Day 12: The Sherd

We walk to a ruined corn mill on the river

Mole hills everywhere and I resist the urge to look

Children chattering

Sunlight warming my face

The water roaring through a squeeze in the limestone

Time offers us the gifts of Spring



A small white flash catches my eye

It is a piece of pottery

Sticking out of the dirt.

Not one for anything so new

I nearly disregard it

But then

A bridge

A cloud and a roof top

Appear as I rub the mud away


Step into this



Hermits and Taoist monks

Palaces of gold and red

Bridges, ornate and magical

Cold, crisp mountain air

For this is above that cloud

High, high into mountains



I hear the mountain birds and somewhere somehow my mind confuses this

With Aslan’s Country

Flashes of blues and streaming tail feathers

And sparkling streams

So high, there in the Utter East that

Nothing should be growing

Except Enlightenment





It is a small picture on the edge of a tea cup

Delicate and once,

Perhaps, for the wealthy and educated

To sip their tea as they oversaw

The miller at his work



The river roars,

Squeezed through the limestone gap

While the walls crumble and

The tea cup has shattered

And Time has moved on

Yet the bridge remains



Day 11: Oh, the cold!

Balmy days turn flat on their face

A blistering wind

But is it? Perhaps I’ve gone soft with the warm sun’s promises

Wind from the north blows ice and snow under my neck

And I retreat indoors

And layer up




Dogs can wait for walks

Because Springtime-Me

Has been activated and won’t


Back to the cold




The sun warms my most secret of desires

Awoken by the smell

Of new Apple buds and

Hawthorn leaves that taste of

Spicy sugar



Pheromones of horny birds

Have stirred my being

And no!

I will not go back

Day 10: Too much

Today I will hide

From the pain of fearing what will happen once this reaches the camps

And the slums

And I don’t know if my heart can take the fear




While at the same time, we laughed

So freely we laughed and laughed

For what we laughed at left us free from all constraints and

We couldn’t help ourself if we wanted to



Both are true and

Both truths need holding


So close to my heart as to be swallowing it whole




To despair and to laugh in equal,

Free abandon;

Perhaps now I realise what it is to be human


Day 9: Sentimental

A new born lamb- for slaughter

Or the brass box my great uncle made

Her wedding dress

Flints in a molehill

And the last photos of the dying son




Each turns us from ourselves

Into the deepest, most broken





That can change the course of who we once thought we were




Sentimental value?


A word so confused,

Banded about like an insult

Or a hold-all for that which rips us apart

The word should be discarded by civilised people

Who claim to know

How this feels






Day 8: Virus

Since 1908

And the first case of HIV

Long before even that

We have stripped Nature to her knees

For assets

And occasional viruses



Not so occasional now, it seems

And we are not so immune from

Our foolish appropriation of that which was never ours





Swine flu



Coronas of many numbers



More whose scientific names I forget

To my shame

Because the list should be listed

Lest we forget and go back

To taking what isn’t ours

And getting what we’re given

When we never factored it in




I am sorry

So sorry

The sorrow fills and spills over into rage

When all this is over and the



Have been counted

We will hang our heads in shame

And find our place in the world again

With humility and finally



Day 7: wild garlic over a camp fire

Walk to the riches

Can you smell it before you can see?

Choose far from the path

The dogs will piss where they want

And humans kick muck onto the wildness



Picking the leaves

The juices smear onto fingers

And there is no need to wash



This juice smells like garlic caught behind

A full-powered radiator

And the body is infused



Clutching the chunky bouquet

We each carry a meal

Out of the forest

And home to be mixed with

Lemon juice

Pine nuts

Olive oil

Salt and




The camp fire gets ferocious

The pots go on

As the heat grows the fiery smell subsides

As if there is no more need for it in the air

But once it’s inside us

The power of the plant does what is does

Warm and well from within

Day 6: A hammock can be many things

Blackbird chats noisily overhead

While they row row row

Their boat gently down the stream

A hammock can be many things




As the sun goes down

The starlings come out

They look up from their observation post

To say

They started at six o’clock with only their friends

And began a little clump of promise

Zooming around the sky

Then their friends got the message and

More and more of them arrived

Until now

Look mummy!

