The Sea

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Child on the beach

Photo of a child at İçmeler Beach, Marmaris.  (2016)

 

 

The sea and I are friends

from a long time ago

We like each other’s company

and miss each other on the days we can’t meet.

I have been in many seas,

but I think it’s just one big sea,

regardless of the names.

The sea has seen me age,

but the child who dipped into the water

for the first time

doesn’t age.

 

Full Moon

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full moon

The full moon, last night, or rather, in the early hours of the morning reminded me of this wonderful poem :

 
The Highwayman
PART ONE
The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
         Riding—riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.
He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin.
They fitted with never a wrinkle. His boots were up to the thigh.
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
         His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.
Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard.
He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred.
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
         Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened. His face was white and peaked.
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter,
         The landlord’s red-lipped daughter.
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—
“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
         Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”
He rose upright in the stirrups. He scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair in the casement. His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
         (O, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.
PART TWO
He did not come in the dawning. He did not come at noon;
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,
When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching—
         Marching—marching—
King George’s men came marching, up to the old inn-door.
They said no word to the landlord. They drank his ale instead.
But they gagged his daughter, and bound her, to the foot of her narrow bed.
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
         And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.
They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest.
They had bound a musket beside her, with the muzzle beneath her breast!
“Now, keep good watch!” and they kissed her. She heard the doomed man say—
Look for me by moonlight;
Watch for me by moonlight;
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!
She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
         Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!
The tip of one finger touched it. She strove no more for the rest.
Up, she stood up to attention, with the muzzle beneath her breast.
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
         Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love’s refrain.
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horsehoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding—
         Riding—riding—
The red coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still.
Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer. Her face was like a light.
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
         Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.
He turned. He spurred to the west; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o’er the musket, drenched with her own blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, and his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
         The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.
Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high.
Blood red were his spurs in the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat;
When they shot him down on the highway,
         Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with a bunch of lace at his throat.
.       .       .
And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding—
         Riding—riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.
 
Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard.
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred.
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
         Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

The End of the World

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flat-earth-banner01-mod

 

 

A large gilt framed painting dominates one wall of the Mystical Plains School’s Assembly Hall. A scene of an idyllic valley, surrounded by a narrow body of water which cascades down a steep fall, sweeping the sailboats and people at its end into the deep void. Children watch the painting and wonder. Sometimes they dream of falling into the great beyond and disappearing, forever. 

Aloe fluttered  her long eyelashes and pursed her lips. “I want to see The End of the World.”

“Are you mad?” Basil said. “You’ll fall off the edge.”

“Why would I? Won’t you come with me to discover new herbs and prove the theory?”

Although Aloe and Basil were the same age, Basil, being a ten-year-old boy, was more naive than his female friend. “What theory?” He rolled his eyes.

“That the earth is flat, as grownups say in Mystical Plains. And as it’s shown in the painting.”

“It is flat, also the sky is flat.”

“How about proving it? We’ll stop when we come to the end.”

“Are you sure about this? We don’t know how far it is.”

Aloe twisted a long strand of her celadon mane around a finger and shrugged.

“Only one way to find out. Meet me here tomorrow at dawn. Bring a sandwich and some fruit. Also, your notebook and crayons. We can draw the herbs we find on the way and collect samples. What say you?”

“What do we say to our parents?”

“Say it’s a school project. It’s true.”

“Good idea.”

“Great!” Aloe planted a kiss on Basil’s cheek and scurried away, the skirts of her pale green dress swaying in the breeze.

Basil could never refuse her. She was the most beautiful and clever girl in the Plains. Proud to be her best friend, he always relented to her whims, and she had many.

At dawn, they set off on their journey. Aloe pulled the hood of her olive cape over her hair. Fizzy jade curls that escaped the grip of Basil’s wide-brimmed hat bounced on his cheeks in tune with his quick step.

As sunlight burned away the chill of the spring morning, green fields spread out forever in their view. Basil was good at drawing, Aloe with writing the descriptions and colouring. They stopped several times to examine new finds and added them to their scrapbook.

When the sun was high in the sky, they rested for lunch and shared the fruit. Aloe figured they’d been on their journey for six hours. They’d need another six to return to the village before dark. She shaded her eyes with her hand and perused the surroundings. Eternal green without an end, but The End of the World nowhere in sight. She looked towards the way they came. There was no sign of the village or any familiar sights, nor the trees they’d marked as they moved on.

Biting the apple in her hand, Aloe pondered. “We must head back now and find our path in daylight. I don’t think we’ll reach The End of the World today.”

She studied the fruit closely. “I have an idea. Let’s see if it will work. Look at this apple. It’s round. If you were a tiny insect on it,” she picked up an ant and placed it on one side of the apple, “you wouldn’t be able to see the other side, would you?”

“No,” Basil said, eager to hear the rest.

“But if you keep moving towards the other side, you’ll be there and see it. That’s why we can’t see the village or The End of the World from here. It’s beyond our view. If it were flat, we’d see it.”

“Are you saying it’s a false theory?”

“Yes, but we’ll have to prove it. Let’s go back the same way, and see how the view improves as we get closer.”

Re-tracing their steps, making note of the landmarks, they resumed their hunt for various herbs. Three hours later, they had another break, and shared cookies and a slice of cake. Though they looked back and searched for the spot where they’d stopped for lunch, they could see no further than the forest in midway.

Aloe muttered pensively. “There is no End of the World. It doesn’t end, but continues.”

