Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Gloaming A painting of Edgeworth Woods in Lancashire

This is another painterly meander, thank god not many people read this blog...The subject in my head was   "The Gloaming a Northern mood" , when I sat down and started blogging this entry yesterday on my ipad.  I've just walked around Entwistle reservoir ia regular walk of mine in the West Pennines or Lancashires Hill Country, Whilst I walked I pondered as one does on how the act of painting the Gloaming for me, relates to other expressive art forms namely poetry, prose and music? I am writing this in the gloaming, whilst I look out on a quintet of music makers, the wind, the misted trees, the tall wet grasses, the sound of distant seabirds  and huddled birdlife which chatters around me. I 

The Gloamin is a very Northern, mid winter, January affair. It's a melancholic, seasonal trip that we, Northerners have got to submit to almost daily without choice and that others in particular the English southrons have not got. For the Southrons have little choice of loving or joining in. The January Gloaming gradually  strips away any feelings of Christmas euphoria and no-hell and dumps us back into its place which is  a very real enclave, a dungeon of damp cold earth, cold snow, freezing wind or just a monotonous grey,warmish dark, that endures day after day, after day and radiates no change noon or dusk......

So .here we are then I'm painting a picture in my head and on paper from a memory of a moment in the landscape that informs me..

The Gloamin MIxed media on Paper by Rob Miller RSA

All the while since starting the writing of this blog, I've also been listening in my kitchen at home to an amazing Irish-American  Band The Gloaming whilst I make the tea, and whilst listening I do admit that I became unsure what the word gloamin actually means. I did some reading and and came across  Merriam Webster  who writes that If "gloaming" makes you think of tartans and bagpipes, well lads and lasses, you've got a good ear and a good eye; apparently we picked up "gloaming" from the Scottish dialects of English back in the Middle Ages. The roots of the word trace to the Old English word for twilight, "glōm," which is akin to "glōwan," an Old English verb meaning "to glow." In the early 1800s, English speakers looked to Scotland again and borrowed the now-archaic verb gloam, meaning "to become twilight" or "to grow dark." I don't think the northern English looked to Scotland for anything that description is just to separatist. Moreso the interchange of trade, seasonal work and shared experiences make gloamin a Northern expression which is borderless as are the cold and the misted evenings....


I then looked back at my attempt at 'Edgeworth Woods The gloaming' and here is a potted description of our roamin in the gloamin event as it happened.  

"We, my partner and I, walked together. It was on a late January evening or still teatime in Lancashire if you would. We needed to get away from the small damp flat that we lived in above the shop. After a hasty Mediterranean tea of  pan fried Salmon, Garlic and Asparagus purchased from Bromley Cross Coop we donned our boots and winter gear and set forth in the car like arctic explorers.  A few minutes later we were parked and disembarked high above the Lancashire village of Edgerton.  Walking through crisp fields floundering across damp ditches and loving it  when our feet hit the solid paths. It was still last light, sheep baar'd and birds chattered as they found their sleeping and roosting spots. On coming over the rise we saw  three deer down by the waters edge, just their white behinds. We both stood looking at them grazing and them up at us staring for too long. Lights going. We all moved on made aware of how quickly day fades and ebbs to a blue grey dark night. This is especially so in the conifer woods that make up Edgeworth Plantation, lying in a deep valley, long since damned and  flooded. Around the trees edge of dark black, a break of complex branches twinned paler colours within the foliage. Lower still from the water a silver moon shone dimly, shone gleaming, shone yellow shone bright from a last light of a  winter's sun broken back. A pale yellow through a stand of black grey trees



In the Gloaming — a Tuesday poem

Today's poem was written by Meta Orred, active as a poet in England in the 1870s and 1880s. Entitled "In the Gloaming," it comes from Orred's book, entitled simply Poems. The words were set to a tune "in the Irish style" by Annie Fortescue Harrison, later Lady Hill. The words were first published in 1874, and the song was tremendously popular in the United States in 1877. The poem is cross-rhymed (ABAB CBCB) and in a hymn metre (8-7-8-7). I think the words themselves are lovely, particularly if read aloud (and somewhat slowly). But they are lovelier still when sung to the tune Harrison wrote.

Whether Miss Orred knew the story of the composer's life or not, the facts are (purportedly), that Annie Fortescue Harrison, daughter of a Scottish MP, had been in love with Lord Arthur Hill (County Down, Ireland), but the marriage was frowned upon by his family. Miss Harrison went to England and became a composer, writing the music to this song (as well as instrumentals and musicals). Lord Hill married another woman named Anne, who died the following year. A few years later, at a concert in England, he heard this song performed and the lyrics and tune strongly reminded him of his lost love, so he tracked her down and reader, he married her.

In the Gloaming
by Meta Orred

In the gloaming*, oh, my darling!
When the lights are dim and low,
And the quiet shadows falling,
Softly come and softly go;

When the winds are sobbing faintly
With a gentle unknown woe,
Will you think of me, and love me,
As you did once long ago?

In the gloaming, oh, my darling!
Think not bitterly of me!
Tho' I passed away in silence
Left you lonely, set you free;

For my heart was crush'd with longing,
What had been could never be;
It was best to leave you thus, dear,
Best for you, and best for me.


*gloaming is the twilight that occurs at dusk and dawn; I'm reminded of Yeats's line about "The blue and the dim and the dark cloths/Of night and light and the half-light"

Heres a great Irish band  performing a sound that locates us in the now of 2017 and the the then of the middle ages.



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