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Showing posts from September, 2017

Wisteria Moon

lace in the window
the poetry of clouds
rose-scented smoke
listening to old ghosts of myself

lace shadows underfoot
quiet cups of tea
blossom and ferns
dreaming of trees

one day I will find the path again
or else decide to stay
one day I will know for certain
one day I will believe

photography by jacky parker

A Witch In Town

Down in the valley where berries tangled with old secrets and the moon went to sleep, down in the valley of wild quiet and tree dreams, lived a witch. The townspeople knew she was a witch because they said so. She said nothing back, except a few common words - bread, milk, please, how kind, that sort of thing - when she came to buy her groceries. Half the time she had an expression on her face as if, infuriatingly, she was not even seeing the townspeople, but gazing instead on something else - the devil's tail, perhaps. The other half of the time her eyes seemed to shine, as if tear-filled or enchanted.

She was neither young nor old. She looked like a rather plain woman on a purple bicycle that probably turned back into a broom in the valley. A woman with copper-coloured hair and long, patched dresses and a troubling smile. Of course she was a witch.

She cut her cats out of the night sky and gave them stars for eyes.

She caught wishes on cobwebs and ate them with her porridge, w…

The Water Cycle

Every day, beneath the tenderness of new sunlight and the quiet sorrow of fading stars, a woman went down to the pool. It lay between her house and the unkempt meadows, and when she sat there she could look to the candlelight blossoming in window after window as the household slowly woke, or she could look to the shadows of animals creeping through the meadow mist. Sometimes she looked for a little while. Other times she lay her face in her hands - because she came to the pool for weeping.

Every day, weeping, as the sun rose and dreams slipped away.

Once it had been that she wept for a reason, but now it was simply what she did come morning. She spilled her heart into the silent bright water. And then she returned home feeling refreshed.

But that was a melancholy household, where sighs wove a shroud around words. And so the woman found no reason not to go down to the pool every morning for weeping. And every morning afterwards she sat in the kitchen with softening eyes and sighs, and…

she dreams in storms and velvet

sometimes the rain in your heart, in the dark sometimes a wild sea storm
and you dance because you must that's the way your body goes your heart, your dark your wild secret soul
you dance the world that no one knows rain, and sea, and storm
they would know looking at you if only they really looked

picture by three nails photography

The Joyful Servant of Story

I believe that story has a voice of its own, and this voice, coming as it does from some deeper place of life, speaks with a truth that is healing. When writers allow story to be itself, without the imposition of their own ego, then (give or take the writer's skill) story's truth can pass through and its medicine can be freely used.

Sometimes it's even important not to think about the preferences of our audience, but to abide by how our creativity guides us, and allow story to speak even if the result is unpopular, unprofitable, or gets no response. Otherwise, I fear we are betraying the sacred gift of creativity. Of course, some artists want or need to make money from their creating, and there's nothing wrong with calculating market responses in that case. However, I personally experience a difference - not a superiority either way, only a difference - between writing for a temporal purpose and writing because story has come begging to your heart.

(Of course, too, …

The Frog Prince's Wife

Afterwards, she carried the scent of lilies with her, and the silver of light on the water, gold on the treasured ball. It was as if her heart would carry her back if it could. Back to the day she met the frog.

His voice was gentle now, the voice of a man who for three years had swallowed his truth along with well water. But then it had rattled against her bones much the same way his smile still could, leaving her feeling half-wild and fragile - all the princess shaken out of her, all the manners and charm, until she was simply a woman before him, seen by him the way no one else ever did. He had fished out her heart even before her ball.

And yet she had not seen him. She had seen only the lithe tongue, the gibbous throat, the specks on his wet green skin. The curse on him had been forced apart legally by her reluctant promises: she had known it as a curse only when it shattered against her bedroom wall as she threw him in disgust; only when the frog's gulp of pain became the prin…

the secret hearts of autumn

That time of year has come, the red-gold time, when people begin speaking of Nature dying. It is of course spring down here at the far end of the earth, but most of my reading circles comprise northerners, for whom Nature has begun to turn applewise, cold, slightly haunting. I have begun seeing poetic reminders that autumn and winter teach us about death within life.

But I myself believe the opposite. It seems to me autumn is the season of birthing. Plants send their seeds on the air, into the soil, and through fruit and nuts, to hopefully grow future plants. These tiny dark hearts wrapped in layers and baffles are like the great secrets of wisdom and magic hidden in old Eastern fairytales, only this story is the richest and most beautiful of all.

Plants also shed leaves for their own little bit of earth in anticipation of new life to come, ensuring that while they lie pregnant in the winter dark they will be nourished by their own rot. As the year deepