Victorious

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summit © Sue Vincent

Casworon stood at the summit, his booted feet planted on the flagstone, his back, torn crimson cape over tarnished and broken chain mail, pressed against the ancient wall. The battle had been won, but at a terrible cost. The field below was littered with the dead of his foe, Jusveer, King of Zedrov, but so was it with his own dead, except for Arabel. His beloved Queen and wife had been taken during the conflict, by agents of Asluitania who were supposedly neutral.

Now that he had won the right to Jusveer’s lands and retained possession of his own, they would likely hold Arabel to random. No, Asluitania would not be interested in ruling these lands, but they would demand a yearly tribute in gold, oil, and spices. Casworon would have to sign a binding decree to pay annually after his Queen’s return. Plus, even if they had…

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The King #writephoto | Short Story

A Writer's Beginning

The grey clouds above us had begun to churn, rumbling and rocking over one another as we shivered. They were an omen, I thought, my knees knocking together in the air. They were an omen for our future.

The King.jpgUp ahead of us, our captors were murmuring to each other, gesturing first at us, and then over the hill to a point that we could not see. I shifted slightly, my chains grating painfully against my ankles, and glanced at the boy behind me. He must have been only nine or ten, his skinny arms limp at his sides and his face tinged with blue.

I wanted to offer some words of comfort to him, but I couldn’t find any to give. Then I heard the sound of approaching footsteps and I turned back to the front to see one of the guards marching down our ranks.

He was a tall…

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Thursday photo prompt: Summit #writephoto

Ladyleemanila

summit

We wandered through the hills one day
The road went up and up and curved around
Sunshine, smile and heaven’s blue lake
Jagged winds shake the beloved blossoms
Such pleasure to see some massive trees
Leaves for smooth and bark for rough
Leaves and bark may soon be tree enough
The world is full of joyful and great things
Like that stone that saunters in the road
Or the wind caressing or hugging wild flowers
Asters, bellflowers, pinks and stonecrops
Gentians, buttercups, lilies and violets
Bees and butterflies flutter around
Squirrels and hedgehogs on the road
Gorgeous summer and colourful autumn
Such splendour or grandeur to behold
Calmness broad upon the mountains
At evening when the cerise summit
Of sunset passes down the West
A string of stillness all over

For: Thursday photo prompt: Summit #writephoto

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A Thousand Miles of History VI: The early birds and the Tinners Hare

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We were, as always, up and out early. This time we were on a mission of hope… we hoped the church would be open, as it looked too good to miss and we were meeting the girls a few miles away that morning too.

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You might have thought we’d be all churched out after the marathon on Saturday, where we had visited seven of them, but each one is an adventure… you never know what you will find. What we found in Tavistock was an open door and morning prayers in progress. Withdrawing quietly, out of respect, we went for a walk through the old town, watched the birds foraging for breakfast… then tried again. This time, we were in luck.

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The church of St Eustachius is one of only two dedicated to the saint in Britain. Eustachius was a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity in the second century, when he saw a vision of a crucifix lodged between a stag’s antlers. Refusing to worship the gods of Rome, he and his family were persecuted and massacred.

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One of the first things you see as you enter the church is the etching of the stag on the modern glass door and an older wood carving showing the saint’s conversion.

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A church may have been established on this site as early as 1193, but the first definite historical reference tells us that there was a church here by 1265. That church was not long-lived, and a new one was built by Abbot Robert Champeaux and dedicated in 1318, making the current building seven hundred years old.

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There are all the usual later alterations, additions and renovations, that make these old churches pieces of living history.

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Just inside the door are a fifteenth century font and an old pillar stoup, not unlike one we had seen earlier that weekend, and dating to the fourteenth century.

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Above the font hangs an antique copy of Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch, where the bodies of the Virgin, the Christ Child and John the Baptist are arranged in a triangular pose, with the two boys playing with the little bird.

