Collecting Leaves ~ A Poem With Little Punctuation

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Gifting myself an hour outdoors in the weak Autumnal sunshine this morning, the intention being to collect what I could, in that time, of the bounty of leaves lying piled up and scattered all around the house and under nearby trees, I savoured every minute of the precious outdoor time. Every bagful would, in only one year, become freely acquired luscious soil, a friable bounty known as “leafmould”.

As I walked back inside afterwards, my fingers frozen to the bone, peeled off my cosy outdoor boots and set my sights back onto working at the computer, I heard a beautiful tune playing on the radio: “Anno Epilogue” by Oliver Davis.  The haunting melody seemed to contain a mirror of the mood I was wafting through. I sat down, with intentions of attending other projects, but instead I wrote this poem.

I hope it will make sense  … there was little punctuation added whilst writing, not wishing to interrupt the flow of the poem writing itself!

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[Please continue reading until the Post Script, dated 21 November 2015, at the end of this post. Thank you.]

 

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Collecting Leaves

Golden sunshine captures me as I look into the leaves …
Smells and sights and sounds I feel
As into the depths of golden hues
I allow my spirit to sink and swim and swallow wholeness
From without into within and all around and all beyond me
When all of a sudden the wind whips up and darkness descends into the daylight
Clouds overhead look to me like mighty thunderous promise
While hard drops of icy water hit the surface of the layers on the ground
Sleety icy cold and glorious, windy wet and perfectly sound
I feel the ice begin to enter through my too thin and puny rubber gloves
Knowing soon I shall have to head back inside
But I wish to remain outdoors where I can smell the Autumn and play in her gifts to all mankind
It might be Friday the thirteenth, but superstition is not a worry to me
I am free and I am unencumbered by the fears that grip so many on this day
All I want to do is stay outdoors and be warm enough to play
I look up and see the holly berries ripening on a holly tree
And quickly realise that there lies more promise, more gifts from Nature on this day
Soon I shall gather boughs of berried holly, before the little birds take them all away
And that way we shall have some festive season redness of natural beauty in our home
As we sit in front of log fires, catching up with loved ones who so often are very far away
Playing games and sharing stories, looking at photographs and reminiscing on times we’ve loved
Knowing that every moment is a precious gem, one not to be squandered
But that day soon comes, when we know not when.
And so for now I gather in my harvest of leafy gold dust,
Which when it turns to dust will become my gold
As leaves of many colours and types and sizes become transformed
From rich, papery, vibrant shades of Autumnal tones in every golden hue
Into the rich brown, sweet smelling earth from which they once came …
Once more they are and will become … leafmould.
As we go from dust to dust, so leaves too return to the Earth
From whence we died, we each become new birth.

*

by  Holly Maxwell Boydell

*

[all rights reserved]

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Note: If Readers too would like to hear the beautiful tune I heard before penning this poem, and replayed while I collected its stream of words, here is a link that I found to “Anno Epilogue” by Oliver Davis, via YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-71KIvYOKLk

 

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Blessings,

Holly x

 


POST SCRIPT

Saturday 21 November 2015

I wrote the poem “Collecting Leaves” at lunchtime last Friday, 13 November 2015, and posted it onto The Holly Tree Tales that afternoon.  Little did any of us know that, later that day, the most atrocious tragedy would hit Europe, matched only by some of the atrocities being carried out in other parts of the world too.  Two lines in the poem have been haunting me all this week:

“It might be Friday the thirteenth, but superstition is not a worry to me
I am free and I am unencumbered by the fears that grip so many on this day”

At the time of writing, those words seemed relevant to the ambience and experience on the day, but in hindsight they appear truly crass – which is not and was not, by any means, intended. Out of respect to all those who were hurt on that day, in untold and known ways in Europe and around the world, and to all those who are still hurting in the aftermath of the atrocities,  I have since removed those two troubling lines.  There is now a revised version of this poem, which appears later in the blog, republished and with more punctuation inserted.

In mindful consideration, I continue to hope for peace to come into all of our lives.

~ Holly Maxwell Boydell

An Impromptu Lecture by Richard Demarco, CBE OBE

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I am extremely privileged to know the indomitable Professor Richard Demarco (pictured above explaining his Archive at Summerhall), having first come across him in Edinburgh during the early 1990s, and am honoured to call Richard a friend.

As is his wont and despite his advanced years, Richard Demarco continues to be immensely generous about sharing what he has with others, regardless of where he is or with whom, and he loves an audience with whom to engage.   Ever enthusiastic about disseminating his vast knowledge, conveying his passion in every word, and describing his many encounters with bright and brilliant minds, all of whom he recognises as artists, Richard thrives on speaking with anyone who is interested to hear what he has to teach, and speaks with brilliance and compelling emotion about the things most dear to his heart.

