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

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

only a little planet, and only the one...

The rips in the fabric of things...
To my huge distress, I have been noticing the lack of house martins and swallows this year. Last year, I saw my first on the Isle of Iona, on 28th March. Iona is more than 600 miles north of where I live, in gentle temperate surroundings, where now, end of the first week in May, I have seen, in the immediate locality, just three swallows where normally I'd expect to see around 15 or 16. I still haven't seen a single house martin, and they normally arrive earlier.

I tell myself the hirundines are all just late; but we know there's drought and insect loss (and pesticides) affecting watering holes and feeding places in mainland Europe, Spain and France, on their long journey from Africa. Insects and birds both – like all life – are also susceptible to EMFs, especially 5G.*

I'm heartbroken at this. If you have seen any or many, please do post that in the Comments section.


We really can't keep ignoring species loss – as big a problem for the rest of the natural world as climate change – and of course the two are inexorably linked.

And although it's way past time we focused only on our human needs – it's anthropocentrism that's caused all this in the first place, in my view, and my own focus now is on shifting to an ecocentric approach in my life and my work – there is still the truth that we actually depend on everything else in the ecosystem, from pollinating insects to trees, and everything in the earth and water zones between or adjoining. We live in an utterly interconnected and interdependent web of being.

I know some of you will have seen this. Today, May 7th 2019, The Guardian's leading articles, based on the very recent UN's Global Assessment Report ('...the most thorough planetary health check ever undertaken') are sobering, if not 'new' news.

Decline in global biomass of wild mammals is 82% in fewer than 50 years (or at least, that's my understanding from the graph).

In terms of our diet, there has been change, driven by young people mainly, over the last few years: it's much more mainstream now to eat a vegan diet. But still, a great many people don't want to look at this problem, and its effects. It's inconvenient to change your eating habits, especially if you like the taste of meat (I'm aware it's a bigger and more problematic issue altogether for farmers and their incomes).

Meat & dairy production accounts for 83% of farmland; 58% of greenhouse gas emissions; 57% of water pollution; 56% of air pollution; 33% of freshwater extraction; and ironically provides only 35% of our protein (2nd-hand at that, so to speak), and 18% of our calories.
 
If you want to know more about a vegan diet and how to switch healthfully, see 57billion.org, especially the links page.

* 5G: see here.




Wednesday, 24 April 2019

An April ragbag: canines; 2mph; cholesterol levels; & dog-or-cat people

Not quite sun-up and I can't sleep; am lying here trying to count the stars that persist after night's party's over, but they slither and slip like sand through fingers, and I have to keep starting again, starting over.

Now one star, or maybe two, only, spying on our daytime world.


Soon, yes, soon, the dawn chorus. Must be about 5am and I'm trying hard to catch another hour before we have to get up. Sky's lightening. I'm sleepy and drifting and the chorus starts: so thick, so lovely, so ethereal, almost, in this hidden unruined valley, habitat perfect.

Did I dream, or hear it, this extraordinary song? – Clear but resonant; rising, falling, rising again; the sweetness of a dove's call, but higher and more plangent. Shockingly beautiful.

I'm awake. 'Can you hear that?' I ask TM. 'Never heard that bird before.'

'It's the puppies whining,' answers TM, and we both leap out of bed to greet them, and also hoping to avoid, possibly belatedly, a sea of pee. It's their first morning with us.

For yes, we have succumbed. They are not a replacement for my old girl Ash; nor for my daughter's Murphy, recently tragically dead. They're new life. The heart has place for many loves.

Meet Bran and Wayland. They're smaller than they look (and the same size) – only three months old.


In my Tongues in Trees course, the tree calendar month in which we committed to the puppies is that of Alder, Fearn, dedicated to Bran the Blessed, Bran of the Singing Head, and protector of the feminine in Celtic mythology (one of the myths I limped through in its original language during my degree course at Cambridge).

'If you get to choose a puppy's name from the Celtic pantheon', declared TM, 'then I want an Anglo-Saxon one. What about Wayland?' So Bran and Wayland (as in Wayland's Smithy) they are.

