Olivia’s Poems

 

Olivia B
Olivia B

Foreign Land

Baking in sunshine
Rolling green hills
Wind taking me
Toward my destiny

Skill to acquire
People to meet
Strange new world
Walked on by
My own feet

Beautiful new land
Breath taken away
As I’m walking
I’m led astray

Primula auricula Lincoln Bullion (a haiku)
Flower found in France
Of many colours and shapes
Full of history

By Olivia Batt

 

My Ancestors were French

One of the themes of My Ancestors were French is the impact of faith on people’s lives throughout history. Today, because of migration and travel, the world seems smaller, and there are many choices – but not necessarily answers to all our questions. The closing song is that of a young woman living in northern England today. She doesn’t know much about her family history, but like many English or American people she is of Huguenot descent. This young woman starts to look back into her family history and begins to find the faith to help her through the pitfalls of life. She learns stories from her family, and discovers that the scent of the auricula has a special quality, which takes her back to childhood memories. Memories of grandparents’ potting sheds…and even further back…when you suddenly think ‘how can this memory be older than me…?’

My ancestors were French,
And, for what it’s worth, faith ruled their lives.

Me, I’ve never been to church, and I haven’t been good.
But I’ve made my mark,
And I got in trouble,
Listening to my devil in the dark.

Y’know I’ve always landed on my feet,
And I’ve got a sense of history.
Yeah I’ve always landed on my feet,
And those flowers take me back…

The devil inside, he’s sittin’ on my shoulder,
Pushin’ me out so I’m sittin’ on a boulder
In the middle of the lake.
And the devil can’t swim,
So I’m feelin’ brave and I’m gonna get him.

It’s gonna get colder, if he falls in the lake.
He’ll be off my shoulder, off my back.
There’ll be no more trouble,
Gonna make a fresh start.
Stop listenin’ to the devil…
Gonna listen to my heart.

Gonna listen

To my heart.

© 2012  Lou Duffy-Howard, Corey Clough-Howard

Stingray Lou

Dressed in Blue

A love song, and tribute to the beautiful little flower, it’s continuing endurance throughout history, and the unusual but traditional way of displaying it, on an Auricula Theatre. As is the way with flowers they don’t last long. But they come back again. We discover more beautiful varieties every year.

She’s my beautiful flower
I’ll be her sun and her rain
What colour will she wear
When she comes back again?

Behind the veil
I can see her glow
What colour will she wear
When it’s time to show?

When April’s flowers
Stand tall and proud in line
You raise the curtain
I see you shine
You raise the curtain
I see you shine!

I was dressed in blue
When I married you
I wore your flowers in my hair
And kept your love in my pocket

On a beautiful day
At the end of May
My heart leapt out to you
My wild-fire-rocket

My heart leapt out to you!

So take it slow
Sing it long and low
What colour will she wear
When it’s time to go?

© 2012 Lou Duffy-Howard
Auriculas grown and photographed by Richard Duffy-Howard

In the Greenwood

Valentina is in England. In folklore the full moons have evocative names which are connected to the season such as Wolf Moon & Sturgeon Moon. The spring moon, when the Auriculas are in bloom is known in as The Flower Moon, and sometimes the Full Corn Planting Moon. Moons come and go and Valentina finds solace in the nature and the English woodland; in the trees and animals in the wood. The seasons turn, the full flower moon comes around again, and the Greenwood is good.

The flower moon is rising
Deer startle up on the hill
It reminds me that I’m far from home
When the clear night air is still
And cool is the spring here
When the hare runs along the hedge
My pretty flowers still bloom for you
With a green and silver edge
And the flower moon is full

The flower moon looks bright tonight
And the flower moon is full

Now I sleep alone I lay down in the greenwood
Now I sleep alone I lay down in the green leaves

By the time the harvest moon comes around
And the fox hides down in the field
There’s fire in the air and there’s storm in the hills
But my heart is still not healed
And it hurts deep down inside
When I think of the love that we lost
Oh my broken heart is still not healed
I lost love’s battle without a shield
And the harvest moon is full

Yeah the harvest moon looks bright tonight
And the harvest moon is full

Now I sleep alone I lay down in the greenwood
Now I sleep alone I lay down in the brown leaves

When the planting moon comes round again
And the badger hunts in the wood
I remember the beautiful flowers of home
But life out here is good
And the planting moon is full
Yeah the planting moon looks bright tonight
And the planting moon is full
The flower moon is high tonight
The flower moon looks white tonight
The flower moon is bright tonight

And the greenwood is good! 

