The Serpent’s Kiss

Lovers and falling rain 1996 61x46cm

This ashen tongue…

It slithers through deceit 

Like dreams of silk

Over the morning mist.

Your mouth tastes of promise;

It shimmers over mine

Until synapses burst

And blind, I cannot sift

Away the beauty from its lies.

An angel born of darkness;

Your dagger rooted in my spleen…

Around its icy blade I twist

Until my bowl bejewels yours

With tears of ruby warmth.

Yours is the serpent bite,

And mine… the rift. 

*

Daily Prompt: Moved to Tears

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In Matters of Sloth

Smile and Sloth by Vic Briggs Daily Prompt: The Eighth Sin

Acedia or sloth, was first listed amongst eight evil thoughts (the basis of the modern seven deadly sins) by Evargrius the Solitary, a Christian ascetic monk.

Curiously, acedia does not necessarily have to mean sloth. It appears that in the Philokalia, which translates as “love of the beautiful, the good” and is “a collection of texts written between the 4th and 15th centuries by spiritual masters”,  the term acedia had the meaning of dejection or depression.

While depression may very well dim our ability to be sensible of the beautiful and the good in our lives, I should think that by including it amongst lists of “evil thoughts” and “deadly sins”, we attribute a negative agency to those who suffer from depression that is undeserved. So too goes for the paralysing consequences that depression can have, which prevent those who struggle with it to be as active and productive as they are when they are in a healthy place: being unable to work in such cases can by no means be deemed as slothful.

And while 4th century monks may have been ill-informed as to the causes of depression and its consequences, and could feel themselves justified in denoting it as a sin, I think that it may be time to eliminate it from the list.

So instead of adding another sin to the list, I say it is high time we lobby for the opposite.

As for our name-sake mammals, a few years ago I met one of their number in Peru. They are truly beautiful creatures, with soft, shaggy hair, kind eyes and appear to have a constant smile on their lips.  Certainly, they are very slow in their movements and I suppose that’s where they got the name. Then again, they have no reason to be in a hurry.

I’d like to think that perhaps if we too slowed down every now and then, and took our time to observe and delight in the world around us, we would enjoy life that little bit more.

Lobster Love | Blogniversary

I seldom write about food. In fact, bar one post that used food as a medium for humour, I have never delved into this particular aspect of writing. Nonetheless, I will make an exception for once, since it is a special occasion. What better way to celebrate Shards of Silence’s one year anniversary than by uncorking a good bottle of wine, slicing up a few juicy tomatoes and getting the pot on the stove for a little lobster love.

One of the things that I have come to love about DC are its farmer’s markets. The first stopover was the weekly market in Georgetown, which is rather small when compared to others I have visited in the city, but does not disappoint on the variety of organic and free range produce on offer.

The summers here are so generous in their heat that light meals are the best option. I feel that I have turned Greek all of a sudden, as the majority of dishes on our table tend to be determinately Mediterranean in flavour. This time around we skipped the Feta, but the basic ingredients for this salad are otherwise the same:

Heritage Tomatoes (red and gold)

Cucumber

(I favour what the Americans call a “pickling cucumber” rather than the long-bodied variety; they are much more flavoursome.)

Fresh Lettuce & Rocket Salad Leaves

(Any will do, but we got the Boston “Bibb” Lettuce that is sourced by a nearby Glen’s Garden Market from a local farm. The Rocket is called Arugula in the States and the pepperiness of the leaves adds just the right zing to the salad.)

Spring Onions

(Here again I had some difficulty with the local slang. Apparently they are “scallions” in the US. Once the language barrier was overcome, however, the friendly staff at Glen’s got us some from their chef’s pantry, as it is so popular that there was none left on the shelves.)

Add a sprinkle of Salt, a few spoonfuls of Olive Oil and a dash of Balsamic Vinegar and you have the perfect summer salad: the best accompaniment to any dish.

Summer Delights by Vic Briggs

It is so good that even the lobster could’t keep his antennae off the plate 😉

Lobster Love by Vic Briggs

This lobster – whom I was very tempted to name, but decided against for fear that it would make it that much more difficult to turn the crustacean into dinner – also came curtesy of the farmer’s market. He is a gorgeous Maine Lobster and was very much alive, if a little dopey only ten minutes before this picture was taken. (For the squeamish amongst you, I am reassured by the head chef – aka my significant other – that it was a quick and painless event for Robbie. Argh! Ok. So that no-naming thing didn’t quite work out for me. Moving on…)

How do you prepare a fresh lobster? It is simpler than one would have guessed. Fill a sufficiently large pot half-way with water and a table spoon of salt and bring to the boil. When the water is boiling, drop the lobster in  (if you want to make steamed lobster then the water should cover your lobster half way up). Steam for ten minutes and voila.

The tail of the lobster is where most of the lobster meat comes from so this is the one to be removed first. Be careful when you do this, as there will be hot liquid inside the head. Next are the claws that you either need a special implement to crack them with or – if like me you had no such professional devices handy – the back of a heavy butcher’s knife will do just as well. Finally, I know that many dismiss the tiny legs as worthless, but to me they are the juiciest part: quite fiddly to eat, but hey – who doesn’t like to play with their food once in a while.

The simplest way to serve lobster is with melted butter: it simply melts on your tongue.

And finally… the wine.

Maryland Wine by Vic Briggs Since this is a one year anniversary, the wine is a young 2013 Albariño from the cellars of the Old Westminster winery in Maryland.

