Beginning Grim….Getting Better….Then….

by Bernie Bell - 08:37 on 12 August 2022

Covid…then Monkey-pox…now Polio – we can’t turn around without facing a disease……….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/09/12/predators/


But…but…but….. a positive aspect of human life …poetry…… Bartholomew Barkerhttps://bartbarkerpoet.com/  writes of visiting the grave of Emily Dickinson, and I respond with……

Well you see

We disagree

Mr Bartholomew

And me.


‘Beats’ and ‘Angries’

Leave me cold

With Emily

Some truths are told


A shame to honour her with doggerel

But it’s the best I can do



BB  (the other one)


Bartholomew then asked what is my favourite Emily Dickinson poem?  And I answered….

“It’s always hard to say…..’Hope is the thing with feathers….’ is a strong contender. How often do I go on about how there is always Hope – there at the bottom of Pandora’s box when all the evils had flown out. https://theorkneynews.scot/2022/01/05/the-last-time/

And, as Emily Dickinson says – it gives but doesn’t ask for return. It just is – somewhere – there for us – to find.”

Then I was thinking some more around this theme and about how much Hope matters to me, personally – without Hope I’d despair and then where would I be?  https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/04/13/the-pit-the-wasteland/

Sometimes Hope takes the shape of strawberry jam on toast.  Sometimes it’s a thing with feathers that perches in the soul…..

“Hope” is the thing with feathers....


  “Hope” is the thing with feathers -

   That perches in the soul -

   And sings the tune without the words -

   And never stops - at all -


   And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -     

   And sore must be the storm -

   That could abash the little Bird 

   That kept so many warm -


   I’ve heard it in the chillest land -

   And on the strangest Sea -

   Yet - never - in Extremity,

   It asked a crumb - of me.

   Emily Dickinson


We watched an episode of ‘Digging for Britain’ presented by Alice Thomas.  A Roman site was being excavated and near one of the structures a burial ground of multiple newly born infants was discovered.

My mind went to sites where multiple burials of pre-birth and new-born babies have been found and the conclusion was that they were associated with brothels…….  https://bonesdontlie.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/the-babies-and-the-brothel/  and  https://ancientbodies.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/are-dead-babies-good-evidence-for-a-roman-brothel/

At this site, at first there was a suspicion that this indicated some kind  of truly horrible practice among the people of that time and place. Then, noticing the indicators on ceramics etc, the archaeologists realised that the structure was dedicated to the Mother Goddess. The conclusion was that pregnant women who were having difficulties went there to get help.  Some babies will have been born successfully, some not. Over time, that produced a macabre little burial ground of newly born infants.

And I thought, imagine being an archaeologist who encounters a site like that.  Even when they realised that the place was not only innocent in intent, but actively helpful to pregnant women, still….all those little skeletons and what they indicate - the stories they could tell.

It’s a long time ago and those babies will have moved on – maybe gone through many lives since, but it must be hard for a person excavating a site to find, not just one little skeleton, but a whole burial ground of them.

I was reminded of the little skeleton found at the Ness of Brodgar in 2015 – who I named ‘Nessa’…..  https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/04/28/on-being-more-than-the-sum-of-our-parts/

Archaeology = people….


And here’s one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/03/17/memories-of-the-craetur-comfort-2/


PS – on the subject of eating chicken….though these won’t be anything like the chicken my Grand-dad traded for ‘The Craetur’…..

I’ve just read this on Orkney Communities page…..

"BBC Radio Orkney@bbcorkney

Seven pallets of surplus frozen food left by a visiting cruise liner is being given away at the Northlink vehicle check in lanes at Kirkwall’s Hatston ferry terminal from@1030 this morning. It includes frozen chicken, chips and veg. #foodwaste #orkney


The visiting cruise liner had been delayed and apparently had to offload the frozen food because there wasn’t room for it in their next crossing. @GreenerOrkney want to avoid any of the food going to waste or being put into landfill #Orkney"

Why did the food need to be off-loaded?  The liner is continuing on its way - complete with passengers who need feeding?  

It’s good of the liner people to give away the food rather than it going to waste.....but...but...but….this attitude fits the whole ethos of the big liner trade – they are users – users - users - using up resources, using the world. 

Today’s world is becoming a cycle of using and dumping.  ‘Not sustainable’  doesn’t begin to describe it.


And then...I received this petition update... 


........and am wondering what kind of quality level the chickens are which are used to feed passengers on liners?  That's a lot of chicken - for a lot of people - on a long journey.

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