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. 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!

I Hear The Music Now

 

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a young student of seventeen

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His study in Berlin

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His arrest in Berlin

 

On this day, I offer a poem as a tribute to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His family believed this gifted and 'lovable' man was destined to be a musician. But the Cosmos had other plans.

On April 9th, 1945, he was executed at Flossenburg Concentration Camp in Bavaria for his stance against the abomination of Hitler's Jewish policies. Bonhoeffer's tremendous energy in the cause of justice and peace knew no bounds, even after his arrest. He inspired and gathered about him so many of like mind prepared to do the distance.

Exactly two weeks later, on April 23rd, liberation came, at Flossenburg via the 90th US Infantry. The Third Reich fell as surely as the walls of Jericho.

On that spring dawn, a tidal power was released into the universe that has carried subsequent generations. And those born into a traumatised world within an ace of his passing were touched by his shadow and have best ridden the current of that Life he set free.

 

'There is a meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveller.' Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

I am breaking in two
Hell opens its mouth wide
bidding Heaven fill it

Am I a whited sepulchre?
pacific as Christ
before my warden
when a heart of anger
rages under the ribs
at living blasphemy?

Pictures from the past
assail the mind
taunting and tantalising
a Beethoven sonata at dusk
my fingers dabbling harmonies
from liquid keys

preternatural chords
that could transform
a disordered world

Vintage values, vintage leather
a timeworn oaken table
rye bread, schnitzel, sauerkraut
blessed conversation
the family as one dipping
its hand into the dish

my sister's merriment
her sparkling wit, she with whom
I shared a sacred womb

Tubingen, the Neckar's sheen
willow-teased and placid
ancient gables pinked against sky
the halls of learning
prescriptive ink, mottled parchment
a smell of dust and destiny

Embattled senses piqued
drunk on heroic visions
Wagner, Schiller, Goethe
donning the mental shoes
of Luther, Hegel, Kepler
confabulating new fire

The zeal of youth!
The rampant certainty
Good systems of belief
might slay hubris and heresy
Christians foiled, resisted, banned
the torque tightening

But no cheap Grace,
Grace the other side of pain
and prayer, Grace prodigal
and purposeful, power-releasing
stone-breaking Grace
of Heaven's radiant geode!

Orgies of cleansing
God's Chosen hounded, trampled
the burning and the broken glass
the Prince of Darkness
determined to exterminate
his own reflection

The hiding, oh, the hiding
the labyrinthine whispers
earthquaking jackboots
persecution by a buckled cross
the leading where I had no wish to go
like the Lord's disciple

I ask the warden how
his diphtherious daughter does
footsteps clatter in concrete corridors
echoing against the mindless walls
It is Time, O Lord. I am Thine,
You bid me come and die

O perfect irony! O Spring!
A round, rose-tinted dawn!
Birds fly upward like broadcast seed
I see the outlined noose, the narrow way
the gallows way, a doorway framing light
This, this is where it begins...


I hear the music now...

 

from Mysteries of Light (collection in preparation)

preview

 

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Flossenburg Concentration Camp - courtesy of the Holocaust History Archive

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Flossenburg Castle

BonhoefferDr.png - 62.23 kb

 Shared from www.pilgrimrose.com

Copyright

© © Rosy Cole 2015

Recent Comments
Anonymous
I HEAR THE MUSIC NOW: I was excited just to see you had done something on Bonhoeffer. I've just read through it once and I'm sur... Read More
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 01:30
Rosy Cole
Thank you so much, Charlie. I am touched that you found personal treasure in this poem and deeply appreciate your enthusiasm and i... Read More
Thursday, 29 January 2015 15:47
Virginia M Macasaet
Beautiful! Love this post!
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 07:32
2070 Hits
4 Comments

The Poet and The Needle's Eye

 

 

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. T S Eliot

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and thought has found its words. Robert Frost

Poetry is language at is most distilled and most powerful. Rita Dove

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance. Carl Sandburg

You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you. Joseph Joubert

A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him. Dylan Thomas

Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the grand canyon and waiting for the echo. Don Marquis

In poetry, you must love the words, the ideas and the images and rhythms with all your capacity to love anything at all. Wallace Stevens

What is uttered from the heart alone, will win hearts to your own. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A thousand dreams within me softly burn. Arthur Rimbaud

 

There is a running debate in literary forums about the nature of poetry, what it is  and how it can be distinguished, which leaves aspiring poets and readers in a state of confusion.