Raffaello_Sanzio_-_Madonna_del_Cardellino_-_Google_Art_Project

Aside from its mastery as a piece of art, Raphael’s painting is a deceptively simple one, holding a good deal of symbolism, from showing the Virgin reading a book to the colours of her garments… and not a few mysteries such as why the Holy Mother is looking not at Jesus but at John…

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There is an abundance of wood carving in the church, adorning the walls, covering the pews and creating a magnificent nineteenth century organ screen with a whole host of angels. And it is this very variety of arts and crafts that make these old churches such a delight to explore.

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For us, though, convicted churchaholics it would seem after the past few years, it is the symbolism that draws us, as much as the history or the art itself. Threads we have been following for years now may be untangled at the next church… or ravelled even more tightly than before with the addition of some new theme.

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It is hard to explain what can be conveyed with a raised eyebrow, or an ‘oh yes?’ wen we see a motif repeated or expanded… one we may last have seen five years ago, at the other end of the country. You would have to follow the journey with us… which is one reason why it is told in our books and on our blogs.

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It would take an essay to explain just why it is significant that Raphael’s Virgin looks to John, or why the stained glass depiction of St Michael by Charles Eamer Kempe jumps right out at us. The artwork and artefacts are all interesting in their own right, but the added dimension of a shared journey makes each one of them a new piece in a puzzle we may be gleefully solving for the rest of our lives.

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Some things, though, are worth looking at simply in their own right, without any need for a reason. The stained glass in St Eustachius’ church is magnificent… with far too many glorious windows to include them all.

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St George and St Michael are both included more than once, along with their dragons. One window is basically an examination of conscience.

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There is a magnificent window by William Morris as well as the one by Kempe, and another by Clayton and Bell… all names to conjure with where stained glass is concerned.

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But it is not magnificence that really holds the key to these old churches… it is the human story. You may find it in the small details that are often overlooked, like the handsewn banner of the Virgin and Child, or the stitched story of St Eustachius draped over the pulpit.

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It may be no more than the names in the Roll of Honour, where the men and women who were lost to war are remembered in a book kept safe in a glass case beside fragments of medieval tiles.

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You might find it in the memorial inscriptions and dedications, in the figures that grace the tombs of the wealthy, or in the wooden cross that commemorates a life poorer in gold but perhaps richer in love and joy.

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Look down and the tiles and flagstones are worn by the passage of thousands of feet, look up and be caught by the puzzle of the Tinners’ Hares… three hares sharing three ears who each have two ears of their own. It is a symbol found across the globe, in many cultures and religions.

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In Christian terms it is thought to represent the Trinity… while in pre-Christian terms it referred to fertility and the lunar cycle. Or so we think… the real meaning is not a certainty, and so, as with the best of symbols, we are left searching within for its meaning.

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Curiously, the Book on the lectern was open at a page where it says, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen’…  and that is the way to visit these old churches. Listen to the stories told by wood and stone, needle and glass… for they are all part of our own story, and it is surprising what you can learn about the present from the past.

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Earth -Sea… Stuart France

*

Not only did our last hotel

fail to provide any windows, to speak of, in our room,

  it also failed to provide us with a breakfast…

*

Which is just as well, really,

for we were up, and off, and away

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Wakeful #midnighthaiku

Insomnia strikes
White night leads to flaming dawn
Conscious recompense

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Living Lore: Marcia Meara’s ‘Rabbit’ tells the tale of Boojum and Hootin’ Annie

The Tale of Boojum and Hootin’ Annie
Appalachian Mountains Folk Tale

An Excerpt From Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4 (Coming this Fall)

Thank you, Miz Sue, for lettin’ me come by today, and meet your friends.

