Rosy Cole

Follow author Add as friend Message author Subscribe to updates from author Subscribe via RSS
Rosy Cole was born and educated in the Shires of England. Her writing career started in her teens. Four apprentice works eventually led to publication of two novels. Life intervened, but she returned to authorship in 2004. She has worked as a Press Officer and Publisher's Reader and is a member of the Society of Authors. Among widespread interests, she lists history, opera, musicals, jazz, the arts, drawing and painting, gemmology, homoeopathy and alternative therapies. Theology also is an abiding interest. As a singer, she's performed alongside many renowned musicians and has run a music agency which specialised in themed 'words-and-music' programmes, bringing her two greatest passions together. Rosy's first book of poetry, THE TWAIN, Poems of Earth and Ether, was published in April 2012, National Poetry Month, and two other collections are in preparation. As well as the First and Second Books in the Berkeley Series, she has written several other historical titles and one of literary fiction. She is currently working on the Third Book in the Berkeley Series. All her books are now published under the New Eve imprint. Rosy lives in West Sussex with her son, Chris, and her Springador, Jack, who keeps a firm paw on the work-and-walkies schedule!

Two Sides Of The Coin

b2ap3_thumbnail_JacksonAY-HousesofYpres.png

 

In respect of the Paris atrocities, and those elsewhere over recent years, I'm posting (for readers who have time!) an excerpt from my first published novel of 1980, my only foray into literary fiction. A new edition will be available in 2016. It's a 'psychological' novel where the real story unfolds below the surface of everyday life, almost as though the deeps of the subconscious are sending postcards for attention.

In the following hard-hitting passage, Angel
is at her lowest ebb, imprisoned within the tomb of her own psyche whilst coming to terms with a new reality. Her spiritual healing is silently taking place before the Easter experience dawns.

First, a brief overview of the book:

“All that time, life kept putting its face around the door, but never came into the room.”

When Angel learnt there was no remedy for her heart defect, she contemplated a frosted landscape that chilled more than blood and bone. To tell Jude would put a distorted complexion on their life together. Immersed in the precarious expansion of his business, he little suspected the true cause of her deteriorating health and changed perspective.

It seemed events were only too ready to conspire in her silence. The dilemma swiftly wove its web of misunderstanding which prompted Jude's infidelity and Angel's poignant rapport with 'the bookseller of Glenfinnie', reaching a crisis where Jude's own life was imperilled.

While she fought shy of facing the truth, Angel couldn't know that an incorruptible world would shift into focus and begin to turn dust to gold.

But before that could happen, she was to make an interior journey of discovery, seeing in her condition some analogy with the global unrest of our times.

Were Life and Death two sides of the same coin?

*******

'But, daily, as I trod the earth’s disintegrating crust, I knew it was a lie. The world was under sentence of death. In the searching light of truth, I saw how ‘out of true’ its values had become. The vision of New Jerusalem was condemned to everlasting distortion because of the conspiracy of silence about death.

So death, given the offensive, became a foe. He set out to avenge himself, assumed a grimmer visage than need be, deceived by his aptitude for masquerade. He feasted on human fear, abandoning his phantom form and becoming more palpable than life. Death did not suffer a crisis of energy because he consumed ours. Death did not suffer famine or homelessness, did not need to campaign for liberation. Death was having the time of our life, laughing behind the backs of those he stalked like a Nemesis, who, in shunning him, were ironically compelled to entertain him at their tables.

It was as though the whole cosmos was afflicted with morbid disease, spreading from tissue to tissue, limb to limb. People walked the streets, pallid and drawn, enervated by hypervigilance and from filling their lungs with pollution. Nowhere was the air really pure. The water they imbibed was not living water; it came from sources poisoned by effluent that had to be filtered and filtered again and still it was tainted and did not refresh the palate. The rivers flowed foul and dark as the Styx, an unwholesome habitation for struggling creatures. Many fish of the rivers wasted and died. Likewise the fish of the sea. For the oil that was spilled on its troubled waters was crude and restored no calm, only clung to the feathers of seabirds, paralysed their wings and bound them to the earth where they perished. They lay strewn on the shores among the cancerous corpses of fish and sea mammals. They were places of great carnage, the borders between water, air and earth: things driven into an alien sphere could not be sustained.

The elements rebelled. There were tornadoes that tore up trees and plucked homes from their foundations. Fire seethed through the earth’s fractured shell, spewed molten lava and devastated cities. Elsewhere, tsunamis deluged the landscape, rivers burst their veins and swept through the streets and over hearths, snatching valued possessions. There were gluts and droughts and famines. Scraps of humanity wandered in arid places without food, their flesh shrink-wrapped upon pitiful frames, having nothing to live for but the charity of those more fortunate.