*


Dreaming back from nearly three blissful weeks working with a couple of dozen beautiful people, deeply immersed in sea, sun, wind, soil, sand and the stories of our lives, of this island, of the wider world of our belonging, on the Isle of Iona during the 18th season of my Islands of the Heart retreat, knowing myself to be blessed, and knowing that puppies would be at the end of my journey, this spring is a delight, despite the traffic congestion, despite coming away from what is a transcendent experience for me (actually, who could bear living in paradise all the time?).


Supposedly, spring travels north at just under 2 mph (but that speed is currently increasing, apparently). If that's the case, then spring in Argyllshire in Scotland, including Iona, should have been about 13 days behind spring in Devon. However, the veg in the organic garden of the hotel where I lead the course is usually more advanced than ours, and near Oban (OK, there is a microclimate) the trees were out and some rhododendrons too. Ours were rather behind, and there's definitely no-show for any rhodies around here yet.



*

Here – in addition to addressing the catastrophes of climate change and of animal suffering – is another turn-up for veganism. I have to have annual blood tests, and this year my cholesterol levels are down to 'perfect', with an optimum ratio of 'good' cholesterol to 'bad'. What's more, my iron levels, often a bit below par during my 40-odd years of being a lacto-veggie, are now up to normal on a vegan diet. So to all those who fear nutritional deficiencies, can I just say it can be done? I've more on this page: https://57billion.org/nutrition/


*

I think from time to time in a rather simplistic and polarised way about differences between cat people and dog people. Of course I'm stereotyping, rather based on an unfortunate relationship between me (dog lover) and another (cat lover) a long time ago now. His aversion to dogs and his – as I saw it – dysfunctional relationship to his (dysfunctional) cat were warning signs that I ignored. My deep bond with my dog perhaps was to him, too, I don't know; perhaps he saw us as dysfunctional, also.

Later I formulated a theory that our shadow qualities were projected onto (stereotyped) images of those animals: the man concerned was deeply dependent, whereas cats are seen as independent; I am, or was then, fiercely independent, and maybe a dependent dog carried my shadow needs. Simplistic, as I say. However, neither we nor our animals managed to live together.

Happy, then, the people who love both cats and dogs.


Actually, I love cats too. I was brought up with several of them, all adored, and at age 11 wrote a precocious essay on 'Cats and Ecology' which won the Lloyds Bank children's essay competition. I can't imagine that my 11-year-old self knew anything about ecology; and I'm certain that I couldn't justify a cat's place in an ecosystem.

For that's the trouble. I love wild birds even more. Although there may not be a direct correlation between bird numbers declining and cat predation, says the RSPB, this is troubling:

'The most recent figures of how many creatures are killed by cats are from the Mammal Society. They estimate that cats in the UK catch up to 275 million prey items a year, of which 27 million are birds. [My italics]

'This is the number of prey items [sic!] which were known to have been caught. We don't know how many more the cats caught, but didn't bring home, or how many escaped but subsequently died.'

What I do know is that we have many many more wild birds in our garden here, and nesting, than we did when TM's (lovely) little cat was alive.


And where I'm going with this: TM was a declared cat lover when I met him, and wasn't terribly keen on my dogs. Although that did cause trouble, especially in the beginning, it didn't put me (or him) off pursuing our relationship. 

And now? TM is utterly utterly smitten with the puppies. He adores them. Luckily for me (and the puppies) any amount of pee and whining is worth it. Hooray.





Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Coming away from the island


Hugs, tears, laughter. After the wind-stopped ferries, the sea is brushed steel; lochs and mountains filtered as if through muslin.

First spit of rain: no waterfalls on Mull this year; no snow on the peaks;  rivers so low; no mud for the sand and house martins, soon back, to build nests.



Loch Lomond’s pewter distances catch the heart.

Then ahead, a car crash; abrupt re-entry into the sorrows of the world.

