Breaking News: This morning as I made my way to catch a train at Bradford-on-Avon station I witnessed a spat between two swan cobs at the canal lock-gates.
Lovely to see 5 cygnets growing so healthy.
Autumn, Swans…with apologies for the early announcement of October….
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.
But now they drift on the still water,
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
W B Yeats Wild Swans at Coole
Our Mark Entwisle show of watercolours continues to impress visitors, especially those who have ever wielded a brush with this unforgiving medium.
A big thank you to all those who have visited the show, or purchased a picture.
Marks fluid watercolours are contrasted by the bright sharpness of Jo Barrett’s still life oils.
These shows continue for one more week, ending on Sunday 3 October.
With autumn being a time for digging and planting, two poems immediately come to mind when I think of the sod turning over ( one a more predictable choice than the other !!).
Stewart Edmondson’s autumnal colours are a pleasant reminder of this mellow season….
What matter makes my spade for tears or mirth,
Letting down two clay pipes into the earth?
The one I smoked, the other a soldier
Of Blenheim, Ramillies, and Malplaquet
Perhaps. The dead man’s immortality
Lies represented lightly with my own,
A yard or two nearer the living air
Than bones of ancients who, amazed to see
Almighty God erect the mastodon,
Once laughed, or wept, in this same light of day.
-Edward Thomas Digging
And finally……We also still have Jack Doherty’s show on view for another week or so. There are still pots available, including this little beauty:
Jack was born a few miles from the poet who wrote the other, perhaps slightly more well-known and certainly more oft-quoted digging poem.
(I can testify that digging turf was physically arduous, back-breaking work).
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down
Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.
The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.
By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.
My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.
The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.
– Seamus Heaney Digging
Thank you for reading,
Beaux Arts Bath