Powering Down and the Octogram of Love

The weekly poem and blog is very late this week. Blame it on Storm Barra. Since Monday we have had intermittant power outages, some as long as ten hours or more. We have an electric power shower and I was feeling full of gratitude this morning for hot water without the fear of a sudden drench of cold water. At one point we were out of power (and wifi goes with it), landline and no service on the mobile. But we live in the country. We adapt. We have a log burner. We have a bottled gas cooker. A You Tube hack that says tea lights on a metal pie plate with a terracotta flower pot over them will generate heat – it works! So what I have been experiencing most of all this week is gratitude. Also, we had a lot of strings of battery powered Christmas lights on hand…

In our Sunday “Writing the Light in the Season of Darkness” we had a prompt using the Octogram of Love. From this I raised what the ancient Greeks defined as the eight varieties of love: eros (sexual passion), philia (deep friendship), ludos (playful love), agape (love for everyone), pragma ( longstanding love), philautia (love of self), storge (family love) and mania (obsessive love). We had a lively debate on the limits of this definition. Where is love of the natural world? Where is the line between self-love and nacisissm? And is romantic love a purely modern addition, because it is not just sexual passion or obsession argued one of the participants.

One of the revelations of the power outages was my intense gratitude for powering down. We kept indoors with our tribe of fur persons. We managed to keep warm and well fed. I read a novel by head torch. I cooked soup and stew on the gas hob. There was no background electric hum of appliances. There was no news except that brought by the wind howling and the rain lashing. We were a safe island in the chaos of Storm Barra.

But I am, of course, very grateful to be able to connect with the world again. I am grateful for clean hair and the blow drier. But what I realised was that ‘powering down’ for a couple of days is an exercise in love of self. I needed to unplug from ‘stuff’ a bit more, that nervy background humming of electronic devices and anxiety inducing world news. Actually, even as the wind howls and rain pours if we hunker down in the silence, we are okay. And, I feel recharged. Or, perhaps more accurately, more centred.

The Weekly Poem is one that came out of my recent Saturday Zoom session with wintering out Word Alchemists. In a way, I hope it redresses the lack of a catagory for nature love in the octogram of love.

Wreath

Tis the season to deck halls and wreath
our homes and hearth with mirth, the keeps with peace.

Tis the season to circle with a wide smile,
to not let the holly prickle, not even a little.

Tis the season to let fir boughs wave and tickle
everybody's joy bone, to chuckle and even cackle.

Tis the season to crown with lit candles,
to St. Lucy's parade, for the empty manger cradle.

Tis the season to pause, to watch the dark beneath,
to circle together, as we each weave a wreath.

And yes, those strings of battery Christmas lights were wound around wreaths this past couple of days and illuminated the perpetual dusk of our midwinter gloom.

Featured Image Photo by Sebastian Fröhlich on Unsplash

NaPoWriMo2019 Day 9

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt turns for inspiration to a long gone Japanese woman poet, Sei Shonagon, famous for her Pillow Book of astute, acute observations of court life. She was a great one for doing list poems on rather grand themes like Things That Have Lost Their Power. Never say I am not ambitious!

Earthly Powers

The depradations of age...
the body has arrived at the stage
of being the creaking gate,
the wobbling fence post. It's fate.
Words escape. Occasionally,
object or subject vaguely
becomes 'thingy.' Context is the template
that helps us negotiate.
Until they have all gone on
we lean on those sharing this Rubicon.
Oddly, despite 'thingy', things matter
less and less. We live gaunter
in every way- our bones brittle,
hair thinning around the skull.
However, others' opinions
matter naught. They're spent canons.
Sometimes wisdom finally arrives.
Fear's vanquished, deprived
all its power to manipulate.
Women can luxuriate,
stroking their moustaches and goatees.
A man can eat only cheese.
Age denudes us of our vanity.
For some it takes sanity,
makes crappy, cranky, crumbly, crusty.
Age makes the brave. Oldies are toughies.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved

Featured Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

GloPoWriMo2019
Bee Smith is participating in GloPoWriMo2019