Samira Ahmed says we’re either collaborators or resistors. For change to happen, we need to resist: non-violently but firmly.

In London, Extinction Rebellion protestors are arrested for blocking roads. Never mind the multinationals, the tax-evading corporations, big industry, private bankers, pharmaceutical companies, heads of state with their disastrous policies.

In Paris, they mourn 800 years of cathedral, part-eaten by flame.

There is as much microplastic in a remote area of the Pyrenees as in a major city. We, all species, are breathing, drinking, eating it in. #REFUSE PLASTIC. If you do nothing else this year. If we don’t oppose it we are complicit. Or collaborators.

‘Earth is flat’ reads the graffiti on a traffic sign outside Glasgow.

Everywhere new leaves – 100 shades of green. New flowers – as if the first ever: windflowers (her face), lady’s smock, bluebells, cherry blossom.

Despite.











Monday, 8 April 2019

Islands of the Heart 2019 2: the island's voices




The Island’s Voices

How many more ways can I find
to speak of this island
when it’s all already been spelled
in the tongue of oystercatcher
and the five o’clock songthrush
the silence of rock, bone, fairy-mound
the spill of light on the dolphins’ wheel
at sunrise today in the Sound?

© Roselle Angwin, April 2019


























Friday, 5 April 2019

the 19th year of Islands of the Heart (Isle of Iona)


ahead the island waits
rain ushers us over and in
drops its veils behind us

 

Notes on the Journey

Sun all the way up to Stafford services – lake clean, wildfowl healthy now (I wrote to them a couple of years ago to say how much I loved the oasis that is Stafford services, but I was intending to boycott them after I'd seen the state of the raggedly-clipped wings of their Canada geese – don't suppose that made a difference, but something has) – where I peel off layers, walk round the lake as we always used to, talk in my head to my absent daughter and our dead hounds.

*

Moffat in its little bowl of end-of-day sunlight. M in hospital. This time last year, our laughter (I’d told the B&B owner that M, in contrast to me, would eat anything: magpies, stray cats, passing children).

A single lapwing flapping alongside; I realise I’ve seen none in a year. In dusky light I walk the old walk, sans dog. 

Above, a huge arc of geese with tiny peeping voices. Pinkfoot?

*

Glasgow.

On the ringroad I’m listening to a Desert Island Discs interviewee speak of a track for her mum, who has dementia (Bread’s ‘I would give everything I own’ – I remember that track so well) and I’m in tears thinking of my late mum’s dementia and the unshareable pain of it. Probably unsafe to drive due to the fact that I can't see for tears, I slow up; and remember the same stretch of road, just a year or two after my mum died, when Radio 4 had me in tears again, too, with a programme on Alzheimer’s.

*

Loch Lomond.


For much of the journey I have the road and the loch to myself. If heaven didn’t have this slant light and silvered water, I wouldn’t want to go there; but it seems it has and I am there.

And there, and there, are little shingled beaches we stopped at to let my collie out for a pee or a drink. She’s long dead; and you too, now.

*

Oban. 

Ticket kiosk guy is outrageously flirtatious.

I buy thick home-made soup: the young guy behind the counter is gracious about my mixing the tomato soup with the butternut and chilli. I take it over to the boats.

The ‘Isle of Lewis’ is about to leave for Barra, five hours’ sail into the wide Atlantic. Tempted. When did I last throw all responsibilities and commitments overboard? The ferry pulls out and I continue sitting on the seawall.

The Seal Trip skipper with the painted plaster pirate onboard changes the chalked time of the next trip from 1 to 1.30 (no punters). As I walk past at 1.20 he changes it again, to 2 (ditto).

By the ferry queue a notice asks me to be sure not to bring any bees, deliberately or carelessly, to Colonsay or Oronsay, where they’re striving to help the native black bee (apis mellifera mellifera) to thrive.

*

I’m not over any of the many deaths that have torn holes in my life the last decade.

*

Mull.

First on, last off.

Drizzle. I rattle over the cattle grid, and there, right there, just ahead and just above is a golden eagle, fingering the damp air.

