She was older that all of us, she had her own office, her audience chamber, she could spot your coding error from a great distance. Clever, charming and funny, she had programmed the first computer when it was over a Lyons Corner Shop and bugs were real and flew. She was our hero and we worshipped her. She never married despite numerous proposals as marriage meant the end of a womans career back then. I remember her smile, her joy in teaching, her lack of regret and oh, so much, her knowledge that we all used to build computer code to model and understand climate. I remember so well long to tell you who she was.
Dear love, for nothing less than thee Would I have broke this happy dream; It was a theme For reason, much too strong for fantasy, Therefore thou wak’d’st me wisely; yet My dream thou brok’st not, but continued’st it. Thou art so true that thoughts of thee suffice To make dreams truths, and fables histories; Enter these arms, for since thou thought’st it best, Not to dream all my dream, let’s act the rest.
As lightning, or a taper’s light, Thine eyes, and not thy noise wak’d me; Yet I thought thee (For thou lovest truth) an angel, at first sight; But when I saw thou sawest my heart, And knew’st my thoughts, beyond an angel’s art, When thou knew’st what I dreamt, when thou knew’st when Excess of joy would wake me, and cam’st then, I must confess, it could not choose but be Profane, to think thee any thing but thee.
Coming and staying show’d thee, thee, But rising makes me doubt, that now Thou art not thou. That love is weak where fear’s as strong as he; ‘Tis not all spirit, pure and brave, If mixture it of fear, shame, honour have; Perchance as torches, which must ready be, Men light and put out, so thou deal’st with me; Thou cam’st to kindle, goest to come; then I Will dream that hope again, but else would die.
Bjorns words on our pandemic deserve a wider audience than the staff, students and parents of the school where he is Headteacher. As he says,
“ As the road stretches out ahead I encourage us all to straighten our helmets, polish our shields, and look out for one another as if wights were circling the barrow. The day will come when we look back on this adventure and raise a glass with the friends we made through the strife, reminiscing about the dragons we overcame along the way.”
I’ve read more than my fair share of fantasy during this pandemic, Tolkien of course, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and A Song of Fire and Ice (even though I’m the one person on the planet who hasn’t seen the TV show). I zipped through Three Hearts and Three Lions, a book I hadn’t ever read but had heard about from more than a few people; The Eaters of the Dead, inspiration to pick up Heaney’s translation of Beowulf; and most recently The Dragonbone Chair, which begins with a line that felt written for our present uncertain times: “Welcome, stranger. The paths are treacherous today.”
Around us all are opinions and realities, too often competing with each other and frequently piling wood on the fire of concern (about a host of topics including the pandemic, social justice, and mental health) that has been blazing now for more than…
A poem prompted by Twiglets, telling of a weekend long ago when we drove west on a whim and, at dusk, found Bed and Breakfast in a Thatched cottage. Our hostess was very grand, very friendly and completely charming.
Breakfast was served with old Wedgewood crockery and solid silver cutlery that we will never be able to afford to buy. “Oh it came from GrandMama” she said, “from the big house. Don’t worry if you break anything my dears, I have thirty of each. There used to be more…..”
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
by Frank Herbert
Today’s Friday Poem is indeed from one of my books, although not a poetry book, but the novel Dune.
When you are old you don’t understand the plot of any Avengers film but do understand personal comfort is important hence the clothes you are wearing
Gladly point out that nobody really knows what a blockchain is start to ask things like “Who needs that many tattoos?” find you are saving everything and wasting nothing particularly stale leftovers expect to have at least one ache or pain at all times.
Being old is a state of mind when you are old you don’t have to pretend anymore.