Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Shopping Trip Described in Haiku Form

Second-born's growth spurt led to a trip to Harrogate. Highlights of the venture are described in haiku.

What Dad Did
In Harrogate, shopping
(Clothes-shopping for secondborn).
I minded her coat.

Pre-teen Clothing-size Selection Conundrum
Selecting trousers.
Small adult sizes: too big.
Children's ones: too small.

Thin Legs
Child in skinny jeans:
Her legs so very skinny
The jeans look baggy.

Fatherly Fashion-sense Vindicated
Daddy liked green jeans.
Mummy thought they'd be awful.
Once on, they looked ace.

Exclusion
The men stood, forlorn.
The changing rooms not for them:
Women-only zone.

Waiting
The men played on phones
Awaiting clothes-decisions
(Well, I wrote haikus).

The Sentinels
Women in lanyards,
Gatekeepers of The Fashion
Stride, purposefully.

Rejection
The changing room rail:
Clothes which didn't make the cut
Hang, slightly bereft.


Epilogue: After the Clothes Shop
In a healthfood shop
I was very well-behaved:
Never mentioned Trill.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Ellen - The Girl made of Edam

Chapter 1 - The making

Once, or possibly even twice upon a time, there lived a cheese-maker. Her name was Magda Melick and she lived with her husband Marek Melick in a flat above her cheese shop in the Dutch city of Delft. She made the very finest cheeses of all kinds and was a very successful businesswoman who had become very rich on the proceeds of all her delicious cheeses. Magda and Marek Melick had everything they desired. Their flat had every modern convenience. They had a lovely sailing boat which they took out on the surrounding canals and lakes on Sundays when the cheese shop was closed. Their lives were very comfortable and happy. However, Magda and Marek lacked one thing which, they believed, would have made their happiness complete: they had no children of their own and were now too old to start a family.

One day, Magda told Marek that she had a plan. “I have far too much milk today. Wim the dairyman delivered far too much this morning. I was thinking that, since we cannot have a child of our own, I could make us a daughter out of Edam cheese with the spare milk.”
Marek knew better than to question the judgement of his clever, cheese-making wife and so nodded politely, adding “Sounds wonderful, my dear.”, though privately he wondered whether to book them both a long holiday as his wife seemed to be going a bit doolally and in need of a break. Magda Melick set to work immediately. She worked through the night and the following day creating a new mould in which to pour the cheese as well as a special pulley system for lifting the unusually large and heavy child-sized cheese she had in mind, then started on the cheese-making itself. Having prepared the cheese in a huge, wooden bath and poured it into the girl-shaped mould, Magda pressed it (twice) and left it to float in brine, then let the cheese dry before coating it in bright red paraffin wax. She then locked it away in a special room of its own in the cellar. All this had taken place over the course of several days alongside Magda's usual cheese-making, so she was absolutely exhausted by the end of the process. She slept well that night. All that was left was to leave the cheese-child to mature in the cellar.

* * *

Two months passed by. Then, quite early one morning, Marek Melick was woken from a deep sleep (featuring a vivid dream about a salami sandwich) by a dull, thudding noise coming from downstairs. He was frightened so he woke his wife up. “I think there is someone downstairs in the shop!” he hissed.
Magda shot out of bed, her nightie (with pictures of gherkins on) whirling around her legs as she grabbed her shotgun from under the bed, then ran downstairs. Marek put on his dressing gown (with pictures of giraffes on) and followed her. Down in the shop there was no sign of anyone, nor in the cheese-making room out the back, but the thudding was much, much louder now and was clearly coming from the cellar. Magda Melick opened the cellar door, turned the light on, cocked her shotgun and set off down the stairs. Marek grabbed a large soup ladle and followed his wife.



Chapter 2 - The meeting

Once in the cellar, Magda and Marek could hear and see exactly the source of the noise. The door to Magda's special section of the cheese-cellar (the room which currently housed her experimental cheese-child) was juddering and quaking as something persistent and evidently either very heavy or very strong was thumping against it from the other side.
“Wait!” shouted Magda. The thudding stopped. “I'm opening the door.” Magda put her shotgun down and lifted the latch.

