Crown and Bough

Thursday, 20 September 2018



Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

by Seamus Heaney

Friday, 7 September 2018

First Day of Nursery

Roan came home with his cousin's Paw Patrol lunchbox and carried it around all day for the past few days, even sleeping with it.  He was so stoked to go to school yesterday, he made me put on his jumper; he even made a grand show of going into his bedroom all by my himself, telling me to turn out the light, kicking me out, and staying there for all of ten minutes!  He did not, of course, go to sleep in any reasonable time and was exhausted when we got him up this morning.  He took a nap right away when he came home at midday.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

First Day of School

Mama and Afon went for a special after-the-first-day-of-school outing.  2018-2019 is going to be a great year!  We can feel it!

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Blackberry Fiend

The blackberries are ripening, and I pointed them out to Roan. What have I done! I've turned the {blackberry fool} into a blackberry fiend!  He's been stopping and stuffing them in at every opportunity.  I taught him to only pick the black ones.  And if we eat a bug or two, well, a little extra protein never harmed anyone.  All around us are the scents and sights of autumn.  Maybe we will have a real blackberry fool dessert this Michaelmas!

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Summer's End

Shorter days and cooler nights.  Must be the end of summer.  Sunflowers and harvest.  Ember days and Mary-days.  Michaelmas and the gateway to autumn.  September is such a mellow and lovely month.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

The Bright Field
R.H. Thomas

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it.  But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it.  I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to posses it.  Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past.  It is turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seems as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.