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

Sunday, 13 April 2014

going north

Today, in the courtyard, six swallows flew over. And I planted out some sweetpeas – fingers crossed there'll be no frosts.

And I fixed little things on the campervan, found other little things that no longer work properly – 'Clarissa' IS 20+, and sits around a bit, after all – and packed.

Because I was packing I didn't get the whole of this, but what a privilege to hear the Shetland poet Jen Hadfield reading from her work, in situ, to Paul Farley, on Radio 4 this afternoon (4.30pm; can't remember the series title). Wonderful too to hear the waterbirds in the background. And I learnt (if I caught it correctly), that 'bissus', which is the title of her most recent collection, is the word for the beard on a mussel.

She has a fine and original voice, and a good ear for diction. Many lines struck me, but this one stayed: 'A span of sea glittering with gannets / a faceful of piercings.'

Sun going down now behind the hills, in a clear sky. Tuesday morning brings a full moon in Libra, my sign, and a significant lunar eclipse; time for change.

And I'm heading north tomorrow, landing up in my beloved Hebrides, on three different islands, the last of which is of course Iona for the annual writing retreat I lead there.

So this is me signing off till I get into Wifi-land again, with a poem of mine from my first week's course on Iona about 14 years ago:

Iona: The Glass-Blue Day

The way sky inhabits the creases
smears colour that steals your breath

The sand so pale it might be grains of light

The big Hebridean night that opens its arms
and drops its creel of stars

towards our upturned faces

© Roselle Angwin 2000, in Looking For Icarus

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