Category Archives: Winter

The Littlest Christmas Tree

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

As it gets nearer to Christmas, Christmas trees are going up everywhere. Yes, I know some have been up since November! Here’s a poem about one.

The Littlest Christmas Tree.

The other trees looked oh so tall

To he, who was so very small.

And now it is the time of year

When everyone is filled with cheer.

Some men came for the tallest tree.

They took him with them, full of glee.

He was going into town.

In Market Square he’d wear a crown.

The littlest tree watched on as folk

Bought others. He was full of hope

That soon he would be picked to go

To a home where he’d put on a show.

But people passed him by and said,

“That one’s too small. Take another instead.”

His branches drooped. He was so sad,

Until a man came, with a lad.

Most other trees had long been sold.

The little tree stood in the cold.

“Look, there’s a small one,” said the lad

As he turned towards his dad

.

“It will just fit in our hall.

We can’t have one that is too tall.”

And so they came with spade and dug

Around his roots, all in the mud.

The littlest tree went home with them.

The lights and baubles gleamed like a gem.

He was so happy in that home

With all the love around him shown.

But Christmas passes soon away.

Then there came that dreaded day.

They took away the lights and balls.

“What happens now?” was all his thoughts.

He saw the tall trees passing by

On lorries, going off to die.

Their needles withering and brown

On their proud branches, drooping down.

Fear now filled the littlest tree.

“Is that what’s going to happen to me?”

But then the Dad came with a spade.

“I’ll not throw that for which we’ve paid.”

He dug a deep hole for the roots

And tamped it down with his big boots.

“We’ll let him grow, and then next year

We’ll bring him in again. Don’t fear.

And so the littlest tree was glad

That he’d been bought by this kind dad.

For now he has naught to fear.

He’s decorated every year.

I hope you enjoyed reading my poem.

If you would like to read more of my poetry, I have a poetry book recently published. It’s called Miscellaneous Thoughts and can be bought from your favourite store by clicking here where you can buy it from your favourite store. Or click on the book cover in the sidebar.

3 different Origins of St Valentine’s Day

I should have posted this yesterday, but I didn’t get round to it. In fact, I’m rather late today, too.

If you’ve been waiting for the post about Muldee, I promise that will be posted next Tuesday.

courtesy of pixabay
  • The easiest possible origin to find is that it dates to possibly three saints, all called Valentine, although two of them might have been the same person.
  • One of the Valentines is said to have defied the edict by Emperor that soldiers may not marry, and secretly married men in the army to their girlfriends, thus linking the saint to romance.
  • The second (who may also be the third) was a bishop, Valentine of Terni.
  • The other (who might have been the same person) was martyred in 270 by Claudius II Gothicus. He was in prison and befriended the jailor’s daughter, possibly healing her blindness. He wrote a letter to her, signing it ‘From your Valentine.’
  • One pagan festival in the Roman era was a fertility festival. It was called Lupercalia and took place in mid-February. Dogs and male goats were sacrificed. Men then took strips of the animals’ skin and slapped women they passed in the street. This was supposed to increase the fertility of the women slapped. Thus it is thought it could be an origin of Valentine’s Day.
  • February was the Celtic festival of Imbolc. It marked the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It was the time for the new lambs to be born.
  • Here is an extract from Vengeance of a Slave describing the festival of Imbolc.
  • Those of you who are from the US might see a resemblance to Groundhog Day.

