"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, 30 May 2014

POET'S CORNER; The Chieftain and His Lady

The Meeting on the Turret Stair 

The Chieftain and His Lady

Come live with me across the Glen
I'm chieftain of a thousand men
Marry me and be my wife
And I will love you all my life

I cannot marry you Chief so brave
I must wed a lord and not a knave
And though my heart is yours forever
My hand is promised to another

Who is this rich and mighty lord?!
I'll fight for you at point of sword
Tell me where he lies this night
I'll duel with him come morning light!

A lady must not her duty shirk;
Pray, put away your Chieftain's dirk
My word was given long ago
To your offer of marriage, I must say no

Gentle lady, sweet lassie so fair
You gave to me a lock of hair
And now you say you are not free
To pledge your hand unto me?

I gave my hair, that is true
It was wrong of me and this I knew
Pray, keep it as a token
Of three words once softly spoken

Come flee with me across the Glen
You'll be protected by a thousand men!
Our marriage bed shall be the heather
From this day forth we'll be together!

I cannot run; I dare not flee
I dare not run away with thee
There is nowhere safe for us to go...
Though I truly wish it were not so

You love me then, that much is true
You love me then as I love you
You're my lassie, can't you see
That I would give my life for thee?

I love you, yes, with all my heart
But still you know we have to part
Even now I quake with fear
That my father may yet find you here

Then come with me! We'll go tonight
By cover of darkness we'll both take flight
We'll leave your clothes by Loch Ness-side
They'll think you swept beneath the tide

He held his hand out to his love;
She grabbed her bonnet, cloak and gloves
Then fast across the Glen they rode
Eloping to true love's abode.

By Marie Bruce

I wrote this poem many years ago, inspired by a handsome Scots soldier.  Although circumstances meant that we couldn't be together at the time, I used poetry to give us the chance we never had.  I like to think that in another time and space, we are living out our own happy ever after.  For now, it's enough that our liaison is captured forever in poetry. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Tea and Roses

"This picnic I see
By the river, at night...
...I long to sit there,
Sip tea from delicate porcelain"

From the book Gothic Fall by Suzanne Gildert

It is a lovely warm day as I write.  The windows are thrown open to the fresh summer breeze and the wind chimes are tinkling away, making the rooms seem alive with movement and sound.  I'm burning a favorite oil in my burner - Apple and Elder-flower from M&S, which makes my home smell like a summer meadow. I'm relaxing in my study, sipping tea from a delicate china tea-cup, painted with pink roses - a recent gift from my mother when we were in Whitby last week.

There is something about this early summer season that makes me think of tea-parties out on the lawns of big stately homes and in the gardens of cosy sea-side cottages. Ever since reading the novel Entwined  I imagine that tea-sets just might be enchanted - you never know!  I love my new tea-cup; it's so pretty and tea always tastes better from real china. It is one of those everyday luxuries that makes life elegant.

Since the At Home photo-shoot I did with Spirit&Destiny magazine I've been feeling a little out of sorts with my home.  I enjoyed sharing my space with readers and letting you get to know me a bit better and it was fun to see the final pictorial spread in the May issue, but now I feel that I want to makes a few changes to my space.  These won't be big changes, as I love the magical environment that I have created, so I won't be changing the furniture, but I do feel that I need just a few things that haven't appeared in a magazine - some little treasures that are just for me, that no-one else has ever seen in my house.

It's a strange consequence of the shoot that I had half anticipated - the feeling of exposure and of having nothing personal and private left for myself.  My four-poster bed wasn't featured in the shoot because I felt it should remain a private space and I know that this will have disappointed some readers but now I'm glad that I stuck to my guns on that one.  Of course, it's always nice to see around someone's home and it's lovely that you have all seen my magical space, I just need to buy a few new bits and pieces to make it feel like a private retreat once more.

So I've done some shopping over the last few weeks and I have new curtains and blinds ready to go up; new bedding to go on and some fabulous Waterhouse cushions in the bedroom and study. These cushions are very beautiful as the images seem to glow in sunshine and lamplight.  I still can't believe my luck in stumbling across them.  

