Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Garden Of Light

////Like black crows they move around me - in a garden of light. Forever there, neither comforting or alarming; just an unwanted prescence, black means death and mourning////

Verse JS // image Pinterest 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Family Holidays

Always a challenge - family holidays. And especially when you plan for beaches and sun and you get wood burners, rain and waterproofs. Let me tell you about my hatred of sports/weather specific gear and outward bound kit. All part of my strong dislike of 'doing what I'm told' or 'what I should'. I'll admit to leggings for the gym but always black and normal vest tops. A few years ago I finally gave in to the Scottish weather and bought a Didriksons jacket- stylish and bloody warm - made for Swedish winters- I had to rest my case on that one. But this holiday I was totally caught out and a long walk to see standing stones and abandoned villages, left me chilled to the bone when the rain came on half way through. Oh the ignominy of having to buy light weight waterproofs in Bute in July. Remember I was born in Scotland - I should know better....

......But it is magical and beautiful here so we will make the best of it. Another walk (this time in my waterproofs) to a ruined church at the tip of Bute in the poaring rain- at this point it had been raining incessantly all day held a perfect moment. An elderly woman parked front of us and walked up slowly behind us, no doubt tutting at our children's bickering, or so I thought. As the children careered around the newly mown grass avoiding standing on the flattened tombs (their reverential wet weather church yard game- believe me they have visited a lot of ruined churches.....) I came across her lighting a candle in a prayer nook. We spoke and she told me this place was her husband's favourite and the family had sprinkled his ashes here. She told me that she comes back every year 'and will do so as long as she can walk up the hill' in order to remember him. At that moment I felt my heart swell with the love she had known and the love I have, despite all the difficulties. Life, family life is hard but it is worth every previous second��

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Summer Days

There is a face in that tree - can you see it? Well I can and I know it's a very kind spirit. These woods are here for us and I never come out of them feeling anything but 'better'. Good times with friends on a summer day. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Sands That Change

Beach life is good. Unaccustomed to it as we are, still we manage. And UK, well Scottish beaches are a thing apart. They are all sand and shingle, rock pools and crabs. Sunburn and wind caused goose flesh. Always a mix of extremes- just the way I like it. 

But this year our beach was much changed- swathes of missing sand and newly appeared long, flat rock formations and clusters of boulders like a family of trolls hunkering together in what remained. 

'But it hasn't changed for years', I kept saying to locals. Some looked at me sympathetically, others tried to tell me that the beach changed, subtly, EVERY day. What they were trying to tell me was that you can't keep perfect memories about something that lives and changes, that is in itself a force of nature. Best to embrace the ever changing coastline, to see it for what it is - a metaphor for life. 

Saturday, 30 May 2015

//Poems//The Forest Book//

Forest Girl

With eyes deep as owls and my
Flagrant denials of self.
With the faint spoor of the forgotten.
Deep green winter cowls.
Aspects of stars in blackness
And the precious night will show me
Departed people as metaphors.
Silence reverberates through
The indigo coolness.
Walking with the shadows of the trees
Casting inky blue pools at my feet. 
Red Hair

I’m half hidden beneath the hawthorn tree
I vouch my life they won’t ever see me.
My incarnation is wispy and winnowed
I’m barely here on my own terms.
I march through my wooded groves of violent
My home is hard and unyielding but it is all I have
Ever known. All I've ever known. It is all I've ever known.
Blood stains and iron scent that I perfume myself 
With. I’m expert at killing for nourishment.
Black serge dress and windings of wool
Raise steam as I walk for miles.
Hunks of elbow and ungainly movements
Borne of nights on forest floors with
Rocks beneath my head.
Flame red hair flowing behind me
Wound with acorns and cloves that I’ve saved.
Dusty hearts of puffballs explode brown smoke
That wreaths around my ankles.
I disappear into an ancient hedgerow. 
Ice Heart
Its beating stopped long ago
With jagged uncertainty I meander through what’s left.
Ice scrunched under booted feet, I stamp and I stamp
What’s left of life and of civility in me.
Like piss yellow snow I’m rank and pale
The boughs of winter willow scrag and catch my hair.
Bed of boughs bent into shelter. 
Yearning for heat and consumed by the primary of blood. Weekend prayers and Craving will forever conclude in tears.
There isn’t a hand can touch me now or spirit me away.
Anger holds me here and protects me from my fears.

