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Orthodox Easter Eggs, folktales, symbolism, traditions via @patfurstenberg #culture #history

It was an erstwhile custom that a mother, no matter how elderly or ailing she felt, would take it upon herself to bring food to her lad bided elsewhere as soon as the snow thawed and the first white spring shoots pierced the ground.

A folktale tells that Mary, the mother of Jesus, took it upon herself to visit Jesus in Jerusalem and thus she packed a basket with fresh eggs. It wasn’t much else she could take him, Herod having just increased his taxes, again.

The road was winding through the verdant green hills of Judea and Mary’s heart felt light for each step brought her hither to her son, which she hasn’t seen in a long time. As the morning progressed her own shadow became but a puddle by her feet. Soon enough the basket began feeling heavier and heavier in her work-worn hand and her steps became slower and slower and she felt like her journey to Jerusalem had become a quest for shade. Not many trees were in bloom so as soon as Mary spotted a stream sheltered by a little arbor she quickened her step and stopped to cool and quench her thirst. It was a thirst like she had never felt before.  So she looked about and decided to stop for a few moments.

The stream singed and Mary saw a new nest above her head and smiled. Life was precious. The water moved softly over her fingers and, when she removed her hand, a few droplets lingered on her fingers. She brought the hand to her eyes and smiled, a whole life scene embedded in those tiny see-through pearls.

It was a peaceful moment and life’s moments were just like this string of beads following each other on her outstretched hand. Each one connected to the next, stronger together. Filled with love.

But it was time to move along. Before getting up something tugged at her heart and Mary lifted the white cotton fabric that covered the basket to see if the eggs were still in good shape.

A dreadful sight unfolded before her eyes. It was as if the sun had stopped shining, no gurgling from the stream could glide through the air and all proof of life on earth had been stamped out.

The eggs had turned blood red and the Blessed Mother of Jesus understood that the time had come for her son to pay for our sins. But she was first a mother and he was her baby boy and so she wept, Mary did, and as her tears rolled down her cheeks and dripped onto the blood covered eggs they drew patterns, a cross, a star, lines and spirals.

When Mary reached the place where Jesus hang on the cross, she laid the basket at his feet and kneeled to pray. Then Jesus spoke and asked her not to cry for Him, but to share those blessed eggs with the people who believe in His resurrection.

***

This is why on the Orthodox Easter we color boiled eggs in red, we draw patterns on them and we share them with our loved ones, family, friends, colleagues, knocking egg against egg and saying: “Christ has risen,” and answer “It is true He has risen.”

Red easter eggs on the grass with flowers and blowballs, naturally colored easter eggs with onion husks. Happy Easter, Christian religious holiday.

The symbolism of the Easter egg

The hard shell of the egg symbolizes the sealed Tomb of Christ.

The cracking of the egg (through knocking) symbolizes His Resurrection.

The Ritual of coloring Easter Eggs

It is said that coloring Easter eggs is a sacred ritual. The day when one colors the eggs is special and no other activity will take place.

On counting the eggs that are to be colored, one doesn’t begin with one, but with “one thousand”, thus bringing wealth in the house for the remainder of the year.

The paint was already prepared, using different plants for different colors. GREEN – was made from walnut leaves, sweet apple skin. RED came from the leaf of a sweet apple, corn leaves or thyme. A special flower was used for YELLOW. Oregano was used to give the colored eggs a heavenly perfume.

The room where the eggs were painted was also special. No worried or upset person was allowed to step inside and no bad rumors or news of people who just passed away were allowed to reach the ears of the egg-painter.

Easter egg color symbolism

Easter eggs are nowadays colored in a rainbow of shades.

WHITE – means purity

RED – symbolizes the blood of Christ and life

BLUE – symbolizes the sky above, uniting us all

BLACK – means fertility

GREEN – means nature

YELLOW – symbolizes sun and energy

Orthodox Easter Egg Design Symbolism

A straight vertical line means life.

A straight horizontal line means death.

A double straight line symbolizes eternity.

A rectangle pattern – symbolizes thought and knowledge.

A sinuous line symbolizes water and purity.

A spiral means time and eternity.

A double spiral symbolizes the connection between life and death.

Cross – symbol for Christianity

A cross with additional small crosses at the end of each arm is a Russian cross.

A star – is called the “shepherd’s star”

A monastery – symbol of Christianity

Other motives used for decorating Easter eggs: bees, frogs, snakes, lambs, garden tools, fir tree, tulip, wheat.

Other traditions call for all the family members to wash their faces with fresh water on Easter morning, water from a container that holds a red egg and a silver coin. It is believed that the red egg brings good luck, good health, warn off evil spirits and all spells.

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Notre-Dame de Paris, a Visit before the April 2019 fire via @patfurstenberg #NotreDame #tourism #culture #poetry

Over 12 millions tourists visit Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris every year. It may seem like a vast number, but compare it to the billions who haven’t even heard of this breathtaking, this époustouflante church nestled on a tiny island in the City of Lights and you can consider yourself lucky to be one of those few millions. We were. We are, went through my mind as we dumbfounded witnessed her (for the French consider their monuments of art to be of feminine genre) burn on in the evening of Monday 15 April 2019 during a LIVE TV broadcast . We’ve visited the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris in August 2018. I want to share with you a tiny fraction of the marvels we saw.

Getting there…

To visit “Our Lady of Paris” or The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris on Ile de la Cité (one of the two Parisian islands on Seine) you can take the Line 4 metro (M4 purple) or use one of the five bridges that connect the island to the rest of Paris. Do use the metro (Métropolitain, Métro de Paris) when in Paris, it is super fast, reliable, easy to use and super fun.

The Ile de la Cité metro station (stop for the Notre Dame Cathedral) was opened on 10 December 1910 .

