Saturday 30 April 2022

Bird- not- Cat Tales

Forensic Meanderings


Finding a dead bird, possibly a blackbird,

hard to tell, it was mutilated,

incision five centimetres deep in the abdomen,

weapon unclear, skin still lustrous,

approximate time of death-recent

wings-clipped, beak-cleaved off,

head-intact but eschew,

its hollow bones and air sacs

rendering it weightless in my hand

 

And I wondered who the opportunistic predator

or scavenger might have been?

 

A cat would have brought it home,

at least mine would have,

and a fox would finish it off

or hide it for later retrieval.

I buried it under a thick pile of leaves

knowing full well that it would be disinterred

by the next opportunistic scavenger who happened by.

 

But the whole sorry business set me thinking

about mortality and immortality

and the symbolism of finding a dead bird,

and inevitably led me to the issue of my own demise

and the choice between cremation or burial as the preferred option

and of how Bob Hope on his death bed when asked by his wife which he preferred?

answered “Surprise me!”

 

According to Google I should have double bagged the carcass

and relegated it to the trash can- and by way of an aside-

did you know that picking up feathers, even from the ground,

is against federal law, at least in the States,

where most of our Google speak comes from.

Enacted in 1918 to protect the species from

the feathers for women’s hats trend

so rampant at the time-

 

But getting back to my own dilemma

that the blackbird is simultaneously a harbinger of change

and an emissary from the devil

I’m left confused as to the disposal of the body

the meaning of my encounter with a dead bird

and the perpetrator of the crime

if there was one

 

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

PS found a piece on the Net by Julie Craves University of Michigan who, in the event of finding a dead bird, advises us to leave it or move it out of the way and let nature take its course.. I say Hooray to that.

ttps://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/beginners/birding-faq/julie-craves-explains-what-to-do-if-you-find-a-dead-bird/

Friday 29 April 2022

Non-Shed Varieties- Poetry Prompt

 

I mentioned earlier in the week that it's an idea to jot down likely opening lines/titles that land on your shoulder with a view to developing them later... Here is one of those  and a pic of Miss Molly, one of Rover's offspring...


Dog Hair Will Travel

It's the rave to buy cross-breed dogs these days.

I don't mean the mongrel variety begot by roving Rover

from the other side of the street

who courts every bitch in heat on the block,

But designer hybrids- the non shed type-

 

Like the Noble Spruce that doesn’t

drop its needles before reaching home

and shed non-stop all the way to Christmas

causing the robot vacuum to clog up

and domestic violence to soar.

 

My friend’s just bought a hypoallergenic dog

not a Pitsky or a Morky but a Newfypoo

I could tell her from anecdotal evidence

that it doesn’t always work,

that there's really no such thing as a non-shedding dog,


That the Newfy compulsion to shed in Spring and Fall gene 

often prevails,

that she may live to regret her hybrid model

and rue the day 

she didn’t just buy a poodle.


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Thursday 28 April 2022

Poetry Day

 



I was intending to re-blog one of my better poems today…to lift my spirits a bit ...but the poem below sort of hopped into my backpack on my way back from the park this morning and winged itself right through my front door.

 

The Brigade

 

I’d call us the Territorial Brigade

And we’ve planned an assault on M&S

A concerted morning raid

In pursuit of camouflage

Shorts for the summer

(If there is one)

 

Luna’s Mum started it last year

How we coveted those deep-throat pockets

Generous enough to contain the gear, the leashes,

Wind blocker caps, folding trowels, flashlight snipers

Essential morning mission equipment

For all-year-round engagement with the elements

 

And we’re all learning a foreign language

A buffer, in the event of invasion

Or overseas postings or even a holiday.

Most of it Hola! or Viel SpaƟ!

Junior Cert syllabus course material

Old school, old style, always works.

 

And in these days where the local has expanded

Beyond the village church and bell, 

It’s good to belong to a brigade, any brigade,

Even the Morning Combat Dog Walkers on Parade.


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Cat Alarm




To eke a poem out of nowhere this morning I sat down to do those morning pages Julia Cameron recommended all those years ago. I had hardly put pen to paper when Sherlock, who was curled up napping when I started, began scratching at the door looking out so ... 

I'll do those pages tomorrow

Cat Alarm

He wants out, he wants in.

My head is getting in a spin.

I'd really like to keep the heat in

But he wants out and then he wants in.


His fine hair strays out of arm's reaches

To chimney grate corners and under-stair places,

And his gifts leave a map of his morning sorties

Through burrows and hollows and neighbourhood trees,


And he flops on the newspaper just when I'm reading

This really does get to me, leaves me fuming,

And he'll swat off the table the pen that I use

Just to watch where it goes, his favourite ruse-


But I'd rather lose head or heat or arm,

Have broadsheet shredded and pen disarmed,

Be discommoded and oft alarmed

Than be without his fatal charm.



Tuesday 26 April 2022

Struggling to Write a Sonnet

 



Today's idea for a poem came to me while walking Miss Molly in the woods, as per usual.

 Opening line "If I only had more time..." 

It was to be about trees and tree recognition. There's a name for it. I'll look it up later.

So I get home but the poem's just not cooperating with me. Time for tea. 

I come back and this lands on the page...


Tea Break.


While wrestling with a poem about having no time

I made a cup of tea, 

admired my pot of fuchsia in the garden,

packed my left-over couscous for a take-a-way lunch,

gave the cat his third sup of milk,

tried to remember the rhyme scheme for a Petrarchan sonnet

and its metre, if that wasn't going too far,

thought a Shakespearean one might do instead



But instead of writing that poem

All on the subject of trees and leaf recognition

and having no time

I decided that this poem might do instead

which as you see is not quite on theme

as I appear to have all the time in the world.


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved.

Maybe that Petrarchan sonnet will appear some other day....

Monday 25 April 2022

City Parks

 






THE STYLIST

 

Nobody sees him shave his trails but in the evening they are there

turning our park woodland into a gallery of buzz cuts, long and short,

opening up our possibilities,

giving us choices we never knew we had.

 

A high taper with scalp exposure in front of the big Ash.

To the left, a clean shaven trail that cuts through fields of daisies,

and, to the right, a razed trail that weaves and curves through common vetch,

its clinging tendrils wrapped around its neighbours.

 

A mane with shaved sides circles the Beech,

enticing us past stinging nettles that skirt

a hedge of bramble, not yet ripe, and ribwort plantain,

its ovary capsules spilling seeds at our feet.

 

Or past a butch cut that slices through a clump of dandelion,

their jagged teeth, dents-de-lion, in various stages of growth,

some bright yellow heads threatening closure with the scent of rain,

and gossamer balls of seeds  shedding themselves in our wake.

 

A stroke of his blade and a stubble path is shaven with precision

through tall grass sporting hogweed five feet tall.

A V junction creates a crown of creeping buttercups

drawing the eye to a newly planted Oak.

 

He’ll be back tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that.

Restyling and regrooming our park.

The man on the grass mower tractor

from Dunlaoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

 

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Sunday 24 April 2022

Sunday poem-Zaro Weil

 


Well yesterday was Shakespeare Day, according to an email I got from Poetry Foundation ,and my plan was to blog about that. But as usual I got distracted and scrolled down into the kids' poems. I love kids poems because I usually understand them ,which is not always the case in adult categories. And thus scrolling I discovered an author called Zaro Weil.

 I loved the 59 second rendition of her poem which you can listen to following the link.

A parade of Beast Doodles

And when I googled her website I found more to like. 

She is an American living in a hill top farmhouse in the South of France. (I fancy that too).

She started out as a dancer and worked a lot with children through circus theatre. She also collected quilts, over a hundred of them, and some dating back to the mid nineteenth century and has written a book or two about that.

I loved her definition of poetry as "having a lot to do with discovering meaning through an unusual heart throbbing placement of words"

And

"Using language to break the mood of the everyday and pitch us into new and show stopping ways of experiencing and reimagining the world."

