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, 30 December 2017

winter poem: What-are-the-birds-doing-with-the-December-sky riff

Winter lounges, sodden and unused –
the sky is a washing-line of sorrows.

At night, the stream talks to itself;
becomes a dance floor for wintersong.


The wind does not care for my
predictions or predicaments;
            like everything,
it suspires, expires, rises again.


Day wakes, laden with blue.

I wonder how much words weigh,
and why the oak log splitting under the axe
shows sinews haphazard as memory;

and how it is that we can hold on
to nothing, even love.


All truths in the end are symbolic.

I am a metaphor for transience,
just as a bird is a metaphor for flight

– how a synchronisation of starlings
is an incarnation of wind,
maybe an act of God.


When the ash tree fell in the woods
its bunched keys hung like a roosting
flock of pipistrelles.

In my sleep, I said: leave
access points under the eaves
for swallows, bats, angelic hosts.

You heard me. Held me close.

© Roselle Angwin, Bardo 2011


  1. Roselle, this poem gets better an better with each reading. I do remember it from Bardo and it works superbly. I particularly like: 'winter lounges' because being – sometimes – rather literal I read and pictured it as as a sitting-room! What a great use of its true meaning and yes, winter can lounge too long. It's that startling use of imagery throughout that really makes it all work so well. I like the ideas of the weight of words, of oak 'sinews as haphazard as memory'. But what intrigues me most is that bit about 'metaphor' and 'transience'. How does this apply to others? What does each of us symbolise? If we know, have we got to the very essence of ourselves? Something that's easier to recognise in others, instead of oneself, perhaps.

    Happy New Year and love,
    Miriam & Jeff (who may still respond because he also very much liked your poem.

  2. Hello Miri - thank you as always, and Happy New Year to both!

    I see my poem(s) differently each time I read someone else's response. Thank you for that extra insight - and am sure you'll not be surprised if I say 'I have no idea what that phrase means'!! - V glad to see your take on it!

    Much love



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