e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Tips For Creating A Bee-Friendly Garden

E A M Harris:

As we get going on seasonal planting etc, now is the time to consider our fellow creatures.

Originally posted on Romancing the Bee:

Alys Fowler

Alys Fowler

Top tips for creating a bee-friendly garden this spring by TV presenter Alys Fowler

Gardening writer and TV presenter Alys Fowler is offering British gardeners top tips to help our bees, as part of Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign to save vital bees that pollinate our food and make our countryside, parks and gardens thrive.

Gardeners are also being asked to help urge the Government to strengthen its plans to protect Briatain’s bee populations.

More than 20 UK bee species are already extinct and a quarter of those remaining are at risk – due mainly to their food and nesting sites disappearing, with 97% of wildflower meadows gone in the last 60 years.

Alys Fowler said:

Gardens are becoming one of the most important refuges for Britain’s wild and honey bees, providing chemical-free food, clean water and a place to nest.

The Government…

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Writ on water

Poets' graves in RomeThe BBC website today has an article about the Protestant cemetery in Rome. Among the numerous rich and/or famous people buried there is John Keats, who died at twenty-five.

It is so sad that he didn’t live long enough to know how popular his work would become and how his genius would be appreciated. He felt he was leaving no mark on the world.

Never one to deny what he saw as truth, he asked for this epitaph on his gravestone:

Here lies one whose name was writ in water.

Reading that made me wonder how we could describe those of us who write electronically. ‘On water’ doesn’t quite cover it; ‘on ether’ is a bit fanciful.

I do sometimes wonder what will happen to the billions of words written daily in websites, blogs, social media and others. Will they withstand any test of time? Does material stored on a hard disk slowly fade, first to a stuttery whisper and finally to a white hiss? Will the future be saddled with inaccessible diaries and letters on unreadable DVDs? If so how will future biographers manage?

Now that some of the material has taken to radio waves I picture it floating around the world and out into space to eventually saturate the galaxy with the thoughts of people who will be millenia dead by that time. Will future historians leap into faster-than-light spaceships and pursue the words of the famous across interstellar emptiness?

Keats’ works have proved durable, but part of that is that they were committed to paper.

Public domain picture from Wikicommons.

 

 

Tennyson had many words for it

castle

Hohenschwangau from Neuschwanstein

Now that the stately home visiting season is upon us, my mind has turned to those most fairytale of stately dwellings, the castles. In Europe we’re blessed with a lot of them – this is IMHO one of the most beautiful – floating in its valley surrounded by mist and trees.

There is far too much poetry about castles for me to attempt to look at it, but I’d like to share some of my favourite lines from Tennyson’s The Princess: The Splendour falls on Castle Walls. The picture painted is so vivid.

The splendour falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story;
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.

He understood that a castle isn’t alone, it has a location and, if the old time builders got it right, the building and setting enhance one another.

For the rest of the poem see The Poetry Foundation website.

Those little things we love to jump in

Today’s haiku challenge from Carpe Diem is ‘puddles’.

Puddles are friendly little things; didn’t you love to jump in them when you were a bit younger than you are now? I did, and I also loved their mirrorness when they reflected the surroundings, particularly me as I leaned over them to look (I was a vain child and always enjoyed my reflection).

But puddles are junior members of a big family and may be practising to grow up like their big brothers – floods. After all the rain we’ve had, floods are on a lot of minds in southern England, so I find puddles a very apt prompt.

Carpe Diem gives, as usual, some wonderful examples of haiku to inspire us. Here is my result:

Falling rain all day,
uneven pathway – puddles
reflecting moonlight.

The end of the 30 day book challenge

A few days ago I posted my last instalment of this challenge. I have to thank the writers of Snobbery for setting me going on what has turned out to be a long journey.

These are the stops on the way:

Day 1:  My Favourite Book
Day 2:  My Least Favourite Book
Day 3:  A Book That Surprised Me
Day 4:  A Book That Reminds Me of Home
Day 5:  A Non-Fiction Book I Like
Day 6:  A Book That Makes Me Cry
Day 7:  A Book I Find Hard to Read
Day 8:  An Unpopular Book I Think Should Be A Bestseller
Day 9:  A Book I’ve Read More Than Once
Day 10:  The First Novel I Remember Reading
Day 11:  The Book That Made Me Fall In Love With Reading
Day 12:  A Book So Emotionally Draining, I Had To Set It Aside
Day 13:  Favourite Childhood Book
Day 14:  A Book That Should Be On High School Or College Required Reading Lists
Day 15:  Favourite Book Dealing With Foreign Culture
Day 16:  Favourite Book Turned Movie
Day 17:  Book Turned Movie That Was Completely Desecrated
Day 18:  Book I Love That I Can’t Find On Shelves Anymore
Day 19:  A Book That Changed My Mind About A Particular Subject
Day 20:  A Book I’d Recommend To An Ignorant/Racist/Closed-Minded Individual
Day 21:  A Guilty Pleasure Book
Day 22:  Favourite Series
Day 23:  Favourite Romance Novel
Day 24:  A Book I Later Found Out The Author Lied About
Day 25:  Favourite Biography/Autobiography
Day 26:  A Book I Wish Would Be Written
Day 27:  A Book I’d Write If I Had All The Resources
Day 28:  A Book I Wish I’d Never Read
Day 29:  An Author That I Completely Avoid/Hate/Won’t Read
Day 30:  An Author That I’ll Read Whatever They Put Out

Most of the route has been down memory lane and it’s been useful, and at times exciting, to scour my recollections of past reading in order to write the posts. Looking back I see I’ve read a lot of great stuff.

