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.
Wednesday, 31 July 2019
Tonight, for the 24-hour period until midnight tomorrow, we will be celebrating the first harvest in for Lughnasadh, or Lammas (from 'hlafmass', or 'loafmass'). This is the time of Lugh the fire god; one of the Celtic cross-quarter dates of the wheel of the year, midway between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox.
You can read more, and see a previous poem of mine, on this link.
Here in Devon we are feasting on the last of our broad beans and the first abundant harvest of green beans, kale and courgettes. The early potatoes are done now, and the first maincrop just about ripe, along with the first tomatoes. The apples are swelling fatly.
Tonight, I'll light a candle and make a small offering of whatever we are eating – a libation to the genius loci and the local gods and elementals (probably personified in mice and birds).
Meantime here's today's Lughnasadh poem for you.
Here, fields are starred with bright tight-packed
wheels of straw and the first harvests are in:
John Barleycorn dying over and over
and rising again. The year is already behind
the hill but the late summer sun still burns.
I'm kneading Lammas dough and thinking that
the thing about getting older is no longer
craving the wild conflagrations that my youth
called for; the thing about getting older is
relishing the slow-burning fires of a truer love.
© Roselle Angwin 2019
Sunday, 7 July 2019
Oak by the Brook
When the great oak fell in the woods
the valley shuddered and we felt
the aftershock in our feet for weeks.
When the great oak fell, fifty families
of mice fled, and the pairs of woodpeckers.
Nuthatches went into exile, and a hundred
thousand insects. The heron and winter’s
white egrets no longer have a lookout
over the minnow brook; no perch
for summer’s turtle doves. Last week
a thousand bees hummed in its canopy;
this winter, the jays will scavenge for
five thousand fewer acorns. The valley
is a wound. The valley is a mouth with
a missing front tooth. The valley is Munch’s
mouth, open and forever a silent scream.
When we walk where the oak was we too
are now silent. The great oak fell; the valley
shuddered; we feel its echoes still.
© Roselle Angwin
I'm currently teaching an intensive yearlong online tree course. Bookings are coming in for the 1-to-1 option that will begin on the winter solstice 2019:
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