Keats’ 37 ‘miserable miles’ covered at a rather greater speed than he was able. And if I’d had to walk, I’ve waterproofs and healthy lungs.

Pennyghael: a new sign says ‘Otters crossing for 6 miles’. At least the otters are coming out of decline.

*

Drizzle still as I pull up at Fionnphort, unload my bags at the slipway, park my car and walk back down. I need two candles for the two retreats I’m leading; the Ferry Shop always keeps lovely ones made by the Findhorn Community at Erraid, nearby. No candles.

I think of S, so suddenly and shockingly in hospital instead of with us; and L, who is travelling to be with her instead of us. I know that no one will sit in S and L’s customary seats in the group room. (Later: they don’t.)

*

The promised wind, docile all day, has got up in the Sound, and the flat-bottomed ferry pitches and swerves. My face is full of water and wind and I want to shout with the joy and pain of it all. I can’t see a thing but I wave wildly towards the Iona slipway and the hotel, hoping the people I know will have arrived, people I have come to love, will see me. And they’re there, down at the jetty, waiting to greet me, in drizzle and wind.

Washing over us all, the trill of oystercatchers. A spill of white sand; the green waters of the Sound; a hug; a kind of home.

*

And then, for days, the sun.





Next year will be the 20th year of my Islands of the Heart writing retreats.

You can buy my latest poetry collection, poems from Iona, here.









Thursday, 21 March 2019

spring equinox 2019 poem



Spring equinox: everything renews itself




The wind    the jackdaws    their spill of wild play
brightening the new spring greyness

the spring comes with this
soft rain    and everything renews itself

today it’s raining in the lowlands

everything renews itself    and me too

though perhaps not the stars in any
time scheme humans can relate to   

I am not there but the lens in my mind
is imprinted    the pony grove    my old dog

wizened Dartmoor oaks    and you supine
on that long flat rock    magma billennia-cooled

you firing up the day in a green blaze

everything has renewed itself every cell new

it was that day we saw the dipper
spoke of its ability to walk underwater

how a nest site might be used for forty generations
of dipper    but we are not dippers

and we are not there    I am not there and I’m not
who I was   each bit of me remade now

I am not there    today it’s raining in the lowlands

dog violets coaxed out of their green blanket

spring comes    the spring comes with this
soft rain    and everything renews itself

still at the edges of sleep I see you sometimes
coming down my side of the hill

always coming down the hill my side

I smile to see your green blaze



Roselle Angwin






 

Sunday, 10 March 2019

poetry & the sacred: interview with me

Honoured to be the first poet chosen to feature in a new series, offered by Christine Valters Paintner, herself a poet and author of several inspiring books, on the Abbey of the Arts website. The connections between poetry and the sacred (whatever you understand that to mean) are important to me. (Thank you, Christine, for inviting me to participate, and for the questions that created my response.)

You can read the interview, and some of my poems, here, should you wish to.












Tuesday, 26 February 2019

terrible beauty

 
Heartlands - high moor - painting by Roselle Angwin

Two posts in two days. This might not happen again in a while (and this is still not about That Book).

I have just had occasion to drive what is, for me, probably the most beautiful road in the universe (with the exception of a) the northwest coast road of Mull, and b) the Gorges du Tarn). This road takes me over Dartmoor from Ashburton to Tavistock, and never fails to give me wings, any time of year, any weather.

Utter bliss: over Holne Bridge into woodland; over the Dart on the little Newbridge; up past 'my' Queen Birch (photographed last summer) with her twin trunks and her now-mahogany hair (a sure sign that she's getting ready for spring):




Ponies on the heights; buzzards aplenty; down past the hut circles to Dartmeet (the ghosts of me and my sisters as children still lying out on the ancient clapper bridge, only half of which is now still extant); back up again to the heights towards Prince Hall with its tall beeches, the moor all ochre-gold and sienna-rust; the tors prominent against the blue sky; Two Bridges with its geese; the ancient double stone row, stone circle and standing stone of Merrivale with a host of memories for me; then the little market town of Tavistock, my nearest town for a couple of decades, dreaming in the sun with its cherry blossom, crocuses, primroses, daffodils. Hawthorn hedges already in leaf: it used to be that, when I was growing up in North Devon, they would be in leaf in time for my mum's birthday, the vernal equinox. I saw my first hawthorn leaves, dotted with the odd tiny flower, in January this year, at Dartington. At Portland, in Dorset, the first swallow has been seen, approximately 6 weeks early.

