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sundial or sea-bird (diary)

a pearl grey propitious first february morning
and i’ve faith as a sundial or a sea-bird’s wing
and like me, the ivy leaves are all shivering
and there are silver bell snowdrops, each will ring in the spring.



it is imbolc, brigid’s day,  candlemas, a traditional beginning of spring, and i’m wearing inherited pearls and reading about stellaria holostea.

i am the ‘flower of sorrow’
so they say
no glory can i borrow
from the May
yet, starlike, mid the green
my fragile flowers are seen
so faith her steadfast eye
lifts to the sky

it’s a second hand charity shop book on plant lore, illustrated by rosemary wise and written by josephine addison. i’ve also a very old-fashioned book on traditional british cooking, and it’s just fantastic. summer pudding, fisherman’s stew, sand cakes, and stilton mousse (which sounds awful, in my opinion). tomorrow, i’m to finish my packing for the ukraine:

– bobble hat, two
– camera, two
– lenses, three
– impractical phrases scribbled on a piece of paper, three
– diary, three
– pair of brand new lace up leather boots, one
– wool socks, two
– proper coat, zero

and, then, i’m going to go to a favourite cafe and drink one of their ridiculously strong little coffees, they’re the sort that come in a silver-rimmed glass and are served with pistachio pastries. february is my second favourite month, after december, because it’s, still, fiercely cold, the 19th is my birthday (we’re going for afternoon tea!), and there’s usually frozen ponds, snowdrops, romance.

i’m also, this month, considering a change of career:

– lunaria telekiana hunter, and then preserver
– forget me not or sweet pea seed starter
– aficionado of odd french herbal elixirs and berry liqueurs
– out of focus frost macro photographer
– butterfly, better yet, moth collector
– baker of babkas
– mythographer.


iseult’s grief – 1

he was stood at the brink of evening,
honesty eyes open wide,
each their own little lunaria full moon.
it would be sundown soon, he knew,
and so silently he watched, as the afternoon sky,
which had been streptocarpus bethan blue
began to sink into a darkness that would be lit only, that night,
by stippled specks of starlight,
silver ink and indigo.

where i was,
there was ivy hanging from the ceiling
and i was thinking about iseult’s grief,
and love everlasting,
and how tendrils and vines will tie themselves in knots.
in two terracotta pots, forget me nots.



the magazine i’ve been reading suggests that i choose between:

option 1. cyclical chiral accretion, contraction, cohesion.
option 2. entanglement, error-correcting code.
option 3. i don’t suppose i could ever really know.


if my mother hadn’t had four children, she’s always said that she would’ve liked to have become an astronomer. my father’s guitars, my mother’s love of the stars, telescopes and cups of tea. and then, somewhere in the middle, there’s me. 

kansas city’s auyon mukharji is singing silk and sticky spun sugar, clay and cast iron. a gale blows over, and then breaks, the birdfeeder, slams heavy wooden doors shut, lessens for a little while and then strengthens again. somewhat similarly, my thoughts go speeding. sunday morning superluminality, but i did have birthday cake for breakfast. victoria sponge, two iced and caffeinated coffees, clementine juice.


approaching daybreak, and once again
the snow that was falling has turned to rain
and my hyacinth heart bursts from flower to flame,
petals as blood, it is always the same.




i’ve been reading about cladonia cristatella, and white-striped parasol scilla. in less than a month, i am going to be 28. i’ll either take myself to paris on a train, or else i’ll drive to see hopefully thousands of snowdrops, again, there’s a special walk you can do around the gardens of a grand old house near to where my father’s studio used to be, they’ve dozens and dozens of different breeds. things that don’t help me fall asleep: the silmarillion, valerian tea, worrying.

capiz moon / diary 01.21.19

a capiz moon retires its light to a softening silver sea of first fog, and i am here listening to the sound of boiling water being poured through the little teapot that i’ll set in place next to the candle on my bedside table. lavender, valerian. somewhere north, this morning, there’ll be sunshine yellow guiding gorse petals glittering with frost. and, somewhere further, hopefully, there’s mycena luxaeterna, or eternal light, illuminating a very dark and hidden patch of some faraway forest, to be seen by noone. somewhere else, a family i know will be lacing up their already muddy boots, jumping in the car, dogs in the back, flasks-in-hand, they’ll be heading to dartmoor, i’ve been thinking about down tor, or else, to the beach. and in california, the southbound coastal starlight will have just reached los angeles, city of dreams, where reality and fantasy melt into one another in the heat.

