Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Two Poems

Two Poems

House of Banjo Paterson in his earlier years: Gladesville Cottage at Rockend:

A home of Banjo Paterson from wikipedia

Cover for Banjo Paterson's published works from wikipedia:

Poetry in Paradise offered a one hour workshop where
Joan Small and Jean Watson kindly gave of their time to assist with
rhythm and rhyme in poetry.

I found this session helpful and inspiring.

Poetry in Paradise has now been going
for seven years and I have enjoyed attending many of the sessions
in the past year which are held once a month in the library at the Gold Coast.

Poetry was considered for the syllables and stress
in a line and for the rhyme.

Metre was looked at in traditional poetry. The pattern of the metre
and the stressed syllables remain the same and the pattern repeats itself, especially
in bush poetry:
“Bob” by Henry Kendall, “Oh, Tell Me” by Henry Kendall and “The Man”
by A B Paterson was given on Jean Watson's worksheet regarding metre in
traditional poetry.
Sometimes poets do exercise poetic licence.

Sample poetry of rhyme by Banjo Paterson, “Clancy of the Overflow” was given
on Joan Small's worksheet of rhyme in poetry.
“Clancy of the Overflow” is a brilliant piece
of poetry which is wonderful.
It is also beautiful with evocative descriptions of the rural settings of

The rhyming pattern of “If” by Rudyard
Kipling and
Poetry by A B Milne, “Us Two,” was considered.

Banjo Paterson is a famous bush poet
whose works are popular. I once found it interesting to read
about his life. He became a lawyer. He was also a journalist, soldier, reporter. He must have loved the outback of Australia very much. He returned to the rural life.

I have two poems which I contributed to read at Poetry in Paradise this week: A Distant River and
The Artist and the Writer.
My earlier poem
of Paris was read at an earlier session of Poetry in Paradise and is to be found in an ealier post of
The Land of Colour. (In Joan Smalls article from Poetry in Paradise, a poem of Paris is mentioned.)

Earlier poems of the entertainments and fetes which were held at Versailles are on earlier posts of
Magical Enchantments, as also poems of Louise de la Valliere, Madame de Montespan and Madame
de Maintenon and of Versailles.

When I next return to France and visit Versailles and also Venice I hope to be inspsired to perhaps write
more poetry, travel writing or even at some stage start on a novel. I do love these places.

A Distant River

A distant river meanders through the wastes of time
As a distant mirror
reflected by the Sun's rays
A sign;

And the weeping willows from a distant shore
Can tell of stories from before:

slowly, ever so slowly,
does the mirror tilt
glance backwards
And reflects a scene:

A horseman racing
across a plain,
The story, as ever,
is often the same:
Of mighty armies clashing
in a gilded light;
The sun-swept moors
and a victor's delight;

The river meanders down
from snow swept heights
Melting snows and ice upon its way
Tinkling down the old path-way;
The sights and sounds of the Siberian Steppe
The ice-bound travellers, cold mountain air
and images kept,
hardships upon the snowy plain:

As prospectors painstakingly sweep a river plain
Looking for gold with the next rain
A hint of a distant image
And the horseman rides by:
A glimpse in time
From a distant river
flowing by:-

In star-spangled light
the birds take flight
In an uproarious glorious din
And the forest echoes within;

A horse whinnies in its fright
Whizzing arrows find soldiers in their plight
Who knows from where they come?

Better the sight of birds in flight
Than an army in all its might
under the glittering sun;
Better the sight
of Nature Bright
Than a glint of steel on white.

The Artist and The Writer

Apollo rides his golden chariot
across stormy seas
Heavenly hoofs beat upon the sand
Glistening and turning
Surf waves churning
A star fish glistens beneath the surf
Showing its significance for what it's worth!
These are the things which I am longing for
All on a distant shore:

The writer picks up his pen
Describes the beauty of the glen;
the sun glinting shadows
and softly green meadows
seen from his writer's den;

The artist with his brush -strokes can
Paint the picture
at first hand,
A grain of sand
An elephant in a circus band
The leaves of trees swaying gently
in a breeze;

All these things of beauty see
Committed to memory:

The sun bursts forth upon the page
Pictures from another age
Admired, shown upon a stage;

Hear the bells from up on high
See the chimes up in the sky
Purple and blue and every hue
Describing an evening dew:

Migratory birds on a wing do cry
Ducks shuffle their feathers in all weather
Colours with magic and music allure
Now with notes the picture endures
The colours of nature in every age;

The sun in its golden haze
Seems to beckon and call
for the thrill
of beauty in all its ways:

O My Angel Light
Giving us such great delight!

And on through the night
your beauty endures
With your soft allure:

With a golden sunset
and a moon which is met
with diamond light,
golden and bright,
over a soft verdure.