The door opened slowly, revealing a shiny-skinned, bright red woman as tall as Marek but far less hairy. And stark naked. Marek blushed and didn't know where to look. As I am sure you know, Edam takes two months to mature in order to be ready to eat, and so it was that, over the two months in the cheese-cellar, Magda's cheese-child had also matured into a fully-grown young woman as well as a perfectly mature Edam.

“Hello,” said Magda, “My name is Magda Melick and I am your mother. I made you. This is your father, Marek.”
“And what is my name?” asked the young lady made out of Edam.
“Ellen.” said Marek who had given this some thought over the previous two months. “Yes, Ellen is your name.” agreed Magda.

They led Ellen Melick out of the cellar and into their kitchen. She sat at the kitchen table with Magda as Marek mashed a pot of tea. “So, what is this place?” asked Ellen.
“It's the kitchen where we make and eat our meals.” explained Magda.
“What are those things over there?” Ellen enquired.
“Those are pans which we use to heat things in on the stove.” said Marek.
“And those?” Ellen indicated the hanging utensils.
“Ladles and serving spoons to serve soups, stew and casseroles with, tongs to turn sausages and chops with, that kind of thing.” said Magda. Marek, reminded by this, replaced the largest ladle he had armed himself with earlier.
Ellen got up from the table and walked around the kitchen, picking up or pointing out various objects inquisitively.

“This?”
“A food mixer.”
“These?”
“Glasses to drink from.”
“And this?”
“A cheese-grater.”
“This thing?”
“A fondue to melt cheese with so you can dip things into it to eat.”
“What's this for?”
“It's a cheese knife.”
“And this?”
“A cheese board – it's a wooden board for cutting cheese on.”

At this point, Marek poured the tea. “So,” asked Ellen, “why do I look different to you two if you're my parents?”
“Well,” explained Magda, “Marek and I are humans and you were made by me. You weren't born like a human child. We're made differently to you.”
“Right,” wondered Ellen, “so... what are you made out of?”
Magda thought for a moment, “I suppose humans are made out of bones, blood, skin and meat.”
“And did you use those things to make me, too?” asked Ellen.
“No,” said Magda, “You are made out of cheese. The finest Edam cheese with skin of paraffin wax.”
“I see.” said Ellen.

After they had all had a cup of tea, Ellen told her parents that she was feeling tired and needed a nap. She was led up to the flat where Marek prepared their guest bedroom. Ellen put on one of Magda's nighties (one with pictures of windmills on) and went to bed for a sleep.


Chapter 3 - The realisation

Marek was in the shop serving a customer when a piercing scream came from the flat upstairs. It was so loud and piercing that he dropped the fine lump of Gouda he'd been showing the customer. Magda in the cheese cellar also heard the scream. They almost bumped into each other at the foot of the stairs as they ran to find out why Ellen was distressed. They arrived in Ellen's room to find her sitting bolt upright in bed. As Magda approached Ellen, arms outstretched to give her cheese-daughter a comforting hug, Ellen shrank away from her and scuttled off the bed into a corner of the room, grabbing a chair and holding it up with the legs pointing at Marek and Magda to ward them off.

“What on earth is the matter, my darling?” asked Magda, her voice trembling in alarm, “There's no need to be afraid: we're here now.”
“It's you I'm afraid of!” sobbed Ellen. “I had a dream where I was peeled of my lovely, red, shiny skin and then grated and cut up on your wooden cheese-board, then melted in a fondue. It was horrible! And now I'm awake I've realised the truth: you created me to eat me. That's why you made me out of cheese. All those things in the kitchen make sense now: the grater, the knife, the cheese-board, the fondue - you are going to use them all on me. You're going to torture and eat me!”

