Tuesday 24 December 2013


The wind is a howlin' tonight and although snow might not greet me tomorrow morning, I wonder how the trees will fare… this year I don't feel properly Christmassy (whatever that ought to feel like when you are no longer a child and the news confronts us with climate change and animal welfare and human rights horrors), and it was only when my beloved friend Mary sent me the poem below, that I felt a little comfort…


       This was the moment when Before
       Turned into After, and the future's
       Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.
       This was the moment when nothing
       Happened. Only dull peace
       Sprawled boringly over the earth

       This was the moment when even energetic Romans
       Could find nothing better to do
       Than counting heads in remote provinces
       And this was the moment
       When a few farm workers and three
       Members of an obscure Persian sect
       Walked haphazard by starlight straight
       Into the kingdom of heaven

                                                      U. A. Fanthorpe

This was the year of the death of a great leader, and in my smaller world, births of a future. Christmas was meant to be about birth and those three members belonged to my people's obscure Persian sect - truly obscure, because nobody ever seems to know the Three Wise Men were Zoroastrians! I like to think of those obscure gentlemen, walking haphazardly, guided only by starlight, (and what else would one want to be guided by?) straight into the kingdom of heaven. Those last two lines? My idea of heaven...

IMAGES FROM THE MAG: The Ice Cutters, 1911, Natalia Goncharova
                                                 Madonna With the Milk Soup, 1510, Gerard David 


Kenza said...

Lovely all of it. Yes the Zoroastrian kings, and most of what they brought is said to have come from Yemen.
"Madonna and Child" with the milk soup is one of my all time favorites.
With all humility, this is what I wrote about it once as a simple explanation of the painting. I thought you may be interested:
"This painting illustrates the style known as "Flemish primitive painting". The lines are simple yet the colors rich. Note the details of the castle and water through the window, as well as the three onions on the mantle. All the while, the theme is "rich" (the Virgin and her child) yet illustrated in a "simple" way, a mother feeding her child milk soup."

Infinite Riches said...

Hello Lovely Lady,

Belated Christmas Blessings to you and all of the T-B's... :)

This is rather late - you've already posted again since you wrote this, you prolific poet, you! - but I haven't been on here for ages, let alone commented. And this inspired me to do so... I do love Ursula Fanthorpe and that poem is perfect isn't it? I too failed to feel even remotely Christmassy this year. For me that was because I have been particularly ill of late and wasn't able to hear any Christmas carols or see my ickle pickles (aka nieces and nephew!) etc which usually bring me a sense of Christmas joy...

I am 35 TODAY (UGH!!) which I struggling to accept. But I am holding fast to hope that 2014 will bring better health - I HAVE to hang on to that daily... And I wish the same for you, Shaista. (Although I am amazed at how well you're doing despite everything, and there have been lots of 'firsts' for you this year. Your FOUR nieces/nephew are cute beyond words. Plus moving out of the parental home - you go girl!)...

In another post recently I see you mentioned it was TWENTY years since you last spent a Christmas in Mother India - wow! 1993 is a year I don't remember fondly but I do remember you arriving and bringing a sense of exotic beauty with you to school! And it's SIXTEEN (I think?) years since we both began at that uni which we also both then left not long afterwards! ;) Just think of the crazy (and at many times, tough-beyond-imagining) journeys we've lived since then?! Gosh and more gosh...

But, somehow, here we still are, going onwards, and in your case, upwards, always upwards.
With love to you,
KTD xox

Tess Kincaid said...

Happy 2014 Shaista...lovely post...

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