Thursday, 28 February 2013

Happiness by Max Ehrmann

One of my favourite poems by this poet.

To be without desire is to
be content. But contentment is not
happiness. And in contentment
there is no progress. Happiness is
to desire something, to work
for it, and to obtain at least a part
of it. In the pursuit of
beloved labour the busy days pass
cheerfully employed, and
still nights in peaceful sleep.
For labour born of desire is
not drudgery, but manly play.
Success brings hope, hope
inspires fresh desire, and desire
gives zest to life and joy
to labour. This is true whether your
days be spent in the palaces
of the powerful or in some little
green by-way of the world.
Therefore, while yet you have
the strength, cherish a desire to do
some useful work in your
little corner of the world, and
have the steadfastness to labour.
For this is the way to the
happy life; with health and
endearing ties, it is the way to the
glorious life.

In the run up to World poetry day I thought I would share some of my favourite poems and poets with you- Max Ehrmann was an American writer and poet: Born September 26th 1872 and he died September 9th 1945

His famous prose poem ‘Desiderata’ only became famous in the late ‘60’s after it was adopted by a Pastor as a devotional prayer.

The layout of this poem is exactly as it is published in the book of his poems I've taken this from and naturally all copyright remains with Max Ehrmann.

I particularly love his work because his words seem to transcend time and even though many of his poems were written before and then after World War I, I’m quite sure that not much has changed when it comes to matters of the heart.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013


A date with masculinity, modern dance and extreme ballet as young male dancers stripped bare exhibited sinuous lines as they danced to an eclectic music score.

Last night the BalletBoyz, performed their electric ballet ‘The Talent 2013’ at G Live in Guildford. A superb performance, an energizing and thrilling dance routine, executed brilliantly. Talent 2013 is most definitely Talented.

Before each performance the choreographer appeared in a short video clip offering the audience a personal insight to their thinking behind the piece on offer.

Liam Scarlett choreographed the first piece ‘Serpent.’ The music written by Max Richter, a melancholic score which drew me in as bodies wrapped in skin tone leggings as subtle lighting displayed torso’s stripped back and laid bare as rib cages stretched to fullest extensions, twisted and turned, revealing physical fitness to levels rarely attained by typical members of the public.

The opening sequence of a single arm raised and extended above the bodies laid on the dance floor created a sinuous line, the hand searching as the background music encouraged the dancers to twist their bodies into beautiful balletic poses.

A troupe of ten young male dancers performed this mesmerizing dance. There was no story to tell, yet no story was required as in a more formal ballet. The lighting of the empty stage showed off the physicality of their bodies to perfection, each taut muscle and twisted sinew highlighted.

The stage at first seemed too small to hold all of this energetic troupe and then suddenly a single dancer held our attention, switching to a duet whilst the remainder of the troupe stood in a tight huddle. A shoulder blade roll here, and a shoulder blade roll there.

Each dancer seemed of a similar height and stature but as the dance developed it became more apparent that each dancer had a different physical presence, shoulder blades separated and moved in a defined manner and that’s where individually each dancer became different from the dancer next to him and as rib cages extended and stretched they showed each dancers definition could define him as distinct and individual.

The musical score and interpretation by both choreographers seduced the audience into silence, so as each performer finished the auditorium was silent, spellbound, and all that we could hear… the laboured breathing of a dancer as he departed the stage.

These dancers trust each other implicitly, each supports the other as a lead dancer which allows a following dancer to use his body as a framework for a complex move, a hand here, a body leans in bears its full weight and then with a seamless twist of a single fluid movement that was graceful and elegant, the dancer with effortless ease slipped into the next position and the scene moved forward.

‘Fallen’ by Russell Maliphant had a pounding beat, hypnotic and pulsating by contrast the second piece from the opening sequence, compulsive viewing performed with superb timing which included complex tumbling routines within the dance offering a synchronicity, flexibility and fluidity which has deservedly earned the BalletBoyz, high praise for their magical performance and they have garnered many awards accolades along the way.

Somehow, during this second piece the dancers managed to slink across the stage, and interpret the music on offer by Armand Amar as the lighting heightened each dancer’s body extensions with dramatic effect on the back wall as a giant shadow version appeared. If you find the male body beautiful then I assure you, you will enjoy this performance immensely.

Michael Nunn and William Trevitt can be proud of this brilliant troupe of exceptional young dancers and if you get a chance to see them on their current tour, I suggest you grab tickets with both hands.

My thanks to Rosalie at G Live for choosing me to be a winning ticket holder, I shall be back for more performances, of this I'm certain.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Sharing Poetry...Max Ehrmann

Reforming Oneself
by Max Ehrmann 

It has been raining again. I have been
indoors, meditating on the short-
comings of life.
I wish there were more kindly persons
in the world. Our competitive life
develops selfishness and unkindness.
I am determined to do something about it.
I cannot hope to convert many
persons. To convert one person, I 
shall do well.

I will begin with the person I know best-
When it rains and one is much indoors,
 one is likely to meditate on the
shortcomings of life.

Let me think - how shall I make myself
kind, gentle considerate?
I do believe it has stopped raining.
I can go out now. I'll go and shoot on the archery range.
I'll not bother to reform myself today.
 Perhaps tomorrow - if it is raining,
and I must stay indoors, and meditate
on the shortcomings of life.