Metropolitan - Cite Metro station near Notre-Dame de Paris - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg.jpg
Metropolitan – Ile de la Cite Metro station near Notre-Dame de Paris

Here is the first sight of the Paris Notre Dame Cathedral, the precious 300 foot (91.44 meters) spire lost in the fire that engulfed most of this magnificent church in April 2019.

The Notre Dame’s spire was a key component of the Paris skyline and it one of the first things you see as you search for this medieval cathedral. Perhaps not many know that this spire, first erected in 13th century, was damaged before, at the end of 18th century and replaced in 19th century using a design by architect Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc.

Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris and spire – as seen from Ile de la Cite Metro station, August 2018

Slender arm outstretched

She reaches for her Father.

Notre Dame’s spire.

(Spire, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

From the metro station, as you hurried footsteps take you along Rue de Lutèce then Rue de la Cité and you round the corner towards left, you are suddenly rewarded, faced with a beautiful square bordered by shady trees and behind it, closer than it might appear and so modest in its centuries-old fame, awaits, always awaits, the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris.

Notre Dame Cathedral facade -  photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral facade

Icon, Gothic bride,

Graced with long lines, rose windows.

Awaits your prayers.

(Notre Dame of Paris, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is a place of worship before being a historical landmark.

Front facade (west facade):

As in any Christian church, the altar faces east, away from us. The main entrance will therefore be through west. As you stand in front of the cathedral, left hand side is north, right hand side is south.

Notice the two 69-meter (228-feet) tall towers and the spire (at the back) raising between them. The famous bell sounded by Victor Hugo’s Quasimodo is the North Tower (left side and slightly bigger). The South Tower (right) houses the cathedral’s famous and oldest bell, “Emmanuel” (recast in 1631). This bell was the only one that was not melted down to become a cannon during the French Revolution.

Also worth noticing are: the “Galerie des Chimères” or Grand Gallery – it connects the two towers. Here is where the cathedral’s legendary gargoyles (chimères) are found and the King’s Gallery (a line of 28 statues of Kings of Judah and Israel – placed right above the three arches or portals).

Notre Dame Cathedral -West entrance and facade- photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral -West entrance and facade: North (left) and South (right) towers, the spire showing between them, the Grand Gallery and the King’s Gallery underneath.

Of hope and promise

Her white rose blooms set in stone.

A new beginning.

(Rose Window, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

Right in the middle of the west facade is the beautiful West Rose Window dating from about 1220. It is 9.6meters in diameter and its glass was recreated in the 19th century.

A rose window is any circular widow, especially used in Gothic style constructions and depicting a detailed design like a multi-petaled rose. Why a rose? Perhaps because the rose flower is a symbol of balance, of hope and new beginnings.

Notre Dame Cathedral rose window exterior - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – the West Rose window exterior also known as The Virgin’s Balcony

All along the front of the west rose window is the balcony of the Virgin with the statue of the Virgin with Child guarded by two angels Do you notice how the rose window forms a halo behind the statues of Mary and those of the angels?

Notre Dame Cathedral rose window exterior statues - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral rose window exterior statues

Pure eternal bliss,

Angel kiss on baby’s cheek.

Our Mother’s love.

(Mother Love, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

On the main, west facade of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris one cannot miss the three (west) portals (not identical), magnificent examples of early Gothic art. They were sculpted in the 13th century with the purpose of teaching bible lessons to the peasants that could not read, but came all the way to this church to pray to God.

Notre Dame Cathedral under sunlight - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral under sunlight

She always awaits.

Sun, mist, snow… blazing fire.

Our blessed Lady.

(Notre Dame, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

The Center Portal – The Last Judgment Portal

This is the largest of the three portals. The space between two portals is called a buttresses. Each buttress has a niche that houses a statue.

Notre Dame Cathedral - west entrance detail above main portal - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – west entrance detail above central portal – the tympanum

The sculpture above depicts the Last Judgement. Above the sculpture thee are archivolts with lots pf saint sculptures.

The Right Portal – Portal of St. Anne (the Virgin Mary’s mother)

The Left Portal – Portal of the Virgin

Notice the three parts of the tympanum. On the top part there is a scene depicting the Coronation of the Virgin, with an angel crowning Mary.

Underneath, the top lintel depicts the Death of the Virgin – Mary lies on her death bed surrounded by Jesus and the 12 Apostles. Underneath is the bottom lintel with three Old Testament prophets (left) and three Old Testament kings (right) holding scrolls with Christ ‘s prophecies.

Notre Dame Cathedral - left portal photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – left portal

Solid, tactile pray

Centuries encased in stone.

Hopeful new whispers.

(Statue, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

Notre Dame Cathedral - West entrance left portal - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – West entrance left portal, Virgin Mary’s

On the left side of Saint Mary’s portal there are the door-jamb statues: Emperor Constantine, an angel, Saint Denis holding his head, another angel.

Notre Dame Cathedral - Saint Denis holding his head and two angel- photo Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – Saint Denis holding his head and two angel – left side of Virgin Mary’s Portal

On the right side of Saint Mary’s portal there are more door-jamb statues: Saint John the Baptist, Saint Stephen, Saint Genevieve and Pope Saint Sylvester.

Notre Dame Cathedral - Statues of Saint John the Baptist, Saint Stephen, Saint Genevieve, Pope Saint Sylvester on Portail de la Vierge - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg.jpg
Notre Dame Cathedral – Statues of Saint John the Baptist, Saint Stephen, Saint Genevieve, Pope Saint Sylvester on right side of Portal de la Vierge

Between the two doors of Virgin Mary’s portal there is a statue of Mary and Child. When we visited Notre Dame of Paris there was a bird’s nest in Mary’s crown… Always hope.

Madonna with Child, Portal of the Virgin -Notre Dame Cathedral - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Madonna with Child, Portal of the Virgin -Notre Dame Cathedral

Shelter in winter,

Cover from rain, blazing sun.

