Friday, 18 November 2016

Holly Berries.

It's enough to cheer anyone up........


It's been freezing cold and after a couple of milder days it's getting cold again.

I'm trying to get into the festive spirit but it's not so easy. I saw this variegated holly on Sunday and stole a picture of it.

In some ways I prefer the traditional dull green, especially for Christmas. But it made a change seeing this in the winter sunshine.

And I was reminded of the Seamus Heaney poem 'Holly';


It rained when it should have snowed.
When we went to gather holly

the ditches were swimming, we were wet
to the knees, our hands were all jags

and water ran up our sleeves.
There should have been berries

but the sprigs we brought into the house
gleamed like smashed bottle-glass.

Now here I am, in a room that is decked
with the red-berried, waxy-leafed stuff,

and I almost forget what it’s like
to be wet to the skin or longing for snow.

I reach for a book like a doubter
and want it to flare round my hand,

a black-letter bush, a glittering shield-wall
cutting as holly and ice.

–Seamus Heaney

Which is about an older man reflecting on how hard life was when he was young - how the Christmas Holly they gathered (free) back then never had any berries. All the while he sits in his rich, old mans house, enjoying his Holly with glorious berries and thinking back to when he was young.

I think you would probably have had to have gathered your own berryless Holly to understand that!

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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