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 31 October 2023

Samhain, squash soup & Substack

My dear friends, I began this blog in 2010. I've loved writing it, and I've loved knowing how many of you read it.

Over the years, partly for life reasons, partly because my computer and its operating system are old and there are glitches, and partly as a result of some material being 'borrowed' several years ago, the content and depth of what I wrote diminished. You will have of course have noticed, if you are one of my lovely 'regulars', that since my life changed and we moved to our Brittany smallholding, I've barely written here, except at significant points in the turning year.

But I've missed it.

So I would like to invite you to join me over on Substack. At the moment all my posts are free, and focus mostly on our relationship with the land, what and how we're growing food, and the other-than-human.

Many of you have asked about life out here, and our sustainable approach to land and growing. Come and visit my new blog, and read the stories. I miss you!

Later, I will be adding a FIRE IN THE HEAD section, where I will offer tips, exercises and other suggestions for writers. (This will be part-free and part-paid.)

Sunday 24 September 2023

poem for the autumn equinox 2023


At the Year’s Autumn Turning



Penn ar Bed


This morning the sun lifts

right behind the silver birch

who’s been dropping her leaves

a few day by day, the first tree,

as she was to clothe herself

in spring. The more she lets go

the more the rest glow gold.




Ste Anne la Palud


Later the sea gentles at our feet,

breathes in and out, her tides

swell and subside; a constant,

just as the moon rises and fades,

each night a little different,

but always present.


There’s a constancy we crave

in our uncertain lives in these

uncertain times. Here on this

long Atlantic strand, we’re given it.

Roselle Angwin












Thursday 22 June 2023

(belated) poem for the summer solstice: Sometimes the Mind


Sometimes the Mind

This solstice morning a haze
slips through the gap between
the sweet chestnuts, this portal
the only place in our secluded
Home Meadow that reminds us
there’s a world out there
beyond the trees, that describes
        Sometimes the mind
slips out of key, out of gear,
tectonic plates on a different plane

and you remember for a moment
that there is something you’ve
forgotten, though what it is
you forget too; but the bosky
doorway, framed as it is in
creamy comets’ tails of chestnut
blossom with its bee-thrum
offers a glimpse of bliss

and as the early sun suddenly
floats free of the sky and floods across
the meadowgrass and mallow
over the honeysuckle and right on
into your eyes, in the time it takes
for this one sparrow to gatecrash your gaze
you know that it’s something so simple
you forget over and over: something to do

with kindness, something to do
with it being the only word, in the end,
that counts.

Roselle Angwin

My lovely friends, I know it might be a shock for you to see a post from me; since we have moved to Brittany I've been quiet and reflective; partly I'm considering my writing future. 

I've also been quite reclusive, getting to know this ancient house and the land of which we are guardians. We've spent a lot of time, too, outdoors reclaiming meadow to make a large vegetable garden, planting fruit trees, making a small wildlife pond, and appreciating the wild Home Meadow with its many fragrant roses and bee-shrubs and its orchard, so overgrown we didn't know of its existence until be moved in. We're also planning a future food-forest, planting willow and hazel for coppicing, and considering how we might best help biodiversity. This land has woodland and many bordering trees; we are becoming increasingly familiar with each tree in or on the meadows, but on the whole leaving the woodland that drops to the stream to itself.

There is much to say about all this.

The only writing I've really done is to keep a daily journal of here, and our experience here; this is a year now, nearly, and I have ideas for its further shape. There are still two poetry collections 'in the queue', and a prose poem book; plus a book of essays on place and belonging.

But I have also been working on my long-promised vegan cookbook; still a way to go (editing and checking facts and sources – much more exciting to create a new recipe or two!).

And meantime, there are various other creative projects simmering – if I could just tempt myself out of the hammock and onto the computer...

But I am cooking one or two new online courses again (at last), and if you might be interested in knowing about these and you are not already on my mailing list for my occasional newsletter, you can contact me through the sidebar.

Meantime, I'm considering re-establishing this blog, but migrating it over to Substack.

Till next time, may you live well, and deeply, and with kindness.

Friday 6 January 2023

haiku for the new year 2023


Haiku for the New Year (2023)

meditation bell
cold cup of tea and my
hands pretending warmth


in the wet holly
single drop of rain takes light
ignites the whole tree


in this one raindrop
swim mist sunshine robin-song
the whole world inside


hair dripping, clothes soaked
I bring in flowering twigs –
quince, honeysuckle


distracted by dogs
mind skitters   thread lost again
have to start over


woodstove incense twigs
in a bowl – even these things
clutter my mind


in the Christmas tree
lights reflect the fire

heart in the wrong place


even poetry feels
redundant for this crisis –
the first time ever


the world passes by
rainstorms gales mist sunshine ice
solstice   new year   now


after the storm
the light steals back –
shy animal


this moment – trying
to grasp it is like clutching
at grasshoppers


if this moment
is not for living deeply
then what is it for?


who said: ‘if we can’t
find it here where can we find it?’
I say it again


knowing it is here
my friend and I sit quietly
hoping it might visit

(for Pat)

© Roselle Angwin, January 2023

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