RHYMES&REASONS

Observations, Thoughts and Reflections on 21st Century Life

Tag: Love

Transition

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Listen for the voices urging us heave

quieten the whispers of they who leave.

  Those memories which sear recall with care

a wound opened, too sore to bear.

Afraid to forget, moments linger still

tempting and taunting as dreams beyond will.

Nothing to trust but the beckoning haul

of voices and future yet to call.

003‘Chasing Reflections’ by Rebecca Pells Fine Art

https://www.fineartseen.com/product/chasing-reflections/

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The Rhythm of Nature

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Acceptance must come, to deny the end of summer’s gift is foolhardy.  It was but a fleeting moment in time, when all seemed possible, when heat and heart soared.  But as in nature these dizzy heights cannot be captured and held suspended in time.  We have to let go, move on with the seasons, face a new chapter of life.

Few things end abruptly: more oft there is a gradual passing, a fading of that which was held in high regard and despite our best efforts the saturated colour, intense and bursting with life cannot endure the whisper of breathy frost or a shoulder coldly turned.  Disbelief turns it’s attention to weary acceptance that once again we allowed ourselves to be smitten, to believe the summer was forever, that we had finally arrived and would be allowed to stay.

The garden decays before our eyes,  fruit unripened calls out for late warmth; lush trees which short weeks ago danced in gentle breeze, now shed their leaves in nods of brittle shards impatient to bare their boughs and be at rest once more.  When the party is over, we need to withdraw, to reflect and maybe even hide a little until we are ready to emerge once more, to show ourselves, exhibit our work, declare our love.  In an era of instant disclosure withdrawal is a bid for freedom, to hide under the covers, to ensconce ourselves in the studio or walk the cliff edge.  It is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside interference.

Real loss is to find ourselves stuck, unable or unwilling to embrace the new.  Time and again we look back, ruminating, regretting.  If only we would turn our attention to the rhythm of nature, to that which new seasons and chapters offer.  For beneath the protective cover of leafy decay, we will find hidden beauty, small tender, formerly eclipsed by summer’s glory.  Ready, waiting to unfurl towards the future.

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http://www.rebeccapells.co.uk

Lusitania 101 – a Life before the Tragedy

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On the 7th May 1915 the British liner RMS Lusitania, the fastest and most luxurious ship in the world at the time, was struck by a German torpedo off the coast of Ireland.  Of it’s 1962 passengers and crew only 764 survived – my great uncle and aunt were among them.  Their one year old son John was not.

An account of their trauma is taken from statements made by both  Mary and Elmore upon their eventual arrival in England.

“(Cyril) Elmore and Mary Anita Pells, travelling with their infant son John from Canada to England where Mr. Pells was to join his regiment, despaired of ever leaving the ship safely. At the time the torpedo struck  they were dining in the second class salon and returned to their E Deck cabin to retrieve John, and Elmore made a second trip below for lifebelts.  Not expecting to survive, they took seats together somewhere on one of the upper decks presumably on the port side, to wait for the end. When it came, they were pulled down deep with the ship, and in the torrent John was wrenched out of his father’s arms and lost. Elmore and Mary surfaced and were able to pull themselves atop an overturned lifeboat.”

Following a short period of recovery in London, Elmore joined his regiment as originally planned but after receiving a brief note telling of his safe arrival in France, Mary never heard from him again and he is documented as having been killed in action during the Battle of Aisne-Chemin des Dames on May 27th 1918.

The human element of this disaster, which has largely been lost among the controversial nature of the incident together with the passing of time, is now coming to light, re-surfacing along with the personal stories.  I have researched Elmore and Mary’s accounts with the benefit of the internet and personal family history.  However, I am also in possession of a wonderful photographic record of their lives in Canada prior to their fateful journey. The images long since faded, document a young couple in love.  Elmore met Canadian born Mary in the UK and following their engagement they emigrated to Vancouver, British Columbia and and were married at North Lonsdale in April 1914.   Their son John was born in February 1915.   The images tell a story of a vibrant life together, socialising, fancy dress and tennis parties and picnics on the beach with friends.  Just one image remains of their infant son John.

