The sight of Camellias in flower is always a sure sign, albeit an early sign, of Winter departing to make way for the onset of that most happy of seasons, Spring.
In the part of the world from which I write, where winters are rarely severe, it is possible to witness flowers at any time of the year even in midwinter, though those that appear when frost and snow threaten are the bravest of plant souls, defiantly challenging the elements, sometimes winning, often perishing in their valiant endeavour.
So when the Camellias appear, showy, bold and confident, I raise my eyes to the sky and nod in appreciation of this surest first sign of a new season approaching.
I wrote this little poem today on seeing our own Camellia in flower in anticipation of warmer days to come.
Spring emerges, Blackbird sings,
Butterflies unfold their wings
to dance upon a fragrant breeze
atop the wispy Willow trees.
Joy pervades the fresh green scene
where once the hardened frost had been
And trees begin to stir and grow
with zest for life as if they know
That nature's gift can never last,
their memory of Springtime past
reminding them that life and time
are there for whom the stars align.
That none of us can take for granted
sunny days for seeds we've planted.
Those who weather Winter's storm
may find themselves in Spring reborn,
and only then can dance and sing
and celebrate their life in Spring.
copyright: 2017 Jason Endfield. All Rights Reserved.
Okay, so I'm bragging...
but it's not every day that I can say I knocked Oscar Wilde off the top spot on Amazon.
To my huge surprise and delight, my little anthology 'Between Worlds' hurtled up the Amazon poetry charts on its release last week and peaked at Number One (!) on Tuesday 21st February.
I'm quietly proud of it and very humbled by all the messages of goodwill I have received, besides of course being exceedingly grateful to all the people who downloaded a copy of the book on its release.
(A paperback version was released at the same time, but I have withdrawn it from sale due to some issues with formatting and printing quality. A few have made their way into the public realm and one is currently on sale through Amazon for £16, so it would appear to be an odd collector's item already. As far as I know only three printed copies are in existence at the time of writing).
The kindle version (which can be read on any device) is available to download from any Amazon site.
My little anthology is out now on Amazon (in kindle form and paperback)
Contains some bits and pieces from my blog, some older short stories and a couple of new ones too.
One of a few stories I wrote for a small audience last year which may eventually end up published more widely somewhere...
Piotr A Story
Which is your real world...?
Sometimes, as the sages taught us, it is the very darkest of nights that bring the most illuminating truths.
So it was when Piotr found himself suddenly on a cliff-top in the middle of a dream one night; well that is how it seemed. Let me try to explain.
Piotr had gone to bed as usual that evening at around 11pm. He had switched off the light in his small living room, wandered to the kitchen to draw a glass of water and then locked the front door before he climbed the stairs. His little cat Temka followed behind him.
Finally in bed Piotr lay there looking up at the ceiling in the dark little room, Temka curled up on the bed at his feet.
A nearly full moon shone a dim grey light through the window and cast strange shadows on the walls. Piotr looked around. He noticed that one of the shadows looked like a small rabbit and then another like a bird; and if he squinted then he could make the bird appear to be chasing the rabbit. He imagined these shadows coming to life, it wasn't difficult to imagine such things in the dark of night.
He remembered when he was very small, his Grandfather telling him tales of demons and imps, of fairies and goblins and how at night as a small child he would sometimes dream of such creatures, waking himself with a start and peering from beneath his bed-covers to check that he was alone in the room. He always was. But he never felt afraid of these creatures, he believed they lived in another world, a different dimension. Surely in all of G-d's universe there must be many other worlds, Piotr thought, where millions of different creatures resided, each of them living their own lives in their own reality. Maybe they even existed alongside one another, in the same place but somehow in another time. Piotr didn't see any reason for them to suddenly appear in his world any more than for him to suddenly appear in theirs..
Perhaps, thought Piotr, that such things as ghosts were merely an echo of another of these worlds that exists beside our own.
And so this night, as Piotr drifted into sleep, he was untroubled by thoughts and and he let the world wash over him.
Suddenly he was woken by what felt like cold breath on his face. He sat up startled. It was difficult to see in the darkness and now there was no moon.
Temka was no longer there at his feet. He carefully got up from his bed. As his feet touched the ground he realised he was standing on grass. The cold breath he had felt on his face was now a breeze. He was outside in the open air.
As his eyes adjusted to the dark, he could make out a few stars in the black sky. He could hear the sound of waves, crashing waves a long way down below where he stood. Now he could make out a sheer drop to his left. He was on a cliff-top. Piotr had had dreams like this before, they were called lucid dreams where the dreamer suddenly becomes aware of himself within the dream and so can consciously influence the outcome. He decided to calmly get back into his bed but as he turned to do so he realised his bed was no longer there. This scared him. What to do now..? A track became visible at his feet. In the palest of star light he could see tiny figures dancing across the path into the distance. He felt drawn to follow. Every time he approached the figures they skipped further and further away. He found himself running faster and faster and faster until suddenly he felt the ground give way under his feet.
Had he fallen off the edge of the cliff? Why no, as he fell he had felt himself rise again, carried along on what to Piotr felt like a wave of sheer joy.
He had in fact fallen off the edge of his world.....and into the next.
How do I know all of this you may ask? Because I am Piotr and I write to you from a distant world where dreams can become real and reality can be but a dream.
copyright: 2016 Jason Endfield. All Rights Reserved.
I once spent a while in the company of some Kosovar Albanians, they were refugees seeking asylum in The Netherlands. They struck me as very lovely people with a simple outlook on life and a sense of joie-de-vivre in spite of their dire situation.
In the years since meeting them, I have discovered a little more about the unique character of the people of Albania, they really are an unusual nation and Albania is a rather special, little known country. And one that I hope to visit some day.
Albanians saved hundreds of Jewish people during the War, taking in refugees and sheltering them, defiantly refusing to co-operate with the occupying Germans.
In World War II, not a single Albanian Jew was turned over to the Germans.
Albania was the only country in Europe to have more Jews after the War than before.
And the remarkable fact is that Albania is predominantly a Muslim country.
Muslims saving Jews. Who'd have thought...?
And indeed we also see Jews saving Muslims in today's world. Israel frequently offers shelter and medical treatment to fleeing Syrian refugees.
While it's true that there is often-times an Islamic claim behind the majority of terrorist attacks today, perhaps not everything in the world is always quite as the media would have us believe.
This is from the Yad Vashem, (World Holocaust Remembrance Centre) website:-
“...Albania, the only European country with a Muslim majority, succeeded in the place where other European nations failed. Almost all Jews living within Albanian borders during the German occupation, those of Albanian origin and refugees alike, were saved, except members of a single family. Impressively, there were more Jews in Albania at the end of the war than beforehand.”
Has the world changed so much since then? Perhaps the answer is yes, and alas if that is the case then we are doomed to a world of mistrust and suspicion.
As a Jew, I am well aware of the irrational hatred towards people of my faith and precisely because of this I am not going to try to judge the majority of others based on the actions of a few. That too would be irrational, no?
The Albanian Muslims saved the Albanian Jews and proved that compassion is unconditional.
My hope is that we will always find a glimmer of such compassion in even the most difficult and terrible of times.
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