O My Angel, Angel Light
Heaven's helper, God's delight!
Shine forth your beauty upon the night
With the silent orb of a moonlit sight:

Golden lights upon the leaves
Glinting and shifting in the breeze
Stretching onwards as far as the eye can see
Heaven's sights upon the trees
Singing stories amongst the leaves
Shimmering magic as they weave:

Gliding gracefully through the pale
Slanting rapidly across the dale
To the distant mists of the furtherest vale
A sunset glimpse of a rainbow tale:

The writer and artist
can capture the sight
In all of its glorious might:
So set on a trail
which cannot fail
to find this Angel Light:
My Angel Light
So bright and pure
A conflicting world's
Angel's cure.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Versailles- The dream and the court (continued)

Hall of Mirrors at Versailles:

Versailles - the Dream and the Court (continued)

Wandering around the great chateau and the Hall of Mirrors -
to relive and imagine the experiences of the
courtiers and people who once lived there.

The king, Louise de la Valliere, Madame de Montespan, Princess Henriette;

There in a long chamber before coming out of the chateau into the gardens
there is a long gallery of statuary of characters from earlier centuries -
generals, poets, soldiers, writers. I found this display of statues of characters
from another time fascinating.

To visit the gardens in all of their splendour, so much
magnificence and beauty all in one place!

Some writers have the talent to bring another place and time alive.

I particularly enjoyed reading Sandra Gulland's evocative novel of Louise de la
Valliere, “Mistress of the Sun.”
Louise, the love of the king's early years; a beautiful story to read.
The story of Louise is different. She found grace and beauty in a convent and wrote
religious writings after her time at Versalles.

Louise, who was young and innocent fell in love with the wordly king. Louise, who came from a provincial town of the Loire seemed out of place at Versailles, and yet, she was a magnificent horse woman. Also, a dancer. She got on well with the king in his early years. His love for Louise was and inspiration when the gardens at Versailles were created.
The book follows Louise's love and also her suffering during her time at the court of the king. It is a wonderful book to read. It was uncanny that the author could depict the life of Louise and her love for the king so graphically and describe her world and her feelings of love, so authentically,
from the little towns of the Loire valley, the places of Paris of the seventeenth century and the
magnificence of the court of Versailles in all of its splendour.

A difficult situation for the long suffering Queen Marie Therese of Spain who came as a young bride to marry Louis XIV. This wedding was supposed to act as a peace settlement between the two countries, which in a way it did. Subsequently, the king's second grand-son, the Duc d'Anjou
became King of Spain.

The king never did receive the dowry received in full which was promised at the time of the
marriage negotiations. This may have been a pre-text for one of his earlier campaigns. In his later
years it has been noted that he did regret some of his earlier campaigns.
The book reflects the purity of the love and innocence of Louise against a background of wantoness which does later seem to become apparent at the court when Madame de Montespan, a rival for the king's affections, also becomes a mistress of the king.
Being an idealistic person, Louise was not
happy with this situation; three queens in a coach as was once described of one of the king's journeys when Madame de Montespan, Louise de la Valliere and the queen, Marie Therese, were escorting the king during one of his campaigns in his early days.

It does seem unfortunate that Louise was not chaperoned at the court.
Being a lady of honour on
Princess Henriette's retinue it may have been appropriate for Louise to have been chaperoned. Being young and impressionable at the time that a position was found for her at court perhaps her
mother should have arranged this.
Louise later found her calling in a religious life and entered a convent,
subsequently writing religious works. Her children remained at court and Louise turned her back on a worldly existence as she then perceived the court of Versailles. Louise is one of the more appealing characters at the royal court from the time of the Sun-King.
Louise was a popular person at court and people did speak to her about her decision to enter a convent.

The beauty of the love of Louise and the king has been mentioned in previous books regarding the king's early years at Versailles and was described as beautiful in the book “Princesss of Versailles” by Charles Elliott, which told the story of Princess Marie-Adelaide of Savoy, who came to live at the court of Versailles in the king's later years and married his grand-son, the Duke of Bourgogne.
This book also was a fascinating tale giving wonderful descriptions of the royal court and insights into the life of the king.  The Duke and Duchess of Bourgogne sold their jewellery in times of hardship.

At one time there was silver furniture placed in the Hall of Mirrors which would have been quite beautiful.  Louis XIV had this silver melted down in later years to pay for the soldiers' wages.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Court of Versailles

The Court of Versailles

Who are the favourite characters of the court of Versailles besides the king?

I would like to wander around the gardens and chateau of Versailles imagining
their real lives and what it must have been like to live there. The town of Versailles
increased after the king moved his court there in 1682.

There was tree planting in the town and many innovations.
In 1683 the king is believed to have had a secret marriage with Madame de Maintenon.

