Rosy Cole

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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!

On The Queen's Sapphire Jubilee, A Memory

 

Burton-on-the-Wolds School, Leicestershire (Today, no longer a school)

 

It was a numb and lustreless day, spun out of many such, just like today, with ghosts of paler cloud shifting across the sky as if they knew where they were going.

Wet tarmac in the schoolyard, redundant climbing frame, the ropes slippery and uninviting. ‘February fill-dyke’, folk said.

The press of us in a tiled corridor, its walls upholstered with winter coats. The classroom floorboards worn, unvarnished and riddled with splinters. The muzzy smell of distant gas as the cast-iron boiler, fed from an unwieldy hod, sucked flame-sustaining humours out of coke.

Attention gained by the whipcrack of a cane against the long side of a teacher’s desk. The Road to Damascus, the poem of the boy who ‘ran away to Scotland, the people for to see’, times tables and spelling bees, words like ‘parliament’ for six year olds, and what was the opposite of ‘horizontal’?

Though small and rural, tt was a community of random cultures and many whispered secrets. The children of a shell-shocked world, who often looked pinched and old before their time, were weathering a raft of epidemics without modern drugs and antibiotics, and fed on the produce of ration books and allotments. There was National powdered milk, free orange juice and ghastly fish-oil which mothers supplemented with Extract of Malt. That treacly spoon meant it was high time to leave for the school bus which would lurch and sway through the lanes to the next village and to lessons prefaced with Assembly: The Lord’s My Shepherd, God be in my Head and in my Understanding, Praise My Soul the King of Heaven, and Ye Holy Angels Bright, not forgetting The Lord’s Prayer.

A strange miasma wreathed those days, the fumes of something hellishly forlorn our infant consciousness could not have earmarked, but which, later, I came to associate with the Holocausts. The very firmament shook at those atrocities and sent its warning vapours filtering deep within the spirit. But for the most part, we knew not good or bad. Life was just that, Life. We entertained ourselves with endless games. We listened to adventures on the radio. We read books. We took part in Nativity Plays and pantomimes, marching two by two to the village hall for rehearsals a mile or more away, past the Polish Refugee Camp, home to many of us. We were conscious of birdsong and minnows in the stream which we fished and released in string-handled jam jars. We picnicked freely in the fields and left no litter. We could identify flowers and knew where vegetables came from. We could recite passages of Shakespeare and Robert Browning, whether we understood them or not.

Entrance to Burton-on-the-Wolds Polish Refugee Camp

We were brimming with optimism, despite it all. The world was crawling out of a long black tunnel. We knew each other and took the safety of our rural community for granted.

On the afternoon of the day in question, one day in early February, we were listening to a story, having succumbed to a post-meridian lassitude. In the background, the distant clatter of kitchen plates being washed. There was no dining room. We ate at our desks, filing up to receive our ‘commons’ which arrived in huge metal containers from a factory some way off. I think it might have been a Rudyard Kipling story we were absorbed in, but couldn’t say for sure, when, abruptly, there was a scurry of feet, the echoing doorlatch lifted and, to our consternation, the Head Dinner Lady rushed in, hand clasped across her bosom, biting back tears of distress:

“We’ve just heard! The King is dead! He died in bed this morning!”

We were awestruck. We had no idea what it signalled. No idea of the rallying to the  British Crown, the excitement to come and the reinforced sense of identity. We were taken to the cinema the next year to see the Coronation in colour and afterwards play-acted it for months on end.

But a few people were lucky enough to afford televisions. The sets came with nine inch screens, so that what was lost in breadth was made up for in seeing the magical and fixating events as they happened.

That was the first one-way ray of exposure to the outside world. In the following decades, it was to fan out, and out, and out, into the all-consuming multi-media we know today, invading community life and uncoupling us from our own ‘real time’.

As a British Hungarian refugee friend commented a little while ago: There was much to be thankful for.