On one of my visits to Richard’s administration base in Edinburgh a couple of years ago, a small crowd had gathered, to whom Richard enthusiastically began to lecture. I switched on my camera to capture the moment in photograph, but hit the video setting, in error.  Thus, instead of photographing him, I found I was filming the exceptional moment, which turned out to be fortuitious.  Richard noticed that he was being filmed, but appeared not to mind the ‘intrusion’, so I kept the film running.  To be honest, I wish I had video or audio recordings of every meeting  and gathering at which we have met thus far, all of which have been fascinating, inspiring and intellectually vibrant.  Richard Demarco is a stellar human being and one who never fails to enliven the world around him, a world which I am so fortunate to be able to encounter him in.

I share this treasure of mine in good faith, the result of my impromptu filming of an impromptu lecture by Professor Richard Demarco, CBE OBE on 10 July 2013, at Summerhall in Edinburgh. The film clip contains mentions of the Edinburgh Festival, the climate and Nature, made poignant by the presence of a cherished portrait of the late Joseph Beuys, renowned artist and environmentalist, a much-treasured and missed friend of the great man.  There are also several ‘guest appearances’ through a creaky door, by those going about their business of managing the Demarco Archive at Summerhall.  I hope none will mind being featured in this little film.

 

 

As an aside before ending this post, mere mention of the fact that this was filmed a day after Richard Demarco’s 83rd birthday.  Richard has recently celebrated turning 85, and continues to travel widely to speak of Art, his great love, and many things related, inspiring all who come into his orbit.  What a remarkable man he is!

With blessings,

Holly x

 

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Note:  For more information about Professor Richard Demarco, please search this site for other post(s), where you will also find links to his website.

 

 

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NB.  The film clip featured is the property of and remains copyright to Holly Maxwell Boydell, with all rights reserved.  The film and this post may be shared, but not used elsewhere for gain without prior and appropriate agreement / permission.

 

 

 

 

Copyright ©  The Holly Tree Tales
All rights reserved.

Diferentes Coordenadas Diferentes Visões Do Nosso Mundo

A little story in pictures by my beautiful childhood friend, Adrienne Silva, exhibiting her artwork in Lisbon (earlier this year). Such talent, such beauty.

I am so honoured to call you my friend, Adrienne.

Holly x

Adrienne Silva

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My Walk About with viewers were planned by Ana Paula. I loved it. A South African’s story told in Lisbon

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Fellow artist, Nuno, Adelaide also came from Lyons France…flew to Lisbon in her Cessna, and I. The last time I saw Adelaide is when I met her at Mundial in Cape Town.

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Friend and fellow painter from Sintra.

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Jaya comes from Paris. We visit my work in Principe Real.

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The three painters Adrienne , Isabel and Jirina. A gathering in the gallery for our Walk Abouts. A few days after opening.

The Invitation to the show

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Elegantly Fading Tulips

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No matter their colour, a simple bunch of tulips is always welcome, with their quiet freshness and stunning simplicity.

A vase full of tulips never fails to delight, even as they quietly fade …

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Quite unlike many other flowers, over time tulips fade with elegance, beauty and grace, such as these lovely red ones above, whose blooms matured with ever increasing richness as they lasted on and on. Next time, I shall remove the leaves sooner, to preserve the purity of the flowers’ show!

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I was given this gorgeous bunch of pure white tulips above recently. Every day it brought me new, delighted pleasure. When the leaves had finished their green sharing, the flowers wanted to hold on to the stage … until they too began to fade … with sheer and singular beauty.

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I watched each day, as the pretty petals began to crinkle and gently recede, and the blooms became as delicate-looking as the purest snowy feathers, as silky as gossamer down, so elegant, so fine.

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When the petals gently began to drop, like the loveliest snowflakes on they shone, revealing all that existed inside the precious blooms …

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And when they came to the end of their exquisite blooming time, I snipped each faded tulip into my compost bucket, as their job was not yet done. In my heart I felt awe and gratitude and ‘thanked’ the tulips silently, for bringing so much grace and elegance into each moment …

Tulips … so special, from their exquisite freshness to their demure, divine decline.


Holly x

A Tuesday in Tune

As I write this, I am listening to the hauntingly beautiful sounds of “Elevazione” by Domenico Zipoli, which I have played over and over today, its depth and beauty a perfect accompaniment to the dark and light tones of my day.