I often wonder about all of the people who lived at the court during the seventeenth century.
It was a very real time for them, even though now the ancien regime may often be dismissed
as being irrelevant.

Louis XIV achieved success and created wonders with his beautiful gardens
and chateau. He encouraged arts, literature, plays, theatre, music, dance (he was a great dancer himself for many years) and architecture.
The people of the court would have enjoyed the entertainments of the king, sometimes held in an
outdoor setting of the gardens, which would have been very beautiful and decorative for the festive occasion.

A brief synopsis of the characters of the court:

To my mind both Louise de la Valliere in the seventeenth century and Marie Antoinette in the eighteenth century stand tall:

Louise de la Valliere – beautiful, serene, her love for the king shone through.
She understood that
material values had no place in a spiritual love;

Marie Antoinette: naïve, innocent, impulsive, her inner beauty also shone through;

Princess Henriette from the seventeenth century:
a younger sister of Charles II of England
who was married to the king's brother at an early age known as Madame, Duchess of Orleans, often referred to as “Minette”: vibrant personality, friendly and popular, who
unfortunately died at a young age;

Madame de Montespan: vivacious, daring, innovative, challenging;
A great personality and rival for the king's affections;
Lisa Hilton has written a comprehensive book about Athenais de Montespan:
“Athenais, the Real Queen of France.” I enjoyed reading this book.

Great books to read:

“Farewell, My Queen” by Chantal Thomas, which gave a unique perspective of Marie Antoinette from the Queen's reader, an old lady who was subsequently based in Vienna and wrote in her letters of the reverential respect the servants had for Marie Antoinette.

“Antoinette” the play by Kathy Davis;

Antonia Fraser's book of “Marie Antoinette” is written from a sympathetic view point and gives a detailed account of the unfortunate queen's life;

“Royal Flush” by Margaret Irwin who gives a riveting account of the life of Princess Henriette of England which depicts the court of Louis XIV in all of its magnificent splendour.

I will return to this post at a later time as there are many fascinating characters
who lived at the court of Versailles and many great books written.

As was mentioned in “Royal Flush” Princess Henriette belived that it was one of the best times to be at the court i.e. during the time of Louis XIV's court in the seventeenth century.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Dream of Versailles

The dream of Versailles

September/October is a wonderful time to visit

It is during these months that there are exhibitions
and concerts at Versailles..

It certainly would be a unique opportunity to attend one of the many musical concerts which are
given in the gardens where the fountains play delightfully, splashing water. The fountains often played when the king, Louis XIV, promenaded around the gardens,
which would have been a source of joy and pride for the king.
He wrote a guide book about the best way of viewing his gardens: “Maniere de montrer les jardins de Versailles” which was often
updated. The fourth version was written by the king. Sometimes he corrected some of the versions.

Channelling the water for the fountains was innovative with great engineering designs and ideas which did take time even using horse power at one time whManiereich proved cumbersome but eventually with the talents and designs of the Francini brothers, the fountains were playing giving a magnificent view from the king's bedroom windows.

The concerts seem to be popular and are
shown on you tube: there are several performances of les grandes eaux performances at versailles and also the fountains playing by daylight on the official Versailles site. This you tube video is
from a concert given at night accompanied by the music of Lully: perhaps more fireworks than
fountain displays on this video:

Best wishes


The Reign of the Sun King

I thought it was time for a few more posts about Louis XIV and Versailles:

The Reign of the Sun King:

The sun set its golden shadows over distant hills
and the reign of the Sun King ceased to be;-
A reign spectacular for its magnificence and splendour:-

All this time the Sun King seemed to live his life upon a stage:-
a court revolving round a golden age;
the Grand Siecle;

Philippe d'Orleans,
son of Monsieur and the second Madame, Liselotte, a princess of the Palatinate,
governed as the Regent from 1715.
He is reputed to have introduced champagne to the royal court.

Louis XIV,
a king so young who came to the throne,
who made the court of Versailles his home;
So much drama in his young life,
The Fronde,
Fleeing palaces in stealth by night
Seeking safety in his flight;
An arranged wedding-
Infanta Marie Therese,
his wife:

Glinting in that golden sun
bedecked upon a glittering horse
And all of Paris seemed to shine
On that spring day of June summer time;

A new beginning from the old
And all the crowds cheered so bold:

“Louis, Louis”
A magnificent king,
the crowds seemed to sing
And were wont to say
Looking at the king that day;

So caring, kind, colourful and good,
A king, sometimes not always understood.

He strove for excellence and all good things
In dance, music, art and décor;

A king and court from before
Gives grace and understanding
Now, for history and the arts-
A model-
which echoes still in time.
Thinking of a glorious past
herein are treasures which do last.