Love’s many faces.

(Mary’s Love, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

At the very left of Virgin Mary’s portal (the left portal) is the Statue of Saint Stephen.

Saint Stephen -Notre Dame Cathedral - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Saint Stephen -Notre Dame Cathedral

Here is a view at the King’s Gallery (a line of 28 statues of Kings of Judah and Israel) – above the three west portals. The original statues were placed there in the 13th century. Sadly, during the French Revolution they were mistaken for kinds, pulled down and decapitated. New statues were later sculpted by Geoffroi-Dechaume. In 1977, 143 remains of the decapitated statues were discovered and can now be seen at the Middle-Ages Museum (Hôtel de Cluny).

To be so small…

Notre Dame Cathedral - looking up 2. photo by Lysandra Furstenberg.jpg
Notre Dame Cathedral – looking up

I am child again,

Safety, acceptance, peace, love.

In God’s Home, my church.

(Home, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

Notre Dame Cathedral - looking up. photo by Lysandra Furstenberg.jpg

Inside the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris before the April 2019 fire

A view along the enormously tall and long nave (130 meters long, with double isles left and right), towards the altar, while standing in the (west) entrance. The nave can accommodate 6500 worshipers.

All the columns that support the vault are identical, although they reach different parts of the six part vault. Because of this our eye is led all the way to the altar.

Notre Dame Cathedral ceiling main nave view 1 - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – the ceiling above main nave view 1

Right above the altar rose the Cathedral’s flèche or spire that sadly collapsed in a mass of led and charred wood in the April 2019 fire.

The Altar

solemn interior of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris with stained glass windows and altar with cross and crucifix - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
solemn interior of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris with stained glass windows and altar with cross and crucifix

Left and right of the high altar are the kneeling statues of Louis XIII and Louis XIV. At the back we have a glimpse of theouble ambulatory.

Notre Dame Cathedral view of High Altar and Pieta - photo by Lysandra Frustenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral view of High Altar and Pieta

In front of the cross found on the altar is the Pietà statue by Nicolas Coustou. They both escaped unharmed from the April 2019 fire. How unbelievably amazing is that, considering that the spire that collapsed rose right above them? Did you know that pietà means “pity”, “compassion’? A pietà is Christian art sculpture depicting
the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus.

Notre Dame Cathedral view of High Altar and Pieta 2 - photo by Lysandra Frustenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral view of High Altar and Pietà – close up

The Rose Windows

The North rose window, 12,9 meters in diameter, has almost all the original stained glass dating back to the 13th century. Its central medallion is dedicated to Virgin Mary.

A beautiful N rose window of Notre Dame Cathedral-photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
A North beautiful rose window of Notre Dame Cathedral including lower 18 vertical windows
Notre Dame Cathedral - N rose window (about 1260, rebuilt in 1861) photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
The north rose window of Notre Dame, Paris. Built in 1250 AD rebuilt in 1861

Sun’s prayer on glass,

Life giving rainbow indoors.

Bright, solid liquid.

(Stained Glass, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

The South rose window, 12.9 m in diameter, 84 panes ( donated by King St. Louis and installed around 1260) was affected by the French Revolution and both World Wars. Its stained glass window dates from 1845. The south window is dedicated to Christ as south receives the most sunlight, more illumination (in the northers hemisphere) – associated with the coming again of Christ thus being the most alight between the two rose windows of the transept.

Looking up towards a beautiful S rose window of Notre Dame Cathedral-photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Looking up towards a beautiful South rose window of Notre Dame Cathedral

After multiple repairs throughout the centuries its panes are now out of order. The architect Viollet-le-Duc rotated the entire rose with 15° to create horizontal and vertical axes for stability in the masonry.

Notre Dame Cathedral South rose stained window and ceiling - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral south rose stained window and ceiling

The Stained Glass Windows

Beautiful lighting through the stained windows. The lighting inside the Notre Dame Cathedral is never the same as the outside daylight plays different shades on its stained glass windows.

Notre Dame Cathedral - stained glass windows detail -photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – stained glass windows detail

The elegant stained windows of Notre Dame Cathedral depict religious stories. Although some of them were destroyed during the World Wars, some are even originals from the Middle Ages.

Above the isle there is a (with windows as well) and above are the clerestory windows. Notice there is one arch on the bottom level, then three arches above, then the windows.

Notre Dame Cathedral stained glass windows along the North and South aisles
Notre Dame Cathedral stained glass windows along the North and South aisles

Shimmers in the air,

Red, green, yellow, blue – festoon.

My prayers upbeat.

(Church Mood, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

The original clerestory windows were just a rose window and up above was just wall. The cathedral was much darker. So below, the left bottom image shows an original clerestory window (except that above the round window it would have been wall).

Notre Dame Cathedral stained glass windows  - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral stained glass windows

Lighting with color through the stained glass windows of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris.

The clerestory windows are the little windows right at the top. They have no crosspiece dividing the light.

Notre Dame Cathedral - clerestory windows, photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – clerestory windows

The light pouring through a stained glass window always differ – with your distance from the window, the angle you see the window at, the time of day or season. It is always a good idea to revisit a church, if time permits. It will be a whole new experience. Spiritually too.

Notre Dame Cathedral - Saint Mary Statue and stained glass window in one of the side altars of the ambulatory - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – Saint Mary Statue and stained glass window in one of the side altars of the ambulatory

Each stained glass window has a biblical story to tell.

Notre Dame Cathedral - stained glass windows details - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – stained glass windows details

Is this statue looking away from us or is he absorbed by something small, at his feet?

Notre Dame Cathedral - statue in the aisle - notice the high vaults and the inner row of columns- photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – statue in the aisle – notice the high vaults and the inner row of columns

The Chandeliers

There are 27 chapels inside Notre Dame of Paris, their entrances marked by chandeliers. These chandeliers are a symbol of the light of God and were know as “Crowns of Light” during the Middle Ages.

