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, 11 May 2011


Light spring rain releasing all the fragrances of the garden. Bees in the cranesbill: each with its own distinct buzz-note. I close my eyes and listen to this bee-riff. This morning in the hallway I found a tiny furry baby bat dead on the floor. I have no idea how it got there. Oh and I've sourced some terracotta swallow nest-boxes from the RSPB at £12-something each : if you have an outbuilding, deep porch or shed where you might put them this might be a great thing to do, given that they're an endangered species... ours will go into the woodstore with its deep overhang. It's a bit late in the season, but fingers crossed.

I'm cheating again and lifting an old blog as I have a full day ahead learning not to be a technophobe and social network resistor - I have finally caved in and recognise I need to get my work further afield.

On inspiration
Inspiration, the desire, hope and need for it, is central to my life, as it will be for any creative person. That elusive creature, like love, is as unpredictable as it is all-consuming. It cannot be hunted or cajoled; but one can put oneself in its way.

'Fire in the head' is the title of my writing course programme. It comes from Yeats' poem 'The Song of the Wandering Aengus'; a poem that I see as being about both inspiration and the kind of transformation, shamanic even, that happens when one gives oneself over to that process. ('Fire in the head' is itself a Celtic concept, related to the word 'awen', which signifies inspiration.)

You will know, I imagine, that the root of the word 'inspiration' is the Latin for 'to breathe in'.

Here are some interesting words from an article in The Observer (12.08.06) by psychoanalyst Adam Phillips.

'Whatever it is that feeds our best lines – the gods or God, the unconscious or the genes, the class war – it is something we depend upon but cannot command.'

'If to be inspired means, as Eliot said, to be even momentarily unintelligible, unrecognisable to oneself, then inspiration is akin to possession, to being taken over... However much we want inspiration, if it disturbs our normal sense of ourselves then we are going to resist it... As in sex, we may long to lose our composure and self-control but there is one thing we desire even more, and that is not to.'

'If a true poet, as Randall Jarrell once said, is someone who is struck by lightning several times, then the only thing a poet can do is make sure he keeps going out... You can work at your poetry but you can't work at your inspiration.'

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