The light was failing as the dark clouds swept in across the sea behind him, but Algy continued to read. He was reading a poem about friendship, and this is what it said:

          Love is like the wild rose-briar,
          Friendship like the holly-tree—
          The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
          But which will bloom most constantly?

          The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring,
          Its summer blossoms scent the air;
          Yet wait till winter comes again
          And who will call the wild-briar fair?

          Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
          And deck thee with the holly’s sheen,
          That when December blights thy brow
          He still may leave thy garland green.

Algy dedicates this to all his amazing Tumblr friends who have been so incredibly kind to him (and to his assistant). When Algy started his Adventures, he never dreamed that they would lead to friendship with so many wonderful people around the world. Algy loves you all, and sends you all his very fluffiest hugs xoxoxo

And it is dedicated particularly to those people who have recently lost a friend – Algy is thinking of you especially…

[Algy is reading the poem Love and Friendship by the English 19th century author Emily Brontë.]

Algy’s old friend needed plenty of cheering up after her stay in hospital, so when Algy got too tired to continue his Happy Loony Dance, he retreated to a rock at a safe distance from the sea and got out his little volume of poetry, to read her this Laughing Song:

          When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
          And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
          When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
          And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

          When the meadows laugh with lively green,
          And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene;
          When Mary and Susan and Emily
          With their sweet round mouths sing “Ha, ha he!”

          When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
          Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
          Come live, and be merry, and join with me
          To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha, ha, he!”

Algy thinks that lots of his friends may need some cheering up just now, so he says “Come live, and be merry”! Forget the January Blues, and join Algy in singing the sweet chorus of “Ha, ha, he!” 🙂

[Algy is reading Laughing Song by William Blake.]

The sea was growing dark, an ominous bank of clouds was building up on the horizon, and the sea birds were seeking shelter for the night, but Algy paid no attention. He just continued reading until the light faded …

This is part of Algy’s series of contributions to Ned’s challenge, to post images of people reading. Algy is hoping to see some contributions from other photographers too 🙂

Algy found the rock too hard and cold to sit on for very long, so he moved over to a soft mound of seaweed and made himself more comfortable. The sun was sinking lower in the sky, and the tide was coming in, but Algy paid little attention. He was so engrossed in his reading that a passing heron who had stopped to converse with him took off again in a huff …

Today, one of Algy’s closest and oldest friends celebrates his 86th birthday!
So Algy looked carefully through all his poetry books, and found this special poem to bring his friend extra luck on his birthday and in the year ahead xxx

         I know a place where the sun is like gold,
             And the cherry blooms burst with snow,
          And down underneath is the loveliest nook,
             Where the four-leaf clovers grow.

          One leaf is for hope, and one is for faith,
             And one is for love, you know,
          And God put another in for luck—
             If you search, you will find where they grow.

          But you must have hope, and you must have faith,
             You must love and be strong – and so—
          If you work, if you wait, you will find the place
              Where the four-leaf clovers grow.

[Algy is reading the poem Four-Leaf Clover by the early 20th century American poet Ella Rhoads Higginson.]

Many of Algy’s Tumblr friends are fathers, so he wishes you all a very Happy Father’s Day, and sends you all fluffy hugs in case your children should happen to forget 🙂 He hopes you will all have a lovely day.

Most of all he sends a very special Father’s Day hug to his assitant’s father xxx

In the little book of haiku that Algy is reading among the flowers, it says:

          Even these long days
          are not nearly long enough
          for the skylarks to sing

[Algy is reading a classic haiku by the Japanese master Basho, in The Sound of Water, an anthology of haiku translated by the American poet Sam Hamill.]

The West Highland spring was not at its best this year. It looked as though the dense mist would not lift all day, so Algy decided that the only thing to do was to settle down to some serious reading. He tucked himself tight in under a sheltering rock, as the sheep do in bad weather, and hoped that his book wouldn’t get too damp. In the distance he could hear a ship calling in the foggy Sound. Algy wasn’t lost, but everything else was, so he was reminded of Carl Sandburg’s poem:

          Desolate and lone
          All night long on the lake
          Where fog trails and mist creeps,
          The whistle of a boat
          Calls and cries unendingly,
          Like some lost child
          In tears and trouble
          Hunting the harbor’s breast
          And the harbor’s eyes.

The wind was bitterly cold and dark clouds were gathering overhead, but Algy felt in need of some rest and relaxation. He settled himself on a mass of old honeysuckle stems for an afternoon of peaceful reading, but discovered that the wind had other ideas …

Although Algy is not entirely happy about cats, he does enjoy reading about them safely in a book. This is what he read:

         Jellicle Cats are black and white,
         Jellicle Cats are rather small;
         Jellicle Cats are merry and bright,
         And pleasant to hear when they caterwaul.
         Jellicle Cats have cheerful faces,
         Jellicle Cats have bright black eyes;
         They like to practise their airs and graces
         And wait for the Jellicle Moon to rise.

[Algy is reading The Song of the Jellicles from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot.]

Algy Says “Reading is Forever”


Algy heard that Tumblr was inviting submissions for an animated GIF exhibition. He looked eagerly through the entries, but was very disappointed to find that poetry-reading fluffy birds from the West Highlands of Scotland were really not represented at all. How could this be?

He decided that the situation must not be allowed to persist, so he searched through his personal collection of animated GIFs and submitted a suitable version of one of his favourites. Algy says “reading is forever” …

[You can see Algy’s submission, with its likes and reblogs, on this page of the Moving the Still GIF Festival.]

Note: the animation may be jerky while it loads, but will then play properly.