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, 25 May 2011


I'm delighted to be able to tell you here that Bardo, my new book of prose poems and poetry ('proems') is here with me as of yesterday afternoon! 

I see the book as being records of journeys and transitions. A bardo, as you may know, in the Tibetan tradition is a liminal space; more commonly known as being a series of subtle realms that the spirit enters after the body dies, it can also refer simply to any moment, which is how I've used it. Francesca Fremantle says: '[T]he essence of bardo... can... be applied to every moment of existence. The present moment, the now, is a continual bardo, always suspended between the past and the future.' These poems, then, are reflections on the now as I travel it, seeming to be in movement.

Bardo's blurb says: 'Whether she's contemplating a Neolithic longbarrow, the woodpecker on her birdfeeder, the metaphysical implications of quantum reality, a Palestinian refugee camp or the unpredictability of human love, her attention turns on how we navigate transience and uncertainty and find a stillpoint within that.'

It's available @ £8.95 from Amazon, from me (see profile and click email; £2 p&p), to order from a bookshop or direct from Shearsman Books. If you go to this link, you can click on a pdf of the first few pages:

These are a couple of the opening proems:

One true thing

The land streams past the window. The heart asks for both clarity and paradox, aches equally for freedom and for joining, being part of and apart.

To be like a tree. To be that horse dreaming, one hoof delicately pointed, muzzle lowered and relaxed, at home completely in the day.

Tell me the truest thing you can, is what this journey seems to say.

Ridgeway Near Uffington

It was a hard ascent up to the chalklands into places that didn’t know water. Then stepping into a sky bigger than anything except mind, and how we live sometimes as if the sky were not big enough to swallow us whole, holy, but that day we parted the tranches of barley like waves in a field canted towards the horizon and knew that we could fly, upwards into the scudding blue intervals; and later though you were a foot away I could hear your heartbeat through the chalk and the day breathing the greengold barley and the silvermauve grasses and little downland flowers that knew something of blue and the skylark kiting its song, and below us the white horse dreaming in its long slow sleep as it has for millennia and the sky came down anyway – a moment when we might enter someone else’s life, and remember.


– Roselle Angwin

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