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It is their own record of their life together, each photograph carefully entered into the small album by their own hands, unaware of the tragedy which was shortly to unfold and change their lives forever.  Faces reach out from the faded images, ethereal and yet full of life, crossing the threshold of a time long since gone and reaching into the 21st century in an effort to be remembered.  A reminder that they lived life to the full during their short time together:  there was life before the Lustania and for Mary a life after but very much changed.

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Through the remainder of the war Mary served as a nurse, and she was awarded a sum of $1089.15 for the loss of her personal property and Elmore’s medical expenses after her return to British Columbia.  For a time she lived in California, where she continued to study nursing, before returning for a third time to Canada, where the trail is lost in time.  However, somewhere along the way she maintained a connection to the Pells family – in 1936 she received a legacy from Elmore’s mother upon her death.

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Elmore – ‘lost in action’- has no known grave but is remembered at The Soissons Memorial located in the Aisne département of France. The memorial lists 3,887 names of British soldiers who were killed in the area from May to August 1918 during the Spring Offensive.

And somewhere, somehow, this little album has found it’s way from Canada back to England, passed down my family and  following the recent death of my own father John, who was named after his young cousin, is now one of my most treasured possessions.

 

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Soulmates in Time

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The connection we prize,  betwixt friendship and love,

more precious than either, the fit like a glove.

Elusive to seek and nebulous when found,

no sudden discovery, a revealing of lives bound.

A sense of arrival of something long sought,

like the missing jig-saw piece long since bought.

The vista of life’s shadow cast into light,

 my own wounds you touched, inner turmoil and fight.

Your essence reached out from long hidden time

parallel depths in recognition of mine.

You called out to me, I responded in kind

I cradled your pain for you mine to find.

Suspended by time, the connection a fine thread,

it sways with the seasons to others all but dead.

Poised for nourishment the possibility resides

the strengthening vein the longer it bides.

Two only in my lifetime thus far in time

too precious to waste, oh soulmate of mine!

Painting ‘The Writing Table’ by http://www.rebeccapells.co.uk/

In the Bleak Midwinter

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Winter.

 The living foundation of us all.  The underlying heart, which continues to beat out it’s rhythm when all seems lost.

 The joyful, which in another season’s time would raise a smile, is met by the hard gaze of frozen ground that no nourishment or distraction can melt.  The beauty of the brown barren land is lost to us as we seek in vain the colour and warmth from a distant time.

Dormant.

We long to move on, to leave behind the chilling air which engulfs as fog and cloys our every thought.  We plough our way through the detritus at our feet, heavy with sodden tears.  And wearily we sigh as all we turn over is bleakness.  This internal airing of spinning thoughts, wringing them dry until they fall as fragile leaves at our feet, serves to relieve the burden we heavily bear.

Lost.

Temporarily in the lightness of an empty mind, unsure and wary of the way forward, impatiently we scuff the ground with our feet.  And there we catch a glimpse among the array of wintry browns, a tiny shoot of brightest green, tender, vulnerable and yet poised to unfurl.  A symbol of our inner desire conscious or not as it begins to once more stir, the manifestation of a living, hidden current which runs through.

Patience.

When all you see is fog across the land, or dust settled on a lost love’s rose, smile and be sure for the light is yet to be revealed.

Painting ‘Reflections Unfurled’ by Rebecca Pells

https://www.artfinder.com/product/reflections-unfurled/

Reflections Unfurled

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I’m drawn to return to the place of my birth –

where I took my first guttural breath and found myself at last.

Dust settling in layers upon it’s first blush,

the fresh young shoots crushed, lay stunted by neglect,

devoid of the nutrient which first gave life.

I thought I’d found my Garden of Eden –

but arriving too soon, the ground unprepared and ploughed with furrows past.

Extremes of withholding drought and gushing flood,

the pendulum struck it’s final blow.

The way closed for now at least, I grow my own path

Beneath the dust an inner harvest toils

strengthening, strengthening, nourished by a place beyond thoughts,

a lixor of passion, reciprocal, replenishing.

Verdure anew with each season past.

A gentle breeze as particles stir, at first one spec then two, three.

Hurry not,  slowly to unfurl the green shoots once more,

carefully, tenderly as a butterfly cupped.