Notre Dame Cathedral - columns and chandeliers - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – columns and chandeliers

Lighting up a candle is such a personal, spiritual experience.

Notre Dame Cathedral - prayer candles - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – prayer candles

Heart wrenched secrets, hopes.

Embodied in a flicker.

Candles speak to God.

(Candles, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

The Transept

The transept, perpendicular on the nave, forms the big body cross of a church. Notre Dame of Paris has a rather narrow transept as it has been built after its nave. At each end of the transept we find a big, rose window, the North and the South.

Notre Dame Cathedral ceiling main nave view 2 - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg.jpg
Notre Dame Cathedral ceiling main nave view above the transept.

If memory serves me right, this medallion mural of Mary and Jesus surrounded by gold stars on blue sky was in the middle of transept, above the altar. The great spire would have rose above it.

Notre Dame Cathedral ceiling mural - Mary and Jesus gold stars on blue sky photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral ceiling mural – Mary and Jesus gold stars on blue sky

Brighter than the moon

In its magical glory.

Prayer for my home.

(Star, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

The area where the choir members sit is located behind the transept and shielded by this Gothic wood screen.

Notre Dame Cathedral interior detail, stone column and wooden panel depicting the life of Jesus- photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral interior detail, stone column and wooden panel depicting the life of Jesus

Medieval wood sculpture on the chancel screen in Notre Dame de Paris depicting biblical scenes – below.

Medieval wood sculpture on the chancel screen in Notre Dame de Paris depicting biblical scenes - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Medieval wood sculpture on the chancel screen in Notre Dame de Paris depicting biblical scenes

Great image standing in the ambulatory, looking up through one of the arches, looking up into the vault. Have you ever tried to steal an unconventional peek inside a cathedral or museum? See things from a different perspective, literally.

Notre Dame Cathedral - interior 1- photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – interior

This would be a view from the North ambulatory. You can see the North Rose Window and the stained glass windows of the north aisle.

Notre Dame Cathedral - interior 1- photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – interior

The Vaulted Ceiling

Notice the six part of the 12th century vault. The clerestory windows are 13th century.

Notre Dame Cathedral - vaulted ceiling - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – vaulted ceiling

One lesson I learned from our visit to France: always look up. The ceilings, the vaults are often overlooked and are simply magnificent. A work of art in their own right. Just think of all the forces that keep them together. Right above your head.

Notre Dame Cathedral - vaulted ceiling 2- photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – vaulted ceiling

On each side of the vault notice the isle, above it the galley (with windows as well) and above the clerestory windows. What a beautiful elevation.

The Pipe Organ

Notre Dame Cathedral - view along the nave towards the main entrance and vaulted ceiling - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – view along the nave towards the main entrance and vaulted ceiling

I love the space above my head when I sit in a church.

Notre Dame Cathedral - view of organ, West rose window and Angel statue standing above the main entrance - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – view of organ, West rose window and Angel statue standing above the main entrance

Did you know that your entry in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, is blessed by this Angel placed atop the entry doors?

Notre Dame Cathedral - Angel statue standing above the main entrance - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – Angel statue standing above the main entrance

Bless  those near by,

Hear their prayers, see their hearts.

Sings the Angel still.

(Notre Dame Angel, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)

The Notre Dame Cathedral Great Organ was one of the world’s most famous musical instruments consisting of almost 8 000 pipes, playing five keyboards, parts of it dating back to medieval times. It has been often renovated over the years but it still contained pipes from the Middle Ages before the April 2019 fire.

Notre Dame Cathedral Pipe Organs and West Rose window - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral Pipe Organs and West Rose window – photo by Lysandra Furstenberg

Sculptures

Christ on cross-great bronze crucifix was a gift from Napoleon III. Napoleon III (Louis-Napoleon) married here Empress Eugénie de Montijo in 1853. He was 45 years old, she was 23 and would not succumb to his charms without a marriage. Later Napoleon III
restored the flèche, or spire, of this Cathedral, a work carried by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

It was Napoleon I, Napoleon Bonaparte, to be crowned King in Notre Dame Cathedral on 2 December 1804.

Notre Dame Cathedral -Christ on cross-great bronze crucifix was a gift from Napoleon III. photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral -Christ on cross-great bronze crucifix was a gift from Napoleon III.

A painted wood sculpture in scenes from the life of Christ, the risen Christ appears to the holy women, Wood painted panel inside Notre Dame Cathedral

Scenes from the life of Christ, the risen Christ appears to the holy women, Wood painted panel inside Notre Dame Cathedral. Image by Lysandra Furstenberg
Scenes from the life of Christ, the risen Christ appears to the holy women, Wood painted panel inside Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral - Virgin Mary icon and painted statue - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – Virgin Mary icon and painted statue

So much dedication and work goes in a sculpture. Dare I compare it to the work that it is poured inside a novel?

Notre Dame Cathedral - interior: stone carving and column detail - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral – interior: stone carving and column detail

Cloister detail in Notre Dame Cathedral, interior -Statue and stained glass window

Notre Dame Cathedral interior = Statue and stained glass window - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral interior -Statue and stained glass window

Hopeful stretching towards the sky.

North facade of Notre Dame showing the exterior of the north rose window - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
North facade of Notre Dame showing the exterior of the north rose window

A different view of the Notre Dame Cathedral: from atop the Eiffel Tower.