© Louise Duffy-Howard 2012
Auriculas grown and photographed by Richard Duffy-Howard
primula-auricula-rosebud
.
.

The Same Sky

The lovers in our story, Valentina and Raoul, have been torn apart when Valentina escapes from persecution during the Reformation and comes to live in England, while Raoul stands by his faith and stays in France, facing an uncertain future, possibly death. 

This song is Raoul’s story. He is so sad now that his lover has gone, but looks up at the heavens and feels comfort in knowing that wherever she is, she’ll look up and see the same moon, the same stars…The Same Sky.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I don’t know where you are
But I guess where you’ll be
Under the same sky as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
‘Cross the cold northern sea
Follow the same star as me

Now you’re gone

In a strange land you are
But not alone refugee
Under the same moon as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
But I know what you’ll see
See the same sky as me

Now you’re gone

I don’t know where you are
But I guess where you’ll be
Under the same sky as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
Growing flowers for me…

I feel the same sun!

Under the same sky

© 2012  Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard

Auriculas grown and photographed by Richard Duffy-Howard

Into the Sun

Here begins Valentina’s tale. Young lovers, Valentina and Raoul separate when she escapes persecution and comes to England as a refugee. Valentina boards a boat for the East Coast of England, leaving her lover behind to an uncertain fate, possibly death.

She brings Primula auricula flower seeds and the skills to grow the little flowers here as a reminder of home. The Huguenot people were skilled artisans and were well accepted in their new land. Although Valentina misses her loved ones she is relieved to be travelling over the sea into the unknown and a new life. Valentina says she’ll never forget Raoul…

I’ll be heading down to the harbour
Gonna be setting sail on the next high tide
You know the world may seem much smaller now
but it feels too big to me
I’m gonna be far away from here
by the time it’s light

Gonna be thinking ‘bout you baby
when I’m back on the ground
How we were heading
straight into the sun
With my flowers tucked up
and all safe and sound
I’m gonna be missin’ you baby
when I’m gone…

….The waves are so high
that I get vertigo
And seagulls swoop down
I’m spinning round and round and wonderful
And so high
up on the northern sea
And we are drenched
spray like waterfall
Our river flows to meet us
in East Anglia
And I get vertigo

The waves so high

I don’t know where I’m going
But I know where I’m from
Heading out to the sea
I’m looking into the sun

Into the sun, into the sun

C’mon

Round and round and round and round…
…and wonderful

© 2012  Lou Duffy-Howard

Auriculas grown and photographed by Richard Duffy-Howard

primula-auricula-reddown-tickled-pink

Kings and Weavers

A huguenot
A Huguenot by John Everett Millais

Kings and Weavers is the next song in The Auricula Suite. It introduces the history of the flower, the Primula auricula, whose origins are in the Alps. Imagine how it will have been trampled underfoot by the Roman Legions travelling across the continent two thousand years ago. By the 16th century the auricula became a symbol of wealth and was grown in what is now France and Belgium by the first people to be known as ‘florists’ – The Huguenot people. They were also craftsmen and women, weavers and silk workers. In our tale the Huguenot people made auricula growing popular in England when they came here as refugees in the 16th century.

‘Kings and Weavers’ introduces the young couple in our story, Valentina and Raoul. Although Valentina and Raoul are fictional, they represent many people fleeing persecution and making a new life in a new and strange land, even here, today. I imagine Valentina and Raoul are similar to the couple standing in the walled garden in Huguenot Victorian artist, John Everett Millais’ painting, A Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day.