On Sundays I indulge myself on exactly that. Hope you enjoy her poems too.


http://zaroweil.com/blog-for-books-for-topics/

Saturday 23 April 2022

The Sherlock Saga- Episode 6



 Mum's Poem

MISSING SHERLOCK


I stroke your paws on the screensaver 
and stretch my fingertip to touch the tip of your nose
and recall your soft fur and wet snout, your engine purr
your roll-over-scratch-me,your snake- flick about my feet
your dives through garden-hose-spray,your rocket-leaps after flies
your paw-swings at lupin,your skulks behind flower-pots
your Premier-League-advances across tiled floor in pursuit of belled balls
abandoned beneath beds, couches, cupboards, in places you couldn't reach.

Like you now, beyond my call.

GIRL BAND TO THE RESCUE

I was found because Mum and Longfellow leafleted every house on the estate, every telegraph pole,utility pole,power pole, hydro pole, transmission pole- call them what you like. My image was plastered on every notice board and blank wall they could find. So much so that for weeks after the event I was still being rescued by the neighbourhood watch brigade who hadn’t heard of my rescue and were dialling me in well into the summer. I could hardly take a stroll around the block without being nabbed by some do-gooder. Even Mum was getting tired of it. That would teach her not to be so officious with her leafleting. Not only did they leaflet. Red actually knocked on doors like a saleswoman, canvasser, service provider and set out their dilemma to the public at large. Nobody as forceful and persuasive in soliciting support as Red. She would have had her foot and elbow in the door before they could say Jackrabbit.

 

The public at large responded on mass and one day when I was quietly meandering along the sidewalk minding my own business while on the lookout for a fly, a bird, even a mouse, a gang of girls beset and besieged me. “It’s him!! It’s definitely him,” they cooed. At first I felt like a celebrity must do when set upon by the paparazzi.

“It has to be him. He’s only got one eye!” Screeches of OMG ensued!

 

That eye again. It would be the death of me yet. It did on this instance signal the end to my mini-break but to be honest I was a bit peckish and had had enough of that Bear Grylls hunter-gatherer stuff and the girls had a packet that looked like and smelt like ham and as you know ham is to me what honey is to Winnie-the-Pooh. How could I not cooperate? I purred and rolled over and all that malarkey until they parted with it. In a state of consummate bliss while munching on this delicacy I heard them make the call and before I knew it my lift arrived and there was Mum and Red and the Longfellow weeping with joy at my return.



To be continued...

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Friday 22 April 2022

Earth Day-Friday Poetry Prompt


 I find that the first line of a poem/story tends to wing in to me in the oddest of places. I rarely have a notebook at hand, despite the general stipulation to all writers that you should always carry one, a should that conjures up for me the notion of heavy duty task resulting in a drawer full of notebooks in pristine condition, so I'm lucky if the darn line hasn't floated away before I find a scrap of paper, receipt, tissue, corner of an envelope...you get the idea...

My suggestion , as opposed to stipulation, is that you catch these ephemeral  beings before they escape you.


Three of my, let's call them, butterflies this week were:

Dog Hair will travel

I'm in love with the Angelus blacksmith/welder on the Six-One News

I like to take long hot showers.


I decided to develop this last one. More on that blacksmith at a later date.

And the Eamon referred to below is Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment.

And just by the way carbon-neutral was "word of the year" New Oxford American Dictionary 2006


Personal Impact Statement


I like to take long hot showers, Eamon

I like to think I can offset my shower  emissions

with vegetarian meals, absence of beef,

dearth or lack of long-haul flights

or flights of any duration for that matter,

my Shanks' mare footprint, my salvaged furniture,

recycled jumpers and ban on fast fashion.


By applying a carbon-accounting-frame to my lifestyle,

while not achieving full living-green-practices,

I hope to balance out as being at least carbon-neutral

if not net-zero, given that from the get-go

I do take long hot showers.


But a recent letter from Irish Water

To tell  me that I may have a leak

Is weakening my resolve.


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

It happens to be Earth day. Follow link on Nearly New Cashmere Co site for tips

Earth Day

https://justenergy.com/blog/how-to-calculate-your-carbon-footprint/

https://plana.earth/academy/what-is-difference-between-carbon-neutral-net-zero-climate-positive/

https://www.joe.ie/news/eamon-ryan-shorter-showers-less-driving-cost-of-living-ireland-745567

Thursday 21 April 2022

Mission Not Accomplished



Dear Reader, I hope that you actually can't relate to this poem... 


On The Verge

I'm looking for a pen I already hold in my hand.

Walking towards the kitchen where I last saw it,

Startled by its presence where I least expect it,

I return to my room more than a little concerned.


"Do you ever go to put the tea-pot in the fridge?"

I ask friends. "I mean I don't actually do it.

And the tea-pot cupboard is beside the fridge."

Lateral proximity confusion- my own term for it.


They laugh and concur, but I still wonder.

And today my wonder has just morphed into alarm 

For I remember suddenly

That I was looking for a dictionary and not a pen.


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Wednesday 20 April 2022

In Search of a Poem

 


Spin-Tale

I trawl the woods in search of a tale.

Images that will feed lines, sustain stanzas.

Then it happens just beside the dog park

The screech of bicycle brakes

That propels her imagination into overdrive,

Causes her to tail-spin, projects her back

Along the path just travelled.


A dash beneath the aureole of beech leaves

Bud breaking, hovering,

Through spring freeze still underfoot,

Needles of icicled frost,

Through the maze of shade and light

That splinters the woods

 Until she reaches the fallen beech

Where I can, if I speed up, intercept her.


I just wish yer man would oil his brakes

Or abide by park rules and stick to the cycle track.

But given that he’s just given me a poem

And that I have a dog off-leash

I can hardly complain…


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All Rights Reserved

Tuesday 19 April 2022

On How Not To Ask The Question

(for E)


Did you leave the tap running/ the light on?

I should have put the question another way.

Why did you leave the...?

For how long did you leave the...?

Instead I gave you a ball in the net, my side

An unforced error

A drop shot from behind the baseline

A double fault

A highlight reel overhead winner from no man's land

And you gave your racket the high-five

Game    Set    Match

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Monday 18 April 2022

Shawl in a Ball 2


To continue with my blog on APRIL 11th I chose the easy shawl option, though I agree that Milky Way and Misty Haze sound more evocative, and after a week of shawl trawling I am only half way there. So much for easy...To be fair I only did an hour max a day but it proved to be a second- ticking hour. Not familiar with the pattern or the projected final shape of the shawl I made a couple of mistakes that went undetected. Once discovered I was unwilling to rip out an hour's knitting

 I have left them there- testimony to my lapses in concentration. I am not a perfectionist and once wound around the neck the glitch in the shape of the shawl will not be so noticeable. Next time, if there is one, I will know better. Basically you are either increasing a row by one stitch or you are increasing and then decreasing a row. Two rows to work and I got brain fog, forget the idea of watching a box set or the Six-One News or even All Creatures Great and Small while you tackle this shawl.


I did complete one brown Robin. By next week I should have a pair....



Sunday 17 April 2022

Billy Collins- Poet Laureate






My favourite clothes company. Nearly New Cashmere posted a poem last week by Billy Collins. I looked him up and thoroughly enjoyed a couple of youtube videos he made. He was the Poet Laureate of the United States 2001-2003. Dubbed the most popular poet  in America by Bruce Weber of The New York Times. 

Read Aimless Love- fun and witty and  one of my top poems now...

Follow link to hear him reading the poem

Aimless Love

 On what dogs think!

Two poems about what dogs think, probably

About the wastepaper bin full of false poetic starts!!

The failed poems

How to write poetry- read poetry for 10,000 hours

How to write poetry


Just love this fellow! 

Saturday 16 April 2022

The Sherlock Saga-Episode 5

 



THE SLEUTH

My new life settled into a comfortable rhythm in my Forever Home and bar one or two obstacles I was more or less content with my station in life. The monster proved to be relentlessly fixed in her determination to blank me. The only time I could elicit a response from her was when I intruded upon her personal space, like taking a swipe at her tail when she sailed by, her imperious snout raised in regal fashion declaring herself to be the Queen pin of the establishment.

