Tag Archives: haiku

Happy St. Brigid’s Day 2017

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It’s a beautiful first day of spring here on the island and we put the St. Brigid’s cross up on the house first thing this morning. The children are more wrapped up than usual as they head off for school because we had just returned from a wee trek to collect the bundle of reeds that Nuala is holding; they’ll be used at school to make crosses of their own.

The first day of spring here in Ireland falls about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.  One of the traditional ways of celebrating is by making a St. Brigid’s cross which is ‘placed on doorways to ward off evil, fire, and hunger from homes’. It’s also called the Feast of Imbolc, an ancient Irish celebration of the change of seasons from the short, dark winter days to the longer and brighter days of spring.

Here’s a link to a post I did a year ago that shows step by step how to make your own St. Brigid’s cross. It also has links to more information about St. Brigid’s Day, the meaning of the cross, and the Feast of Imbolc. https://thearanartisan.com/2016/03/15/spring-willow-project/

Joining in with the ‘One a Week Photo Challenge‘, word ‘happy’ and with Ronovan Writes haiku challenge, words ‘please & blow’.

please wrap yourself up

on this first day of springtime

the wind is blowing

Getting up early and taking a walk with the children was an amazing way to start the day and has me thinking we ought to do it more often. I’m wondering though if the adventurous feeling to it would soon wear off? Perhaps it was just the novelty that made everyone so happy and they would be less excited to do it regularly. I suppose there’s only one way to find out.

eat fish pie as dusk dusts over the days end

Not too long ago we spent a beautiful few days and evenings with the visiting family of some island living friends.

Amazing weather makes amazing memories and on this night the swimming, dining, and fishing all at the Kilronan pier offered some fine photo opportunities.  Click on any picture to start a wee slideshow.

eat fish pie

as dusk dusts over

the days end

I think any of the pictures could represent this week’s photo word ‘strength’ for many different reasons.  Does one say ‘strong’ more than the others to you?

Haiku fun brought to us by Ronovan Writes, thanking him for the two cool words, ‘pie and dust’.

I hope all who read this are well and so are those you love.

Melissa Xx

Three Cheers for Summer!

 

bonfire night,

yippee! yahoo! yay!

summer starts!

Around sunset on June 23rd much of Ireland celebrates St. John’s Eve.   Also known as bonfire night, it’s a midsummer tradition that falls very near to the summer solstice–which celebrates the longest day of the year when the sun appears highest in the sky and when summer begins back in the States.  When summer officially starts may be determined by where you live but something we can all agree on–it doesn’t feel quite like summer until school has ended and summer break has begun.

Here on the island nearly all of the sixteen villages has their own unique fire.  Some bonfires are only attended by a few neighbours and larger villages have dozens of people gather around the fire.  Potluck food and BYOB can be found at most, while others might have storytelling, music, or singing.  Rituals around the fire to conjure up blessings for the weather, homes, land, crops, and individuals would have been the norm a hundred years ago, but not so much now.

School is out, summer schedule has already begun, and everyone is feeling relaxed.  Now for the sunshine and blue skies to return our way…

The picture above is one of the village fires on the island this week and is my ‘heat’ entry for this week’s photo challenge.  The haiku is for Ron’s weekly haiku challenge using the words ‘birth & cheer’.

Cheers, Melissa Xx

Native sean nós singing on Inis Mor

native Éire sean nós,

winding melismatic tunes-

a fresh sound to most

 

Irish dance is world renowned, but it’s counterpart in song, sean nós, hasn’t quite reached the same global recognition.  Translated from Gaelic to English, sean nós mean ‘old style or old way’ and rightfully so as it’s used to describe this purest form of Irish music.

Each song is unique to the singer and is made up of very technical aspects of performance such as intonation, ornamentation, and tempo.  In many ways it reminds me of Indian/Hindi music.  Seemingly, it’s sung while also breathing, as long verses are expressed with barely a break for air; difficult is an understatement, though when they are well practiced, it flows with apparent ease.

