Sunday, March 12, 2023

Head Space

The double whammy of work and weather has resulted in very little to report, with much of my time spent indoors, holed up like Miss Haversham.  I think as a result of this state of stir craziness, I have felt a calling to see the sea again.  It feels like a long time since I heard the roar of the waves.  Maybe as island dwellers, we need that every once in a while.

Sitting by lamp light in the recent snowstorm, notebook in hand, my thoughts wandered from the latest (at times) troublesome wedding shoot I'm planning, to that famous literary bride, Lorna Doone.  If you've never read the book, it's a romance novel set in 17th Century Exmoor, also encompassing a number of gothic themes...innocent victim, good versus evil, romance and death.  Parts of the Victorian novel were written by author R.D. Blackmore in one of my favourite places in the UK, Lynmouth, the picturesque fishing village on the North Devon coast and the story is set no more than 5 miles away, taking in the stunning landscape; the purple clad moors and watery valleys of Exmoor.

If you don't know the story, I won't spoil it, but it is a tale of the forbidden romance between Lorna Doone (a member of the outlaw Doone family, but not by blood) and farmer, John Ridd, whose father was murdered by the head of the Doone family, Carver, some years before.  It is Carver's will that Lorna should ultimately become his bride, so there are no prizes for guessing that John and Lorna's journey is not a smooth one.  Their romance begins at the "water slide" a water fall in the "Doone Valley" near the hamlet of Oare.  I will say no more, although, to be fair, you've had plenty of time to catch up, given that the book was published in 1869!

So, as a stop gap until normal blogging activity resumes, here's the resulting poem from one snowy night in March.


She fell like water

Her feared and sullied namesake

Cleansed by a promise for freedom

The renewal of daybreak




Old blood, John's blood

Time 'n' turmoil ploughed in earth

Love binds, takes root

What grows in the mirk?


Exmoor


Forlorn Lorna

Run to the sea

The waves are whispering

"Come see me."


Out to sea, Lynmouth


Bad bloodletting in the valley

In the shadow of Oare

No love match, a vengeful watch

Weeping like a festering sore


Valley of the Rocks

Forlorn Lorna 

Run to the sea

The waves are gathering

"Come see me."


A wedding like no other

A woman upon high

Forbidden, chastened, a ghost in waiting

A vision all in white



Forlorn Lorna

Run to the sea

The waves are roaring

"Come see me."


A crack on the wind

Glass on the altar

Carver's stain, crimson on silk

She fell like water


Oare Church


Oare Church


Forlorn Lorna

Run to the sea

The waves are lapping

"Come see me."


A heart breaks and hooves race

A violet, violent end

Possessiveness and dark desire

Returning to the mire





Forlorn Lorna

Breathing still

The sea is calm now

True love's will


Taking flight, Exmoor




12 comments:

  1. thank you for the bit of historic drama in poetry and pictures!
    thats why i love snowstormes - one has time to think about things that would never occure in "normal" weather - i vividly remember the evenings with friends in a lonely, storm-tossed mountain hut in the Krkonoše - the wild sudetian mountains....... telling spooky and adventurous stories .
    greetings from the still wintery garden! xxxxx

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    1. You're welcome!
      Your evenings in a storm-tossed mountain hut sharing stories sounds like a perfect night in for me! :-D xxx

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  2. Stunningly atmospheric photos and poetry, Claire. Like me, you are a true romantic. Having read Lorna Doone too many years ago, it is well overdue a re-read. As is a visit to Exmoor, although admittedly I was only there once, for a day spent in Lynton and Lynmouth and walking in the Valley of the Rocks. xxx

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    1. Thanks Ann. I think we are!
      It's a great book and an enchanting place. xxx

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  3. Beautiful post, Claire - both the words and the marvellously atmospheric photographs. I seem to remember watching an ancient TV adaptation of Lorna Doone as a child but can't recall much about it, I've just Googled it and there was a 2000 film, sounds like a good escape from the miserable weather! xxx

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    1. Thanks Vix. I think the ancient adaptation was actually filmed on location in the "Doone Valley" too, which must have been a major feat then! xxx

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  4. What a deliciously Gothic poem, Claire! I love it, especially the "Forlorn Lorna" chorus. Your pictures are a lovely accompaniment. I hope the shoot goes well - working with people can be so challenging!

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    1. Thanks Sheila. Glad you enjoyed it.
      Everything crossed! x

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  5. Beautiful post dear, I hope everything will be fine, I wish you all the best! Great poem!
    Greetings from Poland!

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    1. Hello and thanks for stopping by! Your comment was for some reason in my spam folder. My apologies!

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  6. Oooh very moody and marvellous Claire. Love it. One more reason to be weary of Lynmouth - in addition to the bottom clenching steep hill! :) xXX

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    1. Thanks Lulu. Ooh, that hill. I remember insisting on some locals driving my mini up that hill once after seeing someone else getting stuck behind another car and riding the clutch on the steepest part. Terrifying! xxx

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