… And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over
Thought I’d something more to say…



When You Are Old

WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

William Butler Yeats


Maud Gonne


Lonely Places

“Seek lonely places and be still, listening, hearing the songs and cries of the winged ones, the sounds of the four-leggeds, and the cries of the insect people; feeling the breath and touch of the earth, of leaves, of bark; for all have messages for you… “

Sees-Beyond-The-Lightning, of the Sioux.


This year I am going to find out what a night out camping in a lonely place can do for the young ones.

Matauri Bay

I shall pack up and leave here, move to Matauri Bay,
A cottage I shall take there, sufficient for my need
Kumara I shall grow there, fed with flotsam seaweed,
And I shall live alone there, and while my time away.

And I shall look for peace there, and take my medication,
Wander to the beach and look for shells along the shore;
Beneath pohutukawas; reveries and meditation,
In the evenings I shall read all of the books I loved before.

I will pack up and leave here, it’s time to move away
I miss the bellbirds’ chorus and the singing of the sea;
I’ll exchange the spinifex and red dust in my grey,
For a small boat; to feel the ocean rocking under me.

This is not Matauri Bay. This is a tribute.  That’s Dave.  


Yep. It’s derivative.  Intentionally so.


The Argo, by Konstantinos Volanakis (1837–1907).

Mad and meandering mindlessly, I
Sleep now beneath her hull;
Despoiled, disintegrating,
Sinking into sand.

Share with me your bread,
Your fish.  A little wine?
In return for tales of Argo in her glory:
To Colchis and away she bore me
With my companions.

They laugh and jeer;
This is not she – nor are you he!
But tell us, once again, old man
Of Calais and of Zetes
Or of lion-robed Herakles.
A story!  While we mend our nets.

Mad and meandering mindlessly, I
Tell – nowhere now to travel, but into wandering dream –
Of Atalanta, of Hypsipyle,
Of Medea, before she became a bitch;
Of what was
Or of what might have been.

Peleus and Atalanta wrestling, black-figured hydria, c. 550 BC
Medea about to murder her children
  Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (1798 -1863)   Medea















Johann Christian Reinhart
Hypsipyle and Opheltes-Archemoros

The Hosting of the Sidhe

The Riding of the Sidhe from the Book of Invasions

The host is riding from Knocknarea,
And over the grave of Clooth-na-bare;
Caolte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling, “Away, come away;
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.
The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round,
Our cheeks are pale, our hair is unbound,
Our breasts are heaving, our eyes are a-gleam,
Our arms are waving, our lips are apart,
And if any gaze on our rushing band,
We come between him and the deed of his hand,
We come between him and the hope of his heart.”
The host is rushing ‘twixt night and day;
And where is there hope or deed as fair?
Caolte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling, “Away, come away.”

WB Yeats


Listening to Burns

I have been listening to Bobby Eaglesham of Five Hand Reel singing one of my favourite Burns songs.  Ae Fond Kiss.  Eaglesham died at the age of 61 in 2004, and is perhaps best remembered  partnering with Dick Gaughan in Five Hand Reel.

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerful twinkle lights me;
Dark despair around benights me.

I’ll ne’er blame my partial fancy,
Naething could resist my Nancy:
But to see her was to love her;
Love but her, and love for ever.
Had we never lov’d sae kindly,
Had we never lov’d sae blindly,
Never met-or never parted,
We had ne’er been broken-hearted.

Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare-thee-weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, Enjoyment, Love and Pleasure!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae fareweel alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.


Robert Burns wrote this for a Mrs Agnes MacLehose after their affaire ended, when she set off to try to reconcile with her husband.    I believe it is the finest of all love songs.  Sir Walter Scott may agree.  He said it “contained the ‘essence of a thousand love tales”.  I like it because it contains not a trace of bitterness, just a rueful acknowledgment that a broken heart is a price one must sometimes pay.

I first heard this song in 1980 on one of Five Hand Reel’s albums,

For a’ That


My second favourite song by Burns is Green Grow the Rashes O.

In particular a brilliant version by Cherish the Ladies which I like for the beautiful vocals and for the particularly haunting flute melody played by Joanie Madden.


Green grow the rashes, O;
Green grow the rashes, O;
The sweetest hours that e’er I spent,
I spent amang the lasses, O.

There’s nought but care on ev’ry han’,
In ev’ry hour that passes, O:
What signifies the life o’ man,
An’ ’twere na for the lasses, O.

Green grow, &c.

The war’ly race may riches chase,
An’ riches still may fly them, O;
An’ tho’ at last they catch them fast,
Their hearts can ne’er enjoy them, O.

Green grow, &c.

But gie me a cannie hour at e’en,
My arms about my dearie, O;
An’ war’ly cares, an’ war’ly men,
May a’ gae tapsalteerie, O!

Green grow, &c.

For you sae douce, ye sneer at this;
Ye’re nought but senseless asses, O:
The wisest man the warl’ e’er saw,
He dearly lov’d the lasses, O.

Green grow, &c.

Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes, O:
Her prentice han’ she try’d on man,
An’ then she made the lasses, O.

Green grow, &c.

I just thought I would share that.