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

Monday, 1 September 2014

from the cévennes mountains

Haibun cévenol

high high up

two snake-eagles –

incarnations of air

Where does the sky’s blue begin, and end? Is everything washed in it, simply invisible to human eyes?



            mark our way

We walk the heathery altitudes beyond where a squabble of bee-eaters flirted with the mountain this morning –


            making your life

            from a diet of fur and sting

The blossom’s a-hum with thousands of bees in the great sounding-bowl of the valley. In the resiny honey heat our walking is a kind of stillness, almost liquid – a metheglyn of movement, our flesh a blend of rock and air and heather, steeped in mountain thyme, oregano, mint.

Above us, green hedgehog husks, still ripening –

            old man chestnut

            hollow tower of trunk

            hosting a dozen saplings

We dither by the beehives on a scarp that could be Dartmoor, if bigger. Below us are meadows of wild crocus. We might be lost.

            fuck the flower-meadows

            says B when I gesture

            we laugh, carry on

Across in all directions mountains are cutouts of blue rice-paper, origami hamlets scattered like stray thoughts. I think of Robert Louis Stevenson, of the others who’ve travelled behind him, obliging donkeys in tow.

            this earthwalk –

            certainties don’t count


the lightness of your tread

the capacity of your heart

© Roselle Angwin

NB: several people have emailed me; just to say that though I can receive emails (when the Wifi connection is working), and access social media, for some reason I can't send. Apologies – I'll respond when I can.

One of the participants on the retreat I've been leading has written a lovely and moving blog about the week here.


  1. Roselle - this is breath taking and beautiful. I climbed the hill with you and saw the whole valley from a different view, heard sounds, tasted colours, touched that old man chestnut again and loved the resiny honey heat. France calls and entices - a temptress at her most seductive. So French. Un jardin secret de sauvagerie. x Jen

  2. Roselle – your words are flowing well and I hope you feel they are. Wonderful evocations in prose and poetry, but please tell me what methaglyn is? If you can? If you know and are not just seduced by its sound!
    I love, particularly, 'old man chestnut; fuck the meadows (! made us laugh too); a diet of fur and sting' – something I've always pictured when I think of those who gobble bees.
    It's clear we both need a good break from routine. It's hot again here in Pershore with too much to do out there in the jungle; but true to place and fame, the plums, apples, pears are exuberantly fecund, though not quite ready for eating yet (pears & apples i.e.)
    Cool, calm Northumberland beckons and we're off on the 13th for 11 days. Shall email on return (another holiday north late Oct so not much writing, I'm afraid.)
    Keep the words flowing and the joy bubbling.
    Love from Miriam (and Jeff, of course) to you and anyone else around you who can share it.

  3. mmm lovely. Seems like you could do more of this!

  4. Jen - thank you! Great to envisage your having been here too, and love 'un jardin de sauvagerie'! See you in Nov.

    Miriam - thank you as always. Actually that's about the only piece of writing I've done other than my 100-words (MOST days!), but I'm glad it spoke to you, and I liked picturing your place too. Enjoy your time away. Metheglyn is a mead-based liqueur, with herbs steeped in it. I used to make it from mead (which as you'll know is honey-based). There are few crops grown here - 'sweet' onions are the exception - in the immediate mountain environment; honey, goats' cheese and sweet chestnuts are the mountain produce.

    Veronica - thank you! Indeed, and this week of doing very little except immersing myself in Place has been wonderful. Not finished yet, as tomorrow we have a week in the campervan drifting slowly west then north... Good to hear from you.

    Love to you all Rx


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