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stary rynek, the edge of springtime

the sun followed me to where
apollo, with his lyre, stood guard over the old market square.
magnolia stellata, wrapped in white paper,
confetti collecting in the cracks between cobblestones.
stary rynek,
the edge of springtime.

and i watched,
as the morning sky, which had been morphidae
(i mean to say it was black at the edges)
broke into a dawn that spilt ribbons of light like they were blue silk caught in the wind.
and there were pale sunbeams pouring,
over this silver, silent, world.

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under starry vaults and sails

under a cupola and a willow tree i watch whispering couples holding hands and walking quietly around cloister gardens. all i can hear is the sound of the wind, and from time to time, sunday service cathedral choirs singing latin hymns, or else chanting their sacred devotions, under starry vaults and sails. for a moment, i’m crying, it’s surprising. in the courtyard, the cherry plums are small, and crooked, sharp branches sparkling with sap, like frosted sugar crystals, petals as snow.

where the willow meets the water

a walk in the park, a picnic on the hill, there are bluebells growing in the shade, birds building nests where the willow meets the water. the wind still has a touch of winter to it, i think, pale white cherry plum petals falling like snow.

i lie down on the grass, daisies and dandelions dotted about, they’re drinking up the sun. the touch of now-not-quite-as-cold earth against crinkled coat against chiffon the colour of april rain clouds against bare skin. i drink the last of my karak tea, pull the hat over my eyes, see speckled light through woven straw sparkling, and once more, allow my thoughts their drifting, as they might decide. to love and loss and longing, and then to language and what might lie beyond all that, key to the cage or else divine diaphanous veil or maybe it’s all just easy enchantment. i’m so very uncertain about a lot, these days, but one thing i do know is that if i don’t have faith in there being some sort of guiding light within us, a never faltering flame that to those who go looking reveals some sort of secret inner something penetrating everything around and about all of this, well, that’s hardly worth thinking about.

later, at home, and i’ve a rose coloured bow in pulled back hair, and three blossoming branches have somehow found their way into the tall blue vase that now sits atop my dining table, next to the books stacked in clumsy piles, next to what is now about thirty courgette, pumpkin, strawberry, seedlings, all in their cardboard starter homes. i’ve cheese from the farmer’s market, black truffle, even, a slice of marmalade and elderflower cake, for later, and a map of the new forest. it’s a place i miss ever so much. memories of dungarees, moorland ponies, my first nursery and the cellophane as stained glass that was stuck to the segmented windows there. of the fleur-de-lys public house (haunted), of my mother’s shirt buttoned up hastily and thus incorrectly, the brown suede hiking boots, brown curls, how adorable my brother was, the ferns and the fiddleheads and the filtered light. to be remembered forever… it is a place that i will remember forever (this is so that you might understand who i am).

diary 26/03/19:

rachael’s house.

front door painted the colour of ivy and peeling.
front garden filled with brambles scrambling.
there are wellies in the hallway.
there are packets of seeds neatly compiled in wooden boxes on the kitchen table.
there are brown paper bags filled with bulbs.

rachael is a to-the-point but ever so kind sort of a person, she’s got white hair and asks rather a lot of questions about california. from a chipped cup (i don’t know why it is that i find chipped cups so incredibly charming, but i do), i most gratefully drink the very hot tea that she has made for me. an eighteen-year-old cat, with the palest blue eyes, watches over the scene with some amount of lazy curiosity.

it’s a five minute stroll to the allotments. on springfield road, there is a towering magnolia almost as tall as a house;

goblets or stars or waxy white and pale pink petal porcelain cups and saucers catching and then spilling over with sudden springtime showers. though it’s still quite cold, the top of the tree flowers, the ones most out of reach of me, closest to the sun, are opening up.

rachael walks more quickly than me, pulls a very heavy looking ring of keys from her coat pocket, there are perhaps 20. she searches a few moments for the correct one, it’s silver, and smaller than you might think, for a padlock so very impressive looking. chains and bolts, the size of my palm. the metal gate swings open.

devil’s claw, hellebore. elderly gentlemen, one even wearing a cap, perhaps he’ll be my mentor, wave to say hello. their plots are almost industrial, stripped bare black soil, i imagine they grow prize potatoes, submit them to country fairs, that sort of a thing. rachael warns me of the devil’s claw, i sign a few pieces of paper, hand over £72, and then assist for a few moments with the picking of the last few woody parsnips, left over from the winter.

my plot is long, thin, a jungle. my very own little piece of pretend wilderness.

ladybirds.
speedwell scattered about like spilled sapphires.
bumblebees, no wasps allowed.
forgotten rhubarb.

there’s a lot of evidence that a family were here before me. plastic toys, yellow diggers, monster trucks, a trampoline and sandpit, even. i don’t know where i’m going to put all of these things, i will have to rent a pick up truck. i pick up plastic bottles, and with all of my strength, and with bare hands (soon to be blistered), i lift a few logs and place them in a pile. if i want to burn them i’ll have to do it on saturday, after the farmer’s market, after beeswax candles and pastel de nata.

eventually, hopefully:

– a hand-painted wooden post.
– sweet pea swirling tendrils, climbing roses.
– one of those ornate french country tables, white, for bottles of wine and much-deserved lunch breaks.
– the ugliest pumpkins you might ever see.
– the surprising of my fellow plot-owners by not failing horribly or immediately.
– a miniature wildflower meadow.
– orange and yellow tomatoes.
– perhaps even a chicken or two.
– a sunhat, a linen skirt, freckled shoulders.