The sky a filled with murmuration

And squeaking and

Occasional drops of shit on the roof



Intensely the group constricts

The noise grows startling


Confusing and a little bit scary



The shapes are fluid


Breathtaking in their daring-do


The hammock is a refuge

Their safe space to hide and watch

What mysterious orchestration is this display?

Ferocious movement

Intense choosing



Completely they

Roost and settle


A Little Samhain trickery from Down Under- from 2018

Being in Australia at the turning of the seasons is very unsettling. Social media is showing me how the uk and Europe are swift becoming warmed, bathed in longer days and the promise of better weather. While here the summer is long gone and the days are turning cooler. Everything is relative, of course and even these days are over 20c, bright blue sky over ripe fig trees.

My family have been enjoying surfing lessons. I asked the instructor if anyone is planning a Samhain-esque end of autumn. He looked blankly at me; how can they here have a similar event to our Halloween? Their Halloween is on the same day as in the northern hemisphere and therefore utterly bereft of ritual significance of the Ancestors. May Day means nothing, of course, and it cannot be translated.

So here I sit on Samhain in Australia. Aware of it alone. Nothing is organised on a community level and no cultural significance is given to the ending of their summer months. Winter begins tomorrow and that is important.

One fine day in the middle of the night,

Two dead men got up to fight,

Back to back they faced each-other,

Drew their swords and shot each-other.

For some unknown reason I’ve been reciting this little ditty to the girls. I haven’t known until now why it had popped into my consciousness. But now I see that I have been aware of topsy-turvy reality: it has seeped into my mind and come out as a little kids’ rhyme.

I have wondered these last few days how to ritually communicate this money of transition. I feel that Samhain somehow isn’t quite right here. Offerings, symbols and objects need to be of this world and not of the old. So I have collected a few items while beach-combing:

A real sponge, bleached sea kelp, stones that the girls think are dragons’ scales and a beautiful pine cone.

Let’s see what happens later, when the Awen flows and the inspiration of the land takes these rambling awakenings and turns them into a moment of awareness.

Day 5: If we are so rich

If we are so rich

How come recession looms

And starvation of our elders

And breakdown of global life support systems are imminent?



If we are so rich

And we have built irrefutable wealth in the blood and bones of billions

For tens of thousands of lies and years

Then why does the homeless man fear these corona days?




That is not richness

That is a poverty

So extreme as to make soldiers cry out in pain

And children’s nightmares fill their wide eyes



If we are so rich then

Where is the richness?

Who has it?

Hidden away in bunkers and under silken bedsheets

While the rest of us choose

If we should lie next to our loved ones

For fear of hurting them




If we are so rich

How come the richest I ever feel is when

I lie

Under the apple trees

Looking into the empty sky

With Blackbird and Wren and Tern

Talking over my non-existent collection of cells

While I sway

While I feel the breeze and the still-cool air

And feel the changing season


Ancestral wound

We are all from unbroken lines of ancestral resilience

That is our richness

Day 4: Fear grabs at me today

Fears grab at me today

From the hidden crevices of my mind

What if?

Breathe into not knowing

Can you, please?

This tight chest doesn’t suit



I put up the hammock today and

Lay, swinging,


At a biplane flying overhead

In an empty sky it flew

Free and detached from all of this



People walked past my window, milling,



I tingle with incomprehension



Stay at home!

They activate their privilege and immunity

To the consequences of their actions

While my neighbour struggles to breathe

Through her 40-a-day habit

But she’s self-quarantined and

They are not



So who deserves the hospital bed?


The rage comes out

Oozing from me

Slowly and quietly

So as not to make a fuss



I hold my children tightly

And shield them from their