And with that, Ellen hurled the chair at the bedroom window, smashing it completely, then leapt after it, falling two storeys onto the street below. She ripped off the windmill-emblazoned nightie and stood, defiantly in the street and sang:

“I shall never be fondue
I shall never be in you.
I roll faster than you'll chase me,
I will out-roll all who race me.”

As soon as her song had ended, Ellen curled up into a shiny, red ball and rolled at lightning speed along the side of the canal and off into the side-streets of Delft. Her parents looked on, dumbstruck, from the bedroom window.


Chapter 4 - The nibblers

In Delft market square, a cat was licking its bottom. Out of the corner of its eye it saw a blur of red whizzing across the cobbles.
“Oi!” yelled the cat.
The red blur came to a stop and stood up. It was, of course, Ellen.
“What's up, kitty?” she asked.
“I was just curious as to what you were,” purred the cat, “and my nose tells me you are made of Edam. Delicious, creamy Edam to which I am quite partial. Might I have a finger or toe to nibble on, do you think?”
“Certainly not!” replied Ellen, running away and, as she curled up into a ball once again, singing:

“I shall never be fondue
I shall never be in you.
I roll faster than you'll chase me,
I will out-roll all who race me.”

as she zipped off out of the market place.


***


A rat was hiding beneath one of Delft's many canal bridges when it heard a curious rumbling unlike any bicycle or pedestrian it had ever heard cross the bridge before.
“Hey!” exclaimed the rat, “what's that?” as it scampered up onto the bridge itself. Ellen, whose rolling was the source of the curious rumbling, stopped and uncurled herself. “May I help you?” she asked the rat.
“Well I was just wondering what the noise was,” explained the rat, “but looking at you I can see that you are simply a huge truckle of cheese which explains it. Occasionally cheese does get rolled across my bridge, but never one as magnificent as yourself. Might I have a quick nibble of you, now I know what you are?”
Ellen was, naturally, affronted by this suggestion and, as quick as single cream drips down a strawberry, she curled up into a ball once more, singing:

“I shall never be fondue
I shall never be in you.
I roll faster than you'll chase me,
I will out-roll all who race me.”

and swooshed off towards the edge of the city.


* * *


On the verge of a road just outside Delft, a hedgehog was chomping on a slug. The slug was not desperately happy about this but could not be bothered to complain as he was, as usual, feeling quite sluggish. Up the road trundled Ellen, whizzing along as a red blur, past the hedgehog and slug and into a huge field of orange tulips.
“Er.... um.... 'Scuse me...” said the slug, lethargically.
But he was too late to attract Ellen's attention and the hedgehog carried on eating him. Take note, dear reader: one does tend to miss out on all sorts of interesting things if one is too sluggish.



Chapter 5 - The tulip

Meanwhile, in the tulip field, an orange tulip began to sing, “E-llen! E-llen! Co-me to meeeee! E-llen!” in a lovely, rich, low-bass voice. Unlike the slug, the tulip did succeed in attracting Ellen's attention. She slowed down and rolled over towards the part of the field the singing seemed to be coming from.
“Who's that?” enquired Ellen.
“I'm a magic, orange tulip.” explained the magic, orange tulip.
“Er... I'm not being funny, but which one are you?” asked Ellen. Being in a field of nine hundred and eighty thousand, five hundred and sixty four apparently identical, orange tulips didn't make identifying the source of the voice at all easy.
“I'm the one with the shimmering, sparkling, magic sort of stuff coming out of my flower and the yellow halo hovering above me” boomed the tulip in his gruff, fruity voice.
Now she knew this, it was embarrassingly obvious to Ellen which tulip was the enchanted one. The flickering, sky-blue wings halfway down the tulip's stem were a dead give-away too.
“How do you know my name?” wondered Ellen.
“You are a magical creature like me – I sensed you,” explained the tulip, “and I wish to help you fulfil your true destiny.”
“My destiny?”
“Yes, the purpose of your life. The meaning of your existence. I can use magic to make your destiny come true right away, but I need you to stand quite still while I say the spell which will make everything clear to you. And you will have to ask me to do the spell or the magic won't work. I can't do it without your permission. Do you want me to do this?”