20º C. A stunning day. I smile. Everyone I encounter is smiling. How can we not feel happier? 

And yet, much as I love this weather, it's not OK. Here, we're taking clothes off. In the Arctic, polar bears will be dying.

Yes, this is the apparently-benign face of climate change.


And there's another blot on the horizon. In fact, two.

The first, biggest, one, is a literal blot. In fact it's 180º degrees of blot, where as I drive they are swaling: deliberately burning off old gorse and heather. The thick smoke from four separate fires lies smoggily on the horizon. The moor is, for February, almost tinder-dry after a fortnight of dry and even hot weather.

This happens every year on the moor, often in October, sometimes in February. I hate this. Swaling is entirely for the farmers' benefit, the rationale being that new grass and shoots of bracken, heather, gorse will offer fresh food for the sheep, cattle and ponies grazed up here to provide meat for us, and for zoo animals. I love the dramatic scenery of the moor, but it's entirely as a result of grazing: left to itself, the moor would regenerate as woodland, as the forest it once was (amazingly, first cut in the Neolithic era using hand axes to provide grazing for the new farming revolution).


Swaling is an environmental disaster. It destroys biodiversity, it burns the ancient peat and therefore releases CO2, in itself it pollutes hugely, it destroys thousands upon thousands of small mammals, reptiles and the like. Already, early, skylarks – ground-nesting birds – are nesting.

The other blot on the horizon: the bloody foxhunters on their big warmbloods, in their red and black livery, are out. Foxes, as I wrote in my last post, have declined by 45% in a few short years. We have the hunt come through our valley, too: I haven't seen 'my' fox, who used to sit and sunbathe in its column of golden air in the field next door, for at least two years.

Oh but oh wait, I forgot: of course, since it's illegal now, it's not foxes they're hunting. After all, the hounds know they're not allowed to.

That's OK, then.










Monday, 25 February 2019

the things that reconnect

Climate change. Species extinction. Trump's wall. Brexit. The UK selling arms to Saudi who use those weapons to destroy civilians in Yemen.
 
If you are at all like me, you too will have the troubles of the world sitting like existential toothache deep in your chest cavity much if not all of the time. We seem to be in a hard passage, not just for our species but for all species at our hands. This is not news, but for me at least it feels even more overwhelming than usual. We all belong in this web, so all these things affect us deeply, whether or not we're conscious of it. It can make it hard to step aside and focus on living from essential nature – arguably part of our soul-task here, and I believe a necessary step to 'saving the world'. We need conscious individuals so desperately badly at the moment.

In my case, severe flu and pleurisy, extreme backache, a move abroad for a family member and my help needed when I can't even lift a kettle and barely my head from the pillow, and yet another death in our family with its attendant trauma and, in addition, trouble in the life of another family member, and life can feel at times really overwhelming. (I don't mean to sound self-pitying! - this is just how it is sometimes.) Add to this that hares are disappearing; rabbits are succumbing to disease so we've lost 45% of our foxes in a few short years; I've seen no badgers on our land since they started culling down here. Easy then for me to lose sight of our work here, and of my own connection to my inner life, as if a pipe has been disconnected.

While I'm aware that it's easy to say this in the relatively-safe UK, this is the test of the Underworld Journey, an initiation into the little and greater deaths that will liberate, a little, if we commit to the journey, the soul from the grip of the ego so that new life might be born – in our own worlds, inner and outer, and collectively, too, if we can find the strength to keep on keeping on: not to lose faith that change can happen.

