"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

All material on SHIMMERCASTDREAMS copyright of Marie Bruce and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Friday, 19 April 2013

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Love's Philosophy

Love often takes us by surprise; here a simple bench  becomes an altar to Venus

Love's Philosophy

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean, 
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle -
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

This is one of my favorite Romantic poems.  Shelley draws on nature to illustrate that everything is connected; we are part of this world, not separate from it or set above nature.  

Shelley's poem is a hopeful anticipation of a love yet to come to full bloom... a dream of that very first kiss between two people...it is a gentle plea for sweet surrender.  

Love's Philosophy is a subtle invitation to a sexual encounter "Why not I with thine?" he asks.  Why not indeed? I'm not sure I could resist...could you?

The picture is called The End of the Song by Edmund Blair Leighton.  I have a print of this in my bedroom. I like the way the suitor is leaning in, but not crowding his fair maiden, while she sets up a slight barrier between them by clasping her knee. 

It illustrates a brief moment in time, sitting on a bench with a lover, which is about to be interrupted by the over-protective parent. But I like to think they might have a secret tryst some other time, away from prying eyes.  If it is meant to be Love will always find a way.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Princess of Dreams

"I dream of a love that even Time will lie down and be still for."
Quotation taken from the novel Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Dreams of a Sea Princess

Princess of Dreams

I dream of a castle with a drawbridge
Of winter winds, cold and frigid
Of a soul-stirring sea
Pounding the castle rock below

I dream of troubadours and poets
Of merry great hall banquets
Of dancing gay and gallant
As the spiced wine flows

I dream of velvet gowns and slippers
Of diadems that glimmer
Of rings on every finger
That glitter, gleam and shine

I dream of candles softly glowing
As outside the night is snowing
Indoors log fires burn
With the scent of Scots pine

I dream of tapestries rich in colour
Hand stitched, hour after lonely hour
As my ladies and I await
 My true love’s return

I dream of a lover, strong and knightly
On a steed bold and flighty
Caparisoned so brightly
For him my heart still yearns

In armour like starlight gleaming
He rides on through my dreaming
 Old wounds still healing
I bid him sweet adieu

I dream of tender reconciliation
Two hearts beyond hesitation
Reunion is but a notion
Behind my closed eyes

For in shadows dark and smoldering
In my mind deeply searching
Lies a truth and a tale
No troubadour can score

In the corners of my heart
The place where lost lovers part
I carry deep within
The hope of our own sweet evermore.

By Marie Bruce

This is what happens when a writer can't sleep - I knocked out a quick ditty at 4am. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

ONCE UPON A DREAM; "And round about the prow she wrote..."

The Lady of Shalott by J W Waterhouse.
When I am not busy doing prep for a writing project I tend to spend some of my evenings in quiet contemplation of other art forms in order to boost my creativity. Sometimes I watch a ballet DVD, sometimes I read a book of poetry or quotations.  Often I just ponder on a piece of art work by one of my favorite artists; this could be a modern artist such as Anne Sudworth or Victoria Frances; or one of the Romantic Pre-Raphaelite artists I so much admire.

Tonight it is The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse. I love this painting, not only for its own sake and for the beautiful poem it represents, but for the very personal memory it evokes. Some years ago when I was in Scotland, I wrote a love message for my soldier friend on the prow of his rowing boat, using red nail polish. He had already returned to barracks and I wanted to leave him a little reminder of our time together. He loved it.  This picture, together with the line in Tennyson's poem "And round about the prow she wrote 'The Lady of Shalott' " reminds me of that moment.  

It seems strange to me now to realize that so many of the prints that are framed in my home are actually very subtle reminders of events that happened years ago.  I am not a big one for keeping photographs out on display, yet it seems that my subconscious found a way to record moments of my life for me anyway, through the fine art prints I chose to hang in my house.  It isn't just the Lady of Shalott that has a special meaning for me, but other prints I own too like The Meeting on the Turret Stair by Frederick Burton; La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Sir Frank Dicksee;  The End of the Song and The Accolade both by Edmund Blair Leighton. All these prints have hung in my bedroom for years and each one seems to represent a  special moment from my past. 

How very wonderful it is that Art can speak to us in such a manner, even when we are too stubborn or too busy to hear it. How amazing it is that the subconscious can find such delicate and tenuous ways to hold onto a memory, keeping it safe, allowing us to relive it again when the time is right.

I have discovered that there is truth to the saying  'A picture paints a thousand words' .   It makes me wonder why we are drawn to some paintings and not others; Rosetti  moves me while Picasso leaves me cold.  Pictures speak directly to our subconscience; this is the reason why mood boards are so effective in creativity.  The artwork you choose to surround yourself with isn't there by a happy accident.  It is there because on a deep level it expresses something about you.  Either it reminds you of something or it influences and enlivens you in some way.

