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

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

An Struibh Broín: Julie-Ann Rowell

As some of you will know, every week I post a poem from the new anthology Confluence. This is the first collection from the Devon-based Two Rivers poets, who meet to work with me monthly. 

What to say about Julie-Ann? She is a sip of cool moorland water. She is enigmatic. She has many faces, all subtle. I love her work, and I admire the range of her focus, whether that's a British landscape, a Hindu god, a displaced person or a New York vignette.

Convergence, her pamphlet, won a Poetry Book Society Award. Her first full collection, Letters North, was published in 2008 by Brodie Press.       

An Struibh Broín

I dip my hand into the water
and feel the cool glide of An Struibh Broín

the tickle of the undercurrent
where stones might be hearts.

It’s said if you drink from this river
it will ease the agony of going to sea.

A cure-all for the heart is a common thing,
but I wonder at the moss soft as hair,

any power of belief as men set sail
into unbelievable winds,

their eyes like the pale river,
their hopes receding as the land recedes,

a face in mind, imprinted like a birthmark,
as real, as obvious. Many things can be erased

but not this. They will pull on their ropes
to forget and turn into the sorry waves.

Julie-Ann Rowell

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