Into my arms

tony and su at whenuapai 94

Gray-Leslie family archive c. 1994

Sometimes, no words are necessary.

Into My Arms

I don’t believe in an interventionist God
But I know, darling, that you do
But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him
Not to intervene when it came to you
Not to touch a hair on your head
To leave you as you are
And if He felt He had to direct you
Then direct you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms

And I don’t believe in the existence of angels
But looking at you I wonder if that’s true
But if I did I would summon them together
And ask them to watch over you
To each burn a candle for you
To make bright and clear your path
And to walk, like Christ, in grace and love
And guide you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms

But I believe in Love
And I know that you do too
And I believe in some kind of path
That we can walk down, me and you
So keep your candles burning
And make her journey bright and pure
That she will keep returning
Always and evermore

Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms

Nicholas Edward Cave

We’re nearing the end of the 30 Days, 30 Songs challenge hosted by Sarah at Art Expedition. You can see her latest musical choice here.

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… the moments don’t last

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Carshalton, England. c. 1966. My brother, mum, great uncle Tom and me. Leslie family archive.

My parents divorced when I was in my 20s. The family photographs were divided, though over the years some have been given to me as the de facto family historian. Others have been lost, probably forever (most of Mum and Dad’s wedding photos — I’m looking at you baby brother).

And for all the hundreds, if not thousands, of photos that I take, very few are of people. Especially now that the boy-child has grown.

Something to think about.

Wish that I took more photographs of us
Said goodbye now, our love’s collecting dust
Just a memory of you is not enough
I wish that I took more photographs of us

I can’t believe I left you feeling solo
I was just at Nan’s going through old photos
And you ain’t in many of them, you’re barely in any of them
Three or four of them I wish you were in more of them
I just wish there were more of them
‘Cause now all I got is memories
And I cry but that river’s run dry
If only time was something money could buy
Goodbye, but it ain’t
With words there’s only so many pictures I can paint
And I’m running out of film now
There’s only so many pictures I can take
How does Faith feel looking at pictures of B?
How does Courtney feel looking at pictures of Kurt?
Is the pain worth the thousand words, I love you
But I hate looking at pictures of you ’cause it hurts

Wish that I took more photographs of us
Said goodbye, now our love’s collecting dust
Just a memory of you is not enough
Wish that I took more photographs of us
Oh oh oh, oh oh oh
I wish that I took more photographs of us

We all thought we’d live forever
We all thought that the moments would last
But the moments don’t last, the moments pass
And the only thing that lasts is the photograph
But what about the pictures we didn’t take?
What about the moments that we forget?
What about the memories that we’ve lost?
That only leave you full of feelings and regret
Over the people we neglected
And the time we took for granted
When all you can do is close your eyes
And hope that the memories develop in the darkness
Like photos do, I wish I had a time-machine and a photo-booth
I know to grow I’ve got to learn to let go
But I just wish that I had something I could hold on to

Wish that I took more photographs of us
Said goodbye, now our love’s collecting dust
Just a memory of you is not enough
I wish that I took more photographs of us
Oh oh oh, oh oh oh
I wish that I took more photographs of us

Last time we met, I saw change in you
You sat there calm and explained the truth
How addiction ain’t nothing but greed and guilt
Could just eat the whole world like a baby roof
And you got under my skin
All the nights that eyes-rolled sunken in gin
‘Cause I don’t want you to go die like Owen and Brian
I already wish I had a picture with him

I wish that I took more photographs of us
Said goodbye, now our love’s collecting dust
Just a memory of you is not enough
I wish that I took more photographs of us
Oh oh oh, oh oh oh
I wish that I took more photographs of us

Songwriters: Emily Warren / Chris Loco / Rory Graham / Stephen Paul Manderson

The very talented Sarah, at Art Expedition, is hosting 30 Days, 30 Songs. You can see her latest musical choice here.

Our castle and our keep

black and white, two children aged 5 and 3 standing by letterbox outside a typical New Zealand house of the 1960s.

Big sister, little brother. Image: Leslie family archive.

I have two brothers; one two years younger than me, the other eight years.

My relationship with “the baby of the family” is strong, loving and straightforward. With my other brother, it’s more complicated.

As kids we were constant playmates, best friends. We share the same sense of humour and listened to the same music. But my mum was never good at hiding the fact she valued sons more highly than daughters (possibly because she’s the fourth sister of five) and as “The Firstborn Son” my brother was indulged to the point of becoming, for a while, a horrible little brat.

We’re in our fifties now, and the tide of our relationship has ebbed and flowed, washing away all but the bedrock. He’s my brother and I love him.