My computer keyboard wants to make music with its words, to capture at length some of what today has held. All day the words have been trying to come, in between experiences too numerous to allow me the chance to sit and fully absorb them, or write them down. I have hastily noted down little prompters as the day has progressed, whilst attending a range of tasks, and now I am trying to make some sense of them, more than just to say it has been a day filled with ‘symbolic somethings’.

There is something deeply wonderful about this tune, which I have heard many times before, but which has taken on a greater resonance for me today and has brought with it the comfort and the joy that I needed to carry me gently over the threshold of an au revoir. After a special Mother’s Day weekend together, only the eldest of my two children with me, I bade farewell to my daughter this morning, as she set off back to university. The past five years have held many such moments; many tough moments of saying goodbye to my children, or the excitement of anticipating their return with joy.  With each parting my breath catches; often the intensity of the moment clutches at my entire being, making it impossible not to cry. This music has been like the arms of angels today, although this has been one of those days when perhaps the blessing was more a beautiful gift, than an urgent need to be held through a high tide wave.

There are days and moments when the precise time to do something presents itself and today has felt that way … as if the time was ‘anointed’ and ripe to produce something of note. Why then, was I not able to stop the happenings for long enough to allow me to jot them all down in detail? Perhaps, because like a symphony, texture and tapestry is needed for the full picture to reveal itself, and it was not until the end of the day that the tale had finished being ‘told’?

It is the end of my day now and I have written as much as will be written today. Perhaps tomorrow will be when I gather the fragments and complete the picture, in order to present it in some lovely way?

And so, as I sign off having written here, but not revealed what I thought I would be saying, I share this link to the version of “Elevazione” by Domenico Zipoli, the tune I have been listening to for much of this misty British day:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hx010oVbRnA .
It is a most beautiful piece of music, movingly played by a young Brazilian orchestra, Escola de Música de Brasília.  Recorded 10/09/2009.

I hope the music will move you and elevate you, at least as much as it has been blessing my Tuesday.

In harmony,
Holly x

 

 

A remarkable man: Richard Demarco, CBE

On 22 March 2014 I wrote a short piece, in honour of a man I am proud to call a friend, which I ‘published’ onto the Facebook social media platform, in order that others might read it too. My short note was received with gratitude and favour by those who hold Richard in high esteem, as I do, and for that I was immensely grateful. These are the words and the image, which I had taken too, that was ‘published’ with them …


A remarkable man: Richard Demarco, CBE

I am writing this about and for Richard Demarco, to show him my appreciation and respect, a couple of days before a special event takes place for him, in a quiet way, in Edinburgh. I am incredibly proud to call myself a friend of Richard Demarco, a man who has had a profound effect on the lives of many and varied people in Britain, Europe, and around the world, through the world of Art, from his base in the ‘cultured’ city of Edinburgh.

On Monday 24 March 2014 Richard Demarco CBE will receive the highest award that his own city of birth has to offer. It has been a long time in coming, and I am one of the many who warmly applaud Professor Demarco in receiving this, the Edinburgh Award. He certainly has gone above and beyond boundaries or expectations and, unasked, has done more than most to foster links and goodwill between the United Kingdom and the rest of the world, using Art in all its forms as his medium and communication tool.

With family origins in Italy, and Scotland as his birth place, in his own right Richard Demarco is a most talented artist, his sketches and watercolours amongst some of the most beautiful, and informed, that I have ever seen, and for this alone he gets my recognition and respect. Richard Demarco is also one of the most passionate people I know, a true phenomenon, with the most incredible stamina and verve for life. Those who have been in his space have felt captivated by Richard and hearing him speak is an experience that few are left untouched by; he is, quite simply, a force to be reckoned with.

For many reasons, Richard Demarco’s own life deserves documenting, his own personality and grace applauded, and his own words heard – but always he thinks of others. Richard quickly sees where there is magic in people he meets, always seeks ways to put people and their given talents together, constantly looks for ways to better others’ lives. He has his own voice, undoubtedly clear and strategic, but he is always mindful of his fellow man… and, need I say, he is always mindful of his environment too. Richard is, without doubt, a thoughtful man, on every level.

Now in his 84th year, Richard Demarco has an archive that would take your breath away. The Demarco Foundation Archive contains immeasurably valuable historic records, incredible and inspiring artworks by others, many that will have to remain hidden, at least until a suitable place is found to safely house and make the entire collection available to the public, in perpetuity. Amongst the vast collection of international artworks, are records of deep and significant meaning, documented life witnessed and shared and expressed by others, which spans at least six decades, including information about and material from each and every Edinburgh Festival since its inception. Most profoundly, amongst the Demarco Archive are excruciatingly insightful, haunting and valuable records, giving glimpses into personal links with all sorts of artists and others in Europe and Britain during World War II. This part of the collection, alone, is worth national protection.