Ellen thought. She couldn't just keep rolling on forever. And, so far as she knew, there were no other Edam-people like her anywhere in the world. The tulip's offer did seem to make sense...
“OK, do the spell.” she said.

The magic, orange tulip fluttered his wings and uprooted himself from the ground, his magical, sparkly aura shimmering all around him. He rose until he hovered above Ellen Melick's head then started his magical incantation:

“Fanakapan, Fanakapan!
Lia-moggle-binkle-bonk!”

Suddenly, Ellen was whisked up in a tornado and shrouded in purple clouds. Out of the sky flew hundreds of small, brown circles and squares. A ladybird perched on a nearby tulip noticed that these circles and squares appeared to be crackers – the biscuity kind of cracker, that is, not the sort you pull at Christmas. These swirled around then were sucked into the swirling vortex of purple smoke. There was a blue flash and a sudden explosion from within the tornado. The purple cloud dispersed as quickly as it had formed and, from within the tornado, cheese and biscuits cascaded to form a huge, delicious hill in the middle of the field, crushing about two hundred and eighty two thousand, nine hundred and fifty three orange tulips beneath it. The magic, orange tulip had also undergone a sudden transformation, revealing its true identity. The orange tulip had been merely a cunning disguise for Wouter the troll who loved cheese and biscuits for tea and who now had the most massive pile of Edam on crackers there had ever been. The ladybird thought he was a greedy, wicked, cruel and dishonourable creature for playing such a trick on Ellen. And Wouter would not only have agreed with the ladybird, he would have taken this opinion as a massive compliment as trolls pride themselves on being greedy, wicked, cruel and dishonourable.

So that was the end of Ellen.


Epilogue - The confession

Baldric and Barbara Bakker were entertaining two of their oldest friends. They had known Magda and Marek Melick since childhood and had invited them around for a meal that evening. Magda had seemed rather upset on arriving at the Bakkers' home and Barbara had soon persuaded Magda to tell them what was bothering her. Magda told the Bakkers everything: all about creating Ellen, Magda's delight in seeing her come to life and then the awful experience of seeing Ellen's terror of her and her kitchen utensils and her dramatic exit from their flat into the streets of Delft. Magda and Marek had scoured the streets for hours afterwards seeking Ellen but to no avail. They still had no idea what had become of their cheese-daughter and had found the whole business very dispiriting.

Barbara and Baldric were very kind and sympathetic. Baldric uncorked a nice, old bottle of red wine and poured them all a glass.
“I do know how hard this must be for you,” said Baldric as he handed Marek and Magda their glasses of wine, “and I can imagine that having a cheese-child so briefly and then losing her must be even worse than having never had her at all.”
“Yes,” smiled Magda, “that's it exactly. Oh, I'm so glad we told you Baldric! To have such wise friends... I thought nobody else in the world would believe us, much less understand how we feel.”
“Well,” continued Baldric, “Barbara and I, as you know, we also have never had children of our own. But...”
Baldric faltered as he spoke and looked across at Barbara. Barbara reached out and squeezed Baldric's hand.
“But,” continued Barbara, “these enchanted children made out of foodstuffs... they never really work out for the best. You know that, before he retired, Baldric was a baker, just like his father before him? We had that shop on the corner of the market square - you remember? Well, Baldric's biscuits were particularly popular, something of a speciality of which he was, rightly, proud. And one day, Baldric had a batch of gingerbread left over, and so...”

THE END

Copyright 2011 Nick Morgan, all rights reserved.

