As I write, as I think, drive and make my way through the day, there is a motley collection of quotes and snippets of things read that stays with me, wherever I go, and whatever I do.

I am sure that most people – particularly those who read profusely – have their own ‘virtual scrapbook’ of snippets with them wherever they go. They inspire, inform and often comfort, putting the world in order when it can get chaotic from time to time. They can come from poems, plays, books, songs, movies or television shows….the origin doesn’t really matter, it’s rather how they stay with you and become part of your personal fabric.

Here is a snippet of my snippets:

‘A ship, an isle, a sickle moon….’ (James Elroy Flecker – this goes on to tell the story of stars shining on the sea, and creates a very vivid image of the effect of light on water)

‘Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in’ (Thoreau – Walden – this often pops into my thoughts when I am undertaking historical research!)

‘Home is the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in’ (Robert Frost – this always comes to mind after finishing a tough trip in winter weather, with the house lights shining out)

‘The love of field and coppice, Of green and shaded lanes….’ (Dorothea Mackellar – I studied ‘My Country’ at university, and the beautiful contrast between England and Australia often emerges when I’m in formal gardens; particularly those which draw on the English tradition)

This is often accompanied by Henry Kendall’s ‘Bellbirds’, which starts with ‘By channels of coolness the echoes are calling….’ ; it truly is ‘a joy forever’ (add Keats to the list).

‘I’m Nobody! Who are you?’ (Emily Dickinson – I often find myself saying this when caught in the middle of a city crowd)

‘It’s a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds’ cries….’ (John Masefield – what can I say? I love Masefield’s poetry, and always have)

‘There’s a very funny creature………triantiwontigongolope!’ (CJ Dennis – this summons memories of my grandfather and learning poetry – it’s a treasure)

Those are just a few of the snippets that accompany me and are part of my life. There are more, but the one that seems most apt today is from Richard Le Gallienne:

I meant to do my work today –
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand –
So what could I do but laugh and go?

On that note, pens down, and here’s to the weekend!

‘And a rainbow held out its shining hand’ – one of my favourite snippets