There was no sense to be made of it, none at all.

For the floods could not be harnessed to water the dry plains and what some were deprived of ran to fat on the affluent nations so that their hearts could not bear the weight of their surfeiting and they were starved of life just the same. They knew that tomorrow they would die, so they ate and drank and were merry and plundered the earth until there was no more to be had. Then they grew pale and threw up their hands in despair. Economy! We must eke out the bit that is left to us. But they had no notion of the principles of economy, had never practised the art. (Could the leopard change his spots or the camel his sinuous spine to pass through the needle’s eye?) Economy they equated not with self-investment in a common good, but with grasping whatever they could for as little as possible.

So the deserts encroached year by year and the overwrought soil was harder to till. Folk reaped little reward for the sweat of their brow. But where was the Higher Authority to turn to for guidance in putting their house in order?

See! God is dead!

Indeed God was dead, at least dead to the world. God’s House was empty, citizens' houses were empty, empty and to let with vacant possession. But the plight of the homeless was mourned up and down. By day they forlornly wandered the streets and at night sought repose in the places of passage, in arcades, under bridges, on stations. There were houses enough and to spare, though not fit for habitation and too costly to repair. We have a new building programme, they were told. When New Jerusalem comes, you shall have palaces. You have only to step on the property ladder.

Then people said to themselves: What’s it all for? Why are we here? Where is the order, the sequence to contain us? To whom can we refer?

And the doctors dealt out opiates to subdue anxieties and said: Come back in a fortnight if you do not feel better and can explain in four minutes where it hurts. The scientists said: We are on the brink of a discovery, but we need funds. And the politicians set up commissions on borrowed money to look into matters and said: We must redistribute the nation’s wealth. 'To him that hath shall be given and to him that hath not shall be taken even that he hath’ must be exploited. Our white hope for the poor is the trickle-down effect. And they passed many laws to rectify wrongs. And it was there, on the statute book, that the wrongs had been rectified.

But the honey-tongued psychologists were perhaps the most beguiling of all. They readily acknowledged that humanity was bred from the clay and the mire and that what passed from dust to dust in a continuous revolution could not aspire to be gold. Nevertheless, they said, this is not Life. Life is not full of trauma and injustice. The problem lies buried in infancy when our forebears betrayed us.

These things sounded rational to ears grown attuned to sophistry. It was comforting to be absolved of all blame. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden had been denounced as a myth long ago, but no chink in logic was perceived, only a drain on resources. Folk began to lament the life others had denied them. They nursed their grievances in order to dispel guilt, but only became charged with frustration.

Then some rose up and demanded their rights and the air was oppressive with factions contending for liberation. Terrorists devised weapons and laid them in the path of their brothers. In crowded places they were laid, in streets, aboard planes, beneath cars, in hotel foyers. Men went in search of their lives and wives were widowed at night. The gutters flowed scarlet and children were forbidden to venture outside. A scapegoat was needed and lives were sacrificed to appease the craving for expiation. Many were martyred for the cause, but where was he possessed of so great a love as to lay aside his life for his friend, to find life in losing it? The factions ran to mutually exclusive extremes in pursuit of that strangely inaccessible freedom. Revolution! they cried. More blood must be spilled! But what had they purchased but debts? Where was the life that was strangled out of existence so that life-swapping, wife-swapping and other desperate diversions were rife? Everywhere humanity was in chains. Hostages were daily held. The prisons were full to overflowing and even a life-sentence shrank to a very few years with good behaviour.

Houses were divided against themselves, the sons from the fathers, the wives from the husbands, upper from lower and sinister from dexter: houses, classes, parliaments, kingdoms, divided and cross-divided against their own allies and partisans. Because in warfare it is necessary to identify with one side or the other, to adopt a totalitarian view and become a pawn in the strategy.

The price of life was death.

Yet mankind subscribed to the Truth it could not swallow and thereby perpetuated the travesty. Kingdoms united in altruistic bonds of self-interest that by economic kinship they might lay claim to quantities of this world’s goods and defend themselves from the Enemy in concert.

Meanwhile arms were amassed in dark places underground. It was a matter of pride whose weapons were the most potent, since what could destroy aroused greater awe than the creative capability. It was symbolic indeed, back to front and upside down, that the splitting of what was nuclear and whole, the last resource of integrity, should produce a mine of fresh energy.

