Monday, 21 April 2014

Can You Cast Spells?

Jennospot 119  Can You Cast Spells?

Translated from a poem by Anne-Lise Brugger Grataloup, inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Tell me…
Can you cast spells:
The art of wonder,
The art of dwelling outside time
In space beyond limit?
Tell me…
Can you cast spells?

Are you, my misguided contemporaries,
Like me condemned
To run…ever breathless?

Oedipus has guessed aright,
The enigma is resolved
And man explained.
Agreed, say the myths
Now he must prove himself.

But tell me…
Can you cast spells?

Then suppose we dream…
Of leaping walls,
Dancing with the wind;
Flying arm in arm with angels;
Becoming herbs and flowers in fields
Rocked by dewy breezes.

Open your eyes
To moonless nights:
Recognise the star which shines for us
And laugh
In memory of the sand,
In memory of a well.

In the bright sky of our hopes
A little prince tends
His rose,
Lovely in its silk
Which dares
Declare a useless faith in seeming thorns
And worries for
The caterpillar
Becoming butterfly.

Tell me…
Can you cast spells,
The art of wonder
The art of a sheep inside a box
And of a serpent hat?

Suppose we go
To the desert's heart
Where gleams
The source.
Let's drink its limpid
Let's fill our flasks
And go on…
Magic, art, and wonder
For our friends.

Tell me…
Can you cast spells?

Wiv luv from Jenno.
Oi 'ope yew loike it….

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

My Village

Welcome to the SilverWood Books Blog Hop!
A few of our authors have come together to share a variety of articles and items of interest on their blogs for your enjoyment. There are some lovely giveaway prizes, and - to stay in keeping with the Spring and rebirth theme at this time of year - some colourful Easter eggs. Feel free to collect the eggs, and use them where you like. They were drawn by SilverWood author Peter St John who writes the ‘Gang’ series about a boy who was evacuated to a village in East Anglia during WWII. Meet Peter and his characters on the Blog Hop, along with a host of eggcellent SilverWood authors. ;-)
Have fun!
Helen Hart
Publishing Director
SilverWood Books

Jennospot 118  Moi Village

Moi village o' Widdlin'ton ain't a big an' important place, 'cept fer them wot live there, o' 'corse, wot don't mean that there ain't no visitors from toime ter toime. Any'ow, a real noice lady from Pennsyvania, wot's in the United States o' America, come by recently an' she were kind enough ter write a piece about it (even although she din't say nuffink about me) but she did say somefink about a "Boy". Well, it jus' so 'appens that that "Boy" lives jus' in the back o' me, be'ind moi chicken run, an' cripes, Oi know all the trouble 'ee 'as wiv gangs, an' wiv 'is aunt an' all. This American lady's name is Katherine Ashe, an' she writes super novels about English 'istory, so she really knows wot she's talkin' about. Any'ow, this is wot she wrote about the "Gang Territory" in Widdlin'ton:

"World War II and the bombing of London brought about the displacement of multitudes of children. We see photos of them, wan, frightened as they’re herded onto trains bound for the safer countryside or they’re led away by the firm grip of strangers’ hands. But what happened to them after that, when they arrived at their unfamiliar destinations?
Peter St. John’s autobiographically inspired story of a boy from a destroyed London orphanage gives us an insight. An insight not only into the new hazards such children faced, but into the noble code of boyhood, a code that forbade complaining when one was abused and that produced a degree of self-reliance that would serve well in later years – provided the noble spirited little lad survived.

As in a medieval romance, the hero’s name is never revealed to the reader. We will call him Boy. Boy arrives in the rural village of Widdlington which is scant of indoor plumbing but rich in gangs of children. Every street has its own gang who guard their territory from intruders. And an intruder is any other child who does not live on that street. This of course makes life exceedingly difficult for Boy, whose aunt and guardian seems oblivious to the juvenile culture surrounding her, for she makes a habit of sending him on errands where his very life depends upon his ingenuity in getting to his goal and back home again unobserved.

There may be individuals as completely lacking in humane feeling as this aunt, so completely focused on a sense of being put upon, so resentful of a young boy, and so determined to gain every instant of advantage from the unwanted presence of a child, as to resemble a slave driver with a savage tongue in place of whip. When the aunt seems to relent at sight of the boy’s injuries one senses that self-protection, not pity, is her foremost, driving motive: fear of being discovered as the abuser she is. Why is she so cramped and mean of spirit? Seen from the viewpoint of Boy, we never learn.

But if the aunt makes his new home hellish, the principal local bully, known as Slug, turns the entire outside world into a trial of strategy for Boy as he must navigate from place to place nearly always under the threat of severe bodily harm if he loses his focus of attention for a moment. St. John sets up hazards and triumphs that make the plot predictable but that also create suspense – and a certain admiration in the reader as we know what must be coming but well drawn intervening events keep forestalling the inevitable.

Widdlington is peopled with kindly folk as well as brutes: from teachers to parents to children – mostly girls – and the local derelict known as Dummy. Many speak in dialect although, thank heaven, Boy does not. As yet another “Oi” for “I” is uttered, the words of Henry Higgins spring to mind: “Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?” Walter Scott loved writing in dialects too, so St. John is in illustrious company.
The issue of bullying is as timely now as ever and St. John’s exploration of the ways in which children cope: isolatedly, determinedly, with fear and bravery, is as resonant in Gang Territory as in Huckleberry Fin, and as a salutary reminder of obtuse adult perceptions and the complexity of the world of childhood."


It's me, Jenno, wot put in the pictures of Widdlin'ton 'cos Oi thought yew'd loike ter see a bit o' moi village, so if'n yew don't loike 'em don't yew go a-blamin' the noice American lady. An' if p'raps yew'd loike a few more, yew c'd go ter
 By the way, the American lady reckons as 'ow a lot of us in Widdlin'ton speak wiv a dialect. Well Oi don't want ter be impolite, but ter moi ears its them Americans wot speak wiv a dialect. Any'ow, when Oi want, Oi c'n speak posh English just as well as Oi can proper English, only if'n Oi did it wiv moi gang around, they'd fink Oi gone all superior on 'em, an' they'd chuck me out. So Oi mostly don't do it. Oi'm glad ter 'ave cleared up that little point.

'Ave yerselves a real 'appy Easter.

Wiv luv from Jenno an' PStJ...

And there are a host of other exciting and interesting articles – hop forward to the next SilverWood Author for more interesting articles, some colourful Easter eggs to collect, and a few Giveaway Prizes:

·          Anna Belfrage : Is Freezing in a Garret a Prerequisite?
·        Lucienne Boyce : The Female Writer's Apology.
·        Isabel Burt : Friday Fruitfulness - Flees for the Easter Hop...
·        Caz Greenham : Springtime and Hanging Baskets.
·        Edward Hancox : Seaweed and Cocoa.
·        Matlock the Hare : Pig-padding the Self-published Highway...
·        Helen Hollick : Let us Talk of Many Things - Fictional Reality.
·        Alison Morton : Roma Nova - How the Romans Celebrated Spring.
·        John Rigg : Television Lines. - Television Lines.
·        Peter St John : Jenno Presents - My Village.
·        Michael Wills : A Doomed Army.
·        Debbie Young : Young By Nature - The Alchemy of Chocolate.
·        Helen Hart : SilverWood Books Spring Blog Hop.

And here is your Easter Egg to collect - there are six in all scattered throughout the Blog Hop - collect them all and feel free to use them on your own Blog or Facebook - or wherever you like!