  



Information on Burton-on-the-Wolds Polish Refuge Camp

Recent comment in this post
Katherine Gregor
What a fascinating recollection, Rosy.
Sunday, 12 February 2017 14:00
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Unsung Song

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I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.
Rabindranath Tagore

 

My song resounds within a cloistered chamber. Set free, it might expire, like a fragile bird, on frosted thorns beneath the window.

How shall I cross the gulf between you and me without a Voice? A signature Voice, with a timbre, tone and inflection of its own, forged in grief and guilt, and tempered by the joys and blisses of my moments? A Voice, which, because it is authentic, steels me with hope and courage. I am God's creation. And so are you.

I must learn the art of listening, of crafting sentences for ears tuned into the zeitgeist and assumptions of our present world, our language and distracted themes. I must remember that cadence creates its own dynamic. Which is good. For you have not seen me coming. My word images will project onto the blank screen of your mind and they must be as finely-honed as I can make them, minimalist, many say, but as natural as the rhythm of the sea. Then I shall hope that the strings of your spirit will be touched, and that some vibrant echo will linger when my Voice is no longer a memory.

This is the singer's challenge. And the writer's, profoundly so.We all have gifts. What can we bring?

But when you feel you have no song to sing, perhaps you should examine your life for its abundance of blessings. A bird may sing on winter thorns when there is only ice to slake his thirst.


A few quotes from those who have practised these arts and know how the senses may flow into one stream.


Of course, there are those critics—New York critics as a rule—who say, Well, Maya Angelou has a new book out and of course it’s good but then she’s a natural writer. Those are the ones I want to grab by the throat and wrestle to the floor because it takes me forever to get it to sing. I work at the language.
Maya Angelou, author of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings**

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all.
Emily Dickinson

I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.
Jalaluddin Rumi

I would like to paint the way a bird sings.
Claude Monet

Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.
Victor Hugo

Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.
Rabindranath Tagore

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.
Chinese Proverb

Singing is a way of escaping. It's another world. I'm no longer on earth.
Edith Piaf

Sweetest the strain when in the song /The singer has been lost.
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (Ward)

God respects me when I work; but God loves me when I sing.
Rabindranath Tagore

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.
Chinese Proverb

Sing again, with your dear voice revealing/A tone Of some world far from ours, /Where music and moonlight and feeling /Are one.
Percy Bysshe Shelley.

** (Interview: The Paris Review)

Recent Comments
Stephen Evans
Love that first Tagore quote - too true!
Sunday, 08 January 2017 04:38
Rosy Cole
I think we've all been there, Steve. Hope you can take some inspiration from this post. One of the good things about the vintage y... Read More
Monday, 09 January 2017 17:25
Ken Hartke
Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come. -- Chinese Proverb Blessings to those who plant the seed f... Read More
Tuesday, 10 January 2017 18:46
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6 Comments

What Winter Knows

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On December 21st, the winter solstice and the fifth antiphon of Advent... 'O Oriens'

 

 

Triumph of morning 
clear as a dazzling mirror
banishing hoar-frost

splintering ice over ruts
releasing trapped air

 

fretted oaks moss-lit
engross a blank horizon

synapses dormant

like old folk at the bus-stop

waiting for a ride

 

ammoniac wind
scours the sinuses

of forsaken woods

June a mulch of memories

restoring root sap

 

skeletal boughs
stitch oblique shadows

to the westward fields

widgeon surf silver air

chevron-winged and sure

 

Hope tunes the theme
reborn in flight, and sunrise

breaks upon eternal azure

to greet a world reborn

O wonder! O Oriens!

 

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Poem from Mysteries of Light collection coming 2017

 

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
Beautiful!
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 14:13
Rosy Cole
Thanks kindly, Katia! This 'revelation' came to me last winter when out walking with El Springador. I kept turning the phrases whi... Read More
Saturday, 24 December 2016 12:59
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An Anachronism That Still Rings True

 

 

This is an updated post from the corresponding week of 2008 with a few reflections on government...