Weapons were tested in desolate places to see what they could do. And the whole earth was riven with the dilemma. The aerial structure of the universe was ruptured. Toxic miasmas were released into the ether. Disfigurements and diseases were visited upon the newborn. There was no escape from the cycle of destruction.

But some were beginning to murmur among themselves. If God is dead, who then has ordained such a fate? And they looked at one another. They even saw that they were rationalising means of mass suicide. How bitter was the revelation – to have to sit down to a banquet of ashes in the throes of starvation. If God is dead, we are doomed. They turned and spoke, their voices rising in accusation:

Where is your panacea, O Doctor?
Where your humility, you who advance the frontiers of knowledge?
Where is your Monarchy, O Minister of the Crown?
Where is the Bridegroom you have espoused, O Church?

No answer came. Was it possible to weigh anchor in an abyss, or secure belief with a credit card? The predicament produced some deep-seated anxieties. Industries proliferated to maintain the cleanliness mankind had heard tell was the next thing to Godliness. Everything was to be clean and made new, new, new. It was more economical to discard what showed signs of wear than to try to make it good.

Then people began to see their carbon footprints in the sands of time. We must find a Way Forward, they said. We must return to our green innocence, seek Renewable Energy.

Urgent efforts were made to recycle waste but researchers were hard put to discover the chemistry that would break down indigestible substances and do it cheaply. Unlike the perfect economy of nature which bred life out of decay and achieved its own end with new beginnings.

And while they were there, in their laboratories, scratching their heads over alternative solutions, they stumbled across the first principle of science. They’d learnt it way back from their textbooks, though they didn’t know it by heart. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed.

O Evolution, Revolution, O Creation turned full circle. What a weight of hope and despair is compounded in that law. What condemnation! What salvation! O Death! O Life!'

 

 b2ap3_thumbnail_Church-RainySeasonintheTropics.png

 

Copyright

© copyright Rosy Cole 2015

Recent Comments
Founder Member
It's 4:10pm and I'm running (figuratively speaking) to catch a bus. Just didn't want to wait to let you know how astonished I am a... Read More
Sunday, 15 November 2015 21:13
Rosy Cole
Thank you, Charlie. It's good to know you found merit in it. This is where the tunnel of breakdown is darkest. I probably wouldn't... Read More
Monday, 16 November 2015 19:28
Founder Member
I do know what you mean about expectations or lack of. I often do ask myself why I'm still doing it. I just got a check from my pu... Read More
Monday, 16 November 2015 22:39
898 Hits
7 Comments

Tricks and Treats

b2ap3_thumbnail_Selection_999008.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

El Springador rufflects on his roll as Canine-in-Much-Waiting to an author

 

I was thinking only the other day, that Beagle's not too bright, reclining on the apex of his roof when he could be cushty on the sofa. I have one of my own in her study, so I put my paws up while she's writing. She gets a lot of help from me, though. I'm the ninety-nine per cent perspiration they're always telling you authors about. She's on the third book in a series with characters out of history, some time back when Dog was a lad, who have trouble getting into Crufts or something because their pedigree's not KC. Well, I never knew my father either, but I'm a bony fido sort of customer who knows wotz wot.  My Dad was a Lab, but I'm one of your dark Spanish types. Act first, think later, that's my mutto. “Come down off the ceiling, Jack!” she used to chivvy. “That curtain's not a trapeze!” Colefax and Fowler?  Never heard of 'em.

Sometimes I can catch the corner of her eye with a gentle swishing of the tail (Just like Maria Callas used to do with her fan to gain attention when she was still in the chorus.) It works a treat. Really breaks the concentration. Then we can have a cup of tea and bickies and a bit of a romp! And she'll probably do a few jobs while the kettle's boiling, like emptying the washing machine. This means I can nick her scanties and make off round the neighbourhood with them. She's so embarrassed, her arm appears out of the door with a Bonio bribe at the end of it. It's a terrific ruse, that one.

I'm very good at repelling invaders and do get a bit shirty with the mail and delivery folks. My best idea so far is my secret stash of brushes, hairbrushes, nailbrushes, washing-up brushes, shoe brushes, you name it. Those lovely stiff hackles  are great for giving trespussers the brush off. There's a grey moggy from Ghengis Khan's neck of the woods who lives close by and she loves to taunt me by sitting on the front lawn the other side of my full length bow window while I'm confined. I do a fair impression of Garfield, I can tell you. And don't get me started on Cesar Millan with all his dogmatic ideas. You never want to let your person watch that. I switch the telly off, paw right on the button. Can't have them thinking they rule the roost. Wowsers, no! It's bad enough having a Big Bruv knocking around, competing for her attention. I've made  no bones about it, I'm definitely the boss of him! Well, you have to keep your tail-end up, don't you? I reckon he's the one who should have the collar and lead. He keeps buying new batches of Nike socks – hell's teeth, you really have to shake the beggars to kill 'em! – they're my sock-in-trade, so to speak. Works on a trick-or-treat basis. Though, to be honest, they're much too well hung. Gorgonzola's not even close. I've actually had to get the hang of opening his drawer and filching clean ones.

