Five gold rings? Why? To symbolise eternity? Five gold rings: by showing one’s fidelity so suitable as signs to give to our true loves! But after gifting partridge and three turtle doves, fancy French hens and a choir of blackbirds, surely expectations are running now to words which indicate to all some feathered friends? Consider now the goldfinch, tinier than French hens.
Its liquid tinkling sounds are delightful to our ears, ‘finch’ an onomatopoeic version of its pinks. Its striking blood-red mask’s said to spring from Christ’s own tears, and the Scots and rural English call them ‘spinks’. The flash of yellow seen on each and every wing of these cheerful birds brings joy to every heart. And their friendly chatterings as they trill and peep and sing speaks of hopes of never ever being apart.
Now believe me when I say that the things of which one sings in the carol may not be the things one thinks. For the gifts the true love brings when one sings of golden rings could be goldfinches or rightly golden spinks!
Four coal-black birds sitting in a tree so high, hoping they’ll be never found baking in a pie. Four days into Yuletide they are just a little miffed finding themselves singing, caged, presented as a gift.
To celebrate the Saviour’s birth He gave to her a stick in earth. As promised to his love most true A tree from that bare stick soon grew And pears did from its branches form To show his love for her stayed warm.
But she was troubled when she heard him promise he’d give her the bird…
O moon, it’s time I wrote a rhyme to you, Selene, pale-faced genie. But rhymes for Moon, like June and spoon, make me go slack-kneed, they’re so hackneyed, so I’ll just praise you for each phase you go through, Tide-queen, Earth’s mate. Thus my paean.
Written for a Twitter readalong of Philippa Pearce’s Tom’s Midnight Garden
Online living during lockdown stasis,
Netflex ogling just to see real faces,
Logging on daily substitutes for contact,
Index fingers itching for some impact.
Nothing is the option now our living’s virtual;
Existing in a limbo seemingly perpetual.
Another sestain, an acrostic coronaverse, this time brought to your by the letter O
When lockdown feels like house arrest,
remember who’s the jailer.
When feeling an unwelcome guest,
you’re really not the failure.
While lockdown serves to keep you in,
remember what’s kept out:
a thief so small, and short and thin,
who’ll steal without a doubt.
Coronavirus does not care
if you are good or bad.
It catches us all umaware:
the mum, the child, the dad.
Just like the thief who seeks your wealth
this burglar is not kind:
with sneaky stealth it steals your health,
your body, or your mind.
When lockdown eases do not say,
Hey, now we can go mad!
You want to live another day?
Take care, stay safe, not sad!
I sing of arms, and of the man,
and woman too, and legs and mind.
Though virus is a plaguey thing,
inertia’s too, I think you’ll find.
Before we shuffle off our coils
let’s exercise from hearth and home,
and ere we cease from mental fight
let’s exercise our right to roam …
but not too far from our front door:
for don’t they say that less is more?
Let ‘balance’ be our touchstone word
while Covid beats at mankind’s gate:
do what we can, stay safe and sound,
and patiently keep watch, and wait.
With lockdown workouts in our homes
(and cycling, running, jogging, walking)
crosswords, quizzes, books and poems
(and phone calls, zoom calls, keeping talking) —
much mental exercising is the key,
and not just physical, trust me!
Coronaverse: an alphabet of terms related to Covid-19. Tomorrow brings us the letter F.
Twelfth Night has come when some say ill-luck will come to some souls and go running amok if their baubles and candles still hang, and bright tinsel and such dingle-dangles which they’re saying long since will have lost their immediacy, attracting the spite, malevolence and such-like of brownie and sprite.
So take down the décor, the fairy, the lights which shine there from Advent to Christmas; Twelfth Night’s the end of the season — or so it is said. But what says one Herrick,* a poet long dead?
DOWN with the rosemary, and so Down with the bays and misletoe; Down with the holly, ivy, all, Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas Hall: That so the superstitious find No one least branch there left behind : For look, how many leaves there be Neglected, there (maids, trust to me) So many goblins you shall see.
Then let us follow Herrick, who knew what must be known, and keep our Yuletide greenery up till darkness has all flown.
* Robert Herrick (1591-1674): Ceremony upon Candlemas Eve.