Author Archives: soul mary

Writer, poet and reader

Yuletide – Wednesday Wishes

Yule, Saturnalia, or just the Winter Solstice
It’s this time of the year again. The winter solstice marks the longest night and shortest day. It is the official start of the winter season and though the sun begins to come back to our days, the temperatures will get lower yet, because the real harsh cold weather is still to come. Both Yule and Saturnalia are similar to Christmas, and as you’ll see, they have influenced it a lot in different parts of the world.
Why is the winter solstice important to people? I think it’s because of nature and because of what it says about nature. Darkness is at its deepest. It seems the world will not come back to the sun, but just then, things turn and days start to get longer. It is a time for relaxation, enjoying the fruits of your work during the active seasons, giving gratitude to nature for her richness and celebrating the turn of seasons. The turn of seasons is what breathing and pulse are to the human life. All life consists of cycles. After darkness comes sunshine, after cold comes warmth. Nature, like life, will not stay in the same position forever. Evergreen trees are a natural choice for most of the rituals during Yule. They reflect the permanent character of life – even though most greenery is lost, it never goes away entirely. Besides that, the evergreen pines and firs make for a particularly cheerful view amidst the otherwise barren landscape.

If we turn to Saturnalia, we’ll see a slightly different picture. After all, ancient Rome didn’t know winter at its harshest. We can’t really speak of desolate darkness or cold, or even barrenness of the land. During these festivities, dedicated to Saturn – the god of agriculture, the highlight is on celebrating the fruits of the land, enjoying the results of the people’s work in the fields and the gratitude of the population for a good year without hunger and poverty. During the Saturnalia, which lasted for a week, the lower in status became the most honoured. Sometimes slaves would sit at the head of the table, while their masters served them. That time was by far the noisiest festival of the whole year.
Much like during the modern X-mas holidays, schools and businesses in ancient Rome would close inviting all the population to participate in the celebrations.
In all three winter-solstice-related traditions, a focus is put on giving: people would give small presents to their friends and family as well as complete strangers. The suffering of weaker members of the community is usually sought to be relieved by donations, charity or giving them a break as is the case of slaves in Rome.

When I hear strong opinions about the nature and origin of Christmas, I wonder if it is really wise to try and separate holidays and festive traditions between the various beliefs, when we know that people have been living together over all these centuries.
No matter which holiday you honour, do it according to your beliefs, eat and drink enjoying the work of your hands and hearts!

Cauliflower and Cream – Friday Fitness?

Today was intended for #FridayFitness but, instead, I thought it’s time to relax a bit and I’m posting a recipe which is anything but fitness-friendly, anything but healthy. I’ll share with you one of my most craved meals – Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cream and Processed Cheese. So, it’s a real calorie bomb! But, hey, friends – you can’t be health-obsessed all the time. It’s not natural, therefore it’s bad. Enough for the apology section. Let’s move on to the recipe itself.

You need:
– broccoli – 400 g
– cauliflower – 400 g
– sour cream – 200 g
– processed cheese – 100 g
– cheese (which we call “yellow cheese”) – 100 g, grated
– garlic – 1-2 cloves
– thyme – 1 pinch
– oregano – 1 pinch

How to Cook It:
Rinse the broccoli and cauliflower, cut into “rosebuds” and simmer for 5-7 min in hot water. Strain and place in a baking tray.

In a bowl, mix the processed cheese cut in cubes, the sour cream, cheese, mashed garlic cloves, thyme and oregano.
Put all in the baking tray and pour 1 teacup of the water in which the vegetables were boiled. Stir carefully.
Bake in a preheated oven, medium temperature, until ready. The ingredients yield 3 portions.

Enjoy!

Daylight Saving Time – Time to End It

Today is time for a #ThoughtfulTuesday post. As we changed time again quite recently, I decided to write about this peculiar tradition and the idea that it will soon be discontinued.