Remembrance

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POPPIES

The act of remembrance is also a reminder that we are still here, standing at the new horizon as the old makes a distant retreat.  The lost horizon is always there, carried within us but the act of remembrance focuses our gaze upon it.  A portal through which we approach that fading vista, remembrance offers up the door through which we are beckoned by our lost loves – by those we are in gratitude to – but through which we can never fully walk.  Forever kept apart on the threshold of what was and what is we are either the memory or the memorised, we cannot reside betwix the two.

We are the life which has come from death.  In the viscerous fog of our mourning comes the lucent mist of our own morning.  For some there is heartbreak, still fresh, tender and yet to form time’s cradling scar.  Exposed and raw it is the sweet burden of loving someone who is now beyond our reach.  We have been asked to let go but as yet, cannot – haunted by a presence which is no longer present.  Remembrance helps us to release gently that which was not ours to keep, it enables us to step into our own discarded clothes once again, where we will re-discover the familiar shape and form of our own life and inhabit it once more just as we are supposed to do.

With remembrance comes responsibility to go on, to live our lives as a precious cherished gift from those we now remember.

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My grandfather Claude Pells (seated) with an ‘Unknown Soldier’

during the First World War.  My grandfather survived the trenches of France and lived into his 80’s.

I do not know the fate of his brother in arms.

POPPIES from one of my paintngs.  To see more of my work click here.

To deny or not to deny . . . to be in denial is considered a negative but is it?

Denial is a natural reaction to anything which may cause us discomfort or distress, to that which we did not seek – illness, loss of a job or relationship.  It’s a form of rejection of participation in what is.  Often viewed by others through a lens of negativity and accompanied by an underlying current of judgement, someone ‘in denial’ is perceived to have failed one of life’s many tests.

But denial has a role.  We find ourselves catapulted into no man’s land, somewhere between the longed for safety of the familiar past and the resisted, feared future.  Shell shocked, our senses heightened and with eyes clouded by confusion, we scramble to return to the safety from whence we came, only to feel the ground give way beneath us.  The more we try to no avail the further we sink ever deeper into the quagmire and risk becoming stuck. But it is also a place of self-compassion where we can reside until we’re ready to face that which in this moment feels overwhelming.  A place from which acceptance can gently and tenderly coax us toward the horizon we are not yet ready to meet.

Rigid with indecision and unable to move in either direction we continue to resist, knowing that we must find the courage to journey on and the strength to step out into our future, away from the place we mourn but in which we can no longer reside.  Denial provides space, it enables us to take time to dip our toe back and forth, retreat and try once more until we feel ready.  Eventually the dawn of acceptance – that we cannot go back – rises within, our attention released and now free to turn toward the new horizon.

  By natural progression we tire of just staring at the future unable to fully participate from the incapacity of no man’s land and the first stirrings of curiosity and frustration spur us onward. The nurturing cradle of denial now feels restrictive as we strain to see what’s happening over the horizon.  The moment we step across the threshold separating resistance from readiness, carrying with us the comfort of knowing it will always be there to offer a temporary haven, we take our first tentative steps into a future full of fresh possibilities.

The Circle of Life

Green eyes dilute with age, my feline friend conveys a dignity far greater than mine.

A pull bonded by years both knowing it will end, at least in this physical realm and time.

Preparing for what I know must come and yet, part of my destiny too.

Sharing these last hours although different than I, the magnetic tug endures, not to be parted from you.

And yet I must let you be free.

She senses my sadness, how hard to let her go but with an unspoken ‘it’s okay – this is the way it should be’.

This circle of life.

I leave her to sleep, to choose her own time,

But my desire to be near I gently disturb, gathering her weak body warm, close to mine,

her plumpness diminished revealing the curve of her ribs and contour of spine.

I drink in the sweet smell of fur a memory to recall at some distant, unimagined time.

Her purr once given so freely now comes raspy with effort but offered  to reassure.

Still she gives more.  My precious one.

  No longer able to lazily stretch, white tummy exposed to enjoy the May sun

but lying sphinx-like a position to endure, five minutes or more.

The birds once prey now chatter and chirp, keeping a distance borne of respect.

Do they too sense her gathering end?

The pure joy of having known and shared a love.

Emotion  poignant with loss, etched with privilege of witnessing life waned

and laced with the inevitable sadness to come.

The circle complete.  My precious one.

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