Saturday, November 08, 2008

Dream Angus (the lullaby -

Dreams to sell, fine dreams to sell,
Angus is here wi’ dreams to sell o
Hush my wee bairnie an’ sleep wi’ oot fear
Dream Angus has brought you a dream my dear

Can ye no hush yer weepin’
A’ the wee bairns are sleepin’
Birdies are nestling, an’ nestling’ the gither
But my bonnie bairn is waken yet

Hear the curlew cryin’ o
An’ the echoes dyin’ o
Even the birdies are cuddled up sleepin
But my bonnie bairn is weepin’ greetin’

Soon the lavrock sings his song
Welcoming the coming dawn
Lambies coorie doon the gither
Wi’ the yowies in the heather

Dreams to sell, fine dreams to sell,
Angus is here wi’ dreams to sell o
Hush my wee bairnie an’ sleep wi’ oot fear
Dream Angus has brought you a dream my dear

A lovely Scottish lullaby about Dream Angus, a young Apollo, a dispenser of dreams, a mythical Celtic god of Youth, Love, Delight and Wonder.

'Myth is a cloud based upon a shadow based upon the movement of the breeze.'

So begins a wonderful book by Alexander McCall Smith, written in his light and gentle hand. He varies the mythical tales of Angus, son of the god Draga and a water sprite, Boann, with vignettes of modern times.

Draga, the rather indifferent god, is enamoured of Boann, and desires to have a son by her. He immobilizes her husband until such time as the boy is born and he has spirited the child away from his hiding place in a basket hidden amongst the rushes.

Drago is not interested in having Angus around, and the child is brought up by another of his sons. He grows in beauty and grace, inspiring love in everyone he meets. Around his head he is accompanied by a bevy of small birds, - grace notes - who apprise him of danger as he dispenses his light and lovely dreams.

Alexander McCall Smith (whose writing I find so engaging - and endearing) intersperses a modern interpretation following each of the mythical stories of Dream Angus. Reading the book has helped to raise the melancholy clouds of these first gloomy days of November, and I can hardly wait to go to sleep to experience the sweet dreams that Dream Angus inspires......

At the end of the Introduction we find these words -

"Angus puts us in touch with our dreams - those entities which Auden described so beautifully in his Freud poem as the creatures of the night that are waiting for us, that need our recognition. But Angus does more than that: he represents youth and the intense, passionate love that we might experience when we are young but which we might still try to remember as age creeps up. Age and experience might make us sombre and cautious, but there is always an Angus within us - Angus the dreamer."

It touches a chord.....
Alexander McCall Smith

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Guy Fawkes Day

Please to remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot;
We know no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Holla boys! holla boys! huzza—a—a!

A stick and a stake, for king George's sake,
A stick and a stump, for Guy Fawkes's rump!
Holla boys! holla boys! huzza—a—a

Treason, intrigue and terrorism, - all running rampant in the early 17th century.

And four hundred years after this attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London, England still acknowledges the anniversary of the plot in traditional ways.

On the night that the conspirators were foiled and poor Guy Fawkes was found in the basement of Parliament with 36 barrels of gun powder, great bonfires were lit to celebrate the safety of the King. Still today, as we speak, (to paraphrase Hedy Fry) Guy Fawkes effigies are burning in England and the people are making merry with firecrackers.

Well, some of the people - many of them could very well be still celebrating the results of the American Presidential election.

The monarch still enters the Houses of Parliament only once a year for the State Opening of Parliament, and before this event the Yeomen of the Guards inspect the basement of Westminster for explosives. Things being as they are in the world today it is probably a good idea, apart from traditional reasons......

Having had an English mother this holiday was quite familiar to me in my childhood.

Does anybody else 'remember, remember the 5th of November'????

Alas, no bonfire here tonight. It has been a busy day, but a spectacularly beautiful one for the 5th of November. Tomorrow the month will once again indulge it's damp, morose mood...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

November Roses

As sweet as any other, though fragile and faded.
Spiced with valour, tattered with love, blessed with hope.

Next to the Poppy November's sweetest boutonniere.