Written July 31st 2011 on Cromer beach, Norfolk, to entertain Imogen & Susie Morgan together with their cousins Lia and Erin Price who live in the Netherlands. Can also be heard being read by the author on Soundcloud - search for the user 'Corkydog' there.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It truly did come to pass

It truly did come to pass


A cross is worn
Around my neck:
A sign of hope,
Yet speaking of
A blasphemous cruelty:
God, put to death.
It truly did come to pass:
God, put to death -
A blasphemous cruelty,
Yet speaking of
A sign of hope.
Around my neck,
A cross is worn.

A cross, worn,
Carried on Christ's neck.
Christ's neck,
Worn.
Weary.
Worn to exhaustion,
Worn to death:
Death
On a cross.

Jn. 19:17
April 13th 2014, Durham

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Song for Epiphany

I wrote the words for this pretty much in one fell swoop during a 35 minute period of reflection in the organ loft in the church at the Community of the Resurrection in Mirfield. This brought together a number of themes from the weekend of study on the Yorkshire Ministry Course and the Epiphany theme of the service we were about to have.

This can be downloaded from this link as a pdf


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Epiphany: God's 'Yes' Revealed by Nick Morgan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The words are available as a poem at the All We Like Sheep blog

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Shopping for a tank top explained in infographics

Today, I went to Northallerton to spend my Christmas pressie money. I was sufficiently excited by this to tell the interweb via Facebook:








What I had in mind was a tank top because I don't have one and I quite like the idea of having one. It's Christmas, and it seemed like a suitably modest extravagance to aim for.

Tank Tops

Tank tops are wonderfully versatile. They are stylish....


....and can be accessorised with a pipe...


...or indeed a hat...


and, looking ahead, can be worn with clerical shirts...


The shopping trip

So, I set off to Northallerton with the rest of the family with a shopping quest in mind which is best expressed as a Venn diagram:

The Venn Diagram of Tank Top Shopping
The object of the exercise was to find a tank top from among those at the central intersection of all three sets: i) inexpensive tank tops, ii) tank tops available from shops in Northallerton on the Saturday after Christmas and iii) tank tops which were splendid enough for me to enjoy wearing and - crucially - for my wife to not mind me wearing in public.

After five hours of shopping in Northallerton, however, the rest of the family had met with some degree of success in other shopping quests, but I had not. There was a problem on the supply side of the tank top market in Northallerton. My family offered the following explanation:

How popular taste has varied vis a vis tank tops over my lifetime.

Since the 1970s, the fashionability of tank tops has dipped somewhat. Therefore, shops don't sell them in the same numbers as they once did. 

However, I did find a couple of tank tops in Northallerton, but they failed to find their way into the crucial intersection of all three sets in my Venn Diagram of Tank Top Shopping. 
Let me explain with another graph:

How Northallerton Tank Tops Were Distributed on the Spendidness-Price grid.
I found two tank tops (indicated with purple crosses on the scatter-graph). 
One, marked a, was inexpensively priced at £29, but was a boring shade of dark blue and not even jaunty, let alone splendid.
Another, b was moderately splendid but was reduced (!) to just £66 (and could therefore not be considered an inexpensive tank top).
My ideal tank top would have appeared as c on the graph, but sadly remained nothing but an idealised plotting on a graph.

How the shopping trip panned out


From the above Venn Diagram of My Shopping Trip, the following can be surmised:
  • I looked at two tank tops
  • neither of the tank tops was in B&Q when I looked at them
  • I purchased five non-tank top items in B&Q
  • a non-tank top item caught my eye in B&Q but remained unpurchased*
  • no tank tops were purchased


However, it was a pleasant day out and the quest for a splendid tank top will continue another day.




*this was a lime green toilet seat for £5. Yes, you're right, the correct decision was made.




Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sponsored sleepover - in Ripon Cathedral!

Imogen and Susie are taking part in a sponsored sleepover in Ripon Cathedral on the night of February 24th. They will be singing Evensong at 5.30pm, then Compline at 9pm and Mattins at 8.30am the following morning, following part of the pattern of services which the Benedictine monks who used to frequent the Cathedral would have used in centuries gone by. You can donate by Paypal - any amount is welcome - by clicking the button below.