Flower of kings and of weavers
Crushed underfoot on the mountainsides of Gaul
Leaves of green for a queen and a thousand different colours
Comfort of the soldier on the wall
.
I will come for you
I will find you…
.
Your flower theatre will remind me
Of the gardener and the skillful artisan
Of Reformation time, and the people
On a journey to find a new homeland
.
I will come for you
I will find you…
.
The flower of kings will live forever
The flower of weavers will go on
Spell or cure on a starry night
The moon in the middle of the flower shines bright
I can see it too babe
.
I will come for you
I will find you…
.
Flower of kings
Flower of weavers
Green leaves for a queen
And colours for all
From high in the mountains
To the Huguenot gardens…
I’m thinking of you…standing by the wall

Valentina and Raoul, in the Huguenot garden,

Valentina and Raoul, by the wall…

© 2012  Lou Duffy-Howard

The Same Sky Overture

We have recorded a set of songs written to complement the project story.  You can hear the first one here. It’s the only instrumental in The Auricula Suite,  featuring guitars, hammer dulcimer and a beautiful lonesome hurdy gurdy solo; The Same Sky Overture.

The Auricula Suite is our set of songs telling folk tales of a journey to a new land; a story of love and loss, persecution and a new beginning – inspired by the small alpine Primula auricula and the folk tale of its 16th century journey to England with the Huguenot refugees.

The Same Sky is Raoul’s lament. His lover, Valentina, has escaped persecution on a ship to England, but Raoul stands by his faith and refuses to go.   It’s a sad song, now that his lover has gone. He looks up at the heavens and feels comfort in knowing that wherever she is, she’ll look up and see the same moon, the same stars……The Same Sky

© 2012 Duffy-Howard

Chapter 4 The English Garden

Years go by, and Valentina embraces life in England, growing roses in her English garden. Millais’ painting is full of coded messages – the Victorian concept of ‘the language of flowers’. Red roses symbolise passion. In Millais’ painting of the lovers standing by the wall the young woman is trying to make her lover wear the white scarf that would protect him from persecution and possibly death, and he, despite his love for her refuses to renounce his faith. Here Canterbury Bells signify faith; and Nasturtiums, patriotism.

A Huguenot by John Everett Millais
A Huguenot by John Everett Millais

Valentina settles in the East Coast of England, she marries and has a family. But she never did forget Raoul.

I work the land here, I rise each morning
I thank the Lord and reap what I have sown.
I left my homeland, but kept my God-fear
I looked up to him when I set off alone.

I’m long since married; I have three daughters,
I love them dearly and we are family
And my garden is full of roses
I give them water and feed them tenderly.

My husband loves me; we work together
And spend the evenings until the fire burns low.
But when my candle is pale and smoky
I think back to you, I never let you go.
Our last embrace by the wall,
You kept your faith, you would not lie
The broken bell signalled your fall,
I never knew if you would live or die

In the darkness we lay down in the heather
One kiss to last forever, before I went to sea.
My eldest daughter, she looks so like you.
But home is here now, what is and what will be.
I made my life here; I rise each morning
I thank the Lord and reap what I have sown
I left my homeland but kept my God-fear
I looked up to Him when I set off alone
I made my life here; I rise each morning
I thank the Lord and reap what I have sown
And in my garden, my English garden
I tend my roses, and water them…alone.

Chapter 3 The Same Sky

Following Valentina’s tale is Raoul’s story.

Raoul stands by his faith and stays behind. It’s a sad song now that his lover has gone. He looks up at the heavens and feels comfort in knowing that wherever she is, she’ll look up and see the same moon, the same stars…

…The Same Sky

The Transit of Venus

I don’t know where you are
But I guess where you’ll be
Under the same sky as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
‘Cross the cold northern sea
Follow the same star as me

Now you’re gone

In a strange land you are
But not alone refugee
Under the same moon as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
But I know what you’ll see
See the same sky as me

Now you’re gone

I don’t know where you are
But I guess where you’ll be
Under the same sky as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
Growing flowers for me…

I feel the same sun!