My name’s Rabbit*. Well, that ain’t my real name, of course, but it’s what I been called near-bout all my life. (I’m eleven, now.) This here’s a story my gran told me ‘bout Boojum and Hootin’ Annie. My mama’s a writer, an’ she wrote it down ‘zactly the way I told it to her an’ my daddy last Halloween, an’ this here’s what she wrote:

“Who’s that supposed to be, Rabbit?”

“Boojum.”

“Who?”

Rabbit’s mouth dropped open, and he gaped at Mac, pumpkin carving forgotten in his amazement.

“You ain’t heard ‘bout Boojum?”

Mac shook his head.

“Nor Hootin’ Annie, neither?”

Another shake of the head from Mac.

“But you been comin’ to these here mountains since you was younger’n me!”

“I sure have, and I’ve learned a lot of things, but Boojum and . . .?”

“Hootin’ Annie.”

“. . . and Hootin’ Annie are not among the many things I’ve heard about.”

“Then I reckon I better get busy an’ fill you in on the story, the way my gran told it to me.” He gave Mac his most impish grin. “Can’t have me knowin’ more’n you do, can we?”

Watching Mac with our adopted son, Rabbit, was always a treat. The two of them had bonded more closely than I had ever dared to hope, and their relationship grew stronger every day. I requested a short delay while I put the baby down for the night, then rejoined my men.

“Now then, Rabbit. What’s all this about Boojum and Hootin’ Annie?”

Rabbit’s eyes danced. “Oka-aay, Mama. I’m gonna tell you, but I better not be gettin’ into no trouble ’bout this. Boojum weren’t . . . wasn’t . . .  always so nice all the time. Leastways, not before he met Annie. Just don’t blame me none for what he used to do.”

We promised we’d never hold Rabbit responsible for anyone else’s behavior, so without further ado, he slid off his stool and paced around the kitchen, excited to be the one telling us something new, instead of the other way around.

“Well, now. This is what my gran told me. I got no way of knowin’ how much is true, but my gran knew lots of stuff ‘bout these here mountains, an’ this here’s what she said.” He cleared his throat, enjoying the drama. “There was once this man named Boojum. Or maybe he wasn’t really no man at all. Folks who seen him used to say he looked more like half man, half bear, on account of he was so hairy, an’ wild lookin’. Gran said some people thought he looked more like a giant raccoon. Me, I always figgered those folks mighta been hittin’ the moonshine a bit. But whether he was really a man or somethin’ else altogether, everybody who seen Boojum agreed that he was hairy—an’ scary. An’ mostly, everybody ran away when they seen him, too.

“Now, the only thing people ever found out about Boojum was that he liked two things more’n anything else in the world. Sparkly jewels, like rubies an’ such, and spyin’ on pretty women when they were skinny-dippin’ or bathin’.”

Rabbit paused, eyes on me as he waited for my reaction.

“Um, did Boojum do anything other than spy?” I asked.

Rabbit shook his head. “Ain’t nobody ever said nothin’ about him doin’ more than that. Least, Gran never said so, an’ she probably wouldn’t have told me about Boojum at all, if she’d thought he’d done anything too awful bad.”

“Okay, then let’s hear the rest.”

He grinned, gesturing in excitement as he proceeded with his tale. “Okay, so Boojum, he had him a cave somewhere, filled with rubies, an’ jewels, an’ maybe even gold, only nobody ever found out where it was. Gran said lots of people tried, but ain’t nobody found it to this very day. Only time anyone ever spotted him was when they looked up an’ seen him peekin’ through the bushes at different ladies, like I told you. But then one day, Boojum come upon Annie, bathin’ in a stream, and you’ll never guess what happened.”

By now, Rabbit was all but ricocheting off the kitchen cabinets, and his delighted excitement was contagious.

“I’ll bite,” Mac said. “What happened, Rabbit?”

“Boojum went an’ fell in love, that’s what happened!”

His enthusiasm for this tale had pulled me in. “What? This wild, hairy man fell in love?”