I swirled the wine in my glass. The citrus notes came through first and I longed to identify the exact blossom that gave the wine its distinctive bouquet.  Lime peel… Who would’ve imagined? It was a perfect pairing with the lobster, its refreshingly acidic aftertaste complementing the sweetness of the meat well. The wine has a silky texture and its citric undertones work wonders on the pallet.

Add some hand-made french baguette to the mix and this is it: my blog’s anniversary dinner.

Thank you all for your congratulations and kind wishes. Here’s to another good year together!

Daily Prompt: Handmade Tales

A Coin for the Journey

Moonlight Bay by MovingStill

Moonlight Bay by MovingStill

Without the tempest howls,

Leaves rust: dreams claimed by dust.

The heart is fickle

And from this world of damaged things

It shies away, embracing in its stead 

The promise of tomorrows. Endless lies…

For this one dawn may well be too, your last.

Weeks, hours, mere seconds –

The naiads of our age –

Are ruthless in their passing …

Take hold then of my hand, my heartbeat measure.

‘Tis hidden in the pulse within my wrist:

Here lies my time

In memory absconded.

I’ve gambled it away and now too late

Have learnt to prize its value.

Let go. No… Stay with me a while.

This, my diminished life, will presently depart.

How bright this moon…

Could linger here a lifetime

To feel its golden sheen upon my cheek.

How sweet the scent of lilies in the air,

And listen to the ripple of that wave…

Is that the sound of a paddle slicing through?

The ferryman will reach our shore anon.

A coin for the journey,

If you will.

*

Daily Prompt: 190 Days Later

 

 

Speckles of Life

baby sea turtle run by fyeah-seacreatures

baby sea turtle run by fyeah-seacreatures

New life

Enclosed in the palm of my hand

Burrowing through.

The shell

Of a love story hatched amid

Sand dunes and surf.

Alight

From my fingers’ grieving embrace

To the billows;

And seek

Under starlight, shimmied paths new

To guide your return.

*

Daily Prompt: Back to Life

#WomenAgainstFeminism ?

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Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with WeHuntedTheMammoth

It’s been only two days since I found out that there is a new phenomenon on Tumblr and Facebook that carries its standard under the name of Women Against Feminism. I didn’t know whether to find the news upsetting or downright depressing. Having spent some time reading through the commentary, I felt myself torn between a desire to write a dozen hundred messages of “WRONG” in reply to some or adding my own two pennies’ worth to the mix.

The trouble with any such discussions is that it is near impossible to persuade anyone to think otherwise without days of back-and-forths, vast amounts of research to back up arguments and emotional energy to consolidate for potential losses. Plus, the likelihood of succeeding is even then very slim. More often than not the opposition will simply use well-intentioned counter-arguments  as additional fodder for their – dare I say misguided? – cause. They will continue to insist that they know their mind and that it is their right to think however they will. Well… there at least they are right. Since I was already caught in a plethora of projects of my own, I left it all alone.

Until today!

You see, earlier today I was making a much overdue incursion into the world of Facebook  and came across a puzzling article by Katie Halper. (Whoever said that Facebook is bereft of anything useful? Will not be fooled twice.) You may be surprised to find out that this piece was about cats.

Cats? you ask. What on earth could cats have of any use to say?

Alright, alright. But they were not any old cats mind, they were confused cats. Still puzzled? Well… “Like many of the women featured on the Women Against Feminism Tumblr, these cats don’t seem to really get what feminism is,” Katie says and then proceeds with an exhibition of some of their photographs and “anti-feminist” messages:

“I don’t need feminism b/c a woman needs a man like a cat needs a fish. and this cat needs a fish,declares a stripy-grey feline.

I’m against feminism because… wait that’s vacuums. I’m against vacuums,” purrs a moody-looking charcoal black cat.

“I don’t need feminism because I support the oppression of ALL humans! muahahaha”

Ok. That last one was chilling. Brrr… On the bright side, this is how I found the antidote for my upset: humour and Cats respond to #WomenAgainstFeminism with new blog: Confused Cats Against Feminism is just the dish to serve it with. Fishy? Yum.

The project started off quite simply because the blogger of WeHuntedTheMammoth found herself with two anti-feminists in her household: “Against my better judgment, I agreed to take pictures of them with signs spelling out their objections. None of their arguments make much sense to me, but, hey, they’re entitled to make their case on the internet if that’s what they want.

There’s just one little complication: the two antifeminist females in my household are not, you know, human females. They’re cats.

Needs must, however, so this ingenious blogger did not despair, but instead started off a new blog which within days became a phenomenon in its own right. Anyone can add their confused cats to the site. WeHuntedTheMammoth adds a single caveat to this: “your cats must be genuinely confused about why they oppose feminism, and generally unclear about what feminism is.”

There you are: if you have a cat who happens to be harbouring anti-feminist feelings and yet can give no clear explanation for their professed views, now they have a public platform whence to bring their confusion.

And here too is where my own furry companion has decided to take their befuddlement:

Inspired by Monty Python –  

Delivered by Cat.

*

Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

Or if you happen to be a fellow Hogwartsian send me a letter by owl. ;)

How do you like your eggs in the morning?

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How do I like mine? I’m not very particular about it, as long as they come with a side of FT’s in-depth analysis of the latest financial developments, of course.

Could it ever be a matter of doubt? 😉

Daily Prompt: Adult Visions