Our ancestors, right up to the 1950s, seemed to know what it was by instinct. Sound poetry always had, and always will have, a universal resonance. Verse, doggerel, limerick all had a place, usually humorous, that was lauded for its outlandish nonsense and astute comment. The chronicles of history sparkle with the light-hearted asides of versifiers. (Imagine that now! Maybe we are better bred, or, more likely, it's just that we have lost a sense of sportmanship.) They were in rhyme because that made them memorable and somehow funnier and more piquant.

Rhyme has long gone out of fashion and is much maligned. This seems to coincide with the 'freedom' our Western civilisation believes it has gained after doing battle with tyranny in two World Wars. Added to that, the splitting of the atom, with its proliferation of consequences, has undermined integrity. These milestones in cosmic history have challenged scientific and moral will. There was once a prevailing view of what constitutes Good and Evil, whose vital shades of grey must, nevertheless, at some point resolve into monochrome and line-drawing. The Golden Rule was key.

So, the old framework is demolished. Some maintain that God is dead. This leaves no reference point, no order in which we can belong, and much less, thrive. It actually leaves nothing to rebel against except the supposed causes of our amorphous pain and offers no hope beyond a fateful redistribution of suffering.

In the wake of all this, our artforms could only become fragmented if they were to be expressive of reality, our vision self-absorbed. It's harder now to communicate in clear and eloquent terms despite our reach via the media.

Art, like life, requires a vehicle. Perhaps 'vessel' is more apt. It thrives upon a paring down of options. Ultimately, economic recession, focused horizons, can only be good for it. We are made in the Creator's image. We are compelled to create. There is nothing like repression for producing work that exalts us.

The principle is vividly illustrated by Brian Keenan, the Beirut hostage of the eighties, who suffered unimaginable torture at the hands of his captors, yet is able to say this:

"Captivity had recreated freedom for us. Not a freedom outside us to be hungered after, but another kind of freedom which we found to our surprise and relish within ourselves."

It is an extreme example. But art, in order to prove its value, needs the needle's eye.
  
All this has a bearing on how we regard poetry. The call to rhyme and rhythm tends to flag up bad poetry, not only because of the sophistication, or otherwise, of the rhyme scheme, but because of the discipline it demands in the use of crisp, telling, multi-layered imagery within a prescribed number of balanced syllables.

Fear not, this is by no means a plea to abandon free verse, nor to discredit it. We are of our times and must ply with the momentum. It is a plea on behalf of those who are finding their way through thickets of the empirical, self-conscious, imitative and idiosyncratic. Good communication is good manners. And yes, that can take place on many levels, not just the immediate, nor even the conscious. (The Eliot quote above is profoundly telling.) But something within the piece hooks, halts and captivates the reader, who is present in spirit during the writing.

We may take on board academic opinion, be dazzled and informed by it, but then forget it. Forget the vogue. Be still and hold counsel with yourself, listen to the rhythms of your soul, tap into the deep well of emotion and experience that is the unique You, be driven by the language, shuffle the images so that they fall into a new pattern in the mind's kaleidoscope. Latch on to a metre that matches your subject, as Robert Browning did, for one, in How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix.

Poetry is timeless and its form should best support its theme. In the haystack of opinion about what makes for real poetry, first find your needle!

Copyright

© ©Rosy Cole 2010 & 2015

Recent Comments
Stephen Evans
"Good communication is good manners" - very nice.
Monday, 12 January 2015 15:54
Rosy Cole
Thanks kindly for reading down that far ... Read More
Monday, 12 January 2015 17:19
Anonymous
And good habit. Thank you Rosy! Will have those in the house who can read, soak it in. ... Read More
Monday, 12 January 2015 22:43
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Losing The Compass

 

Winter - Ivan Shishkin

 

A rusty nail placed near a faithful compass, will sway it from the truth, and wreck the argosy.
Sir Walter Scott

 

My new year's resolutions have focused on re-ordering the week to make the best use of time. This is a flawed premise to begin with because we can't always make that judgment, only what we think is best. Every day is a tussle between the demands under our noses and the agenda we feel we ought to be pursuing. Henceforward, I shall be seeking to oust material and metaphysical clutter in the firm belief that it consumes energy, eats time, prevents clarity and fosters tunnel-vision. It impedes progress on all fronts.