Notre Dame Cathedral seen from top Eiffel Tower - photo by Lysandra Furstenberg
Notre Dame Cathedral seen from top Eiffel Tower

“But noble as it has remained while growing old, one cannot but regret, cannot but feel indignant at the innumerable degradations and mutilations inflicted on the venerable pile, both by the action of time and the hand of man, regardless alike of Charlemagne, who laid the first stone, and Philip Augustus, who laid the last. On the face of this ancient queen of our cathedrals, beside each wrinkle one invariably finds a scar. ‘Tempus edax, homo edacior,’ which I would be inclined to translate: ‘Time is blind, but man is senseless.’” (Victor Hugo – The Hunchback of Notre Dame)

Embedded in the stone and concrete outside the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris is this geographic marker. It is used to measure all distances away from Paris. It is Paris Point Zero.

All roads lead to Notre Dame Cathedral
All roads lead to Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris Point Zero.

A useful detailed floor plan of Notre Dame Cathedral, source Wikipedia. When visiting a monument or a museum having a detailed floor plan is an excellent idea.

The Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris - floor plan. Source wikipedia
The Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris – floor plan.

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27 German idioms to display the German’s love for fairy tales and sausages via @PatFurstenberg #idioms #language #translation #German #English

Weather it is Michael Ende’s “The Never Ending Story” (“Die Unendliche Geschichte”), Erich Kästner’s “Emil and the Detectives” (“Emil Und Die Detektive”) or Grimm’s “Hansel and Gretel”, German storytelling reveals a rich culture and a millennial tradition. But did you now that this country produces over 1200 different types of sausages? Surely the opulent German cuisine would have also infiltrated the expressive Teutonic language, as we can see from the following German idioms.

Kein Schwein war da

Translation: There weren’t any pigs there

Meaning: Not worth going, a bad place to be (to understand this idiom you need to keep in mind the German’s love for sausages.

Kein Schwein war da - Not worth going

Das ist mir Wurst

Translation: That’s sausage to me

Meaning: That doesn’t matter

Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei

Translation: Everything has an end. Only the sausage has two

Meaning: All good things must end (but said with a lot more feeling)

Sie spielt die beleidigte Leberwurst

Translation: She’s playing the insulted sausage

Meaning: She’s all worked up (said with lots of gusto)

Sie spielt die beleidigte Leberwurst - She’s all worked up

Eine Extrawurst haben

Translation: To get an extra sausage

Meaning: To ask for special treatment 

Er muss zu allem seinen Senf dazugeben

Translation: He has to add his mustard to everything

Meaning: Give his two cents worth 

Wir haben zusammen noch keine Schweine gehütet!

Translation: We haven’t kept any pigs together

Meaning: We don’t know each other all that well

Wir haben zusammen noch keine Schweine gehütet - We don’t know each other all that well

Schwein haben

Translation: To have a pig

Meaning: To be lucky. Obviously to Germans having a pig means a lot more that having a cow means to the English speaking world.

Mein Englisch ist unter aller Sau

Translation: My English is under all pig

Meaning: My English is really bad

Wie die Kuh vorm neuen Tor dastehen

Translation: Like a cow standing in front of a new door

Meaning: Confused, much like someone faced with a new situation

Der Elefant und das Lamm - Amazon
Der Elefant und das Lamm – Amazon

Da liegt der Hase im Pfeffer!

Translation: There’s a rabbit in the pepper

Meaning: something that is depressing, a catastrophe.

Da steppt der Bär

Translation: That’s where the bear dances

Meaning: A great party

Jemandem einen Bären aufbinden

Translation: To tie a bear to someone

Meaning: to deceive someone into accepting something false

Der Löwe und der Hund  - Amazon
Der Löwe und der Hund – Amazon

Affentheater

Translation: Monkey theatre

Meaning: An outrageous behavior (Its origin lies back in the 19th century and the ambulant animal fun shows)

Sie hat ein Kater

Translation:She has a tomcat

Meaning: She’s got a hangover

Das ist ein Katzensprung

Translation: That’s a cat jump

Meaning: Something is very close, a stone’s throw away

Der Gepard und der Hund - Amazon
Der Gepard und der Hund – Amazon

Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof

Translation: Life is no pony farm

Meaning: Life is not easy

Vogel friss oder stirb

Translation: Bird eat or die

Meaning: Pretty straight forward. It’s a do or die situation. 

Der Fisch stinkt vom Kopf her

Translation: The fish starts stinking from the head

Meaning: Problems always start at the top (so very true in politics)

Sie hat einen Vogel

Translation: She has a bird

Meaning: She is mentally ill

Wo sich Fuchs und Hase gute Nacht sagen

Translation: Where fox and hare say goodnight to one another

Meaning: in the middle of nowhere, in a remote location (and surely not in a story book)

Da liegt der Hund begraben

Translation: That’s where the dog’s buried

Meaning: That’s the heart of the matter – when you want to show that you know what the situation is about

Katze in Sack kaufen

Translation: To buy a cat in a sack

Meaning: To buy something without inspecting it first

Wer weiß, warum die Gänse barfuß gehen

Translation: Who knows why the geese go barefoot

Meaning: That’s just the way it is

Schlafen wie ein Murmeltier

Translation: Sleep like a marmot

Meaning: Sleep like a log

Tomaten auf den Augen haben

Translation: To have tomatoes in your eyes

Meaning: Not being able to see the obvious

Klar wie Kloßbrühe

Translation: clear as dumpling broth

Meaning: crystal clear

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19 German Compound Words with Surprising Translations: Mammutwörter and the Longest German, English and Welsh Words via @PatFurstenberg #german #english #translation #language

For many of us, myself included, learning German is like climbing the Himalayas Mountains. If the grammar or the articles don’t get to you, the compound words without exact translation into English will – because in some German compound words the stem words don’t keep their meaning. The beauty of it is that once you do learn their meaning you grasp their beauty.

Dreikäsehoch

Literally: Three + cheese + high

Meaning: the loving nickname you would give a small child who is only as tall as three wheels of cheese stacked on top of each other.

Precious! Reminds me of Heidi!