For a long time, music was a powerful bond between us, and since I am participating in Sarah’s 30 Days, 30 Songs project, I thought I’d sneak a bonus track into today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt | sibling.

In many ways, the best time for us as brother and sister was in the early 1980s, and there are so many songs from that time I could have chosen.

But this one’s fun, and it is about family.

The title of the post comes from the line:

Our house, was our castle and our keep
Our house, in the middle of our street

 

Seven Nation Army

band pre gig b&w Frostbite; getting ready for their first gig. Image: Gray-Leslie family archive, 2008

The boy-child is a talented musician, and for several years played in bands. Co-ordinated through the Auckland School of Rock, the bands gave our pre-teen and others a chance to not only learn how to work together to create music, but opportunities to perform in front of (some quite large) audiences.

The focus was on writing original material, but they also performed covers. One that I particularly liked was The White Stripes song Seven Nation Army. It has a very catchy bass riff (which apparently was actually played on a guitar and digitally lowered an octave). Since the boy-child was at that stage a bass player, the riff was heard a lot around our house.

I found a recording of the kids playing this song, which reminded me just how young they were (my son was about 10 I think).

And here are The White Stripes.

Sarah at Art Expedition is hosting 30 Days, 30 Songs, and it is a great chance to stroll down some musical memory lanes. You can see her latest post here.

Spread your wings

The Big T and I were talking this morning about the holidays we used to have when the boy-child was small. Looking back, they seem frequent and filled with sunshine, and I was reminded of these lyrics from Summertime

… One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing
And you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky
But till that morning, there ain’t nothin’ can harm you
With daddy and mammy standin’ by

Summertime’, George Gershwin. From Porgy and Bess

I think we all dream of keeping our children safe, but know in our hearts we must give them space and confidence to take wing.

It’s a wonderful song, and this version by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong is probably my favourite.

Sarah at Art Expedition is hosting 30 Days, 30 Songs for the month of June. You can see her latest post here.

Why not join in — as Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind so brilliantly puts it “casual players welcome.”

In the pink

The pink onsie

The boy-child; healthy, happy and rocking the pink onesie. Image; Su Leslie 1998

Don’t you love looking at old photos of your kids?

I remember taking this shot, and more particularly remember my mother’s reaction to me dressing her grandson in pink (and lavender, lime green, red …)

That was over 20 years ago, and I had thought such outdated notions of gender-based clothing (not to mention toys, games, behaviors, etc) was steadily being consigned to the dustbin of history. Then last week I had a conversation with my sister in law about how her mother complains that my four year old niece is always dressed “like a boy” — in blue!

Sigh.

Posted to the Ragtag Daily Prompt | pink

Getting creative with an old desk

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Refurbished; old writing desk bought from a charity shop. Image: Su Leslie 2019

My student son lives in a shared flat, which means he has to keep most of his belongings in his bedroom, and work there too when the shared spaces get too busy or noisy.

So when I saw an old drop-front writing desk, it seemed a perfect solution to his need for both a workspace and storage.

In its original state, the desk was a bit dull and sad-looking, but it’s amazing what a few coats of white paint can do!

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As bought. The wooden finish was a bit shabby, and too dark for a small bedroom. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I remember from my flatting days that rented houses never have enough lights or power points, they’re always in the wrong place, and there’s generally nothing you can do about it. So with the Big T’s help, I’ve fitted power and lighting to the desk itself, with a four-outlet power board (with USB ports) and a LED light above the desk area.

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Integrated power-board makes it easy to use/charge laptop, phone, etc. Image: Su Leslie 2019

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LED light attached to the desk should make the work area usable in any room. Image: Su Leslie 2019

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Imagining how the desk would look as my workspace. Image: Su Leslie 2019

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Image: Su Leslie 2019

Having brought the desk indoors to photograph it, I’m realising how useful I’d find something like this. And it does look good with the black & white chair.

Posted to the Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge — creativity

Pleasant to the ear

little tom guitar

Still one of my favourite photos. The boy-child with his first guitar. Photo: Su Leslie, 2006

My son is a talented musician who finds little time to play anymore — which is a shame as I’ve always enjoyed listening to him (even in the early days when his repertoire consisted of riffs from Crazy Frog and Smoke on the Water).

Yesterday he told me he’s going to a concert and sent me a link to the act performing. Given the recent divergence in our musical tastes, I wasn’t expecting to like it, but (and I won’t name names) it was better than I expected, if a bit repetitive.

Pleasant-sounding — but only in small doses.

Ragtag Daily Prompt | euphonious