 

One tactic of mine that never failed was to join her on the couch in a gingerly, sheepish fashion that suggested subservience on my part but which really served to force her to vacate the much coveted spot, whereupon I took up residence there for the afternoon.

 

She treated me with the same attitude that she would afford a fly buzzing about her ear, with distain and distaste but eventually with a note of resignation and acceptance.

 

Grump was a different matter. He too ignored me but he was very vocal about my bad behaviour.

 

“Does that cat have to sit on the table.” It wasn’t a question, and only strengthened my resolve to sit more firmly on the Sports Page of The Irish Times. Any attempt to remove me resulted in a battle for which he was ill Equipped and unprepared.

 

“Get that cat off my paper,” he hollered after feeling the back of my claw.  He should have asked me nicely, or do what Mum did and wave a slice of cooked ham in my face.

 

Mum was great for slices of ham. Slices of anything. Every misdemeanour on my part was rewarded with a treat. I became skilful at misbehaving. But Mum’s choice of name for me was not much to my taste. She was a great fan of some London sleuth and had even visited his fictive den in Baker Street so she insisted on calling me Sherlock Holmes. While I didn't have to smoke a pipe and wear a deerstalker I gathered from this epithet that I was expected to be hyper vigilant and solve every crime in the neighbourhood.

 

“More likely to cause trouble!” This from Grump. Well, he would say that…

 

The younger family members however were pushovers.

Longfellow’s neck was a great vantage point from which to view the world. He was over six feet tall, six and a half in fact, so from that perch I could eye up every rodent and winged intruder in the garden.

"He loves me!" Longfellow would declare swinging me around on his shoulders.

"He'll take the ear off you!"This from Grump of course.

 

Red was a soft touch as well. She fancied herself as an animal whisperer, berated Grump for his lack of understanding, filmed my every ninja move, posted pictures of me to all her friends, suggested making YouTube clips of my antics guaranteed to propel me to fame as great as my namesake's and best of all she let me take swipes at her long red hair.

 

But there was one obstacle that did bother me: the vet’s directive that because of my compromised vision I should be indoors before dusk. Now what self respecting cat does not want to night prowl?

 

I did of course break the curfew. But Mum was soon out with a torch and a can and spoon, banging vigorously on the tin and calling for the sleuth and making enough of a din to alert the whole street to my errant ways. After ten minutes or so of this harassment I would spring out of the bushes, feigning relief and delight at my rescue, ascribing the delay to my poor lateral vision, purring and rolling at her feet and all that jazz that humans love, for besides there was always tuna in that can.

 

One night however Mum and Grump were off on a mini-break and the chance to be a real cat was within a whisker. Without hesitation I hopped out through the skylight window left carelessly open by my two caretakers and set out on my night prowl into the big wide world.




To be continued...

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Friday 15 April 2022

Friday Poetry Prompt- read the Newspaper

 


Not inspired to write a poem, even a quatrain, following my daily walk I take up the crossword in The Irish Times. I love crosswords- they can be sheer torture. But last Saturday’s was easy and my eye drifted across to Church Notes. I usually don't read these to be honest but I gave it a go.

 

ACCORDING TO Wendy May Jacobs in Church Notes Thinking Anew the word passion has different roots from what we might think. In Latin the word passior meaning to suffer, to be acted upon, is connected to being patient and passive.

 

Now I am not really surprised to discover this as my experience of passion was always painful and involved a great deal of patience. I wrote a rake of poems in my twenties on the topic of passion which all invariably involved suffering. I don’t think it was Wendy’s intention to inspire poetry but there you go.

 

ABSENCE

 

An epithelial tumour, once excised,

leaves toothmarks of rough stitching

and then shade that lightens over time-

 

 

And you leave a glut of snapshot memories,

the aftertaste of pickled anything, and then longing-

that returns like a wheel to the same glitch in the road

 

Beached

 

Where was my head when I fell for you

Through marram grass that pinched like sand crabs

Down the slip face of a sand dune

Landing on drift line of Spring, full-moon tide

Ensnared in flotsam and jetsam and items sundry

Caught and enmeshed in bladderwrack

Entangled at uppermost limit of wave swash

Swallowed and beached and marooned on your shore

 (So try it.Read the Newspaper and see what it triggers.An article or two might do the trick.)

 Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

Thursday 14 April 2022

Haiku and Haibun



A Haibun is a Japanese genre that mixes autobiographical writing with Haiku.

Five pointers

KEEP PROSE SIMPLE

USE SPARSE IMAGERY

EVOKE THE SENSES

USE THE PRESENT TENSE

THE HAIKU/S CAN BE INSERTED ANYWHERE BUT SHOULD ADD MEANING

 https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-haibun-poetry

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-a-haiku-in-4-easy-steps#quiz-0


Here is an attempt at Haibun.


THE SKIPPING ROPE

 

It is a mean spirited town. At its heart the burnt out remains of O’Neill’s Castle  smoulders.

 

scorched earth policy

employed throughout history

our culture erased.

 

Buildings have eyes. As I stand at McAleer’s corner eating Pagni’s chips out of vinegar sodden  newspaper , I feel their presence. Panoptic surveillance emanating from the RUC barracks at the top of the Square, bolstered by the Ulster bank beside it, and higher up on the Castle's ruins the latest addition

 

British armoured towers,

iron clad, cube shaped set to watch

we the occupied.

 

In 1968 the town is a battle ground flanked on two sides by council housing estates: the Ponderosa and the White City, pebble dashed rows and blocks built at right angles to each other on low lying bogs, inhabited mostly by the poorest Catholics who qualify for these by doing time in the vacated POW camp out the Moy Road.  Working class protestants occupy more salubrious zones to the south, Mill town and Moygashel, in red brick industrial cottages nestling at the foot of the Windmill Hill or around the linen factory, Dungannon’s industrial sector.

 

Bigotry runs deep in the runnels, in the rills, in the streams, and the air we breath will soon smell of metal and burning flesh. The town is on standby

 

like a skipping rope

strung tight between two players

neither keen to yield

 

 And we wait for one of them to tighten grip or loosen hold.

 Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Wednesday 13 April 2022

Poetry and Therapy

 


Today I am thinking about the connection between poetry and therapy. There are some links below which you can follow on this topic. But just to say I have always valued the way writing poetry can access feelings I am barely aware of  and when extracted take me by surprise. The first poem I wrote was an exercise in a creative writing class that required me to describe an object, any object. My target was a wicker plant pot, but as I scribbled on about its fragility and state of disrepair I realised that I was describing my own emotional landscape. Tears ensued. 

My early poetic attempts were probably all outpourings from such hidden recesses and my partner would regularly find me in tears by 8am. The suggestion was that I should give it up. 

I reassured him that it was healing. He remained sceptical. 

However I know that writing poetry has helped me process the many quandaries in my life and I highly recommend it as a way of exploring feelings. 

With all of this in mind I did a quick automatic  writing exercise and from it emerged a sort of quatrain.


my sleep is fraught because

I have no answers to 

the whys, the hows, pourquois, por ques

of you

Tomorrow I hope to develop this into a haibun, a japanese form that mixes autobiographial writing with haiku.



https://www.psychologytoday.com/ie/blog/the-empowerment-diary/202104/the-power-poetry-therapy

http://irishpoetrytherapynetwork.blogspot.com/

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Tuesday 12 April 2022

A knitting Prayer

 


While knitting I invariably notice a hair caught in the wool. Perhaps one of mine or Molly's or Sherlock's. It is always cause for a pause and reflection. (You may remember the names of those West Yorkshire Spinner yarns I've been using...bird names...)