This excerpt from Wikipedia–

Decorative elements common in sean-nós singing include:

  • Highly ornamented where the voice is placed near the top of the range
  • Nasalisation
  • A second form of nasalisation, used in the south, produces an “m”, “n” or “ng” sound at the end of a phrase
  • One syllable in a word can be sung to several notes
  • Brief pauses initiated by glottal stops, “slides” or glissandi (predominantly when sung by women)
  • Very long extended phrases
  • A tendency to draw breath after a conjunction or linking words rather than at the end of a phrase
  • The ending of some songs by speaking the finishing line instead of singing it
  • Varying the melody in each verse

A live experience is magically hypnotic.  A whole room immediately shushes when someone starts singing– always from their seat, no standing and performing (unless it’s a competition), just wherever they are at the time.  Though others may join in the song or offer encouraging words, the attention remains on the singer.  And some songs can be six or seven minutes in length.  That mightn’t sound like very long, but this can go on and on as a new singer starts just after one ends.  I’m always touched by how so many people who are gathered but not together can remain so respectful and attentive and enthralled.

The songs are passed down from generation to generation and as I have difficulty understanding the content of the songs, I have another Wiki excerpt to describe the meanings of the song lyrics:

Many of the songs typically sung sean-nós could be seen as forms of love poetry, laments, or references to historical events such as political rebellions or times of famine, lullabies, nature poetry, devotional songs, or combinations of these.  Comic songs are also part of the tradition.

Not everywhere in Ireland practices this tradition, but in the Gaeltachts (Irish speaking regions) the natives are raised with it.  We’re fortunate enough here on The Aran Islands to have sean nós singing taught in the schools starting at the age of five years old at latest, but most children are exposed to it from the crib by family members.  Two of my children have won awards for their participation in sean nós singing competitions–there is a video of my eldest daughter on my Youtube page.

The above video is an Aran native who frequents the hotel for some conversation, a bit of craic, and song.  I videotaped him earlier this week.  Other fine examples of sean-nós singing, sung by several phenomenal talents, may be heard here.

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A snapshot from my video for my photo entry.

This post was inspired by the photo word of the week ‘native’ and Ronovan’s haiku words ‘fresh & wind’.  I love sharing this bit of my world with you and hope you enjoyed it too.

Cheers, Melissa Xx

A Late Arrival

chicken and dragon

invite oviparous friends

to just lay around

 

Dragons lay eggs.  Thankfully.  That little fact was helpful to know when trying to harmoniously combine Ronovan’s haiku words ‘dragon & invite’  this last week into my photo/haiku combo.

I had a bit of fun with the photo word ‘layer’ as it’s an accurate description of our chickens– they’re all very good egg layers.  And when they’re not laying eggs they like just laying around, particularly in the holes that they scratch for themselves.

I had this post nearly ready to go last week but then my son became ill.  He is fine now; not his appendix.  Another thing to be grateful for, this one more meaningful than the bit of trivia I shared above.

One of the disadvantages to living on an island is that a trip to the mainland hospital isn’t uncommon if there’s any uncertainty as to what’s ailing one.  The flip side to that coin is that we have constant access to competent and caring medical professionals here.  

More often than not, when we find ourselves in the hospital we arrive back home knowing only that the cause of discomfort or condition is not life threatening or serious.   This, after a night or two in the hospital because, after all, if there’s a chance it could be life threatening or serious, they can’t be sending us back to the island.  Always relieved to be sent home eventually, but puzzled that no definitive diagnosis is made.   Maybe this is par for the course with children?  Anyhoo, happy to toss my overdue haiku/photo into the mix. 

Melissa Xx

p.s. Go here to see how other’s interpreted the photo word and to the comments of this post to see what other’s wrote for their haiku.

Wholesome Work

Can you read my messy writing?  My far from complete ‘can’t wait to-do list’…  I was going to rewrite it neatly, but decided to spare the waste and instead trace the pen in rainbow colours to brighten it up for this post.

While the photo is all about my work that is creative, fun, and without strict boundaries, the accompanying haiku refers more to the laborious aspects of working to provide food for our family…

˜

working the body

harvesting diamonds and pearls

feeds autarkic souls

˜

The diamonds I refer to are those we harvest from the ground, the pearls being what we garner from the sea and shore. By now, you know that those aren’t the only gems provided by the earth, our little island, our neighbors, and our homefarm; we harvest, gather, barter, and recycle.