The discussion has been on since the last time we changed to DST, a.k.a. summer time, in end-March. I strongly support the idea that we should stop switching back and fro, as the cost-efficiency of this process is not valid any longer. I doubt there’s any saving going on, and that was the main argument in favour of the switching between times. Yet, I understand that the majority of EU citizens would have the summer time stay constantly. How their vote was registered, I don’t know. I suppose there was some sort of survey which I missed. Let’s assume they represent a good enough sample to make the result valid. What does their choice show about them?

First of all, let me remind you what the DST is. It means darker mornings, lighter evenings. Or, in other words – it gets light later in the morning and it gets dark later in the evening. I have several acquaintances who support the same notion – that we should stick to summer time. Their reasoning: you have more light after work and school. You can go for walks and, generally, you will not feel so oppressed by the winter mood if that’s the case. Surely, 1 hour won’t make much of a difference. Yet, people speak of it with a lot of ardour.

Why don’t they argue for lighter mornings, when we have to get up and start our days? I feel particularly despondent if it’s still dark outside when I get up. I start my day with the feeling that getting off bed is a torture, a punishment – in general, something to loathe. And, as most of us would agree, getting up doesn’t need any more negative associations to go with. It’s pretty unpleasant as it is.

So, to go back to my original point of wondering: what their choice speaks about these people. Obviously, they care more about the time after work than about the start of the day. Perhaps they don’t get up very early, so it doesn’t matter to them if the sky is dark. They can get up a little before noon, work in the afternoon, go for a walk in the early evening, and then party until the small hours. This and repeat. What are they? Not farm workers, for sure. Not medical workers either. Neither do they work at school. I have just mentioned three of the important professional fields on whose experts we depend to a large extent during our entire lives. Excluding school, perhaps.

And before this turns into a criticising post, I’ll share my true reason to side with the standard time, a.k.a. “normal” or “winter” time. I want to stick to this time because it’s the correct one from a scientific point of view. It’s the normal time, and I deeply believe we must embrace our normalcy.

Does your country change between normal and summer time? Which time do you support?

Day 30 – One More… Poem

One More Year in you calendar
On the cake and in your passport
One more round of resolutions
We don’t usually observe

One more and yet another
Until we start to wonder
What we did in all these years
That walked by.
~~~

Throwback Thursday: Queen’s Album, 1974

For today’s post in the #ThrowbackThursday topic I look at Queen’s third LP album – Sheer Heart Attack, which was released on 8 November 1974. The sound in this album shifted from the sound of the previous two albums and away from progressive rock towards the classic Queen style we are familiar with.
One of my favourite songs, Killer Queen, was released as its first single and reached No 2 in the British charts. It was the band’s first international hit. Freddie wrote the song starting with the lyrics. It is about an elite prostitute offering service to top figures.
###
She keeps Moet et Chandon
In her pretty cabinet
‘Let them eat cake’ she says
Just like Marie Antoinette
A built-in remedy
For Kruschev and Kennedy
At anytime an invitation
You can’t decline

Caviar and cigarettes
Well versed in etiquette
Extraordinarily nice

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatin
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind
Anytime

Recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
Wanna try?

To avoid complications
She never kept the same address
In conversation
She spoke just like a baroness
Met a man from China
Went down to Geisha Minah
Then again incidentally
If you’re that way inclined

Perfume came naturally from Paris
For cars she couldn’t care less
Fastidious and precise

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatin
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind
Anytime

Drop of a hat she’s as willing as
Playful as a pussy cat
Then momentarily out of action
Temporarily out of gas
To absolutely drive you wild, wild.
She’s all out to get you

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatin
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind
Anytime

Recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
Wanna try?
You wanna try.

I read here, on the band’s official website, about the specifics around making, recording and releasing the album.
And now, it’s time to listen to some music. I picked the recording of Queen’s performance at Top of the Pops in 1974. Enjoy!

After this magical song, post a comment to tell me which is your favourite song/album by Queen.

Day 28 – A Mood Poem

Your Moods

I wish I could tell you
You’ll have mastership over your moods
Or even, that you’ll turn
Out to be a joyous one.

But I can’t
Your moods, my moods
Our desperation, this
Pendulum-like sway from fun
To sadness,
The elevator of our soul

Just comes with the building.
~~~