Anyway, I get the walkies. She doesn't play fetch with him. Yippee! To the woods! Jump in hatch-back, fly like the wind. (Bit of off-roading while Herself reaches for a mint.) Whiff of moss, damp ferns, wild garlic. Musky fox, sweaty rabbit whooshing up the sinuses. Jump down, log in, kick up a dust to spread the message. Jack's back, folks, and he's brooking no nonsense. Re-do molehills. Not a clue about excavation, moles. Underground Movement from the wrong side of the tracks. Vault over thistles and briars, dive into thickets, put the fear of Dog into the pheasant population. Feathers! I'm so starved of feathers I've had to resort to plucking the fingers off gloves. They go into hiding and make like they belong on terrier firma. No wonder their wings are faulty. Not exactly an aerodynamic design. I've seen clay pigeons with better style! I remind them what happened to the Dodo and promise it's a favour, giving them free lift-off. I'm an impawtent cog in the wheel of evolution. Nose lined up, sprinting down the runway, whiskers curved against the wind, ahead a squawking squadron of birds rising up to the branches.  This is the best job on the planet!

And you know wot...I'll to be crackered for at least five minutes!

Jack, the dog who keeps track of the plot.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Jack-Morwenstow.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_ChrisMontacute.png

Copyright

© Copyright Rosy Cole, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015

Recent Comments
Stephen Evans
I can't quite make out the accent there. ... Read More
Sunday, 01 November 2015 02:12
Rosy Cole
Canine linguists among us may detect this as Springlish, albeit with a smattering of Woofspeak. However, the Springador tongue in ... Read More
Sunday, 01 November 2015 13:11
Virginia M Macasaet
I've been contemplating on getting a dog... I don't know if I'm ready to take in a new baby. I have many quirks inside the home ... Read More
Sunday, 01 November 2015 06:39
1638 Hits
16 Comments

Exile

b2ap3_thumbnail_Bierstadt-Wetterhorn.png

 

Happiness is not only a hope, but also in some strange manner a memory...we are all kings in exile. G K Chesterton

 

With the rhythms and cadences of National Poetry Day still ringing in the ether, I'm moved to share some of my favourite poems, while reflecting that it is too tall an order to compile an all-time hierarchy. Among the top twenty are one from Rupert Brooke, one from Robert Browning and this from T S Eliot.

Brooke excels at pace and poignant reflection. The poem referenced above says as much about homo sapiens as it does about the amusingly picturesque life of aquatic creatures. Browning's main strength is the dramatic monologue. It has a virility borrowed from Shakespeare and a refinement all his own. The chosen poem here, though, is magnetically wistful. The reader is permitted a glimpse of another life shimmering through the heat haze of an Italian summer day. Eliot's dense imagism needs to be constantly mined so that new treasure can be uncovered at each revisiting. All of them – along with hundreds of others – write great memorable poetry which snags mind, spirit and emotion.

But as a popular song can capture an essential truth, or mood, in the collective psyche, in her poem, Exile, Evangeline Paterson offers us a snapshot of the human condition through which we can find consolation in times of loss. I think it sums up everything about our journey, no matter how varied the roads we travel.

 

Yes, it is beautiful country,

the streams in the winding valley,

the knowes and the birches,

and beautiful the mountain's bare shoulder

and the calm brows of the hills,

but it is not my country,

and in my heart there is a hollow place always.

 

And there is no way to go back -

maybe the miles indeed, but the years never.

 

Winding are the roads that we choose

and inexorable is life,

driving us, it seems, like cattle

farther and farther away from what we remember.

 

But when we shall come at last

to God, who is our Home and Country,

there will be no more road stretching before us

and no more need to go back.

 

Evangeline Paterson (1928 – 2000) founder of Other Poetry

 

In his Rogue Strands blog, Matthew Stewart says:

Despite never having met her, I’ll always remember Evangeline Paterson with gratitude – she gave me my first decent magazine credits as editor of Other Poetry several years ago, backing my work every time I sent her off a batch. That encouragement was crucial to me at the time.

I chased down a copy of her New and Selected, titled Lucifer, with Angels and published by Dedalus (1994), enjoyed her poetry and desperately hoped she saw something of herself in my own incipient voice.