Invocation

 

I am on automatic stocking stitch until I see the hair

Already fallen into the yarn, already embedded there

 

I am knitting myself into these socks for you

My needles clicking, my hours ticking away

 

To make this membrane for your feet

Travel worn, work torn, sea shorn

 

Invoking as I weave: Wisdom of Owl

Resilience of Robin, Beauty of Kingfisher

 

Offering up to you this rainbow spectrum of aspirations

Wishing you comfort, Wishing you joy, Wishing you well


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Monday 11 April 2022

Knitting options-Shawl in a Ball



 

I think I'll make Monday my knitting commentary day as I'm always a step behind myself on Mondays and it's a good day to make plans

I did have enough yarn to finish those Pheasant socks(West Yorkshire Spinners) combined with the Fabel Drops in grey. And have now embarked on a pair using left over Robin (also WYS) and a lot of Fabel Drops in brown. The robin yarn I have left will only stretch to the cuffs ,heels and toes ,if I am lucky.

Meanwhile introducing you to Lion Brand's Shawl in a Ball.

My niece gave me a couple of balls of this.The patterns are free so you go online to 

https://www.lionbrand.com/collections/all-patterns

There I had some difficulty finding what I wanted but that's probably just me... So here are a few options for knitting a shawl in a ball.I'm not sure which one to go for...


knitting pattern- Easy shaped shawl

Milky Way shawl

Misty Haze cowl




Sunday 10 April 2022

Sunday Poem- Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning





 I never studied the English nineteenth century poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning and had no fond recollection of any of her poems so I decided to look her up. I do remember watching an old movie years ago that dealt with her courtship by the poet Robert Browning and did remember that she had been an invalid for many years. Poetry Foundation give a great resume of her life and it was an amazing life.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/elizabeth-barrett-browning

 She was for the most part self taught but she did come from a wealthy family and had a very privileged early life.She was a child prodigy in the area of writing and her work engaged with the social and political issues of her times. While she was hailed as a genius in her day and was prolific in her writing she is best remembered today for her Sonnets from the Portuguese. Most of us have heard the opening line of sonnet 43

How do I love thee, let me count the ways.

Follow the link to read and listen to the poem.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43742/sonnets-from-the-portuguese-43-how-do-i-love-thee-let-me-count-the-ways

Saturday 9 April 2022

The Sherlock Saga- Episode 4

 


I was not out of the woods yet, for I had not settled on the couch for a hot second before I heard Mum on the phone to someone called Kaitriona from a Wicklow cat shelter negotiating for my admission to her establishment.

“Well we don’t really know if it’s a virus.” I heard her say.

“Yes, I understand perfectly. Of course you don't want to endanger the other cats. I’ll have it checked out with our own vet after the Christmas break.”

“Can’t we just keep it?” moaned Red who had returned from her dip in the Forty Foot. She was making up a bed basket for me, lining its base with a Santa hat and tying some festive ribbon on the handle. “Big Pup will get used to little Jesus," she added by way of encouragement. Big pup referring I supposed to the monster.

“We can’t call him Jesus!” wailed Longfellow.

“Why not?”

“It’s …just…”

"Sacrilege.We’re calling him nothing,” Mum interrupted. “Let’s just see how he gets on with Molly. But Kaitriona did say that cats and dogs often get along very well.”

 

Red and Longfellow had the good sense to say no more so I just purred and rolled over and sidestepped the monster who for the most part was simply ignoring me. Blanking I think they call it. Well, that suited my purposes just fine.

 

Colin, their vet, was a hearty fellow who assuaged Mum’s fears immediately. I had no virus, he asserted, but I would never see again with what was left of my damaged eye. He suggested sealing up the socket when I would be in for neutering and my peripheral vision was compromised so no night prowling,

Sealing my eye socket, neutering me and curtailing my range of movement, perhaps I should be reconsidering my options…

 

“How much trouble can a cat be?” he declared. He was to regret those words. They must have ignited some inherent, innate spark in me that was destined to give trouble, but not just yet. It was however his determination of my approximate age that was the clincher in the Forever deal, as he calculated that I was three months old, which made my date of birth , wait for it, exactly the same date as the monster’s and, you won’t believe it, the same day as Mum’s birthday.Serendipity! I saw her eyes glazing over with emotion. 

“It must be fate,” Colin said when he heard the back story. That word again, fate. But mum didn’t look so sceptical this time and I knew then that Big Pup was going to have to shove over and make room for a new kid on the block.

