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.
Friday, 13 December 2013
'If on a winter's night'
I feel so nostalgic back in Chagford. The north side of the moor has quite a different feel to it, and Chagford is a proper moorland town with much of the arts, culture and counter-culture found in Totnes but without the hype. Once upon a time I lived five miles away, in a little green wooden thatched house surrounded by trees on all sides except for the front, which faced south over the moor. You know how it is that you leave part of your heart in certain places, as with certain people? – like that. That little house, with its puppies and its bantams and bees, its wild garden, and the woods at the bottom of the garden, will always be my home, despite the fact that I have lived in other places longer, and I left it – what, 25 years ago. In Chagford, I still know more people that I have known in either Totnes or Tavistock, each my 'local town' for many more years than Chagford was.
Here's a prose poem I read last night (hope I haven't posted it before) about the house, Tanglewood:
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 2011 (from Bardo)
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