Here’s Jimmy Cliff’s version of ‘I can see clearly now’ to start off your Monday.
Yesterday was just one of those days filled with minor catastrophes. There’s the first thing I love: how the French say ‘catastrophe’. Not like we English who say ‘cat-ass-tro-fee’ – ‘cat-ass-stroff’. Just one of those days you’re glad nobody died and things didn’t end very badly indeed. In fact, it’s been a week of near misses. People falling off ladders, fathers shooting their offspring with Nerf guns in which the bullets have a helpful drawing pin inserted, pointy side out. Yes, Steve was that man and Jake was the boy who decided to customise his bullets without realising his father would shoot at him. Seriously, if the end of the world comes, I want Jake here to protect the place. You only have to watch Home Alone to realise how inventive children can be with weapons.
So I need a bit of something wonderfully uplifting to get me through the week.
Plus, it’s still really cold here. In fact, it’s as cold as it was in November, January and February. What’s that about?! It’s almost May! I’m still in my jumpers, the shorts haven’t had an airing yet and Steve is itching to get things planted out into the vegetable garden, but there’s no way on earth they’ll survive. There’s still a cold wind blowing through my nether regions. What’s worse is it looks set to continue in this fashion for the next week, at least. I feel for anyone who came over on their Easter holidays – it was terrible!
Not only that, but a few weeks ago, Steve and Jake saw two dead boar by the river. By the time they went back for a look, they were gone. It was past the end of the hunting season and we couldn’t think what had happened. It turns out that a lovely local business have been dumping toxic waste into the river. So far, there are arguments over just how many animals have died, but the official count is 13 wild boar, a deer and a fox. That’s so sad. I feel like going over and firebombing the business, personally. The whole river from the business downwards has been fenced off and there are signs along the whole length.
The company do something with guts and entrails. I don’t know what. Probably turn them into casings for andouille or some other foul thing I don’t even want to think about. Nothing gets wasted, does it? And I’ve driven past this business a dozen times without thinking of any hideous scientific recovery process going on beyond the picture of the happy cow.
They say they’ve not been responsible and that ‘times have changed’ – they used to be able to dump lots of toxic waste in the river, but Hélas, no more. Bloody environment.
Other reports from farmers and hunters say that many more animals have died, including three hares and a dog. I can’t even begin to count the cost on the environment around here. Also, what does this mean for our water table?! It doesn’t bear thinking about. Luckily, the river was on its way underground because water levels had dropped, so nothing has come up our way for weeks. I get the feeling that this happened when the water was still flowing in the river, though, since Steve’s initial thought was that the wild boar had been carried down by the current, I think. Hopefully, the water will drop underground before the factory.
In spite of these catastrophes, terrible weather and things sent to try us, we need a little sunshine. It’s sunny now – though Steve just got back from cycling to school with Jake and he’s rubbing his hands together and complaining about how cold it is outside.
And so for Pam’s Poetry Corner on this Much Love Monday, I’m going for some more Gerard Manley Hopkins and his sprung rhythm. If anyone can inject a little spring into a day, it’s he. Plus, it’s about time, mid-way through spring as we are, that he finally ushers in some better weather.
To Christ Our Lord
I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing.
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.
This is a wonderful poem that just seems to capture all the energy and magnificence of the kestrel – gorgeous! How he says his heart came out of hiding for the ‘mastery of the thing’ – and then that great ‘O my chevalier!’ bit. Wow. He loves watching that kestrel! I feel the same about all the birds of prey round here – they are magnificent things and whether it’s just a common buzzard or a harrier, they’re always amazing to see. Lots of them sit watching the countryside, from telephone poles or electricity poles and they have no fear.
I’d also like to express my love of Game of Thrones and you just know I’m going to be ploughing my way through these books. I’m loving it. My only concern is that Sean Bean has died in virtually everything I’ve seen recently. When is he going to be in a film to the end??!