There are indisputably many apparent impasses 'out there', but slowly and imperceptibly, of course change continues to happen: change, the only constant. 'This too must pass.'

Look at the schoolchildren rising up in protest. Look at the number of people – many thousands – who gave up all animal products for Veganuary: a move towards ending suffering. Look at 17 year old Lucy Gavaghan who started to campaign aged only 12 for a better life for hens, and has single-handedly persuaded many of the supermarket chains in GB to refuse to stock battery eggs. In Bavaria, through people-pressure, farming practices that will benefit bees have been forced in. And there's good news for the Yazidi women.

The little things can help. In my own life, the news at the weekend that otters, pine martens, polecats and yes even badgers are returning brings a little weak sun back in to the beleaguered psyche. Some more acceptances for my own poetry, often neglected lately. Spending some hours in gentle February sun with many birds around, and primroses, rosemary flowers, hellebore, celandines, dandelions and lungwort offering early nectar to early bees, finally clearing the mat of buttercups that is choking my herb-and-bee-bed. Clearing one's own patch. Tidying our lives, a little.

And as for the rest: we owe it to ourselves and each other, arguably, to not be immobilised: to feel the pain and carry on trying to live a kind life, to do the hard graft of individuation, to keep the flag of protest and activism flying in whatever way we can: not to give in to the corporations, the banks, the apparent inexorability of our governments. Not to give up.

Every so often, just when things are at their darkest, I discover for me personally that something will slide in sideways that will jolt me like a lightning flash, and all of a sudden things seem possible again. I feel renewed, revivified, recharged, alive, reconnected.

My well is filling up; my electricity supply is reconnected.

It is a book by a visionary author, a much-loved commentator, that has woven me back into the web. I'll tell you more very soon.







Thursday, 31 January 2019

A Ragbag: imbolc & thresholds; rowan moon; egrets & cranes; a savoury porridge




I've failed to light the fire (wet wood) in my barn study which, not being insulated to house standards, is freezing. I'll see how long my fingers last before heading back to the house with minimal internet (which is why I'm out here).

I wanted to acknowledge the turning year: we're awaiting more snow this afternoon, but it will be as nothing compared with the snow some of you have had. Spare a thought for the new lambs – inhumane practice, lambing at this time of year – who will be getting sodden and then be frozen too. And of course, the increasingly-numerous homeless humans: so many more than any so-called 'civilized' society can justify on any grounds at all. It doesn't have to be like this, but it will take a major change of our values and our economic systems before we start to really address such inequality in any meaningful way.

It may not feel like it outside, but the earth is truly coming back to the light in the northern hemisphere, towards one of the fire festivals of the ancient year: a midway point between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. Imbolc is a time for candles, for inwardness, for reflection; for remembering that, despite all, the earth will still crack open and offer new life. Here, the snowdrops have been out for a little while, catkins of course, and the first wild garlic shoots are showing, as are new cleaver plants. I shall collect the latter two soon to make a cider vinegar cleansing brew: nutritious and good for both blood and lymph. Then we'll soon have enough garlic and early nettles to make a rich soup with the last of our (pathetic) leeks, and potatoes.

Last year I turned my 20-years'+ Thresholds Imbolc retreat into a solo day retreat. For any of you who can find a day for a depth practice of reflection, writing and ritual, it is available as a download, to put into practice between now and the spring equinox (northern hemisphere only). You can read more about it here, and if you fancy making a Bride/Brighid cross – traditional at this time of year, Bride being one incarnation of the Great Mother Goddess – there are videos of Youtube. Here's mine from last year.


~~~





In my Tongues in Trees course, this lunar month is Rowan month in the old Ogham calendar/alphabet supposedly used by the Druids. I found this beauty with her three intertwined trunks up at Blackdown Rings in the South Hams, a particularly special Iron Age camp.

~~~


We have two or sometimes three little egrets come up the brook below our house in early January every year, most days. The Dart, like various other Devon rivers, now hosts a colony of them. Our brook is a tributary, and the egrets like to perch in the high branches of a lightning-struck oak.

Around this time last year, TM and I were walking along said brook. I had just completed this sentence: 'Oh, I haven't seen the egrets at all this year' as we approached the brook, when one scooted up right in front of us from the wet undergrowth bordering the water. They've been there most days so far this year, including this morning.

Although they are heron family rather than cranes, the two families are linked. (The latter have long been significant to me, since I first discovered their symbolism, and their connection both with the old Celtic sea-god Manannan Mac Lir, and with the Cailleach, the Crone Woman elder/goddess of Celtic mythology.)

Mythologically, cranes were associated with arcane shamanic knowledge, and it is said that the Ogham alphabet, designed by the sun-god Ogma, was inspired by the ways the cranes' legs bent in their archetypal dance. Cranes are messengers from the gods: psychopomps, we'd call them in archetypal psychology. Hermes/Mercury was associated with them: it is said that he, too, was inspired to create the Roman alphabet from their legs.

The shaman kept his tools of transformation in a craneskin bag; this had to be earned, and was bestowed on him by the initiating goddess. So you can see how magical they are. (A few years ago, I wrote a Crane Woman story, and am thinking of resurrecting it for publication.)

I spent a lot of time in Southwest France in the early part of this new millennium, and a significant time for me was during the spring and autumn migrations of cranes on the flight path over the house. I painted  one of the migrating cranes to give to my friend who lives there: he still on occasion lets me know when the cranes have flown over.

There is a fabulous project on the Somerset Levels to reintroduce cranes to England. They currently have a 'sedge' (the collective noun for cranes) of 40 or 50 birds there, with a few other overwintering birds.

 ~~~

'...The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?'

My new vegan book creeps forward. #Veganuary has been a great success, with more people than ever joining in. On the last Sunday in December, 14,000 people signed up. It's amazing news, in the face of all else, that so many people are committed to finding new sustainable ways forward.

If you, like me, fancy something like porridge for breakfast but find the watery salty kind unpalatable but the sweet kind too sweet, I have just invented a savoury porridge I love.

SAVOURY PORRIDGE
For 1
Put half a mug of porridge oats (I use gluten-free) into a saucepan
Cover the oats with about three-quarters of a cup of water and nut- or oat-milk
Add a quarter>half-teaspoon of turmeric and a half-teaspoon herbes provencales (or mixed herbs)
Add either a small handful of frozen peas, or a finely-chopped tomato (if they're out-of-season, as they are here, they're so environmentally-unfriendly that you're better using either a dessertspoon of tomato paste or a couple of finely-chopped sundried tomatoes, previously soaked)
Bring nearly to the boil, then simmer and stir for a couple of minutes
Take off the heat, stir in a heaped teaspoon of miso and a tablespoon of yeast flakes.
Serve with nuts or seeds to taste.

~~~

Till next time, Imbolc blessings to you.

 

Sunday, 20 January 2019

January poem


‘January’s Full Moon is called the Wolf Moon’

1
brittle cold
old fireworks lying on the gravel
like spent stars that we stumble over

and old gods looking
both ways

howling
over the trees that came down in the woods
last week



2
the dog still bellying down in every
rill or puddle, even in frost



3
I remember dawns so steely we scraped plates of ice
from inside the van’s windows
daughter snug between us
in layers of sheep-oiled fleece

(I remember the moon quickening in my belly,
her tides and flux; and me
struck from her silver coinage)

and bare-breasted mornings working outdoors
bee-languor afternoons under the larch
where you would take me
in your arms and hold me



4
I have never told anyone I need you              perhaps this has been a mistake



5
you’re rolling a cigarette,
your feet bare and earthy and wet
against my skin and we’re waiting

in half-light the twin birds of your eyes
are the only things that move in this winter grove

to pass the time you sing
you are a male voice choir of one

and when at last we emerge into spring
Orpheus, I’ll call you; and again, Orpheus



© Roselle Angwin, 23 January 2008/reposted January 2018; in Bardo







 

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