Monday, 30 October 2017

Welcome to Salem

Happy Halloween everyone!

Behold my brand new poem inspired by many dark and Gothic things but mostly by a series I recently watch on TV called Salem.

Now, those who have read the about me section on this blog will know that, even though I'm not a fan of horror, I am attracted to other to the other-worldly such as ghosts, fairies, parallel worlds and time travel. So it was that whilst on holiday this summer, my niece Hanna, asked me to watch the first few episodes of Salem with her because she knew she'd be too freaked out to watch it alone. And, despite the horror and gore [and be warned, there are bucket loads], we thoroughly enjoyed it and when I got home, I lost no time at all in watching the second series and then the final third.

I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just say that it's based on a very clever twist on true events that took place in the small town of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. A dark time in American history, more than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were killed during an unexplained hysteria.  The Salem Witch Trials have since become synonymous with mass hysteria and scapegoating.

Everything about the series was smart and slick and the costumes were stunning. The acting was wonderful, especially by the two main protagonists Janet Montgomery who portrayed Mary Sibley, and Shane West who portrayed John Alden. However, my favourite characters were the complex, tortured Reverend Cotton Mather played by the charismatic Seth Gable and Anne Hale, whose ultimate descent into devil worship was portrayed with bone chilling perfection by Tamzin Merchant.

Finally, one of the best things about this series was that all the characters were based on real people who lived through the trials and this made the whole experience so much more compelling.

If you wish to learn more about the Salem witch trials, these links are a helpful start:

Welcome to Salem!
On All Hallows Eve
Where earth underfoot doth boil and heave
Winter is here damp harvest on the turn
Skin on fire with a brain fever burn

Welcome to Salem!
Church bells are ringing
Screams downed out by the good people singing
By Puritan judgement so final and fell
Souls on the hot burning red road to Hell

Welcome to Salem!
See the witches flying
Souls being taken and the congregation dying
Strange little girls with spindly finger pointed
See demons in the window if with rancid salve anointed

Welcome to Salem!
Alarm bells clanging
Familiars on the prowl and witch drums banging
Alone in the pulpit, Reverend Cotton Mather's preaching
Fighting to be heard above the wailing and the screeching

Welcome to Salem!
Hold hands and run
Back to God and the warmth of the sun
Never look back the way you came
Lest the Devil your soul forever claim


Friday, 2 June 2017

Childhood books


Illustration from How The Mole Got His Pockets
Illustration from How The Mole Got His Pockets



Inside cover from The Book of Mice [above]


Snow Goose & Small Miracle

Illustration for The Snow Goose by Peter Scott
Have you ever heard of Paul Gallico? If not, click the link on his name and learn about this American author. The reason I have always known about him is because I grew up with these two books on our book shelves. I would take them out every now and again to read. According to the Paul Gallico website, The Snow Goose is without doubt his most well-known book. It is subtitled A Story of Dunkirk, and is the story of a lonely hunchbacked artist who lives in an abandoned lighthouse in the marshlands of Essex, and his friendship with a young girl who brings him an injured Canada Snow Goose. It is only a short book but quite lovely. The Small Miracle is set in Assisi, and is the story of Pepino, a poor orphan, and his donkey Violetta. When Violetta falls ill, and the vet cannot do anything for her, Pepino tries to get permission to take her into the crypt of St. Francis. But when that permission is denied, then he realises that he has to go to higher authority... Both stories are gentle and homey and incredibly moving. See below for a few images I created via Instagram of the illustrations, Peter Scott illustrated The Snow Goose and David Knight illustrated The Small Miracle.  
Illustration for The Snow Goose by Peter Scott
Illustration for The Snow Goose by Peter Scott

How beautiful is the enigmatic portrait above? Peter Scott [1909 - 1989] was a fascinating character, born in London, the only child of Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott and sculptor Kathleen Bruce. He was only two years old when his father died. Robert Scott, in a last letter to his wife, advised her to "make the boy interested in natural history if you can; it is better than games." Oh yes and... his godfather was J. M. Barrie!

Illustration for the Snow Goose by Peter Scott [detail]
Illustration for The Small Miracle by David Knight

Illustration for The Small Miracle by David Knight

Illustration for The Small Miracle by David Knight
Sadly, I couldn't find any information on David Knight except that he illustrated this little book also...

Monday, 13 February 2017

The Vow

In celebration of romantic love on Valentines Day, here's a new illustrated poem.
I hope you like it <3

The Vow
North, south, east, west;
You laid this searching heart to rest
Winter, autumn, summer, spring;
I make you mine with this gold ring
I swear by the might of the land and sea,
I am bound to you as are you to me
We two will share a bed this night
And softly sigh as dreams take flight,
At dawn we'll turn and face the sun,
With our two hands entwined as one
It's been a while since I did any work like this and will take time to get back into the swing but for now I'm happy enough with this piece.