blackthorn, blood moon

a bleak january evening approaching ethereality
on a railway bridge
as the fog’s falling byssine, and brilliantly, around me.
in the hedgerows, the blackthorn and hazels are blossoming.
and everything else is moving underneath, quietly,
you can’t see it but there’s beauty blooming silently, silently.
it waits for the spring.

my uninterrupted attention is prayer.
what celestial circumstance brought me here?
there’ll be a blood moon tonight, the last for ten years.
selenelion sunlight scattered by atmosphere
until it turns rust-red peculiar
and then disappears.



(i’m going to try valerian tea tonight, maybe i’ll sleep a little better)

snow and snow and snow

diary: 01/18/10


all of a sudden, the snow is falling, and without a moment’s pause, i’m out in the garden. the birdbath is frozen, and it’s almost midnight. this feels like dreaming. i’m catching snowflakes with frozen fingers, they’ll turn red and sting soon, but not yet. it’s the sort of clumping snow that i don’t expect will linger long, brief and brilliant beauty, and each flake is half the size of my palm, or, almost. my hair is soaking, i can’t stop shivering, i’m only wearing a skirt and a turtleneck, but i couldn’t care less, there are very few things better than this, and soon enough i’ll borrow my brother’s coat.


there are 41 different types of snow crystal, apparently. stellar, sector, simple, sheath, each requiring a particular set of circumstances for its creation/crystallization. the most commonly spotted snowflake is the symmetrical, six armed, star-shaped, stellar plate. when i was a little girl, i’d fold a piece of a4 paper in half, and with scissors i’d cut patterns into it, unfold, and then cover the paper in silver glitter and glue. they never quite looked right, but i did try.


each winter, the japanese coastal city of otaru plays host to the snow light path festival, or, otaru yuki akari no michi. compacted snow and ice candles, each with a hollowed-out centre, line the city streets, and when set aglow, they light up something like lanterns, amongst snow sculptures, icicles, ice-shrines. families can buy sweets, or steaming hot ramen from a stall, and they can wander down candle-lit canal paths, say their prayers, and then sleep at a ryokan, if they like, once the night is done, rosy-cheeked and smiling. for years, i have wanted to go, and for as long as i can remember, i have loved the snow, how it softens, stills, silences. it pays to forever remember that there are snowflakes and sunbeams in this world, though neither are quite of it.

lichen as lace

the tallest of treetops are my temple arch
and there are cyclamen, snowdrops, lining my path
through this frost-frozen forest, dewdrops, grass, as stained glass
rising incense, the scent of sea air and wildflowers.

i’ve got silver birch bones, and i’ve paper thin skin
and near-transparent, i’ve a heart that lets everything in
so with lichen as lace, i’ll go wandering this place,
seek the shadow and shade of each meadow and glade.

preston sands

it’s rather a windy mid-january day, and i am in torbay, wandering about the rolling cliffside gardens of a fading 19th century mansion. celandine, winter heliotrope, snowdrops, snapdragon, there are several wooden benches too, for sitting down and admiring the view, and there’s a particularly ornate, but switched off, water fountain, weather-worn ancient sea gods and sirens, still proud, but paint peeling. there’s even a crocus or two, though they’re not yet in full bloom. all about me, dew drops are clinging to every blade, and over the ocean, clouds and sunbeams alternate, shadows stretching and contracting. the sunlight fades, illuminates, and fades again, and on the horizon, there’s the distant, but eventual, promise of rain.

i find my way to paignton’s preston sands, where stephanie tells me that each seventh wave is the strongest. there are strandline seashells of every sort, washed up onto shore. whelk, whorled, silver striped and slipper limpets, all caught in the rippling ribbons and ridges of shale and shingle saltation, sea-polished cobble and perfectly spherical pebbles aplenty.  a black labrador bounds about, braving the breaking waves, which are growing in strength, pawprints in patterns, and a little girl wearing a sparkling black coat and pink wellingtons boots is constructing a castle, from sand, spade, and bucket, next to the creaking pier. today, i am meant to be here.