Soon it was Imbolc, the time when the young lambs began to be born. The villagers had much preparation to do, for they invited the goddess, Brigid, into their homes to bless them, and they prepared special food for this day. Awena, was delighted when the villagers chose her to help carry the image of Brigid around the village.
She helped to clean the house with enthusiasm, sweeping out all the old rushes and piling them up outside ready to be lit into a bonfire. Ailbert laughed at her enthusiasm saying he had never thought of her as a domestic type.
She stuck her tongue out at him in response. “It’s important everything is ready for Brigid.”
“What about the gods we worshipped in Londinium? Have you forgotten them? Jupiter, Juno, Venus and the rest?”
“They’re gods for the Romans.” She shook her head. “They’ve no use for the Britons. Only if we become Roman Citizens will they care for us, and that’s not going to happen. We’re now Britons and we must worship the gods that care for the Britons.”
She carried on sweeping while Ailbert continued walking towards the sheep pens to see if any lambs yet been born.
He met Madoc on the way and the boy told him in excited tones that one of the ewes had gone into labour and the lamb, or hopefully lambs would arrive very shortly. Ailbert quickened his steps towards the pens in the hope of seeing the actual birth. Being a house slave in Londinium he had never been present at the birth of any of the animals owned by the dominus and domina.
They arrived in time to see the ewe pushing out what turned out to be the first of two lambs. Ailbert frowned. He had not expected blood. The little lamb lay on the ground, wet, and the mother turned to look at him, for it was a male lamb. Ailbert watched as she began to lick him clean. The second lamb was born soon afterwards and she repeated the process. The lambs staggered to their feet and immediately began suckling.
Ailbert smiled. He had witnessed a wonderful thing. New life being brought into the world and he ran off to tell Awena and Gwen the first lambs had been born and Imbolc was due to start.
At sunset that evening, the unwed girls carried the image of Brigid around the village. The villagers had made a crude image of reeds and the girls visited each house in turn, walked three times round it and then asked for admittance for Brigid. Each house opened the door and let the image and girls in. They gave them food and each householder added a decoration to the reed image.
For some weeks before, the women and girls had been busy making Brigid crosses out of reeds, and one hung over the door of each house.
As it was winter still, it soon got dark. Each household put out newly made clothes, and food and drink for the goddess. They also made a bed for her in the house, just in case she decided to visit.
They ate and drank the foods made for this special day, a kind of porridge made from the starch left in the husks of the oats, soaked and left to ferment. It tasted sour to Ailbert and Awena but they ate their share as it would have been discourteous to do otherwise.
The next morning, Gwen looked carefully at the ashes that she had raked smooth the evening before, to see any disturbances that might indicate that Brigid had visited in the night, but they were as smooth as they had been when they all went to bed.
Gwen led the way outside to be met with a frost on the ground and an overcast sky. “Ah! That’s good. A cold, miserable day means that the Cailleach is still asleep and not gathering wood for fires to keep her warm through the next cold spell.” She turned to the young people who frowned and looked at each other. Ailbert shrugged his shoulders.
“Cailliach is winter personified. If today is bright and sunny, then she can come out and look for firewood and so keep herself warm for longer. If it’s cold and miserable, or rainy and stormy, then she’s asleep and will soon run out of firewood, so Brigid can bring the spring sooner.”
They, along with the rest of the village, made their way to the well. Here they walked round it in the direction of the sun and prayed to Brigid to bring health and prosperity. They gave offerings of strips of cloth and a few coins to the goddess.
Singing and dancing followed, as well as eating and drinking, and the day passed quickly, darkness coming early at this season, half-way between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Tired and happy with the prospect of a good season to come, the villagers retired
to their beds.

Thank you for reading. If you want to find out more about Ailbert, you can go to the online store of your choice by clicking the link above, or the book cover in the side bar.

I always enjoy reading your comments, and so please leave any in the comments box.

Winter: A Poem

Everything dead.
Nothing moves.
The skies of lead
Press down on the roofs.

The icicles hang
Like teeth in the maw.
Each one a fang
In a wolf’s jaw.

The wind with his knife
Cuts through to the bone.
Soon snow will arrive
And the swallows have flown.

The trees that were green
Are now turned to white,
And everything’s seen
In a glowing bright light.

But look what I’ve found!
A tiny green shoot
Pushing up through the ground.
A snowdrop, no doubt.

It tells of the spring
Not so far away,
And how it will bring
All the flowers of May.

A Plea for Peace. A poem,

I have been very concerned by, and, yes, afraid, of the war of words between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. They both seem to be wanting a fight. This I can’t understand as it would be a war that cannot be won, and could be the end of humanity. Certainly it would be the end of society as we know it.

It would not end with the cessation of attacks. Such a war would leave a legacy of radiation and sickness for those left behind, and without the resources of medicine, millions more, who survived the blast, would die horribly. Think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those bombs are as children’s toys compared with what is available to the nuclear powers today’

Then there’s the ‘Nuclear Winter’ that would follow. Without the sun, plants would fail and there would be massive starvation. How can world leaders even consider such a dire possibility?

