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Archive for December, 2012

The Old Year’s gone away

Monday, 31 December, 2012 0 Comments

Born in 1793 in Northamptonshire, John Clare was a fine poet and an excellent fiddle player. With this timely work, we wish all our readers health, wealth and happiness in 2013. Happy New Year!

The Old Year

The Old Year’s gone away
To nothingness and night:
We cannot find him all the day
Nor hear him in the night:
He left no footstep, mark or place
In either shade or sun:
The last year he’d a neighbour’s face,
In this he’s known by none.

All nothing everywhere:
Mists we on mornings see
Have more of substance when they’re here
And more of form than he.
He was a friend by every fire,
In every cot and hall–
A guest to every heart’s desire,
And now he’s nought at all.

Old papers thrown away,
Old garments cast aside,
The talk of yesterday,
Are things identified;
But time once torn away
No voices can recall:
The eve of New Year’s Day
Left the Old Year lost to all.

John Clare (1793 — 1864)

Life is a photo

Monday, 31 December, 2012 0 Comments

Samsung Digital Imaging is holding a global competition involving 32 Instagram stars from eight countries to show that their city is the most photogenic by means of the GALAXY Camera. All photography is being released through an interactive platform, allowing fans to vote for their favorite works at samsungcamera.tumblr.com.

A Drinking Song

Sunday, 30 December, 2012 0 Comments
A Drinking Song

Wine comes in at the mouth And love comes in at the eye; That’s all we shall know for truth Before we grow old and die. I lift the glass to my mouth, I look at you, and I sigh. William Butler Yeats

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The Maccabees sing Pelican

Saturday, 29 December, 2012 0 Comments

Orlando Weeks, Hugo White, Felix White, Rupert Jarvis and Sam Doyle combine to comprise The Maccabees, an indie rock band from South London. On 9 January this year, they released their latest album, Given to the Wild. The first single released was Pelican and it was one of the best pop songs of the year.

To have it all and still want more
One things for sure we’re all getting older
So we take a lover waiting in the corner
Before you know it, pushing up the daisies

The Nose goes digital and pivots to Asia

Friday, 28 December, 2012 0 Comments
The Nose goes digital and pivots to Asia

Back in December 2000, William Langewiesche wrote a superb portrait of Robert Parker, the man who revolutionized the world of wine, for The Atlantic titled The Million-Dollar Nose. Snippet: “The Wine Advocate has 40,000 subscribers, in every U.S. state and thirty-seven foreign countries. These are influential readers, and they pass the issues around, igniting the […]

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Bukowski on women

Thursday, 27 December, 2012 0 Comments
Bukowski on women

Among the myriad delights that Santa Claus put in the Rainy Day Christmas stocking was Women by Charles Bukowski. In his introduction, Barry Miles says, “Women is Buwkoski’s punk novel. Written in 1977, it is fast, conversational, uses few long words, and just zips along.” In the book, we meet Henry Chinaski, a low-life writer […]

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The Three Kings

Wednesday, 26 December, 2012 0 Comments

Dame Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh in 1918 and educated at the city’s James Gillespie’s High School for Girls, where she studied English, French, Chemistry, Greek, Physics, Latin and Logic. She converted to Catholicism in 1954, and the Catholic writers, Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh, gave her support and encouragement as she pursued her literary career. She began by writing biographies of Emily Brontë, Mary Shelley and John Masefield, but it was not until 1957 when she published The Comforters, her first novel, that she achieved recognition.

The Three Kings

Where do we go from here?
We left our country,
Bore gifts,
Followed a star.
We were questioned.
We answered.
We reached our objective.
We enjoyed the trip.
Then we came back by a different way.
And now the people are demonstrating in the streets.
They say they don’t need the Kings any more.
They did very well in our absence.
Everything was all right without us.
They are out on the streets with placards:
Wise Men? What’s wise about them?
There are plenty of Wise Men,
And who needs them? — and so on.

Perhaps they will be better off without us,
But where do we go from here?

Dame Muriel Spark (February 1918 – April 2006)

“A Christmas Childhood” by Patrick Kavanagh

Tuesday, 25 December, 2012 0 Comments

The poet Patrick Kavanagh captures the vivid imagination of a farm-boy, “six Christmases of age”, who is enchanted by the rural Irish world surrounding him. Rainy Day would like to take this opportunity to wish our readers a happy and peaceful Christmas.

A Christmas Childhood

My father played the melodeon
Outside at our gate;
There were stars in the morning east
And they danced to his music.

Across the wild bogs his melodeon called
To Lennons and Callans.
As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry
I knew some strange thing had happened.

Outside the cow-house my mother
Made the music of milking;
The light of her stable-lamp was a star
And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.

A water-hen screeched in the bog,
Mass-going feet
Crunched the wafer-ice on the pot-holes,
Somebody wistfully twisted the bellows wheel.

My child poet picked out the letters
On the grey stone,
In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland,
The winking glitter of a frosty dawn.

Cassiopeia was over
Cassidy’s hanging hill,
I looked and three whin bushes rode across
The horizon. The Three Wise Kings.

An old man passing said:
‘Can’t he make it talk’ —
The melodeon. I hid in the doorway
And tightened the belt of my box-pleated coat.

I nicked six nicks on the door-post
With my penknife’s big blade.
There was a little one for cutting tobacco,
And I was six Christmases of age.

My father played the melodeon,
My mother milked the cows,
And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned
On the Virgin Mary’s blouse.

Patrick Kavanagh (1904 – 1967)

Noël Coward at Noel

Monday, 24 December, 2012 0 Comments

On this Christmas Eve, let us celebrate with those who look “upon the present with delight” as they await what tomorrow brings, and let us think for a moment of all those who know “the loneliness of night” because of who they no longer have.

Nothing is Lost

Deep in our sub-conscious, we are told
Lie all our memories, lie all the notes
Of all the music we have ever heard
And all the phrases those we loved have spoken,
Sorrows and losses time has since consoled,
Family jokes, out-moded anecdotes
Each sentimental souvenir and token
Everything seen, experienced, each word
Addressed to us in infancy, before
Before we could even know or understand
The implications of our wonderland.
There they all are, the legendary lies
The birthday treats, the sights, the sounds, the tears
Forgotten debris of forgotten years
Waiting to be recalled, waiting to rise
Before our world dissolves before our eyes
Waiting for some small, intimate reminder,
A word, a tune, a known familiar scent
An echo from the past when, innocent
We looked upon the present with delight
And doubted not the future would be kinder
And never knew the loneliness of night.

Noël Coward (December 1899 – March 1973)

Running past the tree of love

Sunday, 23 December, 2012 0 Comments
Running past the tree of love

“You could run from someone you feared, you could try to fight someone you hated. All my reactions were geared toward those kinds of killers — the monsters, the enemies. When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so […]

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Silent Night in the Church of St. James

Saturday, 22 December, 2012 0 Comments

Perched at the edge of Europe, the Dingle Peninsula stretches into the Atlantic Ocean from the southwest coast of Ireland. Through the Other Voices festival, the magic of the peninsula is transmitted to the world from the Church of St. James by some of the world’s finest singers.