#Haiku ‘Resilience’ #ThursdayThoughts #January2021

Photo from Pixabay

I received this image as a recommendation from Pixabay, which is a wonderful site where many generous amateur and professional photographers offer their photos at no cost (there are also photos you have to pay for).

The image immediately brought words and thoughts to my mind, which I’ve captured and made into a haiku.

January has always been a tough month for me for many reasons, mainly the anticlimax after the Christmas and New Year Holidays, the return to work, the cold temperatures, and this year there is the added challenge because of covid restrictions and worries.

Fortunately, there are only ten more days to get to February, a nice, short month which leads on to March and the promise of spring. So hang on in there!

This January I’m giving myself time to plan. I’m still organising the year ahead, trying to establish and follow a blog and writing schedule, as well as a daily routine that works for me. But it’s an ongoing process because there’s a lot on my plate; a new novel in my Eyre Hall series and a box set, new blog features, looking into traditionally publishing a contemporary romantic thriller I finished last year, and so on.

I’m sowing seeds, despite the snow. Who knows which ones will grow and when? But life’s like that, nothing is guaranteed and yet everything is possible. That’s January for you!

How is your January going?

#MarcosPlaylist ‘Just the Two of Us’ sung by Grover Washington, Bill Withers and Will Smith #Saturdaysingalong #Tanka #Spotify

Welcome back to #MarcosPlaylist and #SaturdaySingalong with another song from the playlist I made for my grandson in August 2020 on Spotify, when he was just a few days old. I chose my favourite songs with a mellow rhythm to sing to him, dance with him cradled in my arms and perhaps send him to sleep, or at least calm him down! This post, tanka and playlist is for Marcos, now sixteen-weeks old.

Today I’m featuring “Just the Two of Us“, a beautiful song with spellbinding lyrics and an unforgettable melody, written by the great Bill Withers, William Salter and Ralph MacDonald. It has been sung by many artists, but the most memorable are Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers.

It was first recorded by Grover Washington Jr. on the album, Winelight (1980). An edited version reached number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100, The song won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. 

Bill Withers included the edited version on the 1981 compilation Bill Withers’ Greatest Hits and many subsequent greatest hits collections. The following youtube video has over 33 million views!

Seventeen years after its first recording, Will Smith released a single in 1997 which includes some of the lyrics and his own interpretation, which focuses on the relationship between a father and son. It is performed it in rap.

I’m pleased to know I’m not the only person who thought of their son or grandson when they heard and sang the song!

Will Smith also wrote a children’s book with the same title and lyrics (I’ve checked and it’s out of print).

Today’s #Tanka for Marcos

Just the Two of Us

Spending time with you
Is like a crystal rainbow
Lighting up the sky,
Made of magic raindrops falling,
When the sun comes shining through.
****

Marcos was just a week old in this picture!

#MarcosPlaylist ‘Hushabye Mountain’ sung by Pink Martini “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” Dick van Dyke #Saturdaysingalong #Tanka #Spotify

Welcome back to #MarcosPlaylist and #SaturdaySingalong with another song from the playlist I made for my grandson in August 2020 on Spotify, when he was just a few days old. I chose my favourite songs with a mellow rhythm to sing to him, dance with him cradled in my arms and perhaps send him to sleep, or at least calm him down! This post, tanka and playlist is for Marcos, now fifteen-weeks old.

Today I’m featuring a real lullaby, a song from my favourite children’s film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which I hope to watch with Marcos, in a few years time.

The song is called Hushabye Mountain. It was written by Robert and Richard Sherman for the motion picture Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Caractacus Potts played by the great Dick Van Dyke sings the song to his children.

We had the soundtrack album at home and I used to play it all the time. I danced around the house singing all the songs well into my teens!

I’ve sung it to all my grandchildren as I cradled them to sleep, and they’ve all loved it and fallen asleep to it, so it’s still a very special song for me, from a very special film, probably because my father was mostly absent in my childhood, and I fell in love with the wonderful, single-parent father in this film.

Here’s the scene from the film.

The version I have on Spotify is by a musical group I had never heard of, before I found the song there, called Pink Martini, a band formed in 1994 by pianist Thomas Lauderdale in Portland, Oregon. Pink Martini is like a little orchestra with two lead vocalists, playing different styles, including classical, traditional and pop. Here’s their version of the song on spotify:

#Tanka Hushabye Mountain

A gentle breeze blows

Across Lullaby Bay, to

Hushabye Mountain,

Sailing your worries away,

Close your eyes, it’s time to sleep.

****

Marcos was just a week old in this picture!