Perhaps the dispiriting part of this story is that news of her death reached me as I was immersed in her book, wondering how such talent had been sidelined by the contemporary poetry scene. Evangeline wrote clearly, imparting music and life to specific examples of universal issues. She was an excellent storyteller, squeezing her tales into concise verse, an undervalued attribute. Her self-effacing wit stood out, as in the ending to “A Wish For My Children”:

“and may you grow strong

to break

all webs of my weaving.”

Any educated reader not used to poetry could engage with her work immediately, which is an acid test that I ask any poet to pass. Evangeline Paterson deserves a wider readership now, just as she did during her lifetime. If you can get hold of her poetry, I thoroughly recommend it.

Copyright

© Copyright Rosy Cole 2010 - 2015

Recent Comments
Founder Member
“and may you grow strong to break all webs of my weaving.” What parents might best wish for their offsprings ....... Read More
Monday, 12 October 2015 21:04
Rosy Cole
...and that it may, perhaps, not be too late for us, too :-) Thanks for reading and commenting, Ashen. Lovely to see you here.... Read More
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 15:58
Founder Member
Leave it to Chesterton to drop a statement that could leave me pondering for hours. I will be thinking about this. I don't rememb... Read More
Monday, 12 October 2015 21:34
918 Hits
10 Comments

Heraldry

b2ap3_thumbnail_MichaelMasCameoVictorian.png

from Guido Reni's painting of St Michael

 

On the Feast of St Michael and All Angels (Michaelmas)

 
Is this how it should have been?
Day's conflagration bids farewell,
secedes from night's increase,
above the shadowed downs and hills
an ash of silhouetted leaves
and purple isles adrift in sheen-still seas

Fawns sporting soft suede pelts
consort in dappled shade
and flinch at crackling sound,
leap ditch and nettle-bed,
and teazles stand their ground
where angels pass among the thistledown

The seedheads' broken spheres,
like melting moons, float forms
upon the breath of destiny,
green bloom of wheat on purl-ribbed fields,
a silent, living testimony
of grace through winter's whining threnody

Unsheathe your sword, Crusader!
Halt rampaging gods of mammon
that rape the earth and starve the poor,
cohorts of a deviant Demon
whose scorched earth feeds no widened maw,
whose glamorous light beguiles Hell's door!

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_BotticelliAnnunciation.png

Botticelli - Annunciation

b2ap3_thumbnail_MorrisArchangels.jpg

William Morris tiled reredos, Clapham Church, West Sussex

poem from The Twain, Poems of Earth and Ether

Copyright

© copyright Rosy Cole 2010,2012,2013

Recent Comments
Founder Member
Just out of bed from a long nap (my most recent pastime) I found this fine work, a fitting commemoration of the day. I'm still men... Read More
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 00:54
Rosy Cole
Thanks kindly, Charlie, for the endorsement. It's especially rewarding when readers enjoy a poem because it's personal in a way th... Read More
Saturday, 03 October 2015 13:00
Founder Member
I have a short list of people who I feel said the best things ever said. These would be Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Dorothy Parker a... Read More
Saturday, 03 October 2015 17:22
805 Hits
7 Comments

Latest Comments

Ken Hartke To Lucinda, Whoever You Were
24 June 2017
Thanks, Rosie. She has been gone 100 years but is still a presence.
Rosy Cole To Lucinda, Whoever You Were
24 June 2017
Love this. Brimful of poignancy and humanity.
Founder Member The Delight of Hand-Writing
19 June 2017
Lovely piece of writing ☼ Reminds me to befriend my fountain pen again. I wrote the first 3 chapters...
Stephen Evans Something Didn’t Happen
14 June 2017
I wrote it some time ago but it did seem strangely appropriate.
Rosy Cole Something Didn’t Happen
13 June 2017
The story of modern News media. This just about sums it up http://www.pilgrimrose.com/index.php/33-t...

Latest Blogs

  What I know of you for certain is only what’s recorded on your tombstone and two grainy old photographs. Certainly, you were once a girl. A wife...
Choppy waters foam at their tips in curls of white, churning waves into shore as a milkshake blending in the darkest, richest chocolate. They break ...
Photos of beautiful baby Caroline, our girst great grandaughter are all over our house. Vickie is again helping Erin today during this difficult time....
I feel a sense of calm within.   After many days of unraveling events, serenity has finally emerged. Sometimes in the thick of it all, I wonder if ...
Once upon a time In a distant land Something didn’t happen And everyone was glad. Once upon a time Neither here nor there Something didn’t happen But...