Random Haiku from my Covid-19 Diary (Day420)

The Black Dog

This was written on one of the down days. This pandemic has impacted on a lot of peoples mental health. Being forced to live life in an abnormal way doesn’t sit well with me. The day I start to accept the abnormal as ‘normal’ is the day I give up railing against this machine. No chance of that.

Though freedom beckons,

The Black Dog stubbornly clings

And dictates the scene.

© Lynda M Roberts

An April Trinity of Haiku’s

So many things happen in the month of April, beginning with today which is April Fools Day.

Greetings!  King of Fools

Tricking the Spring as he steps

Quickly – with bells on.

Then there’s the Easter festival – derived from the ancient fertility goddess Eostre. Read about The Fools Day Out in another post over on my Echostains blog Here

Behold the dawning!

From death has life arisen

And we are joyful!

So new life, birth, resurrection translate into Easter eggs, chicks and flowers. What’s not to like!

All hail the daybreak!

Yellow downy headed chick

On this clear morning

Thanks to;-

Images from Here Here and Here

Poem: Orb Worship Revisited

I see a bit of sunshine and at once my spirits are uplifted and borne away on a sunlit day, so artfully. Let’s hope there’s more of it around the corner. I was reminded of this poem I wrote, so I’ve revisited it.

Orb

Even the shite shines golden,

You can see why the Druids were beholden

And those pyramids were hewn

From those beads of sweat

And the swastika shrugs

Lest we forget

The worshipping of our eternal orb

Which drenches our nature

And which we absorb.

Zorba the Greek dance on

Whilst bright Helios shone down,

Cruel and relentless,

Melting the wings of Icarus

And bringing him back to Earth

With a Bang

Lynda Roberts 2005

Goblins! Beware!

I remember being absolutely terrified by this poem when I was a child.  The poem is ‘The Goblin Market‘ and it was written 1859 by Christina Rossetti, sister to Pre Raphaelite Dante Gabriel Rossetti He illustrated the poem for her.  The descriptions of these Goblin men still give me the creeps to this day!  The poem is a long one and the warning is a wise one – beware of Goblin men….

 

Thanks to Stellanimation for this video,

Great Lines: Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

Elizabeth Bennet turning down Mr Darcy’s proposal of marriage in an unladylike manner

From the very beginning—from the first moment, I may almost say—of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish distain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of the disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world on whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”

Where?  Chapter 34 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen .  The first proposal was at Hunsford Parsonage when Darcy was visiting his aunt at Rosings Park.


Why?  A misjudgement of Darcy's character and to wilfully misunderstand? 
 (a judgement levelled at Miss Elizabeth Bennet by Mr Darcy (Chapter 10)


How?  Mr Darcy has either been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow ...or love works in mysterious ways..



Thanks to;

Jane Austen website

Darcy proposal illustration

Elizabeth Bennet Illustration

Darcy quote

Full quote

Happy Birthday Charles Dickens! Authors I have read – Charles Dickens

Note: This is a W.A.R. post to commemorate Charles Dickens birthday. W.A.R. what is it good for? (Worth A Reblog )

charles-dickens

Charles Dickens is one of my favourite authors of all time – I just love his characterisations and observations concerning the quirkiness of human behaviour.  I have read nearly all his books, but there are one or two that have passed me by and some, though popular with others, leave me cold. 

Miss Havisham

My favourite book changes from time to time.  It is actually ‘Great Expectations’, but having recently re watched the latest Bleak House remake, I’m beginning to dither…  But no, I will go by the book.  So it’s ‘Great Expectation’ 

Magwitch using the stolen file

Great Expectations 

What I love about it: The marshes, the cruel stepmother, the impervious Estella and Miss Havisham.  I love the idea of the old bride still in her tattered bridal gown – I love the cake which mice have made their home in and the clock that’s stopped.  I love the way simple Pip becomes a snob then changes back when he finds out his real benefactor. 

 Thrills: Magwitch in the graveyard, Pip being saved by the convicts escape, the fire at Miss Havisham’s.  Magwitch’s daring visit to Pip and the way he drowns.  Last and not least the renting of those dirty curtains from the windows and the scales dropping from Estella’s eyes as she realises that Pip is her own true love!