Conceived on a night of a storm;-
the day Louis XIV was born
the fountains of Paris
flowed free with wine
People looking forward to a better time

Three days to spread the good news
to the south
With all good wishes for his health;

At St Jean de Luz
A wedding so fine;

and decorations-
the reasons why
occasioned by
the birth of a son,-
Louis's only royal one:

Quadrilles of horses trotted in time
Spectators formed in illustrious line
in the magnificent June springtime;
Tuileries and Louvre arena surrounds
and the stories do abound;
A roundabout of a Carousel
as later on the Bourbons fell
Imagining a lost Dingle Dell
Looking for dreams
in a Wishing Well:

For, as in an old-time nursery rhyme
the king, as Emperor
was dressed to shine,-
Looking back,
perhaps a sign
In a glimpse of time;

wonderful to see
A spectacle-
remembered still:

And as the people went back to work
Recalling a Prince dressed as a Turk
rebel prince in his surrender
Holding aloft the Moon in Splendour
Gracing his presence
 displaying its crescent
in the shadow of the sun
Louis XIV's Apollo had won-
The Sultan- Prince of Conde;
And as the people went upon their way
prone merrily to say:
“What a wonderful display!”
Remembered for ever a day:
For later on,
a consul,- general
Did throw his hat into the ring
The status of Emperor did bring
With Josephine as his queen-
could this ever be foreseen?

Napoleon's army,
Had this ever been rehearsed
A dance across the universe?
Not until Waterloo reversed;

And I cannot forget
As a montage of images
from a film set
The Sun, The Moon
and the distant Stars
Reflecting a Universe
Saturn to Mars-
Did shine upon this princely court
Imagery which astronomy taught;
Themes which had always been
now could often be seen-
At Marly, a beautiful place
Versailles- The Sun's ace
Sun shadows and arrows
Sun-flowers bright yellow
Hornbeam which seemed
In nature so green
and mythical garden scenes:

“Le Roi Soleil” danced to music on a make-believe stage
Lived his life on a gilded stage
Created his world a golden age;
And now his life is reflected in song
A make-believe stage of a real age
This seventeenth century stage;

People turn the pages of time
Splendours and wonders achieved so fine
Passion in art and beauty sublime:

Brought up on stories of Alexander the Great,
Looked back to a time past
Of the Greeks and Romans
As though seeking truths and answers from stories
of long ago.

It is believed that Louis XIV did not allow himself to
be influenced in his decision making by women as regards
the governing of the country. However, the gardens may have
been a different matter at various times, depending upon who
was in favour and who the king was in love with. The gardens of Versailles
were designed with Louise de la Valliere as an inspiration for the king.

His priests may have influenced him in later years regarding the revocation
of the Treaty of Nantes, which reversed the freedom of religion which had
been put in place by Louis XIV's grandfather, Henri IV, which granted freedom
to the Huguenots. As a consequence many talented artisans did leave the country
which may have affected the economy.

Louis XIV's reign was a triumph in many respects with industry, arts and culture,
the tapestries of the Gobelins, the gardens and fountains of Versailles,
fashion, etiquette, manners (Louis XIV always dressed well, which befitted his royal role and acted with dignity and decorum)
engineering, science and technology.
He may have become a little subdued in later years and a little more religious
minded as he became older. He attended chapel services every day.

It was sad when his reign was nearing its end.
He was aware of speculation in the foreign press.
He did a great deal for the country and ruled at a time when it was not an unusual
occurrence for countries to be at war with one another.

A life of wonder,
full of joy,
He created beauty at Versailles.

The early years of the reign of the Sun King are recalled as the happiest times with the fetes
and celebrations, the gardens his joy.

In later years, with sorrow and sadness, the court of Versailles was not the happy place of
earlier times.

When Princess Marie-Adelaide of Savoy came on the scene the court of Versailles reflected some of its earlier gaiety and merriment of previous times with the many balls whch were given in honour of the new princess, who would eventually marry the king's grandson, the Duke of Bourgogne.

I wonder whether the king reflected upon the golden age of Elizabeth I of England.
He did enquire once of the plays of Shakespeare, however, Princess Henriette was not informed or did not seem to be aware of the great
playwright at the time. This was after one of her visits to England.

Louis XIV wrote his own madrigal or motet once though through of lack of encouragement from
a friend, he threw it away. This is described in Louis XIV by Vincent Cronin, a recommended
book, which details the achievements of his reign with a view to the arts, beauty and architecture.

There is a reference in the introduction of “The Sun King's Garden” by Ian Thompson that the gardener, Le Notre,
has been likened to Shakespeare. Very little known about him but his works well known. The gardens of seventeenth century Versailles were a show piece of the Sun King's domain and
remain a beautiful show piece even still today. The Sun King and his gardener, Le Notre, became friends and shared a wonderful vision for the gardens of Versailles which became a reality with the beautiful gardens and fountains which were created.