Sarah has a surprise visit from her old friend Kaye. They last saw each other thirty years ago at our wedding. Sarah and Kaye were together at university studying drama and dance, and shared a flat in London for two years after graduating. It was at that moment I met Sarah; so Kaye is also an old friend of mine. She has been busy working in film, television, musicals and theatre. Doubtless now we've renewed contact we'll see much more of her.
Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Returned we were from Avebury,
Sitting in candle-lit room so grand,
Together and alone, after having tea,
I asked and received your hand.
Your mother had celebrated sixty
On that day when I proposed,
Now she has seen half as many
Again as that, and as we rose
To depart southward for home, said:
"Take good care of her" (meaning my wife).
I replied with hand on hers and lifted head:
"She is the light of my life."
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
“The wind doth blow today, my love,
And a few small drops of rain;
I never had but one true-love,
In cold grave she was lain.
“I’ll do as much for my true-love
As any young man may;
I’ll sit and mourn all at her grave
For a twelvemonth and a day.”
The twelvemonth and a day being up,
The dead began to speak:
“Oh who sits weeping on my grave,
And will not let me sleep?”
“’T is I, my love, sits on your grave,
And will not let you sleep;
For I crave one kiss of your clay-cold lips,
And that is all I seek.”
“You crave one kiss of my clay-cold lips,
But my breath smells earthy strong;
If you have one kiss of my clay-cold lips,
Your time will not be long.
“’T is down in yonder garden green,
Love, where we used to walk,
The finest flower that e’re was seen
Is withered to a stalk.
“The stalk is withered dry, my love,
So will our hearts decay;
So make yourself content, my love,
Till God calls you away.”
Tuesday, 4 April 2017
Images reflecting moments now gone;
Strangely, eerily lingering on;
Keeping such moments remembered;
Ghostly pale faces long since dead.
Or are they?
Louisa is one of the daguerreotypes shown in the collection above. She is the one on the left in an oval mount within a leather case. Louisa was born in Middlesex, England, on the 7 January 1854, and christened at Stepney, London, on 17 March 1854. I shall refrain from providing her surname and middle name out of respect for the family with whom I have corresponded. In 1881, she married Joshua in Islington, London, and went on to have four children. What fascinates me about Louisa is not her life, but her death. Or rather the absence of any record of it happening. Her grandparents, parents, in-laws, husband and children all have their deaths recorded. But nothing exists for Louisa. The question is why?
Posted by †Seán Manchester at 05:55
Friday, 3 March 2017
In the same year that my novel Carmel was published, my father died. I had quit London following the death of my mother eight years earlier; the place having become too polluted and altered for me to remain a moment longer.
Subsequent visits to London, in the years that followed, found it had returned to a friendless, faceless city. But those weeks at the end of the millennium year were to offer a time warp where the past was almost witnessed through a weathered window. I felt like a phantom, who was not even present in the capital, passing through sadly unfamiliar places. Indeed, I felt like a time traveller.
Yet there remains ghostly images, reminding us of how special that place once was.
Posted by †Seán Manchester at 03:00
Friday, 13 January 2017
Sunday, 1 January 2017
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring in redress to all mankind.
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Posted by †Seán Manchester at 04:13