too soon!  Read it, yes.  Hear it at funerals, no!  A friend of mine, an actor and Anglican priest (a rather marvellous combination and a rather marvellous friend), says there has been no lessening in the number of funerals using Funeral Blues or, for that matter,  Robbie Williams’ Angels.  No comment!

The Auden I love above all else is Night Mail.   Predictable of me?  Perhaps.  Give yourself a treat and…

Source: W. H. Auden Says It Best!


I have sold two more cushions — very heaven!


‘Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven.’
William Wordsworth, The Prelude


Romantic Meeting Throw Pillows
Romantic Meeting Throw Pillows

Click here for the original Romantic Meeting post.

Romantic Meeting is available on other products at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK

White Rabbit is available on other products at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Whirring Pheasant Springs © Sarah Vernon

Whirring Pheasant Springs © Sarah Vernon

This gorgeous pheasant, to which I’ve added my background textures, is from The Biodiversity Heritage Library on Flickr. Known as a Canje pheasant (or ’stinkbird’, as I discovered), he comes from an ornithological publication of 1849 and is a tropical bird found in the Amazon and South America’s Orinoco Delta.

I’ve taken my title from Alexander Pope’s Windsor Forest:

See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings:
Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,
Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground.

The piece is not yet for sale as I’m running out of bandwidth again and would overstep the limit were I to upload it to all my galleries. #Frustration!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Originally posted on SPEAKZEASY.

Right at this moment, mothers of small children, around the world, are singing along to seemingly innocuous nursery rhymes that, if you dig a little deeper, reveal shockingly sinister backstories.

Medieval taxes, illness, religious persecution : these are not exactly the topics that you expect to be immersed in as a “new parent.”  Babies falling from trees ?  Heads being chopped off in Central London ?  Animals being cooked alive ?  Since when were these topics DEEMED APPROPRIATE TO PEDDLE TO TODDLERS ? — Since the 14th century, actually.  That’s when the earliest nursery rhymes seem to date from, although the GOLDEN AGE came later, in the 18th century, when the canon of classics that we still hear today, emerged and flourished.  The 1st nursery rhyme collection to be printed was Tommy Thumb’s Song Book —- around 1744 ; a century later Edward Rimbault published a nursery rhymes collection, which was the 1st one printed to include “notated music” —— although a minor-key version of THREE BLIND MICE can be found in Thomas Ravenscroft’s folk-song compilation DEUTEROMELIA, dating from 1609.

The roots probably go back even further.  There is no human culture that has not invented some form of “rhyming ditties” for its children.  The distinctive sing-song metre, tonality and rhythm that characterises “MOTHERESE” has a proven evolutionary value and is reflected in the very nature of…

via The dark side of nursery rhymes | SPEAKZEASY.

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