A concert in the cellarium of Fountains Abbey last Saturday.
Pitch black, cold.
The singers gather,
Sing loudly, like long-gone monks -
conquering the dark.
And to lower the tone, that’s the scene once the audience had departed.
For Bren’s Mid-Week Monochrome.
As a young child, I was sometimes woken up when it was barely light, to go off with my mother mushrooming on the decommissioned RAF airfield near our house. Blackberrying was for late summer, always, and rosehips for autumn, when the entire village school would spend afternoons gathering rosehips for Delrosa to turn into rosehip syrup (‘Whaddya mean, slave labour? The best pickers got a tin badge to keep!’). Later, in France, we added wild asparagus, wild cherries, mushrooms, walnuts, chestnuts and sloes to our Free Food bonanza. It’s made me a seasonal eater. I love it when the seasons announce that we have a different food to add to our diet, for a few weeks only. Fresh peas straight from the pod! The newest and smallest potatoes! Discovery apples in August! And in winter, these same foods, bottled and preserved give us a different pleasure – a memory of summer, but presented in a comforting, warming way: plum jam to spread on toast after a brisk winter walk; walnuts stirred into the soon-to-be steamed Christmas pudding; a nip of sloe gin on the coldest of days.
Nature’s had a habit of giving us the right foods for the right season. It’s a modern idea to expect strawberries in November. asparagus in September. All that anticipation, all that enjoyment of a food made special, distinctive by its very limited season has gone. If we listen, we can hear Nature telling us to get back in touch with the way things always used to be. Then we can get rid of all those unnecessary Air Miles too.
This week’s Tanka Tuesday asks us to write on the theme of Lessons from Nature. I’ve chosen the Shadorma form to illustrate what I’ve just been talking about. Mirabelles by the way are rarely seen in the shops. They’re small plums, yellow or rosy pink.
And Nature said …
Most months, I like to join in Rebecca of Flake Flamenco’s Poetry Challenge. I’m not much of a poet and don’t I know it? – but any chance to get the grey matter’s muscles toned has to be taken once you get to my advanced years.
This month, she’s asked us to write a Shadorma – a non-rhyming six line poem with a specific syllable count of 3/5/3/3/7/5. It’s alleged to have its origins in Spain, though not a soul can offer any evidence for this theory. No matter. We’ll have a go anyway. Rebecca’s asked us to focus on light and darkness. Light into darkness is the way the world is going just now, so I’m going from darkness to light.
days have gone at last.
Here is Spring.
reach upwards to the sun’s rays
and lingering light.
This provides me with the perfect excuse to have a few springtime pictures of flowers doing just that – stretching their petals upwards and eagerly towards the sun. It’s probably a bit late for you to join Rebecca this month with your own poems – closing day is today. But she’ll be challenging us again next month – and if you join in, she’ll translate your poem into Spanish. This is why I do this: she translates all our words into pure poetry. I love it.