“He did, Mama! He took one look at Hootin’ Annie, and that was it for ol’ Boojum. But this here’s the funnest part. Annie fell in love with him right back! Can you believe that? An’ the two of them run off together, and no one never did see them again.”

“Aw, that’s kind of sad isn’t it? I mean to never know what happened to them.”

Mac raised an eyebrow in my direction, then turned to Rabbit. “I agree with your Mama. So poor Boojum and Hootin’ Annie just disappeared, then? Lost and gone?”

“Oh, no. Nobody saw ‘em no more, but they knew they were out there, on account of they heard ‘em all the time. That there’s why she’s called Hootin’ Annie.”

I must have looked completely lost by then, because Rabbit sat down beside me, and explained. “See, right after they disappeared, all this hootin’ and hollerin’ commenced comin’ from the woods, at all kinda weird hours of the day an’ night. Didn’t take long before folks figgered out it was Annie, hootin’ at Boojum to get hisself home for dinner, an’ quit admirin’ all his rubies and diamonds in his secret cave. Gran said the hootin’ went on for years an’ years, and then one day, it stopped, real sudden-like, and they knew Hootin’ Annie wasn’t out there no more. An’ since they never again spotted no hairy ol’ man lookin’ at pretty women, they knew Boojum was gone, too.”

Mac’s eyebrows drew together as he digested that, and Rabbit leaned across to pat him on the arm. “Don’t be sad, Daddy. Ain’t nobody lives forever, an’ if the stories are true, Boojum an’ Hootin’ Annie had a real good time together for the rest of their lives.”

“That’s a good way to look at it. And thanks to those wonderful talks you had with your gran, I’ve learned about a story I never heard before.”

“It’s a pretty good ol’ tale, ain’t it?”

Mac tousled Rabbit’s hair. “It is, indeed, and you told it well, too. Now, I believe we’ve got some pumpkins to finish carving.”

*Rabbit is a character in Marcia’s Wake Robin Ridge series


Find and follow Marcia

The Write Stuff     Bookin’ It     Facebook    Pinterest

Amazon author page    Twitter @MarciaMeara

You can also reach Marcia by email: marciameara16@gmail.com or to keep up with the latest news and giveaways, sign up for Marcia’s Mail List.


About the author

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, two big cats, and two small dachshunds. When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that at age 69, she finally began pursuing that dream. Three and a half years and six novels later, she’s still going strong, and plans to keep on writing until she falls face down on the keyboard, which she figures would be a pretty good way to go!


Marcia Meara’s books are available via Amazon in print and for Kindle

Click the images or titles to visit Amazon.

Wake-Robin Ridgewrrnewsmall

Marcia Meara, author of Swamp Ghosts and Finding Hunter, has set Book One of her Wake-Robin Ridge series amid the haunting beauty of the North Carolina mountains, where ghosts walk, ancient legends abound, and things still go bump in the night.

“A PHONE RINGING AT 2:00 A.M. never means anything good. Calls at 2:00 A.M. are bad news. Someone has died. Someone is hurt. Or someone needs help.”

On a bitter cold January night in 1965, death came calling at an isolated little cabin on Wake-Robin Ridge. Now, nearly 50 years later, librarian Sarah Gray has quit her job and moved into the same cabin, hoping the peace and quiet of her woodland retreat will allow her to concentrate on writing her first novel. Instead she finds herself distracted by her only neighbor, the enigmatic and reclusive MacKenzie Cole, who lives on top of the mountain with his Irish wolfhound as his sole companion.

As their tentative friendship grows, Sarah learns the truth about the heartbreaking secret causing Mac to hide from the world. But before the two can sort out their feelings for each other, they find themselves plunged into a night of terror neither could have anticipated. Now they must unravel the horrifying events of a murder committed decades earlier. In doing so, they discover that the only thing stronger than a hatred that will not die is a heart willing to sacrifice everything for another.



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A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2

“Evil’s comin’, boy…comin’ fast. Look for the man with eyes like winter skies, and hair like a crow’s wing. He’s the one you gotta find.”

The remote mountain wilderness of North Carolina swallowed up the ten-year-old boy as he made his way down from the primitive camp where his grandparents had kept him hidden all his life. His dying grandmother, gifted with the Sight, set him on a quest to find the Good People, and though he is filled with fear and wary of civilization, Rabbit is determined to keep his promise to her. When he crosses paths with Sarah and MacKenzie Cole, neither their lives nor his, are ever the same again.

The extraordinary little boy called Rabbit has the power light up the darkness, and the resourcefulness to save himself from the one person his grandparents had hoped would never find him. His dangerous and bittersweet journey will touch you in unexpected ways, and once you’ve let Rabbit into your heart, you’ll never forget him.


Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3final-harbinger-cover-at-25percent

“. . . he felt the wet slide of the dog’s burning hot tongue on his face, and the scrape of its razor sharp teeth against the top of his head. A white-hot agony of crushing pain followed, as the jaws began to close.”

The wine-red trillium that carpets the forests of the North Carolina Mountains is considered a welcome harbinger of spring—but not all such omens are happy ones. An Appalachian legend claims the Black Dog, or Ol’ Shuck, as he’s often called, is a harbinger of death. If you see him, you or someone you know is going to die.

But what happens when Ol’ Shuck starts coming for you in your dreams? Nightmares of epic proportions haunt the deacon of the Light of Grace Baptist Church, and bring terror into the lives of everyone around him. Even MacKenzie Cole and his adopted son, Rabbit, find themselves pulled into danger.

When Sheriff Raleigh Wardell asks Mac and Rabbit to help him solve a twenty-year-old cold case, Rabbit’s visions of a little girl lost set them on a path that soon collides with that of a desperate man being slowly driven mad by guilt.

As Rabbit’s gift of the Sight grows ever more powerful, his commitment to those who seek justice grows as well, even when their pleas come from beyond the grave.


Swamp Ghosts: A Riverbend Novelsgsmall

Marcia Meara, author of the popular Wake-Robin Ridge books, sets her second series in the sleepy little town of Riverbend, Florida, where the hungry creatures swimming in the dark waters of the St. Johns River aren’t nearly as dangerous as those walking along the quiet neighborhood streets.

Wildlife photographer Gunnar Wolfe looked like the kind of guy every man wanted to be and every woman just plain wanted, and the St. Johns River of central Florida drew him like a magnet. EcoTour boat owner Maggie Devlin knew all the river’s secrets, including the deadliest ones found in the swamps. But neither Maggie nor Gunn was prepared for the danger that would come after them on two legs.

On a quest to make history photographing the rarest birds of them all, Gunnar hires the fiery, no-nonsense Maggie to canoe him into the most remote wetland areas in the state. He was unprepared for how much he would enjoy both the trips and Maggie’s company. He soon realizes he wants more than she’s able to give, but before he can win her over, they make a grisly discovery that changes everything, and turns the quiet little town of Riverbend upside down. A serial killer is on the prowl among them.


Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2fhsmall

Before, I never thought about taking a life. Not once.
Now, the thought fills my mind day and night, and
I wonder how I’ll hide that terrible need,
As an old car swings to the shoulder,
And stops.

~ Traveling Man ~

Hunter Painter’s darkest fears have shaped his offbeat personality since he was a child, crippling him in ways invisible to those unable to see past his quiet exterior. In a sleepy Florida town known for its eccentric inhabitants, he’s always been a mystery to most.

Only one person sees beyond Hunter’s quirky facade. Willow Greene, the new age herbalist who owns the local candle and potpourri shop, has secretly loved him since they were in high school. When, sixteen years later, she discovers Hunter has loved her just as long, Willow hopes her dreams are finally coming true.