 

#MarcosPlaylist ‘Ain’t no Mountain High Enough’ sung by Marvin Gaye, Tammy Terrell, Diana Ross “Stepmom” #Saturdaysingalong #Tanka #Spotify

Welcome back to #MarcosPlaylist and #SaturdaySingalong with another song from the playlist I made for my grandson in August 2020 on Spotify, when he was just a few days old. I chose my favourite songs with a mellow rhythm to sing to him, dance with him cradled in my arms and perhaps send him to sleep, or at least calm him down! This post, tanka and playlist is for Marcos, now fifteen-weeks old.

Today I’m featuring Ain’t no Mountain High Enough, the song which has plenty of verions, was written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1966 and became a hit in 1967, when Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, recorded it.

Later in 1970 it became a hit again thanks to Diana Ross’s  version which was her first solo number-one hit, nominated for a Grammay Award, after leaving the Supremes.

I vividly remember watching this scene in Stepmom (1998) with my own teenage daughters, now mothers with young children. We all cried our eyes out in this scene, when ‘the mother’, the wonderful, Susan Sarandon, sings the song with her young kids, because it is so emotional. No spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, watch it with a huge box of hankies. By the way, a very young, Julia Roberts, is the (not wicked) stepmom and Ed Harris, is the children’s father.

It’s such a comforting thought, that the person you love will be there when you need them. We can all relate to that need for safety, love and support. I really enjoyed singing this song to Marcos and I hope he’ll be able to count on his grandmother for many years to come! This Tanka is for him.

If you need my help,

Ain’t no mountain high enough,

To keep me away,

No matter how far you are,

I’ll find a way to your side.

****

 

#Poem ‘Half Lives’ #ThursdayInspiration

I was scrolling though the blogs I follow when I came across Lucysworks.com and I read her poetry contest prompt, which were the following lines from Pullitzer prize-winner, Wallace Stevens, and I was inspired at once.

“Elysia, these days, half earth, half mind;
Half-sun, half thinking of the sun; half sky,
Half desire for indifference about the sky.”

–– “Extracts From Addresses To The Academy of Fine Ideas.”

Well, here’s my poem, sorry it’s a bit dark, but that’s where the prompt took me this time. It would have suited Halloween! 

Half Lives 

You ask me what’s wrong,
‘I’m living half a life,
Trapped in half a world,
Surrounded by the others
Who are half dead.’
You point to the sun,
‘It’s whole, not half,’ you say,
And I’m wondering
How half of you can see it all,
When I know it’s torn in two,
Mutilated forever.
I remind you,
‘We can no longer be whole,
not now that we have half a mind.’
But you insist,
‘I love you as you are.’
You lie.
‘You don’t love him,
My other half,
The one facing the ashen ground
On the dark side of the moon.
He needs all your love, not half.’
Half of you cries and waves goodbye,
The other half holds my lifeless hand
In your mouldy fingers.
Two half corpses in two half graves.  

#MarcosPlaylist ‘Ain’t no Sunshine when she’s gone’ by Bill Withers and ‘Days of Wine and Roses’ #Saturdaysingalong #Tanka #Halloween

Welcome back to #MarcosPlaylist and #SaturdaySingalong with another song from the playlist I made for my grandson in August 2020 on Spotify, when he was just a few days old. I chose my favourite songs with a mellow rhythm to sing to him, dance with him cradled in my arms and perhaps send him to sleep, or at least calm him down! This post, tanka and playlist is for Marcos, now fourteen-weeks old.

Today I’m featuring Ain’t no Sunshine when she’s gone, a song which has plenty of verions but it was written and originally sung by the great singer, songwriter and musician, who passed away last March (2020), Bill Withers, from his 1971 album, Just as I am. Withers was three-time Grammy award winner and wrote three of my favourite songs: Lovely Day, Just the Two of Us and Ain’t no Sunshine.

Withers reportedly wrote the song after watching the powerful and tragic drama about a couple’s battle with alcoholism, staring Lee Remmick and Jack Lemmon, Days of wine and Roses. If you haven’t seen the film yet, it’s a classic, but make sure you have a box of hankies nearby.

Days of Wine and Roses (1962) — The Movie Database (TMDb)

Screenwriter JP Miller found the title in a poem by English poet and novelist Ernest Dowson (1867–1900) associated with the so-called Decadent movement, which included artists such as, my beloved, Beaudelaire.

