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, 4 January 2012

'sound when stretched is music'

I got my elemental blast on the beach. The Man and I, and of course She Who Wears Her Grey Matter on the Outside, who is ecstatic at all that sand and other dogs, went to Bantham through the flooded lanes and past the flooded fields, and it was a wild wild afternoon of dancing silver light, crashing waves and huge winds. The light was coming and going (I so wish my camera was working, must send my dropped-in-the-stream mobile off to be fixed) – a painter's dream, with moments like Blake's finger of God sending shafts of blinding illumination down to the chosen few million molecules in select areas on the sea's surface. The sea-tractor still seemed to be operating between Bigbury Sands and Burgh Island, and way out back a windsurfer's sail like a bird's wing was tacking across the breakers.

A young guy was kitesurfing, speeding back and forth across the choppiness at times hair-raisingly close to the rocks in the muscley wind, and I watched spellbound from the headland as he leapt 10, 20 feet in the air, landing with balletic cat-like grace each time. I think there's a metaphor in that. I'd love to kitesurf (after all, I haven't broken any bones in a while; not since I last came off a young horse and broke ribs and collarbone...!). 

The light unexpectedly turned from silver to gold as it faded, and as we went home Dartmoor was sketched in luminous and docile to the west.


In an effort to make my work more viable (though my latest set of accounts seems to suggest this is near-impossible) I attended a wonderful day run by Aune Head Arts at Dartington back in the early summer, called 'I Hate Facebook – a day for artists'. Tony, who led it, is both an artist himself and a sussed electronic guru. It was fun, and having resisted social media always I was seduced into setting up both a facebook account and a twitter one. Yes, it's true that you can waste a lot of time. However you can be selective with both on the feed you subscribe to, and I have chosen to receive tweets only in the fields of philosophy, psychology, spirituality, poetry, mythology and eco-activism. I'm impressed with the quality, and often some little thing implants itself as a seed for the day. 

Today's was these words by Ravi Shankar: 

'Sound when stretched is music. Movement when stretched is dance. Mind when stretched is meditation. Life when stretched is celebration.'

Oh and yes there has been a small knock-on effect in that more people are coming to my blog, to my courses, to buy my books. I think it's almost impossible today if one wants to live by art in some form to ignore the electronic; and I have enjoyed and found inspiring the dialogue with like-minded people, living as I do a fairly reclusive life for much of my working time. 


I possibly posted this last January. If so, forgive. Here it is again, with this time the knowledge (hooray!) that it will appear in my new collection All the Missing Names of Love in 2012.

Leaf vernacular
How many years did it take, how much rain
and bone and sun, how much loss composted
into black peat to make this leaf, just this one
new leaf flickering green in the January ditch?



  1. Beautiful and deep, as always ... thanks for sharing. (And happy New Year, BTW! :-)

    Anyway, I just wanted to mention that I've tried twitter 3 times now but without finding the right formula for getting more out of it than I put in. But I know other writers who have great success attracting prospective readers via the T.

    As for Facebook ... well, I have a public account for my author-alter-ego, which really isn't doing much good at the moment. I also have a private account which I seldom use. I think the problem is for me that Facebook can be an incredible time-sink (as can Twitter) - and again: What do I get out of it?

    I'm still not sure about that except that I feel I have to be at least represented on Facebook, haha ... So it all comes down to feelings, not rationality or market analysis :-)

    But I'm sure you went through a lot of these considerations already ...



  2. Thank you Chris - and for the new year wishes. Truth is I'm probably justifying twitter and facebook in the service of (further) procrastination! But there has been a small increase in interest in courses & books etc.

    Happy New Year to you too - and here's to creative abundance...


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