Last year, I attended an online poetry workshop hosted by the great poet Lemn Sissay. We were set a task to create a poem with a particular structure beginning with “You’re the”….
It was meant for someone or something we either loved or hated; an expression to them from deep inside the heart.
Here’s mine. Each line represents a shared experience. It was sent to the subject, by the way, and received as well as was hoped. I wanted to save it here, just in case it’s immediately lost into the dust.
The tree, the lizard, and the lyrebird.
Your’e the tree of all our secrets
Your’e the glass held to my lips
Your’e the panic of the python
Your’e the wine she never sips
Your’e the golden of the bower
Your’e the butterfly on my wrist
Your’e the silence of the fireflies
Your’e the lizard in the mist
Your’e the painting of the dipper
Your’e the rosella of my words
Your’e the keeper of our mothers
Your’e the guardian of their birds
Your’e my lyrebird of the shadows
Your’e my orchid on the tongues
Your’e my wildfires of uncertainty
Your’e the red-smoke in my lungs
~~~ … Read more
The Wye, South Herefordshire. Photo by me.
Hey you, who abandoned me at life’s worst moment; who lied to all of us. Who told me of a love, un-encounterable to most. The path that cut steep down through red soils was lined by light. Tiny stars of wood anemone watched over my eager feet as I moved down through the bluebells having their first conversations with the early bees. All seemed so narrow, a weight, but with an unfurling canopy of shock-green saving me from a complete molten, lead sky.
But at the base, where woods fall literally into the river, the sky came in with a bright summer blue, and I stopped to take a deep breath. … Read more
Spring has sprung and, locally, the human capacity to create even more noise than usual is in full swing.
Lately, I have recorded on my phone a plague of noises generated by people and their loud, intrusive tools, be it an ipod and speakers aboard a stand-up-paddleboard floating down the Wye, leaf blowers, lawnmowers, and mulchers sounding their destructiveness and scaring all the birds from the trees and fish from their shaded retreats under the riverbanks, or even the abominable racket made at the local recycling yard next door to a so-called off-set ecological site at the new Skylon Park, Rotherwas Industrial Estate, Hereford (see below). … Read more
Breaking the atmosphere: This is literally what rockets are designed to do. To break free from Earth’s immediate gravity, to escape from our atmosphere and into the beyond whilst stealing supplies, all without Earthly consent.
The ultimate dying consumer is one that devours the systems it relies upon. These men (the gatekeepers are white men), are raping the atmosphere, creating a hellsphere most religions could never have imagined.
… Read more
Last summer, I am swimming in the cool Arrow just west of ye olde Penebrugge, keeping my nose above the silk-smooth, trying to find a rhythm against the strong flow. The sun is strong, and all winter’s ghosts abandon me for the ocean.
Under me swim a million Atlantic salmon lost to hunting and distress. Above me are the spectres of a thousand white men culpable for the loss. I’m not grieving for the men today.
I get out of the water, and warm blood returns to my cold skin, flush-blush, and I breathe deep the oxygen offered free by the immigrant balsams that shoot from anthroturbed, hot, shade-less, phosphated banks. … Read more
Snowdrops. Photo by me.
Candlemas bells, Galanthus, you still sound just north of the Levant, drifting across the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. You came to me via the piety of Benedictines serving the faith in rejection of most else—they brought you from Renaissance Subiaco on foot or on horseback, in canvas bags tucked inside leather satchels— and they poured you out into the sunlight, then buried you in chimes a stone’s throw from their dark nocturns and early morning prayers. They did love their gardens, the monastics, as they loved God. They must have loved you.
The candles that were lit in these cold, stone buildings each February, where congregations gathered to beeswaxed pews from all corners of the shire to pray, now spill into the graveyards in the form I find you today on the Goggin, all the way from the Abbot’s fields of Lazio. … Read more
We know the forces for good in walking as part of nature. And I do it myself. So I have been considering a word for it.
Walking doesn’t have to involve legs, let me just say. It might mean all kinds of devices as extensions of our bodies ~ enabling. Moving through time/space at walking pace.
Med ~ PIE root for “take appropriate measures”. Also root for meditation.
Ambulare ~ latin for “walking”.
Medambulare ~ walking as welldoing for wellbeing. Also, the closer within nature’s flows we are, the growing fluministic love we have for all life, the more we will defend and protect. … Read more
Lighting a candle.
A year of grief, over. It means we have loved, and we need not be fearful of loving again.
2020 has been a year of mass grief; grief for changed bodies and bodies lost forever. I am writing of people and teresapien lives, through pandemic and the vagaries of the Anthropocene. There will be more to come, no doubt.
It takes courage to love again when the love that came before has pierced the skin with a hundred needles. Grief can feel like that. But without giving and receiving love, even love for ourselves, we are all dust. It’s just the way it is, the way more complex lives have evolved, who knows, maybe all life. … Read more
This Christmas, I just want to pay tribute to Tenovus cancer support.
Two years ago, my very existence seemed uncertain, and I was lonely as I underwent extensive palliative treatment for a type 3 aggressive womb cancer at Velindre Hospital, Cardiff. Velindre staff were always lovely to me, but hugely busy, as they treat more than 5000 people a year.
I knew few people in Cardiff, and didn’t want to burden anyone. So I rang the Tenovus helpline. Ex-cancer nurse and confidant, Elaine, was a godsend. We discovered a shared love for nature ~ she even has a very special thing for red kites! … Read more
Alder, Wye, and Ben. Photo by me.
I am thinking about Alder fixing nitrogen at the roots next to the flowing, swirling river. They are in symbiosis with all realms of friendly powers to do this. True.
Fixed, rooted, “they have figured how to live trapped into place,” says one of Richard Powers’ characters in Overstory.*
They are stillness in the ground, and unable to outrun us. They are vulnerable to pestilences, including our terrible machines. They evolved to be hardened, poisonous and giant to all who may assault them, yet they are losing this race brought upon them. True. … Read more