Willow soon learns that Hunter fears happiness at her side isn’t in the cards for him. With her natural optimism and courage, she almost convinces him he’s wrong—that they can really have that life together they both long for—but even Willow can’t stop what Hunter knows is coming.

One by one, his worst nightmares become reality, culminating in an unthinkable tragedy, which devastates everyone it touches. Willow’s battle begins in earnest as Hunter is plunged into a bleak, guilt-ridden despair, threatening to destroy not only their love, but Hunter, himself.

Finding Hunter is the story of a lost man’s desperate struggle to make his way home again, and one woman’s unshakeable faith in him and the power of their love.


That Darkest Place

“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.”

~Hunter Painter~

The new year is a chance for new beginnings—usually hopeful, positive ones. But when Jackson Painter plows his car into a tree shortly after midnight on January 1, his new beginnings are tragic. His brothers, Forrest and Hunter, take up a grim bedside vigil at the hospital, waiting for Jackson to regain consciousness and anxious over how he’ll take the news that he’s lost a leg and his fiancée is dead. After all, the accident was all his fault.

As the shocking truth emerges, one thing becomes obvious—Jackson will need unconditional love and support from both of his brothers if he is to survive.

Just as he begins the long road to recovery, danger, in the form of a sinister, unsigned note, plunges him back into bleak despair. Scrawled in blood red letters, the accusation—and the threat—is clear. “MURDERER!”

Will the long, harrowing ordeal that lies ahead draw the Painter brothers closer together, or drive them apart forever?

Suspenseful and often heartbreaking, this small-town tale is a testimonial to the redemptive power of love and paints a story filled with humor, romance, and fierce family loyalty.


The Emissary

An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.

The archangel Azrael has had enough. He believes he’s found a way to ease their burden while saving jeopardized humans, too—hired help.

When Jake Daughtry lost his life rescuing a total stranger from certain death, he was on the fast track to Heaven. But that was before Azrael pulled him right out of line at the Pearly Gates. Now, as an Emissary to the Angels, Jake is taking to the highway in a quest to help souls in trouble. But the innate stubbornness of human beings bent on self-destruction is a challenge unlike any he’s ever faced.

It’s up to Jake and Azrael to bridge the gap between humans and angels. Will they ever convince the Council of Angels this endeavor is worthwhile? Can Jake figure out how to play by Azrael’s complicated rules? Will Azrael ever master the use of contractions in general conversation?

To find out the answers, hop on board Jake’s big red-and-white semi and travel the roads from the Florida Keys to north Georgia on an adventure that will make you laugh hard and cry even harder.


Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love by [Meara, Marcia]Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love

Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love is a collection of contemporary poetry about exactly that–life and love. The first part of the book features poems about the magic a young boy discovers while camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The second part of the book has a sampling of poetry about love, life and death, autumn, and dreams coming true.


How did your granny predict the weather? What did your great uncle Albert tell you about the little green men he saw in the woods that night? What strange creature stalks the woods in your area?

So many of these old stories are slipping away for want of being recorded. legendary creatures, odd bits of folklore, folk remedies and charms, and all the old stories that brought our landscape to life…

Tell me a story, share memories of the old ways that are being forgotten, share the folklore of your home. I am not looking for fiction with this feature, but for genuine bits of folklore, old wives tales, folk magic and local legends. Why not share what you know and preserve it for the future?

Email me at findme@scvincent.com and put ‘Living Lore’ in the subject line. All I need is your article, bio and links, along with any of your own images you would like me to include and I’ll do the rest.

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The Anaphora controversy ~ Tallis Steelyard

Reblogged from Tallis Steelyard:

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Do many now remember the notorious Anaphora controversy? At the risk of causing insult, I’ll merely remark, for those who have advanced far beyond such techniques, that Anaphora is the deliberate repetition of the first part of a sentence for artistic effect.

Indeed I could do no worse that quote from a poem I penned at the time which perhaps illustrates the technique.

 

Why must I suffer?