All copyright belongs to Max Ehrmann 

Monday, 25 February 2013

The Moon
by Max Ehrmann

I would, if I could, bring back
    into fashion the moon and the
   stars, the dawn and the sunset.
   I rarely hear anyone speak
   of them. One would think these
   perpetual wonders had
   passed from sight.
There is peace and rest in the
   contemplation of these miracles
    that nature paints on the
    canvas of the sky.

But we do not want peace
    and rest; we are enamoured of
    noise and motion. A St. Vitus’
    dance has seized us.
Things must change. The nerves
     have a limit of endurance.

Tonight, I looked at the moon
    for a while. There was a
    faint circle around it.
A friend came by and asked what
    I was looking at. I pointed
    to the moon.
    “I don’t see anything.”
    “The moon,” I said.
    He chuckled and went on. He will
    report me as growing queer.

The mystery of the night!
     And our own mystery! Who
    knows what we are? No science
    has yet grasped us.
   The moon- beautiful, mystical
    moon- playing nightly
   To empty seats!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I love those shoes. God they’re gorgeous. I want them. There’s only one incey wincey tiny problem; I’m following them, along a crowded street. I trail behind a few yards in the wake of their lucky owner. Cow. She wears them effortlessly, stands tall, looks fabulous; her willowy figure accentuated by even slimmer ankles. Those shoes appear to me, to make her more confident. Even sassy. Perhaps the sway of her hips, a gentle hypnotic swing attracts my attention, yet if I could catch her up, simply tap her on the shoulder, make an admiring comment, a kind word before I ask her where she purchased them?

On the other hand…

I may well become a stalker, her shoe prowler and rush her, tackle her to the ground and release those gorgeous specimens from her feet. Run away. Hide. Find a private spot and slip on those stolen assets, because they appear to be about the right size. But maybe that’s a more appropriate nocturnal activity as it’s broad daylight now.

If I were brave enough to liberate them, I could caress the unleashed shoe, cradle it in my hands, sniff the leather and let its aroma soothe my troubled being.

My desire pulses faster through my veins as I close in on her. I can see them so clearly I'm overwhelmed with lust, the high shine black patent spike, the expense heard in every tap across the pavement. Each click, then clack, music to my ears.

A tiny diamante buckle places the thinnest ankle strap at the exact spot her ankle slims. My foot would look divine shown off in this splendid pair of pumps. I ache to know how they might make me feel, my ankle clearly defined, my calf taut as I stand and stick my bottom back and out, buttocks clenched. I’d wear fishnet stockings and toenails painted a glossy midnight blue varnish, as a final flourish. Maybe a simple cream Macintosh, cinched in at the waist but no underwear, as the desire to be brazen grabs a hold of me.

Freely I admit, I’m a shoe snob. I stop myself from drooling at the prospect of owning that particular pair of shoes, but only just, because I hate it when the shoe shop is closed, when I set eyes on them, in the spotlight, unattainable, behind a rigid pane of glass which prevents me reaching in to touch the leather, discover if the soft skin will yield beneath my fingertips... I find myself making hushed cooing noises, calling out to those shoes. Waiting for their response.

God save any sales assistant who does not apologize profusely and stop me from foaming at the mouth when she tells me they do not have my size in stock. Oh the agony and the ecstasy; the need to covet these divine creatures of adornment.

The clear ringing footfall I pursue… stops.

I watch him take her in his arms; he kisses her on the lips, her left foot flicks backwards to reveal the red sole. A peek, a brilliant iridescent flash of colour, like a waving castigating finger scolding me and mocks, ‘look but don’t touch,’ the sole says.

Voices blur and vanish into the air. I stand alone, singled out; in the zone as a jealous need rips through my body…I don’t see him, or her, only the shoe. I shudder with delight, as a moment later my hand moves forward to…

To be continued

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Smallstone No 31

Never stop writing, smallstones… it’s free! #smallstone #sixwords

apologies - how did I miss the last day of January - *shakes & hangs head*

Asking for money for a good cause

I make no apology for promoting my sons half marathon effort this month and in the next fifteen days I will be asking lots of people to donate (any amount they can spare) because I want him to have as much support as possible to promote his chosen charity and cause.

I’m very proud of my son because what you don’t know is that James has suffered. He has Crohns.

It is a nasty disease (one that will live with him for his lifetime) and for most of his twenties he was in a great deal of pain, and I never heard him complain, and he carried on with his life despite spending a great deal of time in hospital and flat on his back recovering after major surgery. He had seven operations in total.

He also had Pilonidal sinus disease and from his late teens until recently he has been subjected to some harsh ordeals, all which he faced with courage and dignity and strength.

He got little acknowledgment of his condition during this time and carried on working full time (as best he could) despite daily appointments with a nurse to pack open wounds. This was a job I could not have done.

After one of his major operations I had to brace myself against the wall, hold on to the end of the bed and the fireplace as the nurse revealed the extent of his wound!

To my surprise the wound looked excellent, clean and clinical, I wasn’t squeamish and I didn’t slide down the wall, (thankfully) but knowing this had to be packed-daily and that it had to heal, from the inside out, made the situation all too apparent that he had a long road to recovery.

The doctors and nurses that cared for him did an amazing job!

Move forward a couple of years and James’ is now running, something his body was not physically capable of doing while he battled this illness and the operations and recovery periods.

And this is why I’m asking for your money… his illness- Crohns is often hidden from view. He is a very private person and I’ve asked his permission to share this knowledge with you before printing.

James needs your support. Anything that you can give will be greatly appreciated and go towards an excellent cause.

If you can spend anything then please join us here on his Givingpage