Category Archives: history

The Dragon

Enthralling – Word of the Day

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Last week we spent a couple of days on the wildflower run, and at Leda Reserve, apart from the stunning array of flowers I was enthralled with this gem as well, a gargoyle perched on a rock – can you see it too? This one was clearly sent to protect Leda.

 

The Dragon

La Gargouille, terror of Rouen,
you lost your head When Romanus made the sign,
and now you sit in judgement of your kin,
though, instead of fire, you spout water,
La Gargouille, protector of Rouen.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

 

 

Note: Gargoyles date back to ancient Egypt, but the term gargoyle comes from the dragon slaying story of c. 600 AD where the priest Romanus captures the Dragon –  La Gargouille, which was terrorising the town of Rouen, and the villagers cut off its head and burn it at the stake. However the head wouldn’t burn, so instead they place Gargouille’s head on the church to ward off evil and warn other dragons to stay away.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, Country, Five Lines, history, Mythology, poetry

Read Your Maille

Panoply – RDP

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Photo: http://www.medievalfantasieco.com

 

Read Your Maille

Complete,
needing no one,
guarding every fibre of your being,
impenetrable,
your body chained,
protected against the words
that might one day creep under your maille,
and steal your distance,
bring you close
and expose the wound of love
you cannot bear to feel.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

 

Note: Chainmail is derived from the French ‘Maille’ which is in turn derived from the Latin ‘Macula’ (meaning mesh or net). Chainmail is thought to have been invented by the Celts before the 5th century AD.

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under history, life, love, poetry, Quadrille

The Clock Has Tocked

Exemplary – Word of the Day

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Rachel Carson (1907 – 64) (Photo: post-gazette.com) Carson was a marine scientist whose most known public work was “Silent Spring” (1962), a clarion call for humanity to address their impact on nature. In particular, Silent Spring is an investigation into pesticides. Carson wrote: “They should not be called “insecticides” but “biocides.” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, p. 189.

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem , they are not equally fair. The road we have long been travelling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road – the one less travelled by – offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring p. 277.

Carson was an exemplar of both environmental awareness and activism as a scientist and writer.

 

The Clock Has Tocked

The old grandfather clock in the hallway is ticking,
but there’s no one to note the passing of the hour,
they’re everywhere else in this big old house,
in rooms of self,
halls of bustle,
where the carpets are dusty and threadbare,
the varnish no longer present to the wood,
and the paint so sallow.
Things should have been fixed long ago,
but our will wasn’t urgent to the task.
Grandad’s monocle popped when the quotes came in,
and we gave up,
preferring the pleasured, anaesthetised life.
Had we ventured to the hallway,
and listened closely,
we’d have known that the clock had tocked its last.
The eleventh hour cried to us,
but we mocked its melodrama,
and bargained that Chronos would let us slide,
and all the while our house is falling,
falling down upon us.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under chemicals, environment, history, life, Link, mindfulness, nature, poetry, quote, Science

Divine Humour

Peddler – Word of the Day

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Source: flickr.com  A street peddler in Istanbul.

 

Divine Humour

The smell of sulphur fills the air,
bell, book and candle won’t help you now,
the devil incarnate roams the streets,
seductively peddling false hope, old ways, more tax.
Been like that since the ancient of days laughed and said
“Let them try democracy.”

©Paul Vincent Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under Alt-Religion, history, life, Philosophy/Theology, poetry, politics, Quadrille

Free Spirits

Renegade – Word of the Day

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Ani Pachen (1933 – 2002), better known as the Warrior Nun, a Tibetan freedom fighter. She was captured by the Chinese army in 1959 and held until 1981 – 21 years in prison, she was 48 yrs old. She continued to oppose Chinese occupation of Tibet and took part in rallies and protests, fleeing to India in 1989 because she was facing arrest yet again.

Free Spirits

We apprehended futility and held it as our own,
never stopping to think of consequence.
Logic held no sway,
there was no song,
the soil of our hearts rooted no doctrine,
myths and legends were our truths.
We slept in the open and spoke in ravines,
ate haute cuisine from tins,
punished our fantasies and banished our doubts
as we passed through Falkirk, Culloden, Lexington,
and struggled at Eureka,
countered in Prague,
threw out shoes in Manila and turned orange in Kiev.
We played with protest,
shouldered riot and uprising,
captured yet not imprisoned,
we remained free spirits held by passion,
undaunted, determined.
Our very breath was inviolate,
this was our victory,
to be present.

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under history, life, Philosophy/Theology, poetry, politics, war

Spring Is In The Air

Zealous – Word of the Day

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Photo: dailynewshungary.com

One person’s liberator is another persons dictator. The end of National Socialism in 1945 (well, temporary end) saw the liberating Soviet army take control of Eastern Europe. But the Soviet proved to be as unpalatable as the Nazis, and hence a number of attempted coups and uprisings, especially the one in Hungary 23 October – 10 November 1956, where a student protest turned into a people’s uprising. The students were indeed zealous for change, and their zeal inspired others to rise up with them. The uprising was sadly crushed by the overwhelming might of the Soviet army. October the 23 is now a national holiday in Hungary.

