Haiku #1

Poetry course

Prompt – Screen view we like all-a-the-time


red black blue embed

combination sub set size

format captivate

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Heaven or Hell

A Shinto Temple somewhere in Japan

japan-549104_640A troubled samurai warrior stumbled out of the forest one day and walked up the steps of the temple to fall to his knees before the wise sage. ‘I humbly seek your help. I have warred and stepped a bloody path in the service of my masters and now see no difference between heaven and hell.’

The mage looked him up and down rather rudely. ‘Who are you to come to this holy place looking like you’ve been sleeping with dogs?’

‘I am the Captain of the Red Guard. How dare you talk to me so disrespectfully.’ And he came to his feet, drawing his sword above his head to cleave this impudent holy man who caught his eye just in time.

‘That is hell.’

The sword dropped to clatter on the steps as the supplicant fell to his knees again and placed his forehead on the ground. ‘Master, how could I have doubted your intention? Forgive me.’

‘And that is heaven.’

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Meanings Lost in Time #5


horse-557915_640A term used to describe an individual offering their skills or services on their own behalf. The business world uses the English language as its vehicle for cross continental communications so most people are familiar with this title but what are its origins?

It’s difficult to pin it down to a specific period but some time in the Middle Ages of Europe circa 500 – 1500 AD, when armies were charging about on horseback killing each other with great skill.

A whole range of weaponry was designed specifically for mounted warriors including swords, bows and arrows, spears and God knows what else, all designed to put an end to their opponents as effectively as possible.

They were a bloodthirsty lot our ancestors and if the daily images of warfare currently pouring from our TV screens from Syria and most of the middle east, not to mention Africa and Israel, (have I missed anywhere?) are anything to go by, this generation are not showing any signs of giving it a rest.

Pardon me for running away with myself on this issue.

Back to the original intention of this post:

Wars would come and go and the cavalry would disband at the end of hostilities then canter off to look for more work. Lancers were a common sight and they would put the word out that they were available for employment:

I am a lancer who is free to join another army – a free lance.

An interesting conundrum here: Working on the basis that the pen is mightier than the sword, a freelance journalist is actually an oxymoron. One of my favourite words meaning: a compressed paradox; a figure of speech in which seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side.

 Tune in next Friday to share another Meaning Lost in Time with more juicy titbits thrown in for good measure

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Garth Meaney Author

I’m part of a large family circle and have a social life that’s busy

White-necked heron (Ardea cocoi) perched on tree, Australia

enough to keep me in touch with friends, so I’m not lonely.
But there are lots of people who are and some of them could be bloggers, reaching out with their mouse looking for something we all want.
Problems on my site have been vexing me just a little so I took a break to get myself back into proportion and stared into the lake of tranquility.
And wrote this:


Five years of grateful solitude
in a lighthouse off the shore
I was always apprehensive in the basement

From the light room
in the crow’s nest
A bedroom
further down
To the kitchen
and the store room

Round the winding staircase
To the laundry room and sink
down the curving building
To the floor.

Then there was the underground
The rock
the concrete core

View original post 94 more words

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Mortal Remains

Intergalactic Round Trip

in my passing will I glimpse

the kaleidoscope

of all the footsteps of my passage

through the garden of my life?

Its delights and troubles


will they

carry through

and hidden lie within my genes

coursing through the blood of my beloveds?


no remnants from my tenure

will survive me

no visions that I saw will stay

no fabric of my being will succeed me

but wait

particles will linger as my dust

carried by the winds

of Solar

and scattered with

the molecules and carbon

of a cosmos



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Meanings Lost in Time #4

A Red Herring

In common use in the English language meaning something deliberately misleading.

Why a herring  to illustrate this? Never given it much thought until now. This meanings lost in time feature is uncovering lots of things: They aren’t red for a start and that seems to be an essential ingredient so I searched:

It originates from a time when people calledhorse-cart-33243_640 highwaymen were lurking in the shadows of the forests, waiting to hold-up  passing coaches to demand all the valuables or else.

‘Your money or your life.’ Was a saying they minted in early eighteenth century England and the most famous highwayman was Dick Turpin.

A real person who plagued travellers in the days before trains. A folk hero now but probably not at the time. I can think of lots of other ways he might have been described, some of the adjectives used, no longer than four letters.

Apparently he always kept a smoked herring handy (red in colour) on the end of a long piece of string. I’ll get to that later.

On horseback of course and when he’d stopped the coach and loosed off one of his pistols to show that he meant business and to scare their pants off, he’d get one of the passengers to gather all the jewellery and coin, bank notes and any other valuables into one or two of his saddle bags.

Then he’d order them to take their clothes off. This was a very effective way of slowing down a pursuit and a trademark that attracted more of those four letter words I was telling you about.

Having chosen the heist location carefully he then rode off fast until he was well out of sight, took out his red herring and trailed it behind him.

Smoked, they are very aromatic, called kippers in the UK and dogs love stinky things as we all know – dog’s heaven might smell of red herrings.

soldier-294296_640Dick would then take that well used ruse of stepping the horse into a waterway, something like a stream (not too deep), to throw the dogs off the scent when the time came for law enforcement to track him down. They knew he had a hide-away in the forest somewhere.

Slippery Dick gave the bank of the stream a good smearing of kipper before trotting a hundred yards or so in the opposite direction to the one he intended to take (careful to stay in the water) before another smearing of fish on that bank and then hurling the fish into a dense thicket or some thorny scrub. Or some other no-go area for dogs – cliffs and marshland were good.

After all this attention to detail he’d double back and continue for a few hundred more yards, following the course of the stream before heading for his lair and a well earned rest. Smoke his pipe maybe before a fish dinner, followed by an alcoholic drink or two with his mates comparing robberies.

We’ll stay with horses next week for Meanings Lost in Time #5

Come back next Friday

For other meanings check out the sidebar at the top

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Through the Port Hole of Mordog

Hound’s Teeth

Terror rages at the hands of Islamic State intent on violence and victory as the soldiers observe the fleeing multitudes.

Over in Europe, safe and secure with nothing to worry about, regular news flashes keep the viewers up to date with the long lines of refugees heading their way. More reports tell of overloaded boats capsizing at sea with too many passengers onboard, victims of wicked entrepreneurs packing them in too tightly.

american-bulldog-179677_640All this runs in the background on the TV in a small household presided over by a mother with a soft spot for animals. Other residents are the daughter with her new boyfriend and his American bulldog. Also Sluzy the cat, not too pleased about the canine invader but holding his ground.

He’s a big dog and well muscled but the cat is a veteran of all night rat-hunts. His damaged eyelid and torn ear are the markers that prove it. Deep scratches on the dog’s nose and lips advertise a recent disagreement where the dog fared badly and now thinks twice before his next attack.

Somehow gifted with the ability to sense the future, Sluzy is having anxiety dreams and rightly so because the mother is so enchanted by the dog that she wants one (of her own) and searches the internet for rescue centres, fingers crossed.

‘Yay.’ She finds one, 250 miles away. A website shows Cromly curled on a couch for the photo looking pathetic with a history of abuse before abandonment and now coming to the end of his tenure in the dog’s home. The needle of oblivion only a few days away.

Say no more and soon there are two big dogs playing rough on the carpet as the family looks on fondly, pleased to be giving a new start to the bag of bones who needs love and fattening up.

Not joining in on the joyful good news now sinking their teeth into each other, Sluzy’s advanced preternatural instincts detect a radical change approaching. Two dogs is a tactical advantage he can’t beat.

A high bunk-bed provides a safety zone above the reach of the pack so he claims it and observes their bonding techniques as they snarl at each other at meal time trying to steal the other’s dinner.

The younger one, sorely deprived of kingship in his new territory, gives Cromly some rules with his teeth. The smell of dog blood wafts to the upper regions where Sluzy sniffs it on the passing air wondering about his dinner, hoping it hasn’t been overlooked owing to dog priorities now prevailing.

It’s a stormy night with rain lashing the doors and windows and Sluzy feels hungry as yet another blast hurls itself against the building.

Across Europe a forest fire of enraged xenophobia is dampened by images of a tiny body washed onto a Mediterranean shore, still in his nice trainers in the arms of the beach cleaners.

This powerful call from Mercy squeezes the collective heart of humanity and the clarion call changes to shaming politicians into action, urging them to take a u-turn on election promises to reduce immigration. Empathy for the plight of the refugees writes a new agenda.

Sluzy hasn’t been forgotten and the smell of food is carried by the same currents as the blood but life itself is under threat so he stays put.