I’ll never forget how impressed I was the first time I read Les Fleurs du Mal, while working as an au pair and studying French in Amiens, France. I remember thinking I was so glad and fortunate that I could read it in French:  ‘Je suis belle, ô mortels! comme un rêve de pierre,’  from his poem La Beauté, pure magic, but I digress…

When Bill Withers wrote the song, he was working in a factory making bathrooms. I love this tidbit of information, which just goes to show how inspiration knows no bounds. I can imagine Bill, wearing an overall, hammer in one hand, and bathroom sink in the other, humming ‘ain’t no sunchine when she’s gone…’

It proves that imagination and creativity is in our minds, and nowhere else!

Anyway, back to the song, my favourite version is Bill withers, but Daryl Hall is a close second.

Today’s a special and sad day. It’s Halloween, that means literally, All Hallows Eve, or the night before All Hallows 1st of November (All Saints Day), and All Souls Day, 2nd of November. During these three days many Christians, all over the world, myself included, remember, honour, and pray for, our deceased relatives. We often visit cemeteries, clean the headstones and put fresh flowers on tombs, while we say a prayer, which is what I did this morning. 

Today’s tanka is dedicated to my sister, Elsa, who passed away 31 years ago, but I miss her every single day. 

She’s been gone too long…

They are no longer,

Our days of wine and roses. 

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,

Summer days are overdue,

‘Cause she’s been gone too long.

 

#MarcosPlaylist ‘Night Birds’ by Shakatak #Spotify #Saturdaysingalong #Tanka

Welcome back to #MarcosPlaylist and #SaturdaySingalong with another song from the playlist I made for my grandson in August 2020 on Spotify, when he was just a few days old. I chose my favourite songs with a mellow rhythm to sing to him, dance with him cradled in my arms and perhaps send him to sleep, or at least calm him down! This post, tanka and playlist is for Marcos, now thirteen-weeks old.

Today I’m featuring Night Birds, an Album and song by the English jazz-funk band Shakatak, founded in 1980. Both the album and the song released in 1982, reached the top ten.  All the songs in the album were written by keyboardist, Bill Sharpe and drummer, Roger Odell.

The group is still active, in fact they have just released a 3CD and DVD Boxset All Around the World 40th Anniversary.   

All Around the World (40th Anniversary Edition)

The song’s lyrics are short, seven lines and 33 words. The lyrics are evocative, but my favourite sequence of the song is the instrumental part, which is most of the over six, wonderful minutes the song lasts. What can I say? I love dancing around the house,  with Marcos in my arms, humming the tune and singing the song.  

Here’s the Spotify link: 

Here’s my Tanka inspired by the music and lyrics, dedicated to Marcos. 

Night Birds

Flying through the night,

Across blackened sky, cool breeze, 

City lights brighten heavens, 

Nightbirds flutter, piano plays,

Kiss the day goodbye. 

****

Watch them sing the song live on YouTube from Tokio in 2016.

I hope you have a long, lazy Sunday, free to do whatever makes you happy.

I’m driving about 800 kilometers to visit my mother. Actually, my husband’s driving and I’m writing this post! I was over the top busy yesterday, packing etc. so this weeks’ #Saturdaysingalong is being posted on Sunday.  

what are you doing this weekend?

Do you have a special Spotify playlist or favourite song you’d like to share? Go ahead and tell us in the comments!

Stay safe, singalong, enjoy and have a great Sunday!

Image by Geralt at pixabay.com

 

#FridayPhoto ‘Walls’ #Photooftheday ‘Home Sweet Home’

Within city walls
Streets are calm,
Houses safe,
Home sweet home.

Cruel worlds lie beyond,
Banish pain,
Exile joy,
Home sweet home.

****

Within These Walls Home Sweet Home.

As I was walking by the ancient walls of the city of Cordoba, first built by the Roman founders of the city, around the second century, and later reinforced by subsequent conquerors from central Europe, the Visigoths,  later Muslims from North Africa, and finally the Spanish Monarchs from the north of the country, I was wondering about our need to conquer and feel safe from subsequent conquerors.

We have been building walls around our houses and cities for centuries and and now, two thousand years on, we still need to feel safe. Now the enemy is a virus, not an army, but we still retreat back within our walls, because the safety we perceive in the prison of our own making, is more important than the  happiness we give up by not venturing outside.
Home sweet home.
****

#SundayWalks ‘Sometimes The Sky’s Too Bright’ #Poem

Sometimes the sky’s too bright

To see the clouds or birds.

Sometimes the sun burns through

The shade of leafy trees,

And blinds impatient eyes,

Still searching for visions

Of angels smiling

At the fire in her eyes.

Alas the sky’s too bright

To taste the salt in her tears,

Or quell the thirst in her heart,

And yet she journeys on

In search of her angels.