They are raising money for the choir's Tours' Fund. The idea is to have a rolling programme of fundraising events to underwrite tours in the UK and worldwide. The choir aims to be ambassadors for its Cathedral, its city, for the Anglican choral tradition and to raise its own profile. It will also be an amazing experience for the choristers involved. The first foreign tour is proposed to be New Zealand in 2014.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New music

A new anthem, just finished, with words from Psalm 134, "Come, bless the Lord." for SSAA.
Here it is as a printable pdf. It would work down an octave for TTBB I imagine.

I've tried to give the 2nd altos some nice, raunchy, scrunchy notes - you know how it is with altos...

You can download an mp3 of the Sibelius output of it here or click the play button below.




Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Doggy stuff

I've just been prompted to add to this blog by the fact that it's been linked to by The Coffee Lady, so a warm welcome to anyone who happened to click through. This blog is mainly a repository for my music, poetry and suchlike. Here's a video I made with my dog, more recently than the last posting in here at least.
Things my dog takes and where he takes them - a song

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Imogen piano solo

Another short piano piece, this one being a musical depiction of my eldest daughter, Imogen.

You can download the sheet music for this here.

Meanwhile, a rough mp3 of the piece can be heard by clicking on the play button.




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Imogen by Nick Morgan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at sites.google.com.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Susie Scherzo

I wrote this piano solo to depict my 7 year old daughter Susie. I think it has her down to a T...
Usual creative commons rules apply please This is just the output from the Finale PrintMusic file of the piece but has come out pretty well I think, certainly to give the piece an airing anyway. Hope you enjoy!



The sheet music can be downloaded here. Please let me know if you perform this or any other of my pieces - I just like to know and won't be chasing you for money, though if you want to fling any in my direction, I shan't complain.

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Susie Scherzo by Nick Morgan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at sites.google.com.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sonnet CXIII

A setting of Shakespeare's Sonnet no. CXIII, composed in 1992.
Please excuse the shoddy piano playing, but you get an idea of how it's supposed to go from this...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sacred Choral Sheet Music

Sacred Choral music
These are all original compositions by myself, apart from where they are arrangements of traditional or anonymous material, in which case this is indicated on the music itself.

You are welcome to download and print out my sheet music for free. I would also be glad of any feedback about the music.

All that I ask is that you tell me about any performances, simply as a matter of courtesy. As for recordings, that's fine too so long as you tell me and let me have a copy. A donation would be appreciated for recordings - this can be arranged via Paypal, so please ask. I like to trust people with this rather than getting all legal about it, so if you use the music, please consider making a donation of some sort.

All files are in PDF format.

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Prayer of St. Nicholas de Flueli (SATB) - written for the choir of St. Barnabas, Dulwich
Easy to learn, short anthem. Works well as an anthem during communion.

Be Happy (SSAA) - setting of words from Ecclesiastes for female voices
This is moderately tricky I'd say.

Christmas Music
Down in Yon Forest (SATB) - setting of a traditional Christmas mythical text. Not too hard.

Mary's Lullaby (SATB) - a carol with an eerie, unsettling mood, with words from Mary the Mother's POV. Again, not hard to learn.

Choral sheet music for download - secular

These are all original compositions by myself, apart from where they are arrangements of traditional or anonymous material, in which case this is indicated on the music itself.

You are welcome to download and print out my sheet music for free. I would also be glad of any feedback about the music.

All that I ask is that you tell me about any performances, simply as a matter of courtesy. As for recordings, that's fine too so long as you tell me and let me have a copy. A donation would be appreciated for recordings - this can be arranged via Paypal, so please ask. I like to trust people with this rather than getting all legal about it, so if you use the music, please consider making a donation of some sort.

Right... let's see if these links will work...

Secular Choral Music
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Scarborough Fair (arrangement for SATB)
Captures the slightly sinister mood of the words well, I think. First performed in Helmsley Walled Garden at a concert by the Simeon Singers.