The dogs catch the scent too and are held back by the strong boyfriend who needs all his weight to prevent the descent to the dish but the mother wisely decides on dinner in the bathroom for Sluzy so she carries him using a two handed grasp around his ribcage, looking vulnerable through airspace only three feet away from the lathering jaws.

Some time passes as the fastidious cat works through his chicken livers, savouring every mouthful so the guards grow tired of vigilance and when the door is eventually opened for a peek to see if he’s done, the dogs’ handler is busy elsewhere sorting through DVD’s.

Sluzy shoots out under a forest of legs to leap up to the bunk but miscalculates on the bedding sliding. In the moments of scrabbling, Cromly gets him and with a mighty shake of his head, throws him across the room.

The wall boarding that arrests his flight impresses the curve of his back with segments of vertebrae clearly moulded. He bounces before dropping to the ground on all fours as the front door opens and a drenched daughter steps in, home from work.

A blur is all they see as Sluzy leaves the building without a pause and the door quicklyBLACK CAT closes to stop the dog’s pursuit.

Disturbing images of Hungarian border guards using tear-gas to repel refugees flicks across the screen as the mother wonders what can be done and goes outside into the dark with an umbrella to call him back.

Sluzy hears the sweet familiar tones from under his bush where he’s considering his options now he’s crossed off his familiar home as old territory no longer safe.

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Meanings Lost in Time #3

Light Hearted

PICKING FLOWERSA familiar expression used to describe someone with an easy nature, kind, interested in others rather than themselves and good. Light hearted people are honest, thoroughly good eggs with a pure heart.

So why light hearted? Maybe these positive qualities come from a feeling in the heart, the vibrating resting place of love. Okay I can go with that but why light?

Light hearted is so familiar that the meaning now clings to the words without needing explanation but they do have an origin going back a long time. Several thousand years in fact, to ancient Egypt and the halls of judgement. No-one knows exactly when but more than 5000.

It’s natural to think that we continue after we die but the Egyptians invented the concept of earning your passage to the next stop by the sum of your actions when you were alive.

Sin added weight. Purity and truth brought a lightness of being. Who knows, maybe our Egyptian ancestors could levitate or walk on water.

(They certainly spent a lot of time in temples, tuning the heart.)


Answering for themselves took place in the halls of judgement where Maat, the Goddess of Truth and Justice presided over the balance where the heart was weighed against a feather.

Light hearted got you a ticket.

Click here for another meanings lost in time.

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Meanings Lost in Time #2

Idioms and sayings.

“Cat got your tongue?”



This is a curious saying now disappearing from common use. Posed as a query to someone faltering on a reply to a pointed question or accusation.

It’s old – dating back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians and the Temple of Bastet, the cat goddess. Does it send a shiver down your spine as your imagination gets going?

Well, rightly so because, from fragments of  information gathered from a variety of sources (and I will admit to a few gaps) I’ve uncovered a horror story.

Search the internet and find the popular explanation as having a connection to the cat o’ nine tails. That wicked whip used to keep sailors in line as an example to the rest of the crew.

Doesn’t compute though does it? The only similarities are two different cats. Do you see a tongue anywhere? Neither do I but the Egyptian description pins it down. Rather nastily I’m afraid:

Long ago in the land of the Nile, the punishment for blasphemy or lying was to have your tongue put out just before dawn.

Knowing a special treat was coming their way the temple cats would gather and when the eye of Ra opened (the sun at dawn) down went the offering (finely chopped probably) to be gobbled up by the Sun-God’s agents of rage and retribution.

Fits together quite convincingly as the more likely explanation.

Next week: Another saying from Egypt, much, much older than the one above. In common use all over the world but very few people are aware of its origins. I won’t give you a preview because you’ll look it up on google so come back next Friday for something that will touch your heart with its exquisite beauty.

If you missed last week’s saying go here for another meaning lost in time.

Lots of pesky critters in Egypt: Scorpions, big spiders, snakes, rodents, you name it but none would venture into a place with a resident cat so they were highly valued and elevated to divine status in appreciation of their service to humanity.

Our furry friends.

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waiting for his cue

waiting for his cue

lunar orbit

moon landing

on the mirror of the pond

with a frog just beside

for the

One giant leap for mankind

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