Dreikäsehoch - three cheese high

Eselsbrücke

Literally: donkey bridge

Meaning: a mnemonic device, a memory aide

Eselsbrücke - memory aide

Flak

Flak is an acronym for a pre – World War 2 anti-aircraft gun: Fliegerabwehrkanone

Fliegerabwehr means “defense against air attack” and Kanone means cannon.

Flak - defense against air attack

Fernweh

Literally: Distance + pain

Meaning: It describes the feeling you get when you want to be somewhere else, a yearn for the freedom and adventure of travel. Similar to wanderlust (see below).

Fernweh - desire to go far away

Handschuh

Literally: hand shoe

Meaning: glove

How very logical, right?

Handschuh - glove

Handschuhschneeballwerfer

Literally: Glove + snowball + throwe

Meaning: a wimp.

If you ever tried to through more than one snowball without your gloves on you will not agree with this meaning. I second that.

Kindergarten

 Literally: Children + garden

Friedrich Froebel, a 19th Century German educator, was one of the first to believe that children needed some formal education, through play and exploration, before primary school.

Froebel opened his first kindergarten in 1837, and the curriculum included playing with toys, playing games and singing songs. By the 1880s, kindergartens opened in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Hungary, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States.

The word itself came into English in 1852—the same year that Froebel died.

Kindergarten, coined by Froebel in 1837, adopted in English in 1852.

Kopfkino

Literally: head cinema

Meaning: your vivid imagination

Kühlschrank

Literally: cool + cupboard

Meaning: refrigerator

To the point!

Kühlschrank  - fridge

Meerschweinschen

Literally: Sea + little pig

Meaning: guinea pig

Meerschweinschen  - guinea pig

Nacktschnecke

Literally: literally: naked snail

Meaning:: slug

Ohrwurm

Literally: Ear + worm

Meaning: This describe that song stuck in your head, the one you are singing over and over again.

Ohrwurm - a  song stuck in your head

Schwarmerei

Not exactly a compound word, schwarmerei is derived from the German verb schwärmen, which means to swarm.

Schwarmerei refers to excessive and uninhibited enthusiasm and also puppy love.

Schwarmerei  - enthusiams, puppy love

Sturmfrei

Literally: Storm (tempest) + free

Meaning: When you have the house to yourself and everyone else is away

Sturmfrei - the feeling you have when you are, finally, home alone

I wonder who they refer to as the “tempest” here…

Tagedieb

Literally: day + thief

Meaning: a dilly-dallier, a lay about, a loafer

Tagedieb - laying about doing nothing

Torschlusspanik

Literally: Gate + shut + panic

Meaning: The fear we get, as we age, that time is running out and important opportunities are slipping us away.

Tick-tock, says your biological clock.

Torschlusspanik - the feeling we get that the time is running away

Treppenwitz

Literally: Stairs (staircase) + joke

Meaning: The joke you came up with but the moment to share it has already passed.

Treppenwitz  - a joke whose time has passed

Verschlimmbessern

Literally: Make something worse + to improve

Meaning: Making something worse by trying to improve it.

Sound like any home DIY to me…

Verschlimmbessern - something worse by trying to improve it

Wanderlust

Literally: Migratory / travelling + desire / appetite

Meaning: An aching desire to travel and get away.

Desire to turn into a peripatetic, a walking wanderer.

Wanderlust - desire to travel and get away

Weltschmerz

Literally: World + pain/ grief

Meaning: A feeling of melancholy or pessimism, of having lost all faith in the world and humankind.

The word Weltschmerz was born during the Romantic literary movement of the 19th century. It was first used it to describe Lord Byron’s cynical loathing for the world.

Weltschmerz - A feeling of melancholy or pessimism, of having lost all faith in the world and humankind.

Zugzwang

Literally: Pull / tug + force

Meaning: Forced to make a decision when under stress or pressure.

Zugzwang - forced to make a decision under pressure

The longest German composed word stretches at 80 letters:

Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft

The “Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services”.

The longest English word in the Oxford Dictionary has 45 letters:

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

“an artificial long word said to mean a lung disease caused by inhaling very fine ash and sand dust.

The longest word to be found in Britain is a Welsh place name with 58 letters:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

The longest place name of the UK on a sign

You might like to read: 20 Afrikaans words with interesting English literal translations

Lesen Sie weiter:

Geliebte Kinderbücher von Patricia Furstenberg:

Der Gepard und der Hund

Der Elefant und das Lamm

Der Löwe und der Hund

JETZT AUF DEUTSCH - geliebte Kinderbücher
JETZT AUF DEUTSCH – geliebte Kinderbücher
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Nou in Afrikaans, geliefde kinderboeke: Die Leeu en die Hond, Die Jagluiperd en die Hond, Die Olifant en die Skaap deur @PatFurstenberg, in Afrikaans vertaal deur Gert Furstenberg

Drie populêre kinderboeke, nou beskibaar in Afrikaans. Helder en kleurvolle illustrasies en beminlike karakters wat opwindende avonture deel. Vir kinders en ouers om saam te geniet.

I am a big fan of Patricia and her style of writing. She certainly knows how to capture the imagination.

Mandie Griffiths, Book Reviewer

Die Leeu en die Hond

Die Leeu en die Hond deur Patricia Furstenberg
Die Leeu en die Hond deur Patricia Furstenberg

Hierdie gedig was geïnspereer deur die ware verhaal van Bonedigger, die gestremde leeu en Milo die vriendelike worshond wat bewys het dat vriendskap geen grense ken nie.

Die Leeu en die Hons sneak peek - get in on Amazon now
Die Leeu en die Hons sneak peek

“Ek hou van die mooi boodskappe van vriendskap, geloof, optimisme, en vriendelikheid oorgedra deur middel van hierdie verhaal. Die illustrasies is wonderlik en hulle gee duidelikheid aan die konsep en die outeur se woorde. Wat ‘n pragtige storie vir ouers om voor te lees vir kinders en kinders te help om die ware betekenis van vriendskap te verstaan en hoe dit geen grense ken nie!”

