I'm now in my early 50s. I started writing again as a way of exploring the world, and feel that over the last 2 years I have really grown as a writer. By day I work with children and young people with mental health difficulties. I juggle my own two children, my work, my writing practice, generally managing to keep all the balls up in the air.
He makes his way carefully across the waste ground, prodding with his stick as he goes. I wonder what he’s after? What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish? Ivy and bindweed and fireweed and sallow – nothing edible as far as I can see. Maybe he’s not after food. Maybe he’s a scavenger, hoping to find something useful – plastic, cloth, old tin cans? I could tell him this ground’s been picked over again and again. I could tell him to watch out, there’s danger here. Scarier things than me.
I don’t. I don’t say anything. I keep myself hidden, peer out from my hollow.
I like to hear him sing. It reminds me of being warm, and clean, and of something sweet…and milky…ah – I can’t think of it. I keep watching, keep listening, but the words won’t come.
Prosery for Mish at dVerse. 144 words of flash fiction, containing a line from a poem. Tonight’s poetry quotation is from T S Eliot: ” What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?”.
That summer, I became adept at finding beauty. I reached out for it – the clean-scrubbed nails on the nurse’s fingers. They were beautiful. The green flesh of an avocado; a spider’s web, caught in a hedge – all beauty. I held it like a trophy. I was so greedy for the loveliness of a child swinging in a playground, of a light caught in water of a bird turning on emptiness – I collected it, collated it, I held it tightly, threw it high, up into the air, like cherryblossom or confetti, like the light that shatters through the branches of a tree.
I am more than flattered to feature in this week’s earthweal prompt. Sherry reminds us to look for beauty, to show Mother Earth our joy.
Is this a sad song, or a happy one? I’m never sure. But turn it up, let all that richness pour out of the speakers. Let it roll, and see the world unfurl under your gaze. Look again at every tree, at that dog sniffing at the wall, at that child holding tightly to his mother’s hand. That’s love. Look at the sky. It’s blue. It’s truly blue. Look at the grass. It’s green. Look out for love – it comes in different ways. Yes, turn it up. He’s singing now. We’re singing, too. It’s true – what a wonderful world this is, the one we’re living in, the one we’re moving through.
For Lill at dVerse, who asked us to choose a birthday number one from the Birthday Hits website. My birthday obviously sits very close to Eurovision, so I had some…interesting… birthday number ones. This is one of my daughter’s favourite songs, so I chose it for her. And because it’s a wonderful song.
Also, I’m very happy because I’ve worked out how to do single line spacing in a poem on WordPress!
I don’t really get writer’s block. But sometimes I don’t write much, and sometimes I don’t write at all. I’m learning to trust those fallow times. The fields look very bare in winter, but there’s a lot going on deep in that cold earth.
in the dark earth
daffodil bulb planted
waiting out winter
This is our coastline. We have mapped it, claimed it with feet and eyes and breath: Skerne, where we saw the sparrow hawk, the place where the cormorants hang their black wings out to dry, the rounded cobbles, mapped with barnacles; and Sandymere, where I’ve seen fish thrown up and dancing in the cresting waves; and Westward Ho! – all fish and chips and ice-cream cones, and serious rock pools. Abbotsham and Peppercombe, Bucks Mills – deep valleys running to the sea, steep wooded walls and bluebells and a badger, once. Fairy Cross and Blackchurch Rock and Hartland Quay, where the sun drops heavily behind the sloping rock and all the cliffs are carved back, stripped to the deep past. Shipload Bay is seals and sandwiches – then Welcombe Mouth, Gull Rock and Crackington, and Sandymouth: Pebbles and sandy feet and salt-caked skin. Herring gulls and peregrines. The day the swallows came. The sea claws at the land here, seal-grey, scouring at angles, carving, carving. We have left our laughter here, our voices calling, calling. We’ve left our fading photographs and sea-bleached stories to be washed clean and worn away.
Yggdrasil is dying.
I’ve seen it –
branches bare as arms
reaching towards the sky.
Trees scream silently,
carrying the heavens
in their branches,
weaving the world
with their roots –
what happens now?
Yggdrasil fumbles, falls -
worlds drift away -
the gods slip into darkness -
frost and fire and flood -
and where will we find wisdom
now Yggdrasil is dying?
Whose arms will we hang in?
Brendan at earthweal invites us to write about trees. Here in Devon, our ash trees are dying. They are such a massive, ancient part of our landscape – the countryside round here is going to look very different in 5, 10 years’ time. I’ve been part of a project called the Ode to the Ash Tree Project. As an extra bonus, here’s a video of Katy Lee performing my poem Devon Ash. You CAN watch the video – just click where it says Watch on Vimeo.
sometimes she stands and lets herself be an emptiness where there is no rain. Sometimes she is the space between sunbeams, the stillness within the wind. Sometimes she is a silence. Sometimes she is the pause before movement, music, laughter. Sometimes she is enough.
Six months of darkness – six months of light – six months on the starless riverbank, six months of throbbing music, hip pressed to hip. Six months of black coffee, too much vodka, and the smoky flavour of his tongue in your mouth; Six months in a green garden. Six months of power, queening it Over all those fluttering, frail souls. Six months of daughtering.
Eat the seeds, Persephone. Eat the seeds.
I’m hosting at dVerse tonight and we are looking at the Persephone myth. Check it out!