Sunday Evening Reflection: Celebrating Robert Burns

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January 25, 2020, the world celebrated Robert Burns, affectionately known as Rabbie Burns, the great Scottish poet and lyricist.  He has been given the honoured titles of National Bard, Bard of Ayrshire and the Ploughman Poet. Whenever I join in the chorus of Auld Lang Syne, I feel a debt of gratitude to Robert Burns, who penned the words in 1788.  In a letter to the Scots Musical Museum, Robert Burns indicated Auld Lang Syne was an ancient song that had never been put to paper.  Auld Lang Syne, or days gone by is a reminder to celebrate and remember times past, even as we look forward to a new day.

Auld Lang Syne has greeted many New Years through the centuries. Friendship, camaraderie, compassion and hope come together. “And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!”  We are not alone but share our time with others. Whatever life has in store, friendship will see us through even the most difficult time.

Life does bring about an ending, but words cannot be contained.  They live on and stoke fires in the hearts and minds of those that follow.  When we read William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Percy Bysshe Shelley, we are reading words that hold the influence of Rabbie Burns.  When we listen to Bob Dylan, it is good to know that he was motivated by Rabbie Burns’ “A Red Red Rose.”

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot,
Sin auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
For auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

 

Celebrating Robert Burns, National Bard, Bard of Ayrshire from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

Sunday Evening Reflection with Christina Rossetti

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“Tread softly! All the earth is holy ground.”

 Christina Rossetti

Every Christmas, I listen to poignant Christmas carol, In the Bleak Mid-Winter, which embraces the poetry of Christina Rossetti.  She entitled her poem, “A Christmas Carol.”

Christina weaves the story of the humble birth in a stable into a call to action to “do our part.”  In a few short lines of poetry, she brings together an eclectic gathering to witness this unforgettable event. Ox, ass and camel, angels, cherubim and seraphim watch over the baby.  And yet, it is the human touch of a mother’s kiss that gives the greatest sense of reverence.

Christina’s gift for poetry was encouraged by the works of those that came before.  She repaid this legacy by inspiring others who came after.   She influenced the writings of Virginia Woolf, Gerard Hopkins, Philip Larkin and Elizabeth Jennings.

Join me for a Sunday Evening Reflection with Christina Rossetti.

In The Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

Sunday Reflection with Jean-Jacques Fournier

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Welcome to Sunday Evening Reflection. I invite you to join me on a quiet walk along the Breakwater District, Victoria, British Columbia. The Poetry of Jean-Jacques Fournier accompanies my thoughts as I look out at the distant horizon.  

 

“ Singlehood ”

– rather in between –

I contemplate

The solitude
Of single life,
And find somehow
It’s rather in between
The then and now,
Like not too hot
Or not too cold,
A sort of midway
Life and death
Tho not so bold,
A kind of lazy comfort
That goes nowhere
In a most committed way…

Don’t get me wrong
That’s not to say
It’s all without reward,
Who can deny
The pleasurable sensation
Of unbroken blissful silence,
No need to share
Or patience held be there,
No threat of deprivation
Nor succulent seclusion,
A feast without an equal
For one-way conversations!

ode to a solitude awakening…

© Jean-Jacques Fournier

“Singlehood” – rather in between – by Jean-Jacques Fournier from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

Sunday Evening Reflection

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I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.” 

Rainer Maria Rilke

Victoria Breakwater

 

Sunday evenings are complex because we are at an “end” and about to head into a “beginning.” Sundays signal the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) transition from time based on personal agendas to time structured by others who are depending upon our focused attention and interaction. I think of this as moving from “my time” to “their time.”

Some call it the Sunday Night Blues and many people have felt the sting. I first experienced this when I was in grade school, when I knew that a math test, or even worse, a spelling bee was scheduled for Monday morning. I confess that spelling was never my strong suit.

Over the years, I have created ways in which to embrace a spirit of anticipation for what lay ahead. Sunday evenings have become a time of reflection, a pause, a breathing space. Tomorrow will come, but for tonight, I am here.

Join me on my Sunday Evening Reflection.

Ocean Reflection from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

Sunday Reflection: The Best is Yet to Be…

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Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!”

Robert Browning

The Best is Yet to Be…

Cherry Blossoms Welcome April

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“Between our two lives
there is also the life of
the cherry blossom.”
Matsuo Bashō

The cherry blossoms grace our lane ways and gardens, welcoming April, the month that was, in ancient Rome, sacred to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. April is the month that gave us Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth and, more recently, Wangari Maathai, Maya Angelou and Ella Fitzgerald.  There is a warmth in the chill of an April evening, perfect for the beginning of journeys as immortalized in Geoffrey Chaucer’s, The Canterbury Tales.

What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.”
Kobayashi Issa

For me, April has always been about cherry blossoms.  Vancouver is renowned for our approximately 50,000 cherry trees, which flower in varying shades of pink and white.  Every year, we hold a Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.

“In the cherry blossom’s shade
there’s no such thing
as a stranger.”
Kobayashi Issa

The cherry blossom is Japan’s national flower that has given birth to hanami, a century-old custom that is said to have its origins in the Nara period (710-794) which simply means flower viewing.  Families and friends gather under the canopy of flowering cherry trees to share a meal and gaze up at the delicate white and pink against a pristine sky of blue. Nighttime brings out the paper lanterns that people carefully place in the trees to add a spectacular illumination, which highlights the profound idea of the ephemeral nature of life. The blossoms come for a moment to bestow a graceful elegance,  covering pathways with petals, then, slipping away with the silent promise to return the next year.

So, my dear friends, I invite you to join me under the canopy of a Vancouver cherry tree.

Cherry Blossoms from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

 

“Cherry blossoms – lights of years past.”
Matsuo Bashō