No surprise, it’s not always easy living out a dream.  We do it not only to support our family’s food needs and desires to be self-sufficient, but because we genuinely love the physical demands and the creative challenges that come along with choosing this lifestyle.  It nourishes our soul as well as our bodies.

The process of providing for one’s self and family gives an energizing rush– though, ironically, we’re often working while feeling sleep deprived.  We feel this rush when physical and mental boundaries are stretched to working out of our comfort zones, or sometimes it’s when we find creative/inexpensive solutions by putting our ideas together and trusting one or the other’s better judgement.

I’d be lying by omission if I didn’t admit that there are failures and disappointments, injuries and losses, timelines not met, plans that don’t turn out as expected (or, ugh, never even get started).  We get frustrated with ourselves, each other, the community, and the weather.  I’d rather talk about the blessings though, not the problems.  I prefer to write about the problems after we realize the lessons learnt from them.

Finding the balance between the planning and the trusting, the listing and the letting go, the doing and the just breathing, is something we are getting better at.  Like gardening, some things are meant to be learnt over a lifetime, one experience at a time.

Thanks to my friend Ronovan for his inspiring haiku words, ‘diamonds & pearls’, and to the four fab photo friends (myself included) who’s word ‘work’ is the theme of my photo and this post.  

 I hope all reading this are feeling balance between head and heart in all to do with work and life.

Melissa Xx

Friends Helping Friends

With the help of friends and cooperation from Mother Nature, we at last got our new plastic on our enlarged polytunnel. In chilly weather with many helping hands,we had the work done in record time.  It’s a wonderful feeling to accomplish such a large and necessary task with the cooperation of so many, each knowing instinctively when to lead, when to follow, and when to stay out of the way.

in shivering air

with so much work to be done

friendship warms the heart

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The photo challenge word of the week is ‘friends’ and Ronovan’s haiku challenge words this week are ‘friend & shiver’.

True friends are among the greatest of all blessings….feeling appreciation for all my friendships, near and far.

p.s. Apologies for not answering comments sooner!  Busy days keeping me from doing so…neglecting my cyber friends feels horrible, but I’m steadily balancing the scales of work and home.  Thanks for your continued understanding and wonderful advice about managing it all.

Melissa Xx

Art For Art’s Sake

 

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uplifted

feelings about plans

are upheaved

Have you ever written something in first person point of view for the sake of art that you aren’t entirely convinced is true or within your own beliefs?

I ask because I don’t really believe what I wrote in the above haiku and only did so to achieve the opposites aspect of it.  Written in the past tense, it states that my joy about our plans to at last recover our polytunnel were dashed away by an unexpected puff of wind. 

I know that isn’t going to happen though.  The thought had never even crossed my mind.

As a believer in the Law of Attraction, I was hesitant to pen the words, but it just worked so well.  I’m too positive a person to worry that our plans might literally be blown away into orbit. 

Is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed for the sake of art– perhaps one of moral integrity?  Can form truly be separated from content?   Should art stand alone, separate from religion, politics, and humanity?  Is it even possible for art to exist in a separate realm from life’s other matters?  These thoughts are lingering in my mind as I debate printing something, as trivial as it is, that I don’t truly mean.

Ronovan’s haiku words this week are ‘plan & lift’ and the photo word is ‘outline’ (the tunnel frame being an outline of what’s to come).  Anyone can join in; both challenges are growing week by week.

Writing Letters By Hand

stationary photos

When I stumbled upon the stationary section at TK Maxx (Europe’s equal to North America’s TJ Maxx) I was in paper heaven, so I not only got a stationary and note card set, I purchased thank you and hello cards, colour therapy postcards, and a pack of mixed design coordinating papers to make my own cards and envelopes (pictured with my paper cutter).  Also on my 16 for 2016 list is hand written letters so now I’m ready to answer some overdue correspondences as soon as I return from my holiday next week (which is also on my list!).

scintillating thoughts;

hand hugs pen, words woo paper-

a slow dance ensues

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I’ll catch up upon my return.

Melissa Xx

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