Overhanging birch roof on my bothy's walls
Dripping diamond rain drops when it storms.
I curl up warm in hides, fire licking my nose. 
Moss and ivy adorn my walls, tiny orchids burst in spring.
Despite harrowing winds my tindered fires keep me warm.
Fallow deer sniff round the door and kick their tiny hooves.
I’ve a moratorium on killing them
I like their company.
Intelligent eyes. Sad small hearts that keep away the lies.
Skins and hides line my nook.
Beneath them lies my heavy locked chest.
Dried baby’s breath and marigolds disintegrate inside.
Far away from earthly things I smile and tend my fires. 

The Tales

They tell the bairns the fairy tales 
To make them bend and comply.
They dinna tell them properly
In mine the woman has victory.
You sink your man’s head in
A pot plant and you keep a
Mouthful of blood. 'The jessamine will flower
And the truth will out'.
Bloody knives cut on her every step
That’s a real fairy tale for you.
Nothing in exchange for nothing
A mermaid’s tale for blood tears.
Like the wraith snow child
Dreams of a life will melt and waste.
You can pretend a family bower
But it ends in weeping and scarlet rage.
Forest Anaesthesia 
Forest memories and arcs of sparkling yellow light.
Foxes' eyes florescent fluorescent in headlights.
Cool set of moss beneath, tiny droplets surface and tickle my toes. 

Tap, tap on the window, spinning on my heels
Blur of grey alerts me to the tiny visitor.
So set are his visits, someone fed him before me.
Exchanging one prison for another has been my life
Forest, marriage, motherhood and now a locked ward.
My way was always blocked
A foot in the door jamb.
Another baby, another move,
another congregation of fools
To be ministered to.
My animals still know me.
Doctors never work out what I need. 
My secrets are in a fairy pool
Stowed deep beneath the black water.  
Not for me therapy or fixing.
Nothing can bring back my fire coloured hair. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Poems//The Autumn Queen//

The Autumn Queen

A crown of gourds and acorns
As orange as pumpkin juice.
I uncurl and trace my fingers
Through bark carved curlicues. 
Acorn cups to hold my blood 
I raise a glass and drink to you.
Bark free initials that will leave
An indented sign or two.
Curled so tight I bend in ways
My heart won't recover.
White limbs like forced narcissus
My pale nakedness received forever. 
Seed head bones click clack
In the space between my ears.
I roll and turn in leaf mulch
Black as tar my frigid fears. 
Droplet sparkles of summer rain 
Stowed inside green tonic wine glass.
I drip the diamonds on my finger tips
I tell the spiders 'this pain will pass'.
Mallow orbs of snowberries
Make me shiver and ache.
Their stringent woody taste  
Quiets the fretting for everyone's sake.

{This is the first of a series of seven linked poems called The Forest Book. I think I will publish them altogether in the next few days. They focus on my interest in forests, in gender and in power.}

{Image from Pinterest}

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Some Things

I've been spending time in my head with all the things going on. In other words the winter brain fog where I let my mind run around and around in concentric circles. Despite this my sporadic productivity has still managed to produce a set of 8 poems I am 'tears in eyes' proud off. I have spent hours listening to that misanthrope Josh Tillman. I've concluded he must see in my head or we are cut from the same bit of dishevelled black velvet. I am still wayward and difficult, which are not necessarily the bad things they can be. 

I have been thankful for the fact that it's all still holding together. It is in part that I can see the beauty wherever I turn. It's like a magic trick I keep thinking I will lose the power to conjure up - this ability to see and to find value in everyday life. There are a million threads of narrative in one turn of the head, a vast world with a spin and a click of your heels. And I do 'feel it all' and sometimes it hurts but sometimes it helps.