In the 1960s, people were afraid that a nuclear war was a very real possibility. After all, in 1960,it had only been 15 years, since the USA dropped a hydrogen bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was also the era of the ‘cold war’, and everyone was afraid of Russia, or rather the USSR as it was then, a vast empire ruled by Russia. It was in this climate I wrote the following poem.
It is the only poem that exists from that time. It is also the only poem of mine ever to have been published before as a poem and not as part of a novel. It was published in the student magazine of UMIST, in Manchester.

statue-of-liberty-2629937_1280
A Plea for Peace

Now we have created something
That threatens to destroy.
One error, one mistake
And what is left for us
But Death.

I see the ruins of a country
That once was powerful.
Now it is nothing but
Ruins, dust, decay
And Death.

I hear the cries of suffering people
Many people, old and young
They cry in agony to God
Please give us peace
Through Death.

But

The only true peace we can have on Earth
Is through remembrance of our Saviour’s birth.

 

If you liked this poem, and have an opinion on the views it expresses, please add a comment in the comments section.

Some of my Christmas Cards.

Each year I make all my own Christmas cards. On Sunday 3rd December I finished the final one for this year and am pretty pleased with them.  I thought I’d let you guys have a look at some of my endeavours as it’s the Tuesday before Christmas.

 

VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY FOLLOWERS AND VISITORS.

I HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A WONDERFUL 2018 WHERE ALL YOUR DREAMS AND HOPES COME TRUE.

 

The Legend of Grillon and Parador.

 

 

Grillon and Parador are two of the gods of Vimar, the world I created when I started to write The Wolves of Vimar Series.

Grillon is the god of Nature and wild things and Parador is the goddess of Agriculture. The legend is told each year on the first day of spring, which is also the start of the year on Vimar. The first month of the year is called after Grillon, and is known as Grilldar. It falls roughly the same time as mid-March to mid-April on Earth.

I hope you enjoy this poem, which also appears in the first book of The Wolves of Vimar, The Wolf Pack. The friends spend this day in Roffley on their way to find the Sword of the legendary king, Sauvern, who united the land of Grosmer.

On the eve of Grildar, morality is lax, and there are many children conceived at this time. They are considered as blessed, though, and are thought of as the children of the god, and not conceived of human males.

parador

Legend of Grillon and Parador

One day the Lord of Nature was walking all alone
When beside a hidden pool a lovely sight was shown.
For bathing in the moonlight, where no-one should have been
Was a beauteous maiden, the loveliest he’d e’er seen.

Lord Grillon lost his heart to her
This maiden oh so fair.
He vowed that she would be his own
His life with her would share.

He showed himself at once to her
As forward he did tread.
She said “And who are you, good sir?
Should you not be abed?”

Oh lovely maid, my love, my life,
I ne’er will rest again.
Unless you come to be my wife
My heart will feel such pain.”

And so fair Parador was wed
To Grillon. She agreed
To always sleep within his bed
And others ne’er to heed.

But evil now will turn to dust
That love and bliss
For Barnat after her did lust
And swore she’d be his.

He poisoned Grillon’s mind and said
She was untrue
That she had been into his bed
And others too.

Lord Grillon he was truly sad
That she should treat him so.
He thought that he’d go truly mad
So far from her he’d go.

Now Parador had done no wrong
To deserve this fate.
She could not any more be strong
Beneath Lord Grillon’s hate.

So mourn she did and all the world
Did join with her in sorrow.
All green things died and creatures curled
All safely in their burrow.

But in good time, Lord Grillon found
How false the god of war.
He came to her and he reclaimed
The love of his wife once more.

So once again the land grew green
And springtime came again.
And summer’s warmth and life serene
While she forgot her pain.

And so each year the land remembers
The love of Parador
And autumn comes and winter’s embers
Till Spring returns once more.

Winter Night. (a poem)

This ought to have been published in the winter, but I didn’t get round to it, so I’m publishing it today. Anyway, it’s still technically winter! Hope you enjoy it.

full-moon-1337690_1280

Snow covers the ice-hard ground
And ponds and lakes are frozen.
All is muffled, every sound.
The birds are silent in the trees,
No moths or butterflies or bees
Just snowflakes by the dozen.

The moon is full and her pale light
Shines gently through the flakes.
But creatures shiver through the night.
The icy wind makes branches quiver
And every living thing to shiver
In trees and hills and lakes.

Across the field there trots a fox.
An owl flies by on silent wings.
On the frozen lake, some ducks.
As snow falls gently on them all,
And cattle low within their stall
We are waiting for the spring.

I welcome all your comments, so please add yours.