Under the same sky

© 2012 Duffy-Howard

Chapter 2 Into the Sun

My Ancestors were French…a tale inspired by the little alpine flower, the Primula auricula and the story of how it came to be grown and displayed on Auricula Theatres here in England. A fascinating folk tale of love, loss and new beginnings, exploring the significance of ancestry and identity, drawing on the influences of the first refugees to come to England in the 16th Century – the Huguenot people…

Fleet Street cropChapter Two – Into the Sun

Here begins Valentina’s tale. Young lovers, Valentina and Raoul separate when she escapes persecution and comes to England as a refugee. Valentina boards a boat for the East Coast of England, leaving her lover behind to an uncertain fate, possibly death. She brings Primula auricula flower seeds and the skills to grow the little flowers here as a reminder of home. The Huguenot people were skilled artisans and were well accepted in their new land. Although Valentina misses her loved ones she is relieved to be travelling over the sea into the unknown and a new life. Valentina says she’ll never forget Raoul…but as is often the case, madness and the wind are blowing over the sea…

Quentin and Dilzar started filming yesterday…

We have started work on a film of the evocative responses Rich and Dilzar gathered for Richard Lees’ ‘Seeking Asylum in Hull’ poster exhibition at Wilberforce House Museum (during Wilberforce 2007) and at The Lamp club in Hull.

Quentin filmed Dilzar talking about his experiences of what it feels like to be a stranger in a strange land, and how music can bring people of different cultures together, overcoming adversity and creating something good and new.

Richard documented the days filming; here are a couple of photos from the shoot…

Outdoor shooting begins
Outdoor shooting begins
In the bag
In the bag

Would you like to come to a workshop?

Would you like to come to a free, fun and engaging workshop as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded All Our Stories scheme, in support of BBC2’s ‘The Great British Story – A People’s History’

 Explore the significance of your ancestry using storytelling, music, art and poetry.

 Draw on the influences of the first refugees to come to England in the 16th Century – the Huguenot people.

Willerby Methodist Church Hall – East Riding of Yorkshire, UK
Sunday March 3rd 2013 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm

OR

U3A – St Barnabas’ Church Hall Swanland, East Riding of Yorkshire UK
Sunday March 10th 2013 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm

All welcome. Light refreshments will be provided.

Places are limited so please email loudhailer@duffyhoward.karoo.co.uk to book your place as soon as possible.

Work produced at these workshops, and Wolfreton School and illustration workshops will be displayed at a local event on May 4th 2013 which will celebrate the stories uncovered and work created for the ‘My Ancestors were French’ project.

Elements of the workshop will be filmed and will contribute to a digital archive of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s All Our Stories project, in support of the BBC’s The Great British Story – A People’s History.

Primula auricula Athene

 

My Ancestors were French… a tale inspired by the lovely little alpine flower, the Primula auricula and the story of how it came to be grown and displayed on Auricula Theatres here in England.

Chapter 1 Kings and Weavers

My Ancestors were French…a tale inspired by the lovely little alpine flower, the Primula auricula and the story of how it came to be grown and displayed on Auricula Theatres here in England – a fascinating folk tale of love, loss and new beginnings.

There are seven musical chapters to the story.

Chapter One – Kings and Weavers 
The Primula auricula is a little flower whose origins are in the Alps. Imagine how it will have been trampled underfoot by the Roman Legions travelling across the continent two thousand years ago. By the 16th century the auricula became a symbol of wealth and was grown in what is now France and Belgium by the first people to be known as ‘florists’ – The Huguenot people. They were also craftsmen and women, weavers and silk workers. It is believed to be the Huguenot people who made auricula growing popular in England when they came here as refugees from the French wars of religion in the 16th century.

‘Kings and Weavers’ introduces the young couple in our story, Valentina and Raoul. Although Valentina and Raoul are fictional, they represent many people fleeing persecution and making a new life in a new and strange land, even here, today. I imagine Valentina and Raoul are similar to the couple standing in the walled garden in Huguenot Victorian artist, John Everett Millais’ painting of a Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day.

A huguenot
A Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day

“They wrap each other up, but also pull in opposite directions” S.P Casteras

© 2012 Duffy-Howard