I need a new subject…#195

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It’s June, we are half way through the year and I am ready to broach a new subject, clear the mind of all the rubbish that is attacking our senses.  With that being said, did you make a New Year’s resolution, or several?  I made nothing beyond trying to stay healthy.    We all know that a New Year’s resolution is a promise a person makes for the New Year.  Some promise themselves to change a bad habit, change their life, their relationships; these promises can take many forms. 

I have found that many of the top promises people make are, spend more time with family and friends, tame that bulge, quit smoking, quit drinking, get out of debt and enjoy life more.  Helping others also would top my list, if I stay healthy.  A few list for some is getting organized, I am a minimalist and have been all of my life, so I have only the bare necessities and I have only what I need.

I retired almost twenty years ago, my only promise to myself was to write, to be published and start a blog.  I have accomplished all three in a small way.  This year I have made a promise to meditate more, read more. I also promised myself to continue with my painting, as a hobby more or less, not to sale, although I have been tempted to have a showing or a booth in one of the many art fairs that we have in the area.  I have also thought of taking my art to Door County, many artist put their work in various shops in the spring and go pick it up in the fall, just an idea. 

I have not acted on that one yet, or the showing or art fairs.  I suspect that I am not confident enough in my work to show.  I try to improve daily, as I write most daylight hours and when tired move over to my current art project. 

I have given thought to the beginning of every year, it did not just start as we know it today, with the making of promises, toasting with your favorite drink and kissing the one you love. 

Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Supposedly, medieval knights had their own version of the New Year’s resolution. One by one, during the last feast of the Christmas week, they would place their hands on a live or roasted peacock and recommit themselves, for the next 12 months, to the ideals of chivalry.  I have heard that some wish the “Peacock Vow” would return, I for one laughed at that notion.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism’s holiest days. Meaning “head of the year, Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks a period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the two “High Holy Days”.

The concept, regardless of beliefs, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.

One tradition that I use to love when going out or having parties on New Year’s Eve was the singing of Auld Lang Syne.  Robert Burns, a Scot born in 1759, wrote the song.  He died of an early age, about thirty-seven-years-old. Although his life was short, he secured himself a place in history and in legend.

Robert Burns
The hand written poem that was to become the song.

There is another poem, that fits into our world today, and was written by Robert Burns in 1792.

The Slaves’ Lament

By Robert Burns

It was in sweet Senegal that my foes did me enthrall,

For the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O:

Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more;

And alas! I am weary, weary O.

All on that charming coast is no bitter snow and frost,

Like the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O:

And alas! I am weary, weary O:

There streams for ever flow, and there flowers for ever blow,

And alas! I am weary, weary O:

The burden I must bear, while the cruel scourge I fear,

In the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O;

And I think on friends most dear, with the bitter, bitter tear,

And alas! I am weary, weary O:

My interpretation of the poem is that Burns saw Virginia as a beautiful country, a romantic realm of the South.  Yet there he made both friends and foes.  The Plantation owner’s cruelness he feared, while thinking of his friends it was done so with bitterness and tears.  One my look upon this poem as they wish, however, it uses sensitivity when written, slightly letting the truth show through, but gave him great sadness.

Is this what we are doing today, looking on through the cruelness of the times with squinted eyes?  Does it bring pain to our hearts, but do we let others see our weariness and tears?  I think not.


6 thoughts on “I need a new subject…#195

  1. What a busy/talented lady you are Elizabeth! I am also interested in the slavery trade for some project I am writing at the moment. I wonder if you might be able to help, the period I am looking at is from 1680 to 1730? Thanks in advance

    Nandan Artist

    Liked by 1 person

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