After two more hours of trekking and drawing, the village appeared in the distance. As the sky turned to shades of marigold and poppy, the sun began to sink behind the hills.

The amber beams of the sunset danced across Aloe’s green eyes and she sighed. “Maybe that’s why the sun and the moon are round. They don’t disappear, but go elsewhere.”

“But they will be back tomorrow,” Basil said, confident.

“The sun, definitely tomorrow, the moon to repeat its different phases next month.”

“Are we going to tell our parents?”

Aloe fiddled with the hem of her skirt. “Not yet. This is still a theory. I have to do more tests. Perhaps, we’ll keep it to ourselves for a while. Tell you what, let’s write down everything in a log, and wait until we’re old enough to prove it. Meanwhile, we have a beautiful scrapbook of different herbs to present to the teacher for our project.”

As twilight spread its velvet blanket over the Mystical Plains, Aloe and Basil chased each other down the road to their homes, their childish laughter filling the air with promise.

Happy May Day !

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Collage 3

Collage 2

Collage 1

 

Burnt Norton

I

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.”

T. S. Eliot Poems

The Four Quartets

Burnt Norton

 

Cercis Siliquastrum

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I’m very happy to see my story published at Spelk Fiction, one of my favourite literary magazines. 🙂

Spelk

by Sebnem E. Sanders

Surrounded by greenery from many different species, a lonely Cercis siliquastrum tree stood in the middle of the park. Many moons ago a bee had carried pollen to this spot from Cercis’ ancestors, all established on the hills overlooking the channel and the ancient city. After the rains and sunshine, its roots had woven their way into the soft, fertile soil. Taking strength from the nourishment of Mother Earth, a cluster of tight leaves upon a thin stem poked through the ground.

Claiming they existed before any religion, the Cercis family preferred to use the Latin name. Some unthinking human had given them the common name of Judas Tree. This, they believed, was defamation, since they were wrongly associated with a crime they did not commit. But the label remained, shadowing their unique beauty in springtime. Red Bud, Love Tree, Tree of Life and other names were found more…

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Our furry friends #6

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A pet memory from the CAKE AND QUILL Blog for the Paws and Claws Anthology. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XWS6CS3/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1491993693&sr=1-1&keywords=paws+and+claws

Cake & Quill

Today’s author is Sebnem E. Sanders, a native of Istanbul, Turkey, who lives on the Eastern shores of the Southern Aegean. Her pet memories revolve around two mischievous dogs.

Sebnem donated a short story to our latest anthology, Paws and Claws, featuring not dogs, but a pair of Red Kites.

*****

Champagne and Caviar

Champagne and Caviar were two male Golden Cocker Spaniel puppies that we adopted when they were eight weeks old. Out of a litter of eight, we chose the best looking male. Then my husband said, “We should also get this naughty one.” He was not as handsome as his brother, but his mischievous eyes mirrored his intelligence. We had only planned to get one, but returned home with two.
Our house in Singapore had a big garden with a separate quarter for servants. We gave the puppies one of the free rooms to spend the night in, until…

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Springtime

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wild_flower_meadow_lw

 

Puffy grass like a goose down duvet

resplendent with daisies, yellow dandelions,

buttercups and a myriad of wildflowers

that flourish without care,

poppies that pop up everywhere,

sacred earth preserves their seeds

since the beginning of time,

all they need is rain and sunshine,

after a short period of rest of in Gaia’s belly,

a message of hope and prosperity

for mankind to understand the eternal cycle

to cherish and to protect it with care

for the next generations.

Happy Easter Everyone!

 

This is a re-post from last year. 🙂

Bewitched

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red hair photoshop

It was her sea-green eyes
that melted his heart
at first, but then
the strawberry lips,
curled into a smile,
the flaming locks
cascading down
her golden frock

On the night of the spring equinox
he knew he was possessed,
as shafts of silver moonlight
danced upon her face and dress,
her eyes beamed and a slender ivory-skinned arm
reached for his hand-
he blinked,
blaming the wayward breeze and the moon
that played tricks on his eyes

He wished she were here,
wished he could find her,
the maiden who posed
for the artist whose
lines and colours made her real.

Photo details: I couldn’t find a painting that represents the character in the poem. So, I found a photo of the lovely Isolda Dychauk as Lucrezia Borgia and photoshopped it. 🙂

Paws and Claws

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Video :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZoKYzVMC64

Blog:   https://cakeandquill.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/out-now-paws-and-claws/

“It’s the first of April, and unlike the rest of the world we’re absolutely serious. So, no, it’s not a joke – our latest anthology, Paws and Claws, is out and available. Filled with all sorts of creatures, furry, fluffy, slimy, scaled, winged, weird, it tells you stories to make you laugh, make you cry, and make you wonder. As announced, all proceeds will go to Bob’s House for Dogs, a small charity that offers hospice care for older dogs,helps making senior dogs ‘more adoptable’, and ultimately works to try and give more dogs who have found themselves without a home, a forever home.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing and compiling it! It’s on Amazon, in e-book as well as in paperback format. Perfect Easter present, isn’t it?

Get in the mood by watching the trailer!”

I have a story in there, my first ever ‘literally’ published work.

 
A Cake & Quill collection. Authors are: Tina Rath, Angelika Rust, Adam Oster, Jay Robbins, Yvonne Marjot, Tom Greenwood, Faye Kename, Paula Shene, Hannah Warren, Sue Moorhouse, Pat Black, Kate Murdoch, Karen Eisenbrey, Cindra Spencer, Sebnem Sanders.