Tag Archives: poetry
A review of the book: “Sanctuary – the discovery of wonder” by Julie Leibrich
A winter virus gave me “a space”, Sanctuary, to read this book from beginning to end. Prior to this I had dipped in and out of it and had thoroughly enjoyed titbits and contemplating the photographs.
But this big book of 226 pages and 172 references is a rich, deep, satisfying and stimulating read. It was a decade in the writing and covers much of the author’s life experiences.
It is a well ordered book that circles from the first section: “Wondering about Sanctuary”, to “Illuminating Sanctuary”, to “Protecting Sanctuary” to “Wonderment of Sanctuary”.
I doubt there was a page in Julie’s book where I was not drawn in, encouraged to wonder, to absorb or marvel or question.
Her home on the Kapiti Coast is where my newly widowed mother sought sanctuary, in her new home and environment for the remaining 15 years of her life. The beach, the sea, the birds, the sky and the looming guardian of Kapiti Island are strong links to me and my understanding of this special environment.
The section of Julie’s book where she writes about a poetry course she ran for people suffering from the effects of stroke, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease, I found particularly poignant. No matter our age or physical condition, our soul remains a sanctuary.
Not only did I find this immensely reassuring but also a wonderful example of compassion. To take time, to give careful attention to detail and to offer attentive presence, gave rise to illuminations from these peoples’ spirits.
The book is full of detail, research, images, references, journal entries, poetry, anecdotes, peoples’ thoughts and experiences. Julie’s writing skills are exemplified in her in-depth exploration of words, concepts, beliefs and experiences.
The thoughts and contributions of Julie’s friends and acquaintances sit easily among those of influential writers and thinkers across the ages. Sanctuary is not the domain of the highly trained, specialised or profoundly learned and wise; it is for every one of us as human beings.
Sanctuary (from the Latin “Sanctus” meaning Holy) can be found anywhere and in limitless ways. It is not limited or definitively prescribed. As the title “the discovery of wonder” indicates – discover what works for you, what gives you inner space. The cover of the book is a contemplation on this very issue.
I found this book to be one I want to own so that I can return to it again and again for my own personal and spiritual understanding and development.
Note: For an in depth review of Julie Leibrich’s book that I enjoyed reading go here:
The Peace of Wild Things – a poem by Wendell Berry
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things” from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1998. Published and reprinted by arrangement with Counterpoint Press.
Source: Collected Poems 1957-1982 (Counterpoint Press, 1985)
I followed the wise words of Wendell Berry and went to Pauatahanui today.
By the Inlet I found a Heron feeding….
And not a wood drake but a solitary Black Swan.
The Wild Things were calm and untaxed.
The water still and beautiful.
It was easy to breathe and calm and feel restored.
Marching into autumn
More Shakespeare quotes at Plimmerton
I’ve copied and pasted a comment by Russell Plume on Tuesday this week about his creative work piecing old weathered pieces of brick into quotations from Shakespeare and what may yet appear in a setting for all to enjoy.
Good morning Lynley,
The comments attached to your post are very touching. Thanks to you and to your readers.
I have three more settings that have yet to appear along the wall.
“There is a tide in the affairs of men” from Julius Caesar.
“Out damn’d spot, out I say!”. A desperately unhinged Lady MacBeth giving a gentle reminder to dog owners… .
“Ahakoa iti he pounamu”. A Māori proverb: “Although small it is precious” (another reference to Plimmerton…).
The complete collection is still a work in progress.
The ‘tide’ setting has a home which hasn’t been constructed yet. The other two are orphans.
Were you aware that “Brevity is the soul of wit” is above the surge wall 4 or 5 houses south of Queens Ave (down to the end, turn left)?
Thanks again for being so supportive.
I have blogged about them here, here, here and here.
However in my haste on the chilly beach earlier this week I missed this setting.
On a glorious summer’s day yesterday I took a photo to ensure a complete record from the beach front.
I also walked to the local amateur dramatic theatre nearby to record this quote.
I follow the Facebook page that Russell has set up here so I will post updates as new settings find a home. My blog statistics always lift dramatically when I post about these quotes by the sea. There is a real interest in them globally.
Here are the rest of the settings along the surge walls at Plimmerton Beach, Porirua, New Zealand.
..”the centre cannot hold”…..with apologies to W.B. Yeats
The towering American Agave that I have been watching as I drive past it as I leave and return to my home has altered quite suddenly.
I first noticed the change at its base over the weekend when the weather was too wet to stop and take a photograph.
The phrase from Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming” was instantly in my mind “the centre cannot hold”…..but from when I wonder? I wrestled with analysing this poem perhaps in High School or perhaps University but despite my poor memory about timing, the phrase was instantly there and it seemed so fitting to describe what I could see.
Its lengthy flower head has withstood a myriad of howling north westerly winds in this changeable and frustrating summer we are experiencing. Despite the force of the winds the flower head continues to move from yellow toning flowers high above to now more finger-like growths which I presume are the seed pods.
But today I have taken these photographs to show how “the centre cannot hold” for much longer. The once tough, rubbery, wide, strong leaves have softened and droop noticeably now.
Up close there is more evidence of its succulent heritage and there are places where the gelatinous contents within the leaves are becoming obvious.
The wind today was a brisk and chilly southerly so the Agave had more shelter but to muddle Yeats’s work further “things fall apart” and I think that has begun as nature takes its course.
The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy
Further to my post yesterday about our resident Thrush, came a comment from Jo in Scotland, that my post, our winter and recent earthquakes had put her in mind of this poem…..I agree with Jo so here it is for you all to enjoy.
As a side note Jo keeps two blogs on the boil one here “Jo’s Journal” and the other here “The Hazel Tree”, both are stunning and so well written and interesting.
And the Thrush has been in full voice again here from first light. He is “off for lunch” at the moment, thanks to the noise of a local lawn mowing chap.
The Darkling Thrush
By Thomas Hardy
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
Friday Poem: “Fair February” by Christina Ferens
This poem by Christina Ferens comes from her haunting, soothing and beautiful book: “ The Country Diary of a New Zealand Lady”
“ Farewell to February, her fair charm,
Her golden tresses, cut and gathered!
Long days the men enticed have laboured,
An eye to the sky till day was done,
To win her favour, combed and bound,
Lying invitingly upon the ground,
Awaiting embrace, to be lifted up,
Laid high in chambers dry and airy,
Lofty, full to bursting – February,
To be remembered all the year
For her warmth and her bounty.”
Shakespeare at the beach
Some time ago there was a local newspaper article about Russell Plume, a local Plimmerton resident and former geologist who was picking up pieces of brick off the coast near Plimmerton beach.
He gradually collected a lot of bricks. Some were whole and others simply odd shapes and pieces. All had been weathered by the sea or by the streams and it was thought that they were washing up from an old quarry.
A friend commented that he had enough to spell out the works of Shakespeare and this spurred Russell on to producing 9 panels of quotes from Shakespeare using the bricks just as he found them. None have been altered in any way.
Here is one I captured yesterday on a sea wall at Plimmerton Beach. My timing was not in tune with the tides yesterday which meant I could not walk along and take photos of the other panels. I will do that another day.
The linked article gives you more details but I also hope the panel he made as a gift for Christchurch will reach that destination and bring hope to its residents.
“What is the city but the people” (from Coriolanus), is a fitting quote.