Die Olifant en die Skaap

Die Olifant en die Skaap - get in on Amazon now
Die Olifant en die Skaap deur Patricia Furstenberg

Hierdie gedig was geïnspereer deur die ware verhaal van Themba, ‘n ses- maande-ou weesolifant wat aangemeem is deur Albert die skaap. Die twee vriende woon in ‘n natuurreservaat in Suid Afrika.

Die Olifant en die Skaap - sneak peek. Get it on Amazon now.
Die Olifant en die Skaap – sneak peek

We both liked the illustrations. They are colorful and cute. I really liked the message that Furstenberg put into this story. It is one that children need to learn at an early age. I recommend this book for anyone with young children.
5* Readers’ Favorite Review for the English Edition

Die Jagluiperd en die Hond

Die Jagluiperd en die Hond - get it on Amazon now
Die Jagluiperd en die Hond deur Patricia Furstenberg

Hierdie gedig was geïnspereer deur die ware verhaal van Kasi, ‘n wees jagluiperd mannietjie, en Mtani, ‘n Labrador tefie, wat ‘n merkwaardige vriendskap gesmee het en lewenslank vriende gebly het…

Die Jagluiperd en die Hond - sneak peek - get it on Amazon now
Die Jagluiperd en die Hond – sneak peek

“An important and beautiful story for little readers. A book parents should read to their children, not only because it’s pretty and cute, but to also encourage children to learn about the little things that matter from our four legged companions.”
5 Stars Review of the English Edition by Rebecca Evans, Reviewer

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The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, a Magical Theatre Experience and Why #KeepTheSecret via @PatFurstenberg

There is something magical about attending a theatre production. It is a thrilling experience being immersed in a story evolving right before your very eyes, on the stage. Forget special effects; welcome instead the sound of feet on a wooden board and the masterful use of primary tools: voice, facial expressions, body language.

The actors on a stage have large gestures and welcoming body motions. They reel you in, welcome you into their stage life – their open life. Come, see, live – their hands say. Tune in, listen closely – their voices whisper. Have you taken it all in? Are you sure you caught each detail? Their eyes beckon us.

A theatre experience presents us with raw life, but through a looking glass: every detail shows, every detail counts. Theatre is life in its distilled form, pure and flavorful. Come with us, share this experience we offer so willingly. Forget your troubled life; maybe even find an answer you didn’t know you were looking for, on our stage.

The Mousetrap - Agatha Christie, first edition, published by Samuel French in 1954
The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, First Edition, published by Samuel French in 1954

The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie

is a chiseled locked-room mystery: a group of strangers gathered in a country house cut off by the snowstorm discover that one of them is a murderer.

Death IS present in the play, coming from a desire for revenge, but not overpowering. The search for justice, the desire to solve the murder is the force that moves the play forward – even if the murderer proves to be sympathetic through life circumstances and mitigating reasons.

What is real and what is not? Find out by yourself, it is theatre and the work of Agatha Christie, after all.

A word of advice: patrons attending the St Martin’s production are asked to tip their cab driver on arrival – a bad tip usually means that the cabby will shout the murderer’s name and speed off.

In theatre there are no second chances, second takes or cuts – and for this I truly admire its actors.

In the South African Pieter Toerien Productions of The Mousetrap:

The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, South African Theatre Production  @PieterToerien @Monte_Theatre
The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, South African Theatre Production @PieterToerien @Monte_Theatre

I loved the passionate interpretation of Melissa Haiden as Mollie Ralston, the frank way in which Mark Sykes performed the role of Giles Ralston, the epic rendition of Matthew Lotter as Christopher Wren, the stellar appearance of Michele Maxwell in Mrs. Boyle, the virtuoso performance of Malcolm Terrey as Major Metcalf, the mature interpretation of Shannyn Fourie in Miss Casewell, the colorful performance of West End Star Mark Wynter as Mr Paravicini as well as the meticulous character Aiden Scott instilled in Detective Sergeant Trotter.

The South African production of The Mousetrap is directed by JONATHAN TAFLER who played the role of Mr Paravicini in the St Martin’s production of The Mousetrap on the West End.

Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre
24 January – 3 March
Performances: Wed – Fri at 20h00, Sat at 16h00 and 20h00, Sun at 15h00
Tickets: R100, R150, R200, R240
Computicket or Theatre Box Office 011 511 1818

Interesting facts about The Mousetrap:

The Mousetrap is the longest-running play in the history of London’s West End. In 2019 the production headed into its 68th year at the St. Martin’s Theatre. Since 6 October 1952 the play has reached well over 27,000 performances.

The Mousetrap was initially performed as a radio play in 1952 and was broadcast by the BBC with the title Three Blind Mice. The radio play had been commissioned in 1947 by Queen Mary, who was a Christie fan. There is no tape of that broadcast known to exist. The forty-five minute play was based on a short story on which Christie had been working. Due to the extremely warm welcome by the audience, Christie elaborated the script. Its first performance was on October 6, 1952, when The Mousetrap became a stage play.

There is still an original cast member in each production: recording of a radio broadcast the play opens with. The voice belongs to English actor Deryck Guyler who, thus, has ‘appeared’ in every UK showing of The Mousetrap to date…

Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sims starred in the original production.

The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie - Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sims starred in the original production

Most of its sound cues – wind, bells, slamming doors – are created live backstage.

The Mousetrap has never been adapted in any other format.

Christie signed over the royalties from the play to her grandson, Mathew Prichard, at its opening in 1952.

Agatha Christie made her last public appearance at The Mousetrap in 1974, age 84.

Each performance ends with one actor from the company addressing the audience: “Now you have seen The Mousetrap you are our partners in crime, and we ask you to preserve the tradition by keeping the secret of whodunit locked in your heart“. Have you watched it? If so, we are “partners in crime”.