 

Spring Is In The Air

Khaki is not my colour,
I crave pastels, boldness, whites.
Steel grey is so depressing,
like never ending winter,
the threat of cold death,
faces lost,
love buried.
Truth is everywhere, that’s how
Newspeak lobotomizes.
Apparatchiks, whose fetid lies,
like open sewers,
Are a stench and a stain
on flesh and blood,
like bruises and broken bones
their words crush souls.
Your flags do not warm me,
they are but a noose,
a suicide note to history.
But we stand together
preferring death to misery,
no acquiescent autumn
rather, to be spring
to be fertile possibility.
So we wave at you and smile,
a smile your scowl cannot quell.
Our solitary prayer,
that your bullets will be poppies
and your tanks be doves.
That you will at last surrender,
not to us,
but to your true selves,
to humanity,
and kiss your distorted “I” goodbye.

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under history, life, poetry, politics, war

Salome

Sensual – FOWC

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Nadja Michael as Salome. There’s a lot of poetic licence used in the portrayal of Salome that simply isn’t evident in the historical and biblical texts. But it makes for great theatre. Salome the daughter of Herodias (formerly the wife of Philip the Tetrarch) who had left Philip for his brother Herod Antipas (which is what John the Baptist was making a fuss over, and in the end got him killed). There was one daughter from her marriage to Philip – Salome. Salome was invited to dance for her step father at court on his birthday.  The dance is not described anywhere, and much modern interpretation is speculation. However, the fact that Herod promised on oath to to give Salome whatever she asked for because her dance was pleasing tells us that it was in the least alluring and sensual given his reaction.

 

Breathless

You were huddled as the music began,
and slowly you unfolded
with such grace,
we held our breath.
You reached upwards,
your body ripe.
You swirled, dipped and turned,
your eyes wild,
hair ablaze,
fabric unfurling.
The air was so thin,
we were breathless.

 

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under dance, history, poetry, Quadrille

Dangerous Game

Spying – Word of the Day

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Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod (nee Zelle) better known by her stage name Mata Hari (1876 – 1917), who was convicted by the French as a German spy during WW1. Historians have since demonstrated that she was betrayed by all, her lover, the French officers who recruited her, the justice system (an oxymoron if ever there was one), her fellow spies and others. She was convicted and executed even though there was no substantive evidence, other than that they said it was because as a woman she could not be trusted and she would use her wiles. She was indeed a victim, a scapegoat.

Dangerous Game

I was lost in your face,
your eyes sparkled
laughter like champagne.
You reeled me in,
my small talk generously indulged,
I thought one drink would cure my curiosity.
Besides, I had work to do,
family waiting.
But you had other plans,
your hand on mine
stroking.
Me all gibberish,
pulse racing,
I agreed.
Just how did you do that?
Furtive,
room 20,
you draped on the ottoman,
gold, bejewelled bra,
tiara.
Salome unveiled.
Beguiled, seduced,
I gave you my all.
My French for German,
secrets, unzipped,
pleasure washed over me
in waves of guilt.
Whispers exchanged,
I woke alone, betrayed.
Even so, for just one more touch,
I would trade anything.

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under history, life, love, poetry, Sex, war

Tjukurpa

Harmony – Word of the Day

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Photo: Dry creek bed – the Hull River, Northern Territory. This particular spot is also the site of Kulpi Tjuntinya also called Lasseter’s Cave. The river is mostly dry on the surface, and runs underground. There are many soaks along its route. When it does rain heavily the water can be one third up the height of those trees, which given the width, is a mighty volume of water.

The Australian bush, long before white settlers, was well protected with the harmony of traditional law or Tjukurpa – pronounced Chookapah (following the Central and Western Desert peoples view). The law is an oral tradition handed on generation to generation and memorised. One of its central principles is respect for all the elements of nature because everthing is in relationship and everything has an effect. While the words harmony or balance are not explicit, the principles are evident in the way Australian indigenous peoples treat the land and each other.

 

In the Balance

Where once where trees lie salted plains
and dusty cattle ruts.
Camels, mines and 4x4s,
billabong and creek consumed.
Settlers coveted and misunderstood,
but the Anangu have wise ways,
and through their ancient dreaming,
there came ways of loving nature whole.

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

23 Comments

Filed under bush walking, Country, environment, history, Indigenous, life, mindfulness, nature, poetry, Quadrille

Pure Folly

Piffle – Word of the Day

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The Folly was an 18th century English/French idea where a piece of architecture was built simply to decorate a garden or a field. While in Ireland some were used as a way of providing employment, in England they were mostly an indulgence of the wealthy. Many were replicas of the seven constructed wonders, famous castles, and other architecture. Some served a purpose, like a pavilion, but many were in fact, just decorative. There are, in my mind, plenty of modern equivalents.

 

Pure Folly

There you stand,
once as grand as Troy.
Now your weathered alabaster
and marble refinements are greyed,
pock marked, amd worn.
Your rondels as if ravens had plucked their eyes,
the adorning orb no longer shines
yet the sun has not set on you.
You look tired
ravaged by nature from whence you came.
Even so, you stand defiant
lasting testimony to decadence past,
a vision of something grand,
or, perhaps, a flight of fantasy.
As I ascend your steps to the heavens,
I hear the crowd roar and the clash of shields,
the Trojans quake,
O Helen.
Such folly in a folly.

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under history, Mythology, poetry