I've also bought a couple of fine art pictures and sparkling chandeliers to freshen up the place and give it a new lift. Everything I've purchased is soft and romantic, pastel and feminine.  I'm on the look-out for a pretty glass tiered cake-stand which I want to fill with beautiful sea-shells and crystals to use as a new table centerpiece.  I'd also like a vintage style birdcage designed to hold tea-lights. 

As the prospect of a bank holiday weekend seems to bring out the nesting instinct in all of us, I plan to potter around my little house, putting out the new items I've bought and making sure each room has something new - some new treasure that it just perfect.

I will of course, be sipping tea from delicate china throughout. 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

POET'S CORNER; A Storm in Summer

A Storm in Summer

When nights are their shortest and days are their longest
When the rays of the sun burn at their strongest
When we listen with glee to the bumble bee's hum
And in a riot of colour the butterflies come
Then does the sky lower its brows
Then does the rain darken the clouds
A gathering breeze chases sunlight away
And we know as we watch that a storm's on the way...

When birds flutter off and take to the trees
Singing their protest from the shelter of leaves
As the raindrops start falling, pitter-pat, pitter-pat
And the thunder starts calling, scaring the cat
Then does the lightening rip through the sky
Drawing our gaze up ever so high
And some little children tremble in fear
Hiding away, for the storm is now here!

As raindrops on roses sparkle and glisten
As rumbles of thunder lessen and lessen
As the sky-snake of lightening slithers away
And shy beams of sunlight come out to play
We watch as the rain falls lighter and lighter
And the sun creeps out, brighter and brighter
And the twitter of birds seems now to say
That the Sun God has won for the Storm's passed away.

By Marie Bruce

Saturday, 3 May 2014

BOOK NOOK; Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie

Step  into Guinevere's enchanting world of Camelot

For the past week or so I have been totally absorbed in Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie.  It is a fantastic novel, with lots of attention to detail and plenty of atmospheric world building.  When reading this book I really felt as if I were living in Camelot; a silent observer watching all the comings and goings, eavesdropping behind the arras!  The novel tells the tale of Guinevere, beginning when she is a child in Wales and following all her adventures - her first love, her first meeting with Lancelot when she is already betrothed to the High King Arthur and her subsequent  life in the beautiful palace of Camelot.

The descriptive passages are so rich, it is easy to image the royal palace, from the gardens and battlements, to the council chamber with the great Round Table, to the king's library with its roaring log fire and hunting dogs warming themselves by the hearth.  Guinevere's chambers are rich and resplendent, her ladies in waiting are respectfully courted by the Kings Companions and the legendary fellowship of Camelot is beautifully retold.

This novel is one of the best interpretations of the Arthurian sagas that I have ever read.  The author somehow manages to seamlessly draw together many different versions of the popular mythology and make them into something altogether new.  This Guinevere is no shrinking violet; she is a feisty female lead, who gallops bareback on war horses, raises Excalibur herself and goes hunting with hawks, as well as stitching tapestry and reading quietly by the fireside in the evenings.  In short, she is a woman after my own heart.

All the well known characters are portrayed here; Elaine the jealous rival, Gawain the hot-headed young knight eager for glory, Lancelot the faithful Champion, Merlin the sorcerer and so on.  What I liked most about this novel is that Mordred is not portrayed as evil - in fact it's difficult to know exactly who's side he is on, but he is by no means the villain of the piece.  All the characters are complex and well developed.  King Arthur is generous to a fault and the misunderstanding at the end of the novel makes for a tragic end to his story which put tears in my eyes.

Queen of Camelot is a door-stopper of  a book at 867 pages, making it a tome to sink into for hours at a time.  I have been having dreams about this book, the scenes are so vivid.  It's a great read for when you have some time off work and can really give yourself up to the enchanted realm of Camelot. If you enjoy Arthurian legend you will no doubt love this novel for its fantastic escapism.