Pairs (SATB + piano)
Frankly, this is quite tricky and silly. Very silly. The pianist may need to ignore the RH octaves at times. Or take steroids.

Counting Sheep
Very good fun and not hard to learn. You can change the rude word on the penultimate page if you need to. I suggest "blighter" might suffice...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Beck

The beginning of the first movement of an incomplete string quartet. I never got around to finishing this, but it's quite pleasant... Inspired by the beck which runs outside our house.



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Pairs



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PAIRS
Ladies and gentlemen
Pollen and bees
Batman and Robin
Crackers and cheese

Bed and breakfast
Horse and cart
Tea and cake
Jam and tart

Salt and pepper
East and west
Smash and grab
String and vest

The Queen's Speech and Christmas Day
Ringing a doorbell and running away
Chimpanzees and PG Tips
Battered cod and greasy chips

Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh
Bangers and mash
Me and you.

Autumn by the Lake

Written in 2003 I think, shortly after moving to Ampleforth, so it seems worth posting this a week before we move out of the area. It was a reflection on thoughts and images which came to me whilst walking around the lakes in Gilling woods.


Autumn By The Lake


Rusty leaves waiting to fall
Rustle at the slightest breeze.
Dead wood lies upon the ground,
Branches creak like old men’s knees.

I lie beside the water’s edge
And watch the clouds go by a while,
Then on my back watch upside down
And daydream stuff that makes me smile.

The lake lies still, you cannot tell
Which image is water, which is dry -
Except when, upside down, a duck
Appears to swim through trees and sky.

And on the ground as leaves decay
Wet, sweet smells inform my thinking:
Amid this rot is teeming life,
Unseen, yet vibrant – though dying and stinking.

So then I walk home through cold, damp air
Carrying a little of this smell in my mind,
Enough, at least, to remind me how life
May emerge from the things I thought I’d left behind:

Parts of my life that I’ve lost on the way;
People I knew but don’t see any more;
Forgotten dreams and unachieved plans;
Times of my life to which I’ve closed the door.

Life builds afresh upon what’s been and gone
So the old me is dead – but the new me lives on.


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Revival

Revival Came


Revival came:
Not in a cascade of noise and praise
But quietly, unseen, uncelebrated.
It came, heralded not by Alleluias
But by tears and sighs.


Revival came:
Not in tongues of flame
Or dramatic outpourings,
But in shared silence, tear-stained vigils;
In listening, rather than explaining.


Revival came:
Not through feeling holier
Nor suddenly being on Cloud Nine,
But in being known, accepted
Warts and all, even in despair.


And revival came:
Not in a noisy battle or struggle,
Nor through a sudden mass-revelation
Of deep things suddenly understood;
Revival came heart by heart, one by one.


Revival came
As Love stared into the darkness,
Stood and wept into another's wounds
And washed as it wept
And healed and cleaned and comforted.

And revived.

Grimston, June 28th 2009

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Prayer of St Hild

I wrote this anthem for the Simeon Singers, based in Oswaldkirk in North Yorkshire. The text is a prayer attributed to St. Hilda (or Hild) who was abbess of Whitby and a significant figure in the history of Christianity in England.

Now, this is where we find out whether I can embedd audio into this blog... hmmm... let's have a go...

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Ah, that seemed to work. I love the simplicity of the words - a conversation between Hild and God, really, rather than a traditionally formatted prayer. The concept of the servant ministry is particularly telling coming from Hilda as she was of royal birth herself and was the head of a double monastery in Whitby. The ending "My times are in Thy hands" serve as the subtitle for the piece.

Introduction

This is intended simply as somewhere to store and share my various creative things. I'm going to root around to find some things to post, and comments and feedback are most welcome.

All creative material put on here is posted under a Creative Commons agreement. This means you are free to use material here, but all works must be attribited to me as the author, composer or arranger and you may not make commercial use of it without permission.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Welcome

Must try harder to keep this up to date...