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, 10 September 2011

'this much I know is true'

Bow Creek and Charleycombe wood

~ tide retreating unhurried, mouse-bit blewitts, earthstars, chanterelles, first wild autumn cyclamen, oak king ageing but the new hard green nodule-nipples of acorns for the new gods standing clear of their cups, shiny new conkers irresistible to the palm to the tongue, woodpeckers, holly berries red, a raucousness of duck and the gulls' flurry, mudflats slack, trees on the cusp (green fire ambering red), sheep pink, Friesian cattle pink and black from this red sandstone belt that connects this incursion of English channel to the wide Atlantic

lean as always to smell the vinegary heartwood of this old sweet chestnut tumbled and cut across the path (odour more fish-and-chip-newspaper than oak tannin), run fingers over the raised footpath arrow carved on its once-secret marrow

~ the wild dance of the seasons chasing each idea through my chest

a head full of fire and foxes (self to world returning)

once again I disappear
in going out I come back in
meet self in other
in everything

~ and this leaf: I can speak of its cherry-ness, of xylem and phloem, of the shades of lemon to leather-tan to chrome-yellow to gold to carnelian to amber to russet to crimson, of its marks and stains, of its serrated breeze-surfing edge, of its kidglove smoothness against my cheek my lips, of its red stem

and the tree that closed off its food supply

of the starstuff rain light humus atoms idea of itself that made it

but who can speak of LEAF?

~ 9/11/11 and ten years on
the bodies falling and still falling
in this fireball air

there is no truth that can be spoken here
except that we are all still falling

~ I am
the one who jumped the one who fell the one who burned screaming the one who saved the one who didn't save the one who phoned his wife the one who couldn't save her daughter the one who flew the plane
and the fire

~ and closer to home
the body in the woods
the cattle on the railtrack
the toxic runoff in this bright stream
that poisons the fish

~ still we bear witness
how do our hearts not break?

~ In a dark time the eye begins to see (Roethke)

~ love loss death loss love

~ in our beginning is our end

~ and the opposite too is true

~ 'Beer brekkie big screen rugby final' says the hand-scrawled chalkboard outside the pub. A truly ancient rusty black Morris Minor chugs past me going uphill, Mozart at full belt from the open window.  

And this; and this.

~ 'What use are poets in times of need?' (Holderlin/Heidegger/Moriarty)

~ What can we do
but speak the heart's wild music,
hold these twin truths (death and birth)
speak of remarkable things
speak of ordinary things and see them anew in the speaking
for speaking too can be healing
what can we do but this

~ and am I still in love with the world?
and so it goes



  1. When you write about nature it feels very physical and intimate, I love that, I love that love. I know it. It almost hurts. The joy, the sorrow, of a moment.
    As for the ten years on... well, I try not to look at what is going on now, all over the world. I feel that the twin towers thing was awfull, but so is all the awfullness. The starving children. etc. That felt like a very cruel 'etc'.
    So I stand in my cathedral of brambles and look up at the sky through the chestnut tree and love love love.

  2. Veronica I knew you would comment on this one and I love that you did. This kind of companionship matters - we are not alone.



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