This is no easy ticket. Never underestimate the power of habit. Its genesis is in our earliest breaths, long before we attain years of 'wisdom' and the freedom to make our own decisions. Which seems to indicate that our underlying patterns of behaviour are laid down by the generation behind us. How often have you seen history repeated in successive generations?

Miranda [name changed] a good friend of mine during the eighties, when we were in the chorus of an opera company together, underwent a crisis of faith about her role in marriage just as she turned forty when Life was supposed to begin. She said the relationship was stagnant. She couldn't feel about her husband the way she had when they were first hitched. Lovemaking was mechanical. It wasn't that she had come to despise Rob, or even dislike him, it was that everything felt flat, perfunctory and unrewarding. Her two early teen children seemed to need a degree of emotional support she couldn't give. She had been a devoted mother, but there were times when she wished she could hand over the responsibility for them to someone else. She was convinced she had come to the end of the road and made it quite clear that she was on the lookout for new horizons and a new partner.

Rob was totally bewildered as to what had gone wrong. In his view, it had been a loving, exciting, and stable marriage which had grown staid at the edges, perhaps, but even that had its comforts. He looked on dismayed and bereft, unable to reach his wife and ready to accommodate any proposition concerning a separation which would bring her to her senses and a realisation of what she was losing.

But if he was bewildered, so was Miranda. You see, when she was fifteen, about the age her children were now, her adored father had died. She had lost her compass. She had no blueprint as to what happened next. She couldn't relate to the (recognised) needs of her son and daughter, nor respond adequately to the emotional and psychological needs of a partner. She was grieving for the vulnerable teenager she was back then.

Separation, with a view to getting back together, seldom closes the rift because, as in this case, it is usually a one-sided recourse. Rob did not want her to go. He wanted for them to work through the phase together. It was finally decided that he should get a posting to another part of the country, while Miranda kept the house so that the children's lives and schooling were disrupted as little as possible.

Not long afterwards, I lost track of Miranda, Rob and their children. He left and she had a sequence of lovers and eventually moved away herself. I don't know the outcome of this story and it may be that they were reunited, having forged a stronger bond through absence and having gained an awareness of what was truly valuable in their lives. But I doubt it. By then, other destinies had become entangled in the mix. There would have been other forces to deal with which regret and remorse could not breach.

No one could blame Miranda for how she felt or how the feeling of isolation had come about. She knew she was acting unreasonably when they had had such a wonderful marriage and were the envy of many, but that did not answer. She had once played Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and was sure that gold was not mined from granite seams, but must be found at the end of the rainbow.

As a contrasting footnote, some time ago, I watched a programme about how families coped during WWII with the geographic and emotional upheaval it caused. One woman who married the soldier of her dreams a few days before he returned to his regiment, told how, when the war ended, she was shocked to discover that he had been living with a prostitute for several months before he came home. There and then, she decided to sue for divorce, but her solicitor painted such a grim economic scenario and suggested that she might do better to hang fire for a while. She made up her mind to a change of attitude. She would throw down her arms - and open them! Before long, it had become second nature. When her spouse died, they had been happily married for fifty-six years!

So when the radar malfunctions and the compass goes into a spin, whatever our creed or Golden Rule, it can't hurt to keep in mind the following wisdom, attributed to Mother Teresa, as a road-map.

 

People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centred. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

 

Wishing you many blessings in the coming year!

 

Journey of The Magi - Joseph Binder

 

  

 Adoration of the Magi (detail) - Domenico Ghirlandaio (He's second from the right in the painting.)

