Leaping light for your delight

The colours and shapes of autumn at home are comfort and joy! And whether speaking of the ‘island’ of home, heart, soul, mind, body or nation W H Auden issues apt seasonal invitation:

Look, stranger, on this island now
The leaping light for your delight discovers,
Stand stable here
And silent be,
That through the channels of the ear
May wander like a river
The swaying sound of the sea.

Here at the small field’s ending pause
When the chalk wall falls to the foam and its tall ledges
Oppose the pluck

W H Auden
On this Island

Isn’t it a lovely thought that you might, perhaps, tonight, ‘stand stable’ at home for a space? – there to take stock of ‘the leaping light for your delight’ … a reflection in a treasured piece of jewellery, firelight, the warm glow from evening light on bookshelves or coffee table, a child’s framed painting, steam rising from a coffee cup, a jar of lentils, the fluid movement of a houseplant touched by slight draught. All in and around your own personal island …


grape leaf anemone – eriocapitella vitifolia

Evening sunlight behind grape leaf anenome – eriocapitella vitifolia – illuminates so much attention-grabbing detail!

I’m endlessly fascinated by how much variety rises up from dark earth – and by Nature’s immense ‘imagination’ in and throughout the universe: from tiny ants to the mighty oak tree they march around with their organised purpose, to tight-closed protective buds opening to ‘smiling’ fragile flowers like these – each protector and provider to the millions of future-ensuring seeds that will propagate and bloom in a steady procession of tomorrows.

Life is mystery and wonder indeed – and every day we’re alive to witness some more of it we, and the wider life we see, are enlightened …

If I were tall as they …

Will there really be a morning?
Is there such a thing as day?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were tall as they?

Emily Dickinson

Will there really be a morning? – And the frustrations and (for many of us, relative) privations of global pandemic have millions of us asking similar questions. Can we dare to hope – from the mountains – that before too long we’ll get back to something approaching what we used to think normal?

Hands up. I share the frustration today. Most 21st century humans are trained planners – we’ve become accustomed to having a fairly clear idea of what we’ll be doing, and when. Covid-19 has thrown our ‘best laid plans’ into disarray.

And the point of this post? Well, only an observation: that – in the midst of occasional frustration – any time spent with poetry serves me well. Others have wondered what I’m wondering. Others are asking questions today like mine. Poetry bids us remember our shared humanity. And as my grandmother used to say: ‘a problem shared is a problem halved …’

Sometimes I find, in company with poets, that I am tall as they.

Like a kite

throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back: a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country

Anaïs Nin

Books are such precious gifts. A lovely friend (thank you) gave me a little journal for my birthday in July this year. It’s one of those treasures that invites one to keep it close and open at random every once in a while … and I do. This afternoon I’m warmed by the invitation to ‘throw your dreams into space like a kite’ … and I have. Now to wonder where the wind will carry them, and turn to preparing supper …

The Dear Green Place

Great to have a sunny afternoon amble in The Dear Green Place again. Happy people sunbathing on the grass in George Square yesterday. Not bad for October! Heavy and relentless rain today, but close company with Rembrandt, Salvador Dali, sculptor William McMillan (Syrinx, marble, 1925) and the Glasgow Boys at the fabulous Kelvingrove Art Gallery lifts otherwise dampened spirits. Warm welcome (thanks everyone) and a fabulous late lunch in lovely company at Café Gandolfi confirms Glasgow’s legendary friendliness.

Build something

I’ve been looking forward to the publication of the late, great Clive James’ new book today.

The Fire of Joy – Roughly Eighty Poems To Get By Heart And Say Aloud is, as anticipated, already a joy … ‘To the next generation – “The race of men / Is like the generations of the leaves – / They fall in autumn to return in spring.” – Homer’

There’s feu de joie in colour all around me today – and it’s always good to set eyes upon a rainbow.

Creativity is the great mystery. Anyone can be destructive, but the capacity to build something will go on being the great human surprise

Clive James

This collection will encourage any reader to ‘build something’ – and be surprised!