from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

a squall of grief or wonder: Elisabeth Rowe

Early – mango sorbet sunrise – no wonder our ancestors were in awe of the cycles of seasons and times and phenomena from the diurnal sunrise/sunset to the waxing and waning moon to the spookier eclipses – no one around except me and the dog – sodden fields, fieldfare and finches, a small skein of wild geese – northerly clarity in the wind – up high, so I can see the moors (first time in ten days of thick rain and heavy fog) – can ALMOST see the sea; if I were about 100 metres tall...


Today I have for you a poem from the first poet in our new Two Rivers ('2R') anthology Confluence. Elisabeth Rowe is a long-term member of the 2R group. Elisabeth has that rare ability to both amuse and move: an insightful and quietly wry observer of human nature, she can make us laugh out loud on a 2R day (I recommend to you 'Soul Mates', from her first collection Surface Tension, and 'Periodic Tale' from the anthology) but much of her poetry is profound and wide-ranging. It seems to me that this range illustrates the Elisabeth who is in love with both Tobago and Finland; but the bedrock is the same little island that inspires so many of us: Iona, in the Hebrides. She's a frequent prize winner in international competitions; though even those of us who know her don't usually find out till long after the event. Look out for her new collection Thin Ice.


arrive like a squall
of grief or wonder
a blizzard of ash
from the bonfire of day
a net flung wide
in the lemony dusk
a sky-shoal swimming
in dizzying millions
a mass affirmation
of life before nightfall
such confidence this is
their time and their place
the great wide-openness
suddenly dark with
a whiplash winging
of aerial instinct
each individual
streamlined assembly
of feather and nerve
in synchrony with
its seven neighbours
each swerve and dive of
their starburst patterning 
staggered a fraction
stopping the heart
this fermentation
this gifted fly-past
heavenly recklessness
teaching the intimate
of one with the many
the many with one

© Elisabeth Rowe 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive