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

Saturday, 19 February 2011


The courage of the human heart. Butterfly wings against bars. Sunlight slipping through cracks. The Arab world: on the cusp of genocide, a bloodbath – or breakthrough, revolution. (This is my body, this is my blood; what happens to one happens to us all.)

What use is poetry, I wrote, if you're starving, or a refugee / squeezed between torture and war, or bleeding alone / in some dark alley...

And yet, and yet. Imagine a world without the means, and the faith, to praise the heart and its holding to older, stronger, deeper truths that transcend the worst that we can do to each other; that can speak of the best we can do.

'And still the light comes,' says my friend Jo. In the space between breaths everything we know can be upturned, poured out, transformed. A butterfly stamps and suddenly everything's changed. 'Never doubt' says Margaret Mead, 'that a group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever does.' (Have I written this before?) We can give up; or we can carry on. We can curse the darkness of fear, or we can light a candle to see us through. ('Never enough darkness to extinguish a single candle.')


And still, and still, we live in paradise. This moment. This small night-deep violet hidden in the muddy bank. This day, warm enough to shed coats, to sit outside. The swelling-bud-tipped trees. The redgold stems of willows throwing their light across the stream. Even the plane's pink contrail is beautiful. Now, dusk, the owl alighting near my head. The something beyond words.

The untamed has no words.
The unwritten pages spread out on every side!
I come upon the tracks of deer's hooves in the snow.
Language but no words.

– Tomas Transtromer

What liberate
are these correspondences:
ocean mind, heart speaking to heart,
to be intimate with

To travel

beyond the names of things.

– Roselle Angwin

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