 

Copyright

© ©Rosy Cole 2012 & 2015

Recent Comments
Michael W Seidel
Here's to another year, Rosy, of doing what you can. Cheers
Saturday, 03 January 2015 16:33
Rosy Cole
Cheers, Michael! (Raising my glass! - Champagne, of course...) ... Read More
Sunday, 04 January 2015 12:35
Katherine Gregor
"Never underestimate the power of habit". That is SO true. Habit can be as powerful than an addiction. I sometimes wonder, espec... Read More
Saturday, 03 January 2015 17:18
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17 Comments

Incident Upon The Jungfrau

  The Ballad of the Wild Sub-Rosa Rose

 

Alpine Rose

He plucked a wild sub-rosa rose upon the mountainside,
Where gentian and edelweiss waved in the flowery tide,
He gave it to the maiden who accepted it, bemused,
It was not legal tender, but he could not stand accused.

No courtliness his form expressed; it seemed he made for sport,
To play the game with levity a well-bred maiden ought,
The stolen bloom was currency in realms of make-believe,
Feigned heart and soul of romance made for sniggers up his sleeve.

Glib ardour did not move her, yet his perseverance did,
He'd watched and learned to walk in step; how could she then forbid
So serendipitous a tie upon the outward path?
With no comparison to hand, 'twas easy on her faith.

The peaks shone white as angel robes and diamond-sewn their folds,
Their treacherous crevasses masked beneath the frigid cold,
The pair had chanced it merely to the halfway point by train,
Where summer meadows capered in the gentle warmth and rain.

He told her of a palace carved in ice upon the crown,
A crossover on skaters' blades defence for fragile bone,
The air was thin as razors, only ravens soared the clouds,
He hinted not at windows showing lachrymosal shrouds.

Some day they'd venture upwards and skim the glistening planes,
Glissando was his forte; a Pied Piper's fluting strains
She heard, and wondered wistfully at such a scheme of things,
Enough his love for two, he said (his gift for wind and strings!)

On Valentine's Day evening, he pitched her a proposal,
The moon rode high in vap'rous air, prospecting betrothal,
I think you've jumped the gun, she said. I know, he said, it's true,
A salvo on still waters can do much to shape the view.

They married on a luckless day of umbrous gloom and mist,
He, confident that wedlock would add sparkle to dull tryst,
Bade welcome from his balcony, benevolence well-mocked,
When she tried to cross the threshold, she found the door was locked.

Years passed: the wild sub-rosa rose did wither on its stem,
She placed it in a casket and lamented 'twas no gem,
But blood-black brittle petals told a truth beyond its thorn,
There's no buried cache of pearls when an errant knight pours scorn

On the heart and soul of romance in favour of brass tacks,
Oh, ash before the embers! And no lustre for the cracks!
A castle on false premises is tawdry sort of wealth,
And with dazzling manifesto, he captures her by stealth.

Lo! the chambers of his heart are hollow as bare graves,
Material expense can't buy the character he craves,
The walking dead reaps debt, to neither flesh nor soul gives host,
His alibi for living is a smoke and mirrors ghost.

For he was never honest and elusiveness cost dear,
He concealed so very smartly a taste for him, not her,
What matter if clandestinely he donned a different head?
To betray her with her gender was running in the red.

So the flower proved an emblem of a travesty untold,
No blissful bee alighted on its pollen-pad of gold,
When the fateful dart struck home, she determined to be free,
And burned the wild sub-rosa rose for all eternity!

Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau


Copyright

© ©Rosy Cole 2012 & 2014

Recent Comments
Anonymous
On my first reading of this poem I missed important things which I caught on the second reading. But like much of your work it mer... Read More
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 03:49
Rosy Cole
The style of the ballad is certainly historic. Pantomime imagery and atmosphere seemed appropriate for the subject and much of tha... Read More
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 18:00
Anonymous
Funny, something in the rhythm and tone haunt me also. Arch? Cavalier? Poe, possibly? I feel as if I can just say it but it won't ... Read More
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 23:39
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Latest Comments

Monika Schott Change only ever happens forever
25 January 2020
Thanks Rosy. Wonderful analogy of two sides of a coin. The three guarantees we can't escape - life, ...
Monika Schott Change only ever happens forever
25 January 2020
Thanks, Chris. ?
Rosy Cole Change only ever happens forever
25 January 2020
'All that exists is an instinct to live in a way that is living for each.' This is surely the guidin...
Rosy Cole Losing The Compass
25 January 2020
Thanks, Moni. God bless. Hope 2020 is a great year for you. Stay safe. X
Chris Change only ever happens forever
22 January 2020
Beautifully written...change, the one thing that is constant for all of us...