Pip is told he has great expectations

Oliver Twist 

Oliver dares to ask for more

What I love about it:  the poor woman in the workhouse, the beadle who names the child, Sowerby the undertaker – who in their right mind would like to sleep with coffins, the hideous Claypole who gets his come uppence, the thieves den, Dodger, Nancy and Fagin.  I love the tangled web that is woven, the intricate relationships and the honour among thieves.  The Brownlow connection, trust and betrayal and how everything comes out right in the end. 

Bill Sykes gets a fright

Thrills: Plenty to be had, the Murderous Sykes and the ghost of Nancy on the roof, the workhouse regime, the actual murder of poor Nancy, the match made in hell in the form of Bumbles wife (actually, that’s more comical) and the triumph of Bullseye as he escapes a drowning.  The man who stop Oliver with a punch when he runs off after they think he is a pickpocket – well he deserves a punch himself.  I love the way that all the threads come together in this story.  It is so well thought out and told and what an array of characters! 

David Copperfield 

David Copperfield

What I like about it:  the perils of a cruel stepfather and what happens when his mother dies.  The novel is very like Dickens’ own early life – including the factory.  Betsy Trotwood his aunt who proves a good sort.  Mr Dick is an enigma – I can’t quite make him out.   I love the idea of Peggotty’s relatives living in an upturned boat.  The sweet Emily.  Dora who is  David’s fluffy but useless wife.  Big daft Ham who loves Emily, whose head is soon turned when she sets eyes on Steerforth. 

The Cheeryble brothers by Phiz

Thrills: Not many apart from Ham drowning to save Steerforth and poor Emily’s father searching all over London for his fallen daughter.  The creepy slimy character of Uriah Heep who is slowly plotting his takeover of Wicklow’s firm, swindling all who gets in his way. Ham and  Dora’s death is more sad than thrilling though. 

Nicholas Nickleby 

Nickleby makes himself comfortable at Dotheboys Hall

What I love about it:  Mr Murstone who kicks things off for Nicholas.  ‘Dotheboys’ Hall’, Wackford Squeers and his wife and especially the ridiculous Fanny Squeers who takes a liking to Nickleby.    The horrible uncle Ralph Nickleby, the pitiful Smike, the loyal Noggs. I like the bleakness of ‘Dotheboys’ Hall and the humour and general niceness of the Cheeryble brothers.  I am not keen on the theatrical bits of the novel, although the ‘Infant Phenomenon’ is quite an amusing character.

confrontation

Thrills: Ralph Nickby who would compromise poor Kate, the cruelty of Squeers to those poor boys, especially to Smike who could have had a nice home and family. Pathos comes from the gentle Smike, secretly in love with Kate and his eventual death – very moving. 

Bleak House

 

Bleak House

What I like about it: Reputation was all.  I like the mysterious Nemo, the bored Lady Dedlock and Miss Flyte and her birds.  I’m not keen on Jarrdyce versus Jarndyce, which gets a bit monotonous, but I like Esther Summerson and the simple way that she accepts everything, she has no pity for herself at all I also like the way that the court case makes people act in ways they wouldn’t normally act – putting their life on hold for an outcome that is by no means a forgone conclusion.  Skimpole the ‘child’ who is anything but, kind Mr Jarndyce who has seen this Will fever ruin many a poor man.  I like the way that secrets which get into the wrong hands can be lethal – there must have been a lot of blackmail around in Victorian times.

Esther Summerson and Caddy Jellyby by Phiz

Thrills: Absolutely lots!  the opium dens, Krook the rag and bottle merchant who finally combusts literally –  only a pair of smoking legs are left.  the murder of blackmailer Tulkinghorn by Hortense.  This is a wonderful book with a great plot and a very dark and mysterious aura about it.

A Christmas Carol

What I like about it: Who doesn’t like this Christmasy tale!  This story has got everything really.  It’s sentiments unfortunately are rarely thought about apart from at Christmas time.  Charity and the turning over of a new leaf cheers the reader on and the thought occurs that it’s never too late to trun over a new leaf.

Scrooge and dead partner Marley by Leech

Thrills;   It has to be the ghosts of course: the rattling chains, the ghostly light, the pointing finger, the glimpses into what the future could hold….

