Tag Archives: Angi Holden

Hygge Feature #18 Objects of Happiness

Most people have some small possessions of little monetary value, but great joy is attached to them, either because they please the senses or because they are associated with a happy memory or a loved person. Using and touching these things enables the owner to enjoy a sense of living in the moment, which is a key aspect of hygge.

Cupboard

I, who’ve inherited nothing, except
this nose more arched than a harp,
these hips made to cradle a life,
find in these old things enough
to still my quivering beak, which
pricks in every direction of a map;
enough to soothe the soup of my belly,
which craves to feed to lips of a babe.

Be still. These delicate, finely-wrought
treasures live in a cupboard that’s cradle-
sized. My eyes sip at them daily,
when making tea, or slipping the coats
from potatoes. Two cruets, as white as
atoms; twin egg cups, as blue as forever.
The bowls I bought back in Kyoto,
black and red, lacquered like beads.


A glass patterned with the queen
of hearts, fashioned by hand in the
50s. An iron teapot, for ceremonies
by kimono-clad women, or samurai.
Is there a difference? I twirl my knife
and hum, keep my pattern of daily
ritual before these sitting things,
their bodies as sturdy as Buddhas.

Cleared from the homes of the dead,
they are small joys which, in my
small world, loom large. The dust
which rests on them, settles me.
Relics and remnants, shy souvenirs;
yet their presence calms as I cut carrots,
slice bread, my bird nose inert for a
minute, my stomach quiet for a time.

Mab Jones
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Photo credit: Mab Jones

Her Sewing Box

Propeller bias binding, a packet each of white, royal blue and pink,

3 yards, unopened, cellophaned and colour-fast; a strip of Velcro;

Best Brass Pins, Lillikins, stabbed through their Wreath & Lion sheet;

Cards of silver poppers; two more of hooks and eyes; a buckle blank;

Nylusta nylon stocking thread, extra fine, colour eight;

Petersham and Rufflette tape; a pair of scissors, plated gold,

Shaped like a peering stork; a crochet hook; some lace;

A Gold Flake tin, crammed tight with dark grey mending wool,

Two khaki buttons, five brass, a length of purple ribbon;

A dozen silver thimbles, each cupped inside the next

And wrapped in tissue; a twist of jet black bugle beads;

Large safety pins in silver and smaller ones in gold;

A sheet of iron-on transfers – a lamb, a dog, a horse;

A bodkin; bobbins; a quick unpick; a shuttered zip;

The old French knitting doll, with half-worn smile;

Babies’ buttons shaped as trains and stars and berries;

And so much thread – Coats and Sylko, Drima, Anchor, Gutermann –

In party colours, scarlet, turquoise, rose. And so much thread.

Angi Holden

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Hygge Feature #1 Winter Cosy

socks.jpg

Photo credit: Rachael Clyne

Hygge is about sharing, whether it’s soup, light in a power cut, peace, or time with friends, what ever we have to offer to help cope with difficult times, losses and sorrows.

What She Missed

The cold slow of mornings,
fetching coal, with cloud breath,
to a rupture of rooks,
their throaty rasp
and the winter-bare tree
standing against pallor of sky.
Then henhouse flurry
with its warm-shit smell.
All those lengthening evenings,
coaxing flames to mottle her shins,
as she sank into her armchair-nest,
by the scuttle.  She missed her big iron pot,
brimming with soup-spells.
Never the same twice,
This might taste good with that’.
Curry for parsnips, tarragon for celeriac,
chilli to liven pumpkin.
Always better next day,
flavours melded into steamy comfort.
All these she missed, but mostly
the stillness that drank her to its core.

Rachael Clyne

 

The Night The Lights Went Out

She took a small canvas bag
from the cupboard under the sink,
filled it with an assortment of nightlights –
vanilla, blueberry, winter spice –
added a couple of dumpy glass holders,
a box of matches, a bar of chocolate.
The house on the corner was in darkness,
the knock on the door answered
with a tentative ‘Who’s there?’
Years later, they laughed about the tea,
the water boiled in a pan on the gas ring;
the shortbread eaten straight from a tin
intended as a Christmas gift;
the chocolate eaten square by square;
the shimmering candle flames
shining light into the darkest corners.

Angi Holden

first published on Poets’ Corner at https://leavenerspoetscorner.wordpress.com/ 23.01.16

 

But our ashes only

there was a lot of dust
in the whole house
it was on the table
in the kitchen near the food
it was on the sofa
it was in the folds of the sofa
in the bedrooms there were
monsters made of dust
and we fought against them
every single day
trying to avoid being eaten
by all that dust

but when all works finished
when the dinner was eaten
when the studies were done
when the TV programmes ended

we sat on the balcony dimly lit
looking at the dark black sky
lighting a cigar and a cigarette
talking about everything
right in front of everything

and the ashes fell down
on the head of people
in our coffee cups
on the floor of the balcony
where there was no dust
but our ashes only

Mendes Biondo

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More Titanic Poems

Collyer

Titanic seems to go on inspiring poetry, and my blog feature seems to have brought more poems out of the icy sea of its memory. Angi Holden sent me these two poems as a result of exploring some stories not usually told.

This Strange Quivering

for Elizabeth Shutes, governess.

At first, nothing but this strange quivering; then silence

and a sepulchral stillness – no panic, for surely we cannot sink.

Refreshments served in cabins, a cup of tea, a chicken sandwich,

only the steward’s shaking hand betrays concern.

Later, we hastily slip our coats over lace-edged negligees,

choose slippers for speed over shoes and buttoned boots,

strap ghost-white life-preservers across our breasts.

We clamber into boats, are swung into the air above the sea,

thirty-six souls, rough seamen fumbling unfamiliar oars,

wanting to stay close to the liner’s smoke-stacked bulk.

Wives call out for husbands, mothers for their sons;

in answer only dimming deck lights and the cries of drowning.

Finally the distant throb of engines, Carpathia’s heartbeat,

the shouts of help, the haul of ropes, the reaching hands.

Horizon’s dawn sketched pale across the pitch black sea.

 

Repose

for Harvey & Charlotte Collyer and their daughter Marjorie

 

In my dreams I see you, one arm folded beneath your head,

the other thrown aside as if you could perhaps reach out to me.

It is a calm repose, the relaxed sleep to end a busy day.

The seabed holds you, supports you like our marriage cot;

silt, creased like linen sheets, ruffles round your limbs.

I would drape a blanket over you, protect your back from draughts;

then I see you wear your Sunday suit and I remember. Wake.

Relive those bitter hours of fear and cold, the creep of anguish,

the glare of public bulletins, the newsman’s callous flash.

There were kindnesses: clothes for us both and toys for Madge,

relief from Mansion House. But all besides my wedding ring was lost;

your pockets full of money from the sale of house and store

pressed beneath your now-stilled heart, your breathless chest.

 

The first of these pieces, about the governess, captures the mood on the ship after the collision. The second is concerned with the after effects on one family. So many wives were widowed, so many children made fatherless, by the cruel rule of only allowing women and children on the boats. At the time, this rule did not seem cruel. But had their been sufficient lifeboats, it would not have been necessary.

Titanic taught us we cannot beat nature. I believe it continues to capture the imagination because it was the end of an age of innocence. The two world wars made sea disasters almost commonplace. 1912 was a time of optimism and hope of a brilliant future, which was shattered all too soon.

Thank you to Angi for submitting these fine poems.

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