 

It's sobering that the fear expressed by Raul Ramos y Sanchez in Another Martyr in the Making?* is being discussed in Britain, and was, before the Presidential Election. At a popular level, it operates among comrades via jokes of poor taste. For the philosophical, it's a let's-not-go-there kind of scenario. But the more pessimistic seem to regard it almost as a given, a case not of 'if' but 'when?'

What Raul says is true: we are always hostage to the extremist fringe, but God forbid that they prevail!

The United Kingdom was delighted with the result on November 4, but when we observed the strikingly personal element in the wild jubilation that followed - despite sharing the hope and belief that it signalled the end of a dark era - we were left bemused, asking: What is it that the US really thinks has happened? Nothing is yet delivered. The financial powers of the world will still be pulling strings behind the scenes. Barack Obama has an incredibly complex task ahead and he won't please all of the people all of the time, or maybe even some of the time. We're in cosmic recession and the going will be tough.

*The aftermath of an American presidential assassination on the grounds of race would be a wholesale nightmare on a shrunken globe. Chaos theory rampant.

The Betsy Ross Flag

All that said, nothing, but nothing, is inevitable. This is a golden chance to get things on a more even keel, to shun greed and allow consideration of others to determine our actions. To do things because they need addressing and not, in the first instance, merely for material gain. Let's put the spotlight on responsibilities and forget about rights for a while. We can't all have our due.

This is something every single person can choose to do within his/her own sphere, however humble, within whatever parameters.

If that isn't the rubric on a personal scale, a President loses executive power in the people’s interest. The mandate is hollow. He becomes the creature of self-interested advisers. An architect's plan comes from above, but the spadework is done on the ground. The power at grass roots level is still the strongest there is, and is what Kings and Emperors have feared most of all down the ages. At its best, it works silently, like leaven, subtly altering the texture of life and experience for the better. It is far from the monstrous ambiguity that 'helping ourselves' has become. The more citizens who understand this and lend their energies to it, the more salutary the change for the common good. We rightly espouse democracy and enfranchisement, but we elect politicians to govern on our behalf. Like it or not, they are a general reflection of the People.

The recall to heritage may be a Utopian ideal, but that doesn't make it impracticable. A vision is a guide, a motivational tool. The Dream in earnest! A bid for a fairer and more humane society which does not languish in rhetoric. It can’t be realised without effort and, sometimes, considerable sacrifice, and giving way. Living as if it were already accomplished is the only way any person, community, or nation, can truly move forward. The most vulnerable and genuinely deprived in our respective countries are dependent on it.

And those devoted to such things can pray. At the very least, it's a focusing of our aspirations and intentions. Whatever we like to think, for all our assumptions, we don't have the last word. Didn't God promise Abraham that for the sake of ten right-minded men, the city would be spared? Ethnic minorities are still the butt of hatred and discrimination by some, but we might remind ourselves that the fears expressed when President Obama was first elected have not come to pass.

It's as simple as it is profound. Political systems in themselves aren't going to change the world. They are there to administer our will as best they can. The rest is down to us.

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”  William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

 

George Washington kneels in prayer at Valley Forge

 

 

 

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
Where intention goes, energy follows. This is the time for us to be very careful and wise as to where we direct our intentions, s... Read More
Saturday, 12 November 2016 08:11
Rosy Cole
Absolutely, Katia. Focus was never more important in any sphere of life with so many factors arresting our attention. It's certain... Read More
Saturday, 12 November 2016 14:03
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2 Comments

Latest Comments

Stephen Evans Spark Plugs and Synonyms
10 December 2017
The book of John was certainly the most poetic of the gospels. :-)
Rosy Cole Spark Plugs and Synonyms
10 December 2017
Steve, in your inimitable way :-) you have come an unconventional route to the all-time, universal T...
Stephen Evans Spark Plugs and Synonyms
09 December 2017
I have just started reading Umberto Eco's Kant and the Platypus (great title ) and this basic proble...
Rosy Cole Spark Plugs and Synonyms
08 December 2017
John Betjeman likened poetry to journalism more than to poetic prose. It's a helpful comparison to b...
Stephen Evans Spark Plugs and Synonyms
07 December 2017
Neology is an under-rated science.

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