Little Dorrit

 

Fanny and Little Dorrit calll on Mrs Merdle

What I like about it: The exciting glimpse into the Marshalsea prison where debtors carry on like they were at home and are encouraged to do so.  I love poor little Amy Dorrit and despair at her selfish father.  The story is full of lots of little sub stories that make it more complicated than most.  However, Little Dorrit is a lovely character, full of kindness, patience and  self-sacrifice – which are rewarded in the end 

Thrills include the mystery of the paper in the back of the watch case.  The very strange luring away of Tattycoram (what a name!).  The murderous Rigaud and the strangely weird Mrs Clennham and Miss Wade. 

The Old Curiosity shop

Daniel Cattermole illustration Quilp in the background grinning

What I like about it:  The cast of characters.  The hideous hunchbacked Quilp who lends money to Nell’s Grandfather putting him in debt.  Nell and grandfather become homeless and wander as beggars as Quilp takes their shop.  Kit, Nell’s friend, Dick Swivvler and Nell’s brother all join in the search for Nell and grandfather , aided by the nasty Quilp. 

Little Nell’s death

Thrills:  Not a lot, this is a very sad book, as Little Nell dies in the end of fatigue.  Critics said that this particular novel was over sentimental – and so it is in places, the death scene in particular is a real tear jerker.  I still like this book though more than some of the others. 

Martin Chuzzlewit

frontpiece for Martin Chuzzlwitt by Phiz

What I like about it:  It’s alright – that’s about it really.  I didn’t enjoy this as much as some of the other books and I think this is down to  Chuzzlewit’s adventures in America (reflecting Dickens’ opinion). I am amazed that Dickens thought this his best novel.  It is the least popular with most people.

Thrills?

Hard Times

Gradgrind catches Louisa and Tom at the circus

What I like about it:  Very different to other Dickens books.  I have only read it once and found it quite sobering.  it is political, set in fictitious Coketown and about Class, education and trouble at t’ mills.  I can’t remember much about it to be honest, but it is something I wouldn’t read again, but I would choose it over  Martin Chuzzlewit. 

Tale of Two cities

 

Tale of two cities by Phiz

What I like about this book: not a favourite, but great if you are interested in the French Revolution.  Basically its about one man sacrificing himself for another because he loves the others wife.

Tale of two Cites front piece Darnay and Carton

Thrills; Lots of intrigue and underground Revolutionists.  Sydney Carton who starts out a dissipated man ends up a martyred hero.  It’s not a book I would read again, but it has been translated quite well into very watchable films. 

Pickwick Papers

Mr Pickwick addresses the club

Why I like it?  I just don’t.  I have read this book twice and I cannot for the life of me see what others see in it.  To me it tries to be too clever.  Sam Weller really gets on my nerves.  I know it’s not his fault poor chap, but Dickens gives him an impediment that makes his character hard to read.  I don’t care much for their ‘hilarious’ adventures either.  But, having said this, I shall at some time try again to read this book – I might actually ‘get’ it eventually 

The Victorian website Dickens pages HERE

Dark Queen

I wrote this poem a while ago.  I’d like to say that the inspiration fro this came from some sort of gothic queen I had been reading about, but it didn’t.  The kind of person I envisage is one who waits, listens, sees an opportunity and uses situations to their own advantage.  She sits quietly on her throne, taking everything in, coldly, soullessly and unmercifully, ready to claim what is not hers and add it to her dominion.  This is not the only poem I have written in this vein (as you shall see)

Dark Queen

You with your weird ways,

shrouded all your days

By eyes that never gaze heaven upwards.

Embalmed in your casket of discontent,

You damned queen,

you, who should have never been,

You have seen,

And you have heard the word that needs no deciphering.

You – who are cursed,

And lie  immersed

And have conversed

With the ether of which dreams are imagined.

All dark tombs and empty wombs

Gape blindly in deaths catacombs,

The gloom and all that putrefies before the eyes

Flies gleefully towards you Queen

And flinches.

Lynda M Roberts © 2011

This is a revised and edited version of an unpublished poem I wrote 10 years ago. I feel that it’s enlightening to look back on work that isn’t quite finished and to renew using fresh eyes.