Day 26 – An Ambitious Poem

Your Ambition

One of the most shocking things
I see when I look back to you
Is the shift I made ambition-wise

You’re hearing it all day long –
You’re ambitious, all too much at that.
Friends and opponents are equally
Silenced when they meet your cold
Ambition.

Then, I called it arrogance
The world around didn’t yield
To your ambition.
It shut itself, resources dried
Before they were even tapped.

Naked arrogance with bare womb
An empty can that rattles its noisiest.

You won’t believe when you read this
Years from now, all ambition will have gone
Or transformed in mellowness
All you laughed at – family, charity, generosity of heart
Will drown you and choke you to tears.

The strangest evolution of ambition
I’ve seen.

Someone recently told me I have no ambition at all.
I am still thinking whether to be insulted by that
Whether that is true, and what to make of it.


Reading back, I see this is a longish
And confusing letter.
You may just ignore it, love.
~~~

Monday Mentions: Sojourner Truth

My #MondayMention post today is dedicated to an extraordinary lady.

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)
We celebrate her life and legacy on 26 November, the day of her death, only because we aren’t sure about the date of her birth. Not even about the year. No wonder, as we are speaking the 18th century.

Sojourner is not her real name, of course. She accepted is as a symbol and a message. But let me start at the beginning. She was born in slavery in the state of New York, her real name was Isabella Baumfree and her first language was Dutch. The region where she lived used to be the property of Dutch settlers, which is why that was the everyday language.

She was just 9 years old when she was sold after her owner’s death, and over the next 2 years, she changed hands twice more. Around that time, Bella started to learn the English language. In 1826, she escaped to freedom with her youngest daughter. Her master had promised to emancipate her but didn’t, so Bella ran away. She had two other children who stayed behind. That happened only a year before slavery was abolished in New York.
She learned that her 5-year son was sold in Alabama, which was illegal since he was to be emancipated in New York. Isabella had the courage to start a court suit. That case was the first one where a black woman got a victory over a white man. Then she converted to Christianity and worked as a housekeeper with two priests successively. Curiously, the latter one was accused of killing the first one in order to appropriate his fortune. Isabella Baumfree was implicated for the murder. This case also received huge public attention, and she was successful once again.

In 1843, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth by which she grew popular. She spent her life advocating abolition, women’s rights, and suffrage. Her views were radical even for her fellow-abolitionists. Sojourner Truth’s main concern was that freedom and equal rights are sought only for black men, but not women. She worried that after slavery is abolished, the movement and activists would decrease the pressure they put on political figures and law-makers and would be satisfied with the partial victory. That way, women would remain without basic rights still.
In truth, the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, the one regulating women’s right to vote, wasn’t voted until 40 years after Sojourner Truth’s death.
Still, she set the beat, right?

Day 25 – A Re-Visit Poem

For today’s poem, we are supposed to take a line from a poem written earlier this month and make it the title of our new poem. I decided to borrow a line from my Day 7 Poem about profession – “Your dream to climb the fandom ladder”

Your Dream – to Climb the Fandom Ladder

Is surely a fine specimen of dream
Dreamt by a teenage girl
Her head in the books and posters of stars
On her walls.

Then we’ll slurp some nasty drinks in a
Swamp of fakeness
Around people of influence –
And we’ll stop amidst our throwing up
To wonder if that is really
What we want.
~~~

Day 24 – A Salty Poem

Salty
As in tearful
But, you know, I’m tired
Of writing tears and solemnity
In these letters, girl.

Salty is like poison
Gradually, you will get tired
Of isolation
So, not rarely it’s fine
To go with the flow.
~~