About sarahsouthwest

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.

Ah, Persephone

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!

August: haibun for dVerse

August begins and ends with a public holiday. It’s a month of dreams and disappointments.

August smells of hot fat and seaweed. It tastes of vanilla, woodsmoke and cheese sandwiches. August drips ice-cream, sits in traffic jams, laughs loudly. August plays the neon muzak in the amusement arcade, clamours like gulls, patters rain on the caravan roof. August is a pint of cider, a can of lager, a glass of pink fizz. August is Pac-a-macs and crushed crisps and village fetes and bunting and sandcastles and sun-hats and fleecies and the first blackberry and a sudden, mad dash into the sea.

grains of sand
waves roll endlessly
harvest gathered

For dVerse

End Times

I’m cat-stretched on the patio –
cool drink, warm stones –
and we’re star-watching.
They ease gently into view,
the ancient stars, deep history –
and the satellites. We count them, idly.
Will they be there forever, too?
Is that how they will know –
those aliens who come visiting
in some far future – that we
were here? The junk that circles
this blue planet?

Half the world’s burning
half is drowning.
Half the world’s grieving,
half’s just greeding – we
are dancing on the edge,
unseeing. It’s like we crave
oblivion.

Our swollen bellies
filling up with plastic,
the ocean drowning in it.
Half the time I’m sickened
by myself, my own consuming –
I try, I fail, I fall, I try again.
Lay me out. Satellite me
with my junk. How
would you ever find me?
How would I reach you?

It’s earthweal time, and this week we are all getting very excited about the Anthropocene Hymnal, brainchild of our very own Ingrid Wilson. She’s been very open about the amount of work needed to create an anthology, and I’m really looking forward to reading this. All profits will go to WWF. The cover is by Kerfe Roig, and it’s a thing of beauty. You can read Brendan’s interview with Ingrid here: https://earthweal.com/2021/07/19/a-poetry-that-does-not-compromise-the-anthropocene-hymnal/

I went to the sea

I took it all with me
the grief and the anger and the fear
and she took it
like she takes all our shit
and she smoothed it
the way she might smooth a stone or a piece of glass
and she cradled me
the way a mother might cradle a frightened child
and her pulse
was my pulse

and I left with it all
the grief and the anger and the fear
a little smoother now
a little easier to carry

For Sherry at earthweal. Hard times.

Up on “The cure for sleep”

Tanya Shadrick has written a book called “The Cure for Sleep”. It’s due to be published in January 2022. As part of her project she is publishing extracts on Substack and encouraging other writers to respond to them. You can find her website here: https://thecureforsleep.com/

I love Tanya’s writing and I’m really looking forward to the book being published. In the meantime, I’ve managed to respond to a couple of her extracts. You can find my latest response on “choosing” here: https://thecureforsleep.com/the-cure-for-sleep-june/#SarahConnor

And you can find more stories here: And there are more stories here: https://thecureforsleep.com/beyond-the-book/

Summer solstice – haibun for dVerse

The solstices suit me. I’m not balanced enough for the equinoxes – I’m drawn to long days, evenings stretching out like shadows, the scent of roses, pipistrelles flittering overhead, the rooks chattering comfortably. I love the winter solstice, too, – the early darkness, the nights of frosts and stars, the nights when the moon hurtles through cloudscapes, the call of owls.

I like coming at sunrise from the wrong direction.

I like staking a claim on night.

On this solstice day, the everything is bursting with life. June has brought roses and honeysuckle, the trees are leaf-heavy, the fields are re-growing after their first mowing, the hedgerows are frothing with elderflowers and Queen Anne’s lace, with dog roses and wild campion. It’s our moment to dance at the top of the year.

shadows stretch
I am a goddess
flower-crowned. 

A solstice haibun for Frank at dVerse.

June dreaming

It’s June, and I’m dreaming of roses –
roses that murmur
in all shades of pink,
from the whispers of kisses
to the bright brazen hussies
that hang over the path.

There are roses here
for all of your dreams:

the striped ones,
that trumpet
a thousand big tops,
tatty but tempting,

or that pure white wildling
escaped from the hedgerow
that carries me homeward,

or, buxom and wholesome,
the rambler that climbs,
and blushes and nods
as you enter the gate

or the red one that carries
the rich smell of wine,
and the softness of lipstick,
the warmth of a dress,
the gloss of a nail. .

I could drown here, you know,
I could drown in this garden, that’s
heavy with petals heavy with rain.

It’s June.
and I’m drowning in roses.

Dreaming for the solstice with earthweal.