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

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

oh yes it's out...

So the lanes are bursting with the exuberance of summer; as I wrote in a poem, almost heartbreakingly so. You know how beauty can cut the heart as much as sorrow?

And with each small degree of turn of the seasons, something reappears that I'd forgotten about, like the vast mass of little white fragrant escapee roses in the hedges of our track, and the arch of purple rhododendrons (rhododendra) topped with the curve of pale pink dog roses that drop heart-shaped petals at my feet each morning.
So much to be thankful for. The beans and squashes, after a slow start, are at last starting to take off in the veg plot. Each time I go up there two families of blackbirds and a thrush or three take wing from where they have, hooray, been picking off the slugs. The daytime and especially dusky time air are both scented with hay. Most days I see a young hare. My herb-and-bee garden is coming along nicely, alongside my globe artichokes, the 'mother' plant of which must be more than 10 years old now, and still fruiting well.

And as the season turns there are huge changes in my own and my daughter's lives. Most of these are very positive, but one of my transitions, potentially huge, is also challenging.

I think a lot about the idea of 'balance of attention': I've written of it one way or another in this blog many times. It's a useful tool from both Buddhist and psychotherapeutic training, in my case, and is about bringing presence to each moment as it is rather than as I am. 

For me, this means not losing myself – my centre, my awareness – in an emotional swamp when things are tough, but rather acknowledging that and continuing to appreciate all the many wonderful things about being alive.

And too, for me, it's about trying not to be immobilised by the vast sum of suffering in the world, human or animal, and trying to change my own pattern of feeling personally responsible for alleviating more than I possibly ever can, while still doing what I can. Not drowning, in other words – we're no use at all to anyone then.

And remembering to celebrate the small things. Here's one (finally she's explaining the title, then?): Looking For Icarus, my first poetry collection, in its new revamped edition with a wonderful cover image by Gay Anderson, is out EARLY! The wonderful people at Indigo Dreams usually manage to pull off this stunt; every book of mine they've published (four now) has been early.

Here it is. If you go to my author page on the publishers' site, you can read some sample poems; and I also wrote a blog on it here, featuring one of my own favourite poems from it. (If you then go to the IDP Bookshop you can see my other books too.) You know what? It would make a poor (though only in the fiscal sense) poet happy if you bought it. And it's wonderful to know that some of you lovely people do buy my work, (and have also bought this collection, now or a decade ago), and do seem to enjoy it.

One reviewer (there were a number of reviews) said:
'The poetry is a fusion of the natural and the metaphysical or quantum in varying degrees. There's often some mysterious third person in the poem; it could be the reader, a god, a lover, a spirit, or only an absence.

‘...there's a real need for a volume such as LOOKING FOR ICARUS.
The poems are readable, challenging and intriguing and far from daunting. Their descriptive power is immense, especially in the early part, but it is largely sustained through the middle and revived before the final gentle fallaway note. The whole hangs beautifully together as a symphony of light...'

– and of course, as in all poetry, there's a certain amount of love, sex, death... you know. (This is me, not the reviewer.) (Not trying to tempt you, by the way, or anything.) I'd like to think I handle them all subtly, of course...


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