Remembering the books has also made me remember how I felt on reading them: I had forgotten that I cried over Black Beauty, felt really cross with Dennis Wheatley, and thrilled at the description of the research in Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time.

My original plan of writing one post a week has long since failed, but I think that may have been a good thing, giving me more time to mull over what to write and, importantly, what to leave out.

I’ve considered taking up the NaPoWriMo challenge but, if I can’t stick to once a week, every day has no chance.

The programme is finalised… ta-dah !

E A M Harris:

An interesting literary festival in a lovely setting. I’d never heard of either the village or the festival before stumbling onto this blog. It just shows what can be found if one looks around.

Originally posted on Kempsford Political Literary Weekend 2014:

So, the Kempsford Political Literary Weekend, or KLW for short (it can all get a bit wordy) is finally arranged. The theme does seem to have a political bent but there are some interludes to ease the pace. Running from 25 th April through to Sunday 27 th and all events taking place in St.Mary’s Church, Kempsford the line-up is as follows;

Friday 25th April:
4:30pm: ivor_crew_450Sir Ivor Crewe: The Blunders of our Government …. we all think they make a mess of it. Government, that is. Sir Ivor Crewe will prove it to you. Gasp in awe at the incredulouness of it all – laugh in despair.
6:00pm:  BarryNormanBarry Norman: See you in the Morning ….. who can say those words, Barry Norman, without humming the tune to “Film ..whatever” ? Here he talks about his book and his 53 year long marriage in a…

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A new online magazine with 100 haiku

Kigo mag cover artFor all you haiku fans, here’s a link to a new online magazine Kigo: Seasonal Words – available to download free.

It contains four of my haiku, which, of course, makes me really happy, but that’s not why I recommend it. It has 96 other haiku and they are a wonderful collection.

This first issue is a Winter/Spring one, but having a restricted subject matter has not restricted the poets. There are so many ways of looking at a season; many of them I wouldn’t have been able to think of ever. A formal poetry style, a restricted subject, but so much variety.

The human brain has so many manifestations – if all the 8 billion people in the world sat down and wrote a haiku about winter no two of them would be the same. And yet in all that difference almost all those 8 billion people respond to poetry. Behind the diversity is an underlying sharing.

Those who write haiku, tanka or haiga may be interested to know that the publishers, Chuffed Buff Books, are now taking submissions for the summer issue.

30 Day Book Challenge – day 30: An author I’ll read whatever they put out

Another challenge I have difficulty meeting. I can’t think of anyone whose work I must read: I don’t wait anxiously for the next whatever.

Having said that, a newly come to light Blandings or Jeeves by P G Wodehouse would have me waiting, with interest if not anxiety. But this is fantasy, I don’t think he left any hidden manuscripts for anyone to discover.

I must have read most of Agatha Christie’s output except her six books written as Mary Westmacott – and they are on my ‘to read one day’ list. Not that she’s the greatest writer, but her stories are clever and her writing style very smooth and easy to read.

In the days when a lot of my reading was science fiction I picked up Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke big time. Later I enjoyed Brian Stableford’s books and read quite a few, but according to Wikipedia he has written around 70 novels and I certainly haven’t seen anything like all of them, and don’t think I ever will. Now I read much less in the genre and have rather lost track of who’s who and what they’re writing.

Jeeves cover art

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swan_songs

I choose books by subject rather than author. When garnering books, either from a shop or library, I use the back-blurb as a guide.

A day of silence and its poetry

The last day of March was Nyepi Day for the Balinese. This means a day of silence – traffic stops, people stay at home and contemplate, all is quiet. I wish we had such a day here.

I couldn’t find poems about Nyepi, not in English anyway, but the website Bali for the World has what seems to be a translation of one, as well as a good write up of the deeper meanings of the day.

With flowers make yadnya,
Melasti with going to the beach.

It is the sort of ceremony that ought to have a rich literature. Perhaps some of my readers know of it, if so I’d be grateful if you could let me know.

The mighty bear – Rondeau for dVerse

E A M Harris:

I love this story and the picture that goes with it.

Originally posted on Björn Rudbergs writings:


The mighty bear that walk her home
a girl should never lonely roam
as little hands caress his fur
the vicious beast will gently purr
they slowly walk in twilight’s gloam

she’s talking ‘bout her dreams of Rome
her chatter fills the air like foam
and see him silently concur
the mighty bear

in smell of honeysuckle bloom
the beast will leave her to her room
he walks alone among the firs
but in her dreams will always stir
she’ll never find another groom
as mighty bear


The Bear by Michael Sowa

The Bear by Michael Sowa


Today at dVerse poetics, Marina Sofia will make her premier appearance doing poetics. We should write about animals, and since Björn means bear, the animal choice was easy.

April 1, 2014

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