Seasonal Poem

Seasonal Poem

I decided to write my own poem focussing on positive aspects of the seasons I experience in England. I also added a few old pictures I found. Sometimes my mood gets negatively affected by cold seasons so I wanted to emphasise what’s fun about them! All feedback appreciated – I’m still very new to this poetry lark…

Winter’s charm melts like snow

Save for a warm festive glow

That brings us together

Hiding from the weather

Spring’s a game with no rules

Rebirth, growth, and April fools

Flowers blossom when it’s fair

Spontaneous showers clear the air

Summer’s warmth coaxes off coats

Shady places feel remote

Endless days give extra time

To stop, relax, and unwind

Autumn’s colours put us to sleep

Making the annual cycle complete

Only to begin again

Because this is not

The End

A xxx

Poems about Winter

Poems about Winter

While writing my dissertation, (which is on ecocriticism and medieval poetry), I’ve ended up reading about what seasons symbolically represent in poetry. It can be quite interesting to see the ways seasons and the periods of transition between them, are presented by different poets. It made me think of Christina Rossetti’s playful poem about winter. This poem used to infuriate me, but it really stuck in my mind, and now I actually really like it!

I also thought I’d link a painting by her brother, Dante Rossetti. I don’t know as much about him, but this painting was also inspired by winter. After a bit of research, I found out it depicts Prosperpine, (the Roman version of Persephone), trapped in the winter of Pluto’s underworld. I thought it gave a different view of winter, suggesting that it traps us rather than tricks us. Plus I just really like the pre-Raphaelite aesthetic at the moment!

Winter: My Secret

Christina Rossetti, 1830 – 1894

I tell my secret? No indeed, not I;
Perhaps some day, who knows?
But not today; it froze, and blows and snows,
And you’re too curious: fie!
You want to hear it? well:
Only, my secret’s mine, and I won’t tell.

Or, after all, perhaps there’s none:
Suppose there is no secret after all,
But only just my fun.
Today’s a nipping day, a biting day;
In which one wants a shawl,
A veil, a cloak, and other wraps:
I cannot ope to everyone who taps,
And let the draughts come whistling thro’ my hall;
Come bounding and surrounding me,
Come buffeting, astounding me,
Nipping and clipping thro’ my wraps and all.
I wear my mask for warmth: who ever shows
His nose to Russian snows
To be pecked at by every wind that blows?
You would not peck? I thank you for good will,
Believe, but leave the truth untested still.

Spring’s an expansive time: yet I don’t trust
March with its peck of dust,
Nor April with its rainbow-crowned brief showers,
Nor even May, whose flowers
One frost may wither thro’ the sunless hours.

Perhaps some languid summer day,
When drowsy birds sing less and less,
And golden fruit is ripening to excess,
If there’s not too much sun nor too much cloud,
And the warm wind is neither still nor loud,
Perhaps my secret I may say,
Or you may guess. [1]

Proserpine

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)pnd09

Afar away the light that brings cold cheer
Unto this wall, – one instant and no more
Admitted at my distant palace-door
Afar the flowers of Enna from this drear
Dire fruit, which, tasted once, must thrall me here.
Afar those skies from this Tartarean grey
That chills me: and afar how far away,
The nights that shall become the days that were.

Afar from mine own self I seem, and wing
Strange ways in thought, and listen for a sign:
And still some heart unto some soul doth pine,
O, Whose sounds mine inner sense in fain to bring,
Continually together murmuring) —
‘Woe me for thee, unhappy Proserpine’. [2]

Let me know if there’s any other poems about winter or seasons in general that you like! I might do a few more posts on this theme from different eras of poetry!

A xxx

[1] Source used: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/winter-my-secret, [Accessed April 2016].

[2] Source used: http://www.victorianweb.org/painting/dgr/drawings/5.html, [Accessed April 2016].

 

Stop Policing Our Language

Women’s language has always been a subject for debate. It’s easy to dismiss criticisms that come from old white men but what happens when women are correcting other women’s speech?

I went to an amazing talk the other day by Debbie Cameron called ‘The Problem With Women’s Language.’ Refreshingly, the focus on the talk was not telling women how to change their speech, but asking why they should have to?

The examples Cameron focussed on were instances where women are seen as either less assertive or less intelligent than men, through their word choice. She used the example of the ‘Not Sorry’ app for emails which replaces ‘weak’ and ‘ineffectual’ language such as ‘sorry’, ‘can I just…’ and ‘I’m no expert’ with more assertive and ‘masculine’ phrases. Intended to help women, and actually developed by a woman, this app seems to be well intentioned. The problem is that the edited emails came accross as rude and antisocial. Sometimes replacing words just didn’t work gramatically, and the tone was changed dramatically.

The problem goes deeper than this though, and becomes a problem for women rather than with women. Why is the solution to make apparently femisised traits more masculine? Is it always appropriate to be more assertive? And are women even more demographically responsible for these speech trends than men? Cameron has done extensive lingustic research which can be found in her book  The Myth of Mars and Venus.

One of the most striking parts of this talk was when she mentioned the prejudice against ‘uptalk’ and ‘vocal fry’ in women’s speech. This is when the pitch goes up at the end of a sentence? Like you’re asking a question but not? Thought to be a characteristic of ‘valley girl’ speech, Cameron’s research found that men were just as guilty of this as women are.

So is it, like, even fair that we’re telling young women how to speak? Why are polite emails and different inflexations seen as feminine? And most importantly, why is it wrong to be feminine? Young women were also found to be the innovators of new language trends. I’m no expert, but I think we should just leave young women alone and let language evolve.

Alice xxx

Photos From Another Era

Photos From Another Era

I thought I’d start my blog by posting some pictures I’ve recently recovered, and some new photos. I wrote this cryptic title as a way of introducing these pictures.

Recently I got a new phone and a new laptop, which was a big deal for me. I’ve always had slightly cheap and crappy technology, and feel that I benefited a lot less from technical advancements because of this. It’s not that I’m ungrateful for the gadgets my parents have bought me over the years, or that I think throwing away electrical waste for new toys is a very ethical thing to do, (I mostly have very fond memories of eagerly awaiting my laptop to finish its five minute start up so I could watch YouTube videos). Instead I’ve been appreciating the new ways technology has helped my life.

Part of the reason my old laptop was so crappy is because I overstuffed it full of large files, mostly images. These weren’t even important photos, I just get very clingy over things I’ve created. One of my hobbies is editing photos and making pictures out of photos I’ve cropped or edited together, which is why I like to have a large stock of un-copyrighted images of textures, trees and flowers. Of course, back when my internet was reaally slow it was quicker to just do things in files, so I’d just save everything to my hard drive. But one of the biggest benefits of having a new laptop is that it can save things on ‘clouds’ and internet based storage! This means no more lugging around of 5gbs of pretty similar tree pictures! And it doesn’t really matter to me if this storage gets hacked, or only gives you a limited amount of free space – I’m getting a lot better at just deleting stuff.

As well as deleting old pictures, taking new ones is so much easier! I used to have a fairly clunky 8mp digital camera. It was so basic that I think you can get more advanced ones from V-tec now (a kid’s toy company). Anyway, it was clunky, and needed 2 AA batteries to be inserted into it to work. This meant that I had to plan when I was going to use it, as I’d usually need to bring spare batteries. But now I have a camera 3 times as good in my phone? This means I can finally start taking pictures when the sky looks nice or when I see a cute dog!

The next post will be a collection of images, some very old and recovered from 2004, and some very recent and taken with my camera. If people like them, I might post more pictures that would be good to use as backgrounds or textures.

Yours aesthetically, AM x