Many do not know this, but Richard Demarco has participated, in one significant way or another, in every single Edinburgh Festival, since it began in 1947. He remains committed to its original purpose, wishing to see it become once again the cultural and elegant festival which it used to be, where people’s spirits were lifted, lives enriched and elevated through Art in its many forms. Recently recognition for his positive role in humanity came from distant shores, when Richard Demarco was named European Citizen of the Year 2013. This is something that Edinburgh should be immensely proud of, and proves not only his commitment and loyalty to people everywhere, but his longevity of ambassadorial goodwill.

A passion that I share with Richard Demarco, besides a commitment to take care of our environment by planting trees (reference the oak trees planted by Joseph Beuys in Europe, as a symbolic gesture decades ago, with the expressed wish for this to continue, to protect the earth, the bees, and our lives), is to hear the voices and the hearts of children everywhere. Children, after all, will grow up to be the people who lead us, and it is for them that we ought to live well and decide our actions with wisdom now. Through Richard I learnt about “Room 13 International”, a movement that began in the West of Scotland about twenty years ago, which is now global, empowering the lives and minds of children around the world. I was especially touched to learn that “Room 13” exists in several areas of South Africa, the country where I was born and grew up, and that “Room 13” was one of the movements close to Nelson Mandela’s heart. He, too, cared deeply for children. Like Nelson Mandela, young people delight Richard Demarco; he never seems to tire of engaging them in elevating thought and suggesting opportunity. Like the artist Joseph Beuys, Richard believes that everyone is an artist – and that this is something to be nurtured young.

While he encourages Art, in its many and varied forms, most of all I get the impression that Richard Demarco responds to beauty, and to where he sees love present, wherever and however it is expressed – however deeply or otherwise – as long as it is truthfully expressed.

In some ways, Richard reminds me of Gandhi, who once said words to the effect that “it is expensive to be my friend …”, because Richard Demarco’s visions are enormous, his effect in the world he influences great, while his own means remain surprisingly humble. I love this man Demarco. I love that he is who he is and has done what he has done. He has annoyed some, he has delighted others. That matters little to me, because in him I see the truth lived out, and he is, like all of us, a mere mortal. I love Professor Richard Demarco’s passionate commitment to the human race and to elevating the minds of everyone he comes in contact with, whatever the means, regardless of age, background or creed. Richard Demarco is fearless in the pursuit of his passion: to stimulate consideration and thought, and to empower others. This I love and resonate with most of all.

As you prepare to receive your Edinburgh Award, so justly and rightly deserved, I want to say that I believe you are a shining star, Richard, and I am deeply humbled and grateful to know you as a friend, and a mentor in the journey of life. Bravo and congratulations on receiving The Edinburgh Award … not yet, perhaps, the greatest of your many ongoing achievements, but certainly a highly significant one, and the one that has been the most immediately deserved, yet has taken the longest to arrive.

Well done, our friend, well done.

Richard Demarco, CBE - in conversation via modern technology, with camera always at the ready - August 2013

Richard Demarco, CBE – in conversation via modern technology, with camera always at the ready – August 2013

 

 

FOR FURTHER INFO:

FB  https://www.facebook.com/richard.demarco.923/about
Bio  http://www.richarddemarco.org/documents/35.html
Digital Archive  http://www.demarco-archive.ac.uk/
Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Demarco

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright ©  The Holly Tree Tales
All rights reserved.

When we can see the beauty in a flower

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This small piece was first ‘published’ via The White Space at http://www.facebook.com/thewhitespace on 25 January 2015.  I copy it here, for anyone who needs to be reminded of beauty, or to receive a hug of understanding in their moment of difficulty.

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When we can see the beauty in a flower, it says more about us than it does about the flower.

When we perceive beauty, we ‘see’ the very thing that is in each of us, and it is available to each of us, because it emanates from deep within. Go there, if you need to find beauty, solace, peace, love… Go deep within, to where your essence is, and that is where you will find Life … the life that is within us all, and in every natural thing on this earth. That essence, that life, can never be destroyed. As long as there is a universe, there will be life. Look at the flowers, look at the stars, look into the eyes of a child, look into the eyes of a true friend, look at the waves, look at the wind blowing the grass sideways … all that is life, the very life that fills every cell of your Being. It is where hope dwells, it is where we draw our energy from, it is all around us, and we are all one with it… we only have to become aware, to know this. It always is. You are, and I am. We are all one.

 

 

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Beauty, elegance and life in a pure white tulip.

 

 

 

Love,
Holly x