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

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

split the Yule kindling; spell midwinter

Once upon a time my daughter and I lived in a magical little wooden green thatched hillside cottage* (rented) with a big wild garden surrounded on three sides by woodland, and facing south over  Dartmoor. (For three years we shared it with the Significant Man I mentioned in the last post, but that's another story.)

I was going to continue by offering you a politically right-on image; but as I write this (should it be 'curse' when using a cursor rather than 'write'??) I remember a prose poem I wrote about that house, and I'm going to paste that in instead. (I'll save the worthy thing for another time.) This piece was published in Bardo that came out last year (see link over to the right).


From the road you can barely see it, there in the trees, its green wood walls and ancient thatch true as winter wheat in moorland soil, a waymarker for walkers, fox and woodpecker, the lane narrow and rocky, steep and curved.

Descend the steps to the green door and open it
onto light, as if you could walk right through to those southern hills. Place your foot over the threshold and – go on – lift the great key to the grandfather clock and start it. Jolt its heart.

Then take the chopper and that dry log and split the Yule kindling. Spell midwinter. The ring on the hearthstone will waken the house. Begin it. Call your name to the corners, to all the directions. Waken the ones who lived here before. Shout it out.

Open windows and doors for the smoke and put a match to the wood. Then press your ear to the inner skin of the timber walls. Can you hear it, that thrum, distant hum, like the sea in a shell? The swarm that blessed the house?

Are they still here, then, those bees with their promise of summer, and honey, and the drowsing of flowers, and love, bare-skinned and languid in the garden, beneath the thatched eaves, under trees? The promise of summer, and love?

© Roselle Angwin, in Bardo (Shearsman 2011)

* SIX adjectives! A little excessive, don't you think? – Ed.


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