lemon drop daffodils

enchanted, frightened, in equal measure. eloi, eloi. edges of the wild, evergreens, powerlines. a little too old-fashioned, english girl impractically nostalgic. abalone shells as altar of eros, ink stained fingers planting tomatoes and irises. foxgloves, forget-me-nots, pressed into the pages of heavy books and forgotten forever. feed the hummingbirds before breakfast, they’ll hover about the kitchen window, sing the songs that appear as they wish. mint tea in a mason jar, mountain on my chest. eloi, eloi.

march 2019:

saturday evening. lemon drop daffodils, saint julian’s day, heavenly protector of wanderers far from home and looking to find safe lodging. old man’s beard, traveller’s joy. english pear scented candles crackle. shadow and glow. earlier this afternoon*, probably the last of this winter’s snow, although it was eleven degrees and i don’t entirely understand how. tonight, though, now, raindrops race one another from the top to the bottom of my apartment windows. lavender’s burning, lilac perfume. a spoonful of elderberry syrup, a two cup teapot, i fall asleep under stars on the ceiling.

the next morning, and there are blue ribbons tied around blackthorn branches. glassy petals, magnolia spearheads pointing up. i’ve tulips bundled in string, and i am sitting on a wooden bench by a willow tree, underneath an umbrella. i’m eating a belgian chocolate twist, but only because the pastry i actually wanted was sold out, again. there is a boy sat next to me, i think he’s about 13 years old or so, and he’s got a fishing rod and a bucket filled with bait. everything is blossoming, every person is a beacon. i can hear bicycle bells in the distance.

all of a sudden, the clouds, which had before been billowy, reflections in a rippling mirror lake, block out the sun, turn shadowy black, and then break into a hailstorm better than any i’ve ever seen before. each stone, icy pearl precious beyond comprehension and beyond my ability to describe. millions of years condensed into muted iridescence, now stinging my bright red, and very cold, fingers. i attempt to catch a few. my skirt whips about in the wind, and gusts blow parting patterns on pond water. everything moves into its rightful place.

lyra

i have guarded my heart, as hortus conclusus –
or, twisting trail of petals to tread.
all the while, venus has been wandering above us,
she’s been scattering patterns of stars overhead.
a couple fall, then catch, on the canopy,
the cypress ceiling, cosmic chancel, that shelters me.
now a capiz crescent wanes watchfully,
and the night sky is lapis lazuli.

sunken empires, seaweed forests

the sound of scissors through cellophane, upon returning home from a saturday spent with your grandfather. hours hovering about the kitchen, heart of home, heart of life, boeuf bourguignon and clattering conversations about crumbling down chapels, to be visited, along with sleeper trains to the scottish highlands, south of france summertime memories, how distant they all feel now, and there was a lecture on single malt whiskey, too.

unwrap two bouquets of the sweetest scented gypsophilia million star, and breathe it all in. stretch out the moment. flood senses. place both in their own vases on your dresser, magellanic clouds under an antique map of california. splash rose water on your face, pour sparkling wine into a portmeirion glass, it’s decorated with hand-painted sunflowers. attempt to give all of your thoughts away, for the rest of the day.

smile, and pull down the calendar that is pinned to your wall. scribble a few notes, flip a page, it is a new month, and there’s an illustration of alqualondë, or, the haven of the swans. a song about sunken empires and seaweed forests is set to repeat through your laptop speakers, as you stake some of the sweet peas that sit on your windowsill. like you, they lean into the light.

freya (diary)

it’s a stormy sunday early afternoon, and i am walking around moseley park and pool. skeleton leaf veins, looking like the finest antique lace, are catching raindrops, suspended glass spheres or kaleidoscopic crystal balls, colour captured. and there are tracing paper petals too, wild pear blossom, cherry plum, blackthorn.

i’ve got muddy knees, a soaked through coat, and am taking shelter from the (ever increasing in strength) rain under two very tall, and leafy even in the winter, trees. freya is almost here. later, when i’m home, and warm, and dry, i’ll light a few candles, the french ones, scented bluebell, and i’ll sit at my piano and listen to her as she pulls at branches, frees a tile or two from a neighbour’s roof, i think it’s possible that nature speaks only the truth.

winter bells

diary, last week of february, 2019.

 

catch alsophila aescularia in a mason jar.
cirrocumulus clouds above you, baby’s breath in your hair.
the sky is almost the same colour now as the persian speedwell
that’s scattered about everywhere,
and a bumblebee is hovering sleepily about bethlehem sage.
it’s the first you’ve seen this year.
set out a teaspoon of sugar water.
an unusually mild february. everything is waking up early.

*

the sun is on your shoulders.
you’ve jasmine petals in your pockets,
and winter bells helleborus, too.
watch as a blackbird plucks red berries from a holly bush,
one, after another, after another.

**

“there are snowdrop valleys and swiss mountain trains and by-the-wind sailors and sweet peas sprouting second leaves, there are children with clattering cans chasing bad spirits back into the ocean, the blackthorns are blossoming and they’re guarded by…” –

what are you going to do?

***

the sea is not a surface.
you have called the gods by their names,
and now they form within us.

mariner’s way

the sun is passing the sign of pisces,
a snow moon is sinking into dangerous seas.
well, a careful love was never enough for me,
and it has been found again – eternity.
it’s a spire shell tossed to a sacred well
or a sailor’s prayer set to the song of hosanna’s bell
it’s a red ribbon tied around a golden bough
and the pale yellow crocuses growing in circles now.

 

 

 

  1. mariner’s way is an ancient track that sailors once used to travel across dartmoor. people aren’t quite sure where it was, exactly, but there’s probably some ancient scroll hidden away somewhere dusty, just waiting to be discovered.
  2. hosanna’s bell can be found at buckfast abbey, it’s a benedictine monastery, they’re famous for their tonic wine, too. i’ve not tried it.
  3. sharing honest writing is very difficult for me, even on this odd public diary/blog.