To be continued...

(As a PS we found Kaitriona at the Aughrim cat shelter very informative and helpful when contacted. And given that it was Christmas, most generous with her time)

https://www.tagsrescue.ie/aughrim-cat-rescue/

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Friday 8 April 2022

Poetry Prompt day



 I'm hoping to make Friday my poetry prompt day so here goes.

An exercise I did this morning:

 Walking Molly in the woods/park I let a couple of words come to me. Big words that I wouldn't use much. Descriptive words. Words whose sounds were suggestive. I'm all for poetry being understandable but...  So on the beautiful morning that was in it words like translucent, resplendent and redolent came up.

Back home I checked the dictionary for exact meanings.Then I tried a couple of drafts of a cinquain.

You may stretch yourself to a longer form....

draft 1

The field 

in the morning

awash with translucence

shed from the clouds above my head

sheer bliss



draft 2


Afoot 

in the morning

slip-sliding over grass

awash with translucence being shed

from sky


draft 3

afoot 

in the morning

slip-sliding over frost

translucent,resplendent,awash

with sky


(I like the third draft best. Maybe it has something to do with the power of 3)


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Thursday 7 April 2022

Still on Cinquains and Spring and cats

 


Still on the subject of cinquains.It's a handy little form to use when you don't have much time to write and are  not particularly inspired to anyway,  just look out the window or even closer still and write a quatrain...


Bright sky

washing over

a suburban garden

warming,wakening,heralding

The Spring.



or more ominously and close by


Look out

cat on alert

eyeing my plate of toast

butter wouldn't melt in his mouth

Some chance!



Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 


Wednesday 6 April 2022

Cinquain- a five lined poem

 




Am studying the art of the Cinquain.-a variation of the Haiku.

It has 5 lines of 22 syllables:2,4,6,8,2.

Try it!

 To explore the form's origins, examples and variations follow the link .https://examples.yourdictionary.com/cinquain-examples.html

My example:

 

The sight

Of a black dog

Flicking its tail aloft

On its daily morning ramble

Sheer joy



Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 



Tuesday 5 April 2022

Climate Change-Three Years left to change habits.....

 



 

My daughter whatsapps me this morning to tell me that the news on climate on Six One News is very depressing.

The news is just awful. They literally say the same thing about climate every time.”

I’d say she’s  right on the whole, though they probably add some extra findings each time which makes the news on climate even more alarming.

The result is that we all feel totally helpless and depressed.

I believe however that there is a general shift in the human consciousness that is going in the direction of action to slow down climate change but, given the snail’s pace of it, is it going to be enough?

Eamon Ryan yesterday suggested that we take shorter showers and walk/cycle instead of drive. My daughter says stop eating meat and forget the long haul flights.

There’s a long list of shoulds and shouldn’ts available to anyone who wants to make a change.

But we all know how hard it is to change any habits……………

I think a weekly/monthly check-in with a group of like minded people where we state our aspirations in the area of lowering our carbon footprint would help me.

It would focus the mind.

I would have to be accountable.

Others would have suggestions/ information that could be helpful.

In fact, all you really need is one other person to work with.

And compassion....for we all fall off the bandwagon.

I think my daughter will be getting a call…..

And thank you, daughter, for prompting me to write this poem. It's really more about noise/air pollution. While we need the building, the houses, the retrofitting etc etc our quality of life suffers in the interim and the noise never does abate.Photo above is a view from my garden....

Orisons

 

Our morning bird song is punctuated

by the roar of traffic wakening

of crane trucks, cement trucks

dump trucks arriving

of building site hammering

of concrete bulldozing

of patio power hosing

of garden redesigning

or house reconstructing

of reconfigurating

or retrofitting

or updating

of HGVs supplying

or skip dealers arriving

or skip dealers leaving

the hauling

the scrapping

the giant cranes straining

denying us the chorus of bird song.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

  

A detail from an original Painting by Marie-Helene Brohan Delhaye

see linkhttp://mhbd.blogspot.com/