Why must I go to the bother?

Why must I write the agenda?

Why must I whose means are slender, pour endless drinks into the truculent member

Why must I judge to a nicety

How to offend everybody as I run this accursed poetical society.

Indeed I might as well quote it, I wasn’t paid for it then and I don’t suppose I’ll be paid for it now.

But still, the controversy did indeed rage fiercely within poetical circles. In retrospect I don’t know why, it’s not as if it was a novel technique. It’s one of the oldest; well hallowed by time and used by orators and rhetoricians as well as poets.

Now a wiser man than me once commented than in any dispute, the less important the issues, the more intense the feelings generated. So you can immediately see how those poets with an assured private income and not enough to do should throw themselves body and soul into this dispute. I, like the other working poets, with patrons to pander to and a living to earn stood on the sidelines of the controversy, at least at the beginning. But slowly, inevitably, we were drawn in. I was perhaps one of the last to hold out. At the time I was secretary of the Society of Minor Poets. It isn’t a particularly onerous post, nor, to be fair, is it a particularly well paid one. The remuneration being limited to a bottle of wine presented to your spouse at the annual general meeting. Thus there was never any real competition for the task.

Continue reading at Tallis Steelyard

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A Thousand Miles of History V: Nice weather for ducks and Drake…

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It was raining when we finally found our way through the mists. It was still raining when we arrived in Tavistock, to be welcomed by a surprising figure. Sir Francis Drake… privateer to Queen Elizabeth I, circumnavigator of the globe, defeater of the Armada… looked down upon us benevolently as we modestly circumnavigated his roundabout. This was a little coincidental as Stuart had played Drake at the annual workshop this year…and we had not realised that Tavistock was his birthplace. We knew there was a statue of him at Plymouth Hoe, but did not realise that the Plymouth version was no more than a copy of this one.

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It was a little coincidental too as we had been given some interesting food for thought at a recent Silent Eye meeting regarding Drake and his famous bowls, suggesting a connection between them and the leys… and we were on the trail of the Michael Line, one of the most significant leys in the land.

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For now, though, we were tired and hungry… it had been a long day. We found our hotel and went looking for supplies as we didn’t fancy the noise and bustle of the pub restaurant. With most shops closed, late on a Sunday afternoon, we settled for sandwiches and cider and beat a hasty retreat back to the hotel to escape the rain., where Drake again looked on from the hotel wall.

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The weather, though, decided to cooperate, and as the evening drew in, the rain stopped. It was too good an opportunity to miss and we needed to stretch our legs after the long drive. Tavistock is an attractive town, dominated by the church and the ruins of the old Abbey that had brought the town into being…at least in its present form. The archaeology suggests that there was a settlement here long before Christianity was a twinkle in the eye of Time.

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Officially though, the town grew up around the Abbey that was dedicated to St Mary and St Rumon. The Abbey was founded in 961 by Ordgar, Earl of Devon. The Danes destroyed the Abbey in 997 and was rebuilt, only to be destroyed again with the Dissolution of the monasteries under King Henry VIII. With the tin and mineral trade, the town had prospered, being granted charters for fairs and markets that still continue to be held after a thousand years.

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We wandered the town streets, coming face to face with ‘our’ Coyote in a gallery window, exploring some of the Abbey ruins that are still dotted about the town and ending up at the bridge over the River Tavy.

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We followed the path beside the tumbling water in the fading light to pay our respects to Sir Francis. We walked back through the park, along the course of the old canal, admiring the civic amenities and deciding that we rather liked Tavistock. The pity was that we would be leaving fairly early next morning to meet the girls… but perhaps, if we were lucky, the church might open early enough for us to get a glimpse inside…

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Gone to earth… Stuart France

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It is, perhaps, natural to speculate

on the original inhabitant of our next site…

**

Given its proximity to Dans Maen,

a short walk away,

Continue reading at Stuart France

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