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, 21 December 2013

winter solstice poem, 2013

Just now, in the full night of midwinter’s night
over the traffic and the cop-cars and the late shoppers,
down at the bottom of the hill in the car park
where the red dogwoods flame, a robin started up
her strong ribbon of song in the lee of the storm, and as I
drive up the hill, window open to let in the dark,
a second tunes in, and then on the brow another,
each singing its loud hymn to the night and the cloud
and the brimming tapers of stars between, and this,
this, must surely be grace, a moment’s inbreath, in our
onwards rush, on this northern side of this lost-in-space
the-light planet, our home star.

© Roselle Angwin 2013 



  1. Yes, sometimes you just know how blessed we are to be alive on this star, and from this shortest day to know the earth will be gently waking and warming. I could hear your robins,perfect.

  2. Thank you, you two lovely people. Rx

  3. Roselle what a beautiful song from the heart in our midwinters. And even though our shortest day has passed I wanted to respond, to call back to the brow of the hill from the wooded landscape in the foothills of the Pyrenees near the Sacred Mountain Canigou ...... to know on the longest night, the sun will once again drift up from behind the Alberes Mountains, spraying the sky with a wash of early morning glow. And in the silence of my darkness bathed in the watery light of a waning wandering moon, quite close an owl hoots in its forest. One long hoot and I hear the echo return. Owl hoots again, responding to its own reflection, to its own call. But in the distance I hear another owl call, and yet another in a different place calls back and on the ridges of the wooded valleys more and more owls hoot into the night. In my silent forest of cork oak trees I am surrounded by owls. And I don't know their name. What they look like. Where they are perched. I find myself smiling, for how lucky am I to sit here in this spot on this beautiful planet, the little blue dot. Oooooo thank you.

  4. Ohhh - that is such a very beautiful and moving piece of writing - thank you so much - this connectedness, this web... And I'm not sure you know that once upon a time, maybe 26 or 27 years ago, Mont Canigou was my own nearest mountain, on which I watched the light play in green summer storms, watched the yellow-and-black salamanders/axolotl creep out onto the paths after the rain to sweat a little in the piney saunas... Thank you for writing, and for making me shiver, and for witnessing as you do. Solstice blessings, etc, to you out there.

  5. Roselle – I love it. A real celebration of the immediacy of things at these significant times. Lovely mixture of prosaic and natural world poetic. And those 2-and-a-bit lines at the end are true jubilation! I like the idea of 'opening the window to let in the dark'; it reminds me of my own longish poem-form dialogue with the Dark some years ago when at a particularly low point in the winter. By the end, I felt we'd made friends, Dark and I, and the dark was transformed into a thing of great beauty and even safety, imbued with possibility. Quite a catharsis.
    We always celebrate winter solstice but feel an anticipation of loss at the summer solstice. Then again, to see it all as an eternally turning process with one opposite fostering the other, makes it seem both loss and gain at the same time. The balance again and the turning world, I guess.
    I'm gestating poems all the time it seems and your wonderful poem – another gem – urges me to concentrate my thoughts, keep trying, but coax it patiently and gently without forcing. The aim of all mothers – if only . . .!
    Thanks as ever, Miriam.

  6. Miriam, am so glad to hear of your own journey to befriend the dark - indeed 'a thing of great beauty'. Crucial, I think, so we can also befriend the light fully. Thank you, once again, for taking time out in this busy period to write. I've enjoyed your companionship this year - and I'm SO glad to hear about the poems! Love to both - Rx


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