Pondering on a piece of art is a fantastic way to feel more inspired.  You needn't buy large expensive prints; you can pick up inexpensive greetings cards with fine art images, or calendars, or books of the collected works of a particular artist you admire. Or search an artist's name on Pintrest tonight.  It is great for a writer to immerse themselves in a completely different form of artistry and creativity. I recommend viewing art cards etc by the soft shadowy light of candle flames or small lamps as this really helps to bring the artwork to life.

I always try to make a night of artistic pondering into a fun event - it is like a date with the artist!  Tonight as I ponder The Lady of Shalott and write this blog post, I am playing the beautiful music of Laura Wright 'The Last Rose of Summer' , enjoying a glass of white wine and burning a cinnamon and mulled wine scented candle.  It is dark and rainy outside. Inside the candles glow on the tragic tear filled eyes of Elaine as she sits in the boat, mourning her lost lover Lancelot and the life she will never have with him. All the romantic prints around my room have also come to life in the candle glow; memories playing out upon the walls; love sonnets hidden in the sound of  the brush strokes of long ago...

"Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat
And round about the prow she wrote..."
Ahhh, but that's my secret! ;-)

"There she weaves by night and day; a magic web of colours gay..."
Quotations taken from The Lady of Shalott by Alfred ,Lord Tennyson 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

WRITER'S DREAM; Poetry - A Love Story

Poetry is an elegant and refined art form

Poetry; it is a very pretty word for a very pretty art form.  Yet poetry has a reputation for being ever so dry and dusty, the kind of writing only intellectual types enjoy.  I must confess that as a school girl I thought that I hated poetry - now I know that what I hated was having to analyse poems, stanza by stanza and pigeon hole them for the purposes of the curriculum.  When I was at university I loved studying poetry because the class was completely different to school lessons; at uni we were encouraged to express our own interpretations of the poems, rather than being told 'the poet obviously meant this when he wrote that line'.  

It must be said that the hey day of poetry has long since passed. From the 15th to the 18th centuries, poetry was at its most popular and the poets themselves were like the pop stars of their day.  The Romantic Movement cemented poetry into the very bedrock of British literature and can boast names such as Byron, Shelley, Keats, Burns, Rossetti, Tennyson etc.  Sadly poetry of this nature has had its day; but it has never disappeared. While modern poets rarely achieve celebrity status for their collections and making a good living from poetry alone is nigh on impossible, poetry is still around us all the time. Greetings cards, rap artists, children's rhymes, commercial jingles...all are forms of basic poetry.  While traditional poetry is an elegant and refined art form there is nothing pretentious about being a poet, for poetry exists to bring out our deepest emotions and to document the trails and triumphs of the human condition.  This effectively means that poetry is in all of us; we can all relate to it in some way.

I am a poet. I am proud to be a poet. Poetry is the very lynch pin of my entire career as a writer, the staples that hold everything together.  It was the first type of writing I ever had published; not in a high artistic sense, but in the form of humorous poems designed to make people laugh.  As I moved forward in my career, original poetry of a more artistic romantic style became the trademark of my work - visionary dreamscape poems expressing a connection to something magical and ethereal are dotted throughout my books as an introduction to a new chapter.

Writing books on spell casting for the Mind, Body, Spirit market means that much of my work is poetry based, for what is an incantation after all, if not a type of poem?  Even my column with Spirit&Destiny magazine is based on the power of the written charm and the traditional form of petition magic; it is the poetic incantation of my column that sets my work apart from other aspects of the magazine, while the modern tone blends in with that of a 21st century women's magazine.  

It was a love of my poetry that made the producers of Paradise Music get in touch and ask me to write and record a pagan album for release on their label - they liked that I frequently write to iambic pentameter rhythm which translates more easily to a musical time signature. It made sense to me that I would one day write songs - I love singing and I often hear a mental melody when I am writing poetry anyway, so for me, becoming a pagan singer-song-writer was a no-brainer; it was simply a natural progression of my work as a writer. Yet it came about from my work as poet.

If you want to try your hand at writing poetry the important thing to remember is that you are writing for a modern audience. As much as you might love the old romantic poets trying to emulate them is the best way to achieve rejection.  We already have the poetic back catalogue of the Bronte sisters - we don't need a bad Bronte impersonator!  Emulating the great writers looks and is rather pretentious. It is certainly not the way to get published as it comes across to editors as being very juvenile. Poetry is neither pretentious nor juvenile when it is written with integrity. 

Write your poetry from the heart; feel every word and make you reader empathize with your point of view. Paint pretty word pictures and one day you might also be proud to call yourself a published poet.
Poetry has been the guiding star of my career as a professional writer ...who knows where your poetry will take you?  Toast the moon, drink absinthe and wax lyrical!