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8th Day of Christmas Haiku, #Haiku, #maidsamilking via @PatFurstenberg

8th Day of Christmas Haiku: Eight Maids a-Milking

Hay on the shed’s floor,

Steamy, barny-odour milk.

Last star shies away.

~

Happy New Year 2019!

La Multi Ani!

Gelukkige nuwe jaar!

Bliadhna mhath ur!

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

Bonne année!

Bliain nua fe mhaise dhuit!

Today Christianity celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of Jesus.

In older versions of “12 Days of Christmas” the maids a-milking were hares a-running and even hounds a-running or boys a-singing.

The eight maids a-milking might simply represent the goodness of the dairy products, so sought after during the Middle Ages when refrigeration was not an option.

I hope you will enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas haiku; there will be published one each day starting on Christmas Day. Subscribe to my newsletter to never miss a blog post.

You can enjoy more haiku on this page of my website.

Find all my book on Amazon. Enjoy!

12 Days of Christmas images available freely on 3dinosaurs.com

Text and Haiku-San © Patricia Furstenberg.

I hope you enjoyed my haiku. Let me know your thoughts in comment below.

 

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7th Day of Christmas Haiku, #Christmas, #Haiku, #swansaswimming via @PatFurstenberg

7th Day of Christmas Haiku: Seven Swans a Swimming

Plumed water lily

Gliding shyly away. Swan.

Odette, not Odile.

~

Happy New Year 2019!

Hogmanay is celebrated today in Scotland, with the first stroke of midnight, so Slàinte Mhath!

Catholic Church celebrate Pope Sylvester today – in many Central and Eastern European countries New Year’s Eve is called Silvester.

Swans have been associated with the supernatural world by Egyptians: swan statues have been discovered in royal burial chambers. Egyptians successfully captured many of these birds during their migration and acclimatized them to the weather conditions along the Nile.They must have looked so elegant and graceful gliding with their white bodies over water and singing – more beautiful as they grow older.

Greeks, too, have a mythological story or two involving swans, perhaps the best known and most controversial being that of Leda and the Swan, in which God Zeus took the form of a swan to seduce his beloved Leda, Queen of Sparta – and thus Helen of Troy was born.

King Edward of England took his knighthood vow in Westminster Abbey on 22 May 1306 together with 266 other esquires eligible for knighthood on two swans, ‘The Feast of the Swans“. Apparently the swans had golden and crowns and since then swans have been associated with monarchy.

I hope you will enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas haiku; there will be published one each day starting on Christmas Day. Subscribe to my newsletter to never miss a blog post.

You can enjoy more haiku on this page of my website.

Find all my book on Amazon. Enjoy!

12 Days of Christmas images available freely on 3dinosaurs.com

Text and Haiku-San © Patricia Furstenberg.

I hope you enjoyed my haiku. Let me know your thoughts in comment below.

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6th Day of Christmas Haiku, Haiku-San #Christmas, #Haiku, #geesealaying, #haikusan, #sunday via @PatFurstenberg

6th Day of Christmas Haiku, Sunday Haiku-San: Six Geese a Laying

Webbed feet, menace honk,

Orange bill, wings spread out. Run!

Still lake at sunset.

~

Merry Christmas!

I hope you will enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas haiku; there will be published one each day starting on Christmas Day. Subscribe to my newsletter to never miss a blog post.

In a previous version of this song the geese were ducks a-laying.

The geese has always been considered a symbol of the solar year (due to their annual migration) and of fertility.

You can enjoy more haiku on this page of my website.

Find all my book on Amazon. Enjoy!

I chose the name Haiku-San as it derives from Haiku, meaning unusual verse in Japanese (hai=unusual, ku=verse, strophe) and San, the honorific Japanese title when speaking about people. San is also the phonetic transcription of the first syllable of the English word Sunday, Sun-day hence Haiku-San, a Sunday feature on Alluring Creations involving Haiku I write.

12 Days of Christmas images available freely on 3dinosaurs.com

Text and Haiku-San © Patricia Furstenberg.

I hope you enjoyed my haiku. Let me know your thoughts in comment below.

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5th Day of Christmas Haiku, #Christmas, #Haiku, #goldenrings via @PatFurstenberg

5th Day of Christmas Haiku: Five Golden Rings

Circle of promise

Written in gold, forever.

Five rings mugger’s luck.

~

I hope you will enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas haiku; there will be published one each day starting on Christmas Day. Subscribe to my newsletter to never miss a blog post.

In previous versions of “12 Days of Christmas” five golden rings have been hares running or goldie rings.

These golden rings seem a bit out of place mentions in the middle of a list of birds (partridge, doves, hens, calling birds, geese, swans), isn’t it?

Golden Pheasant
Golden Pheasant

That’s because they might actually refer to the golded rings around the neck of the Golden Pheasant.

Some scholars suggest that the golden rings are actually goldspinks, a 1700’s name for another bird, the European Goldfinch.

There is a Greek legend that might played some influence here. It speaks of Jason and the Argonauts, his crew of men, who went in the quest for the Golden Fleece as ordered by kind Pelias in order to place Jason legally on the throne of Thessaly.

“To take my throne, which you shall, you must go on a quest to find the Golden Fleece.”

From their quest they also brought golden birds, Phasianos ornis in Greek, bird of the river Phasis (Φασιανὸς ὂρνις), the “ring-necked pheasant. But being just introduced in the country they were quite scares so eating them was a luxury of the very rich.

You can enjoy more haiku on this page of my website.

Find all my book on Amazon. Enjoy!

12 Days of Christmas images available freely on 3dinosaurs.com

Text and Haiku-San © Patricia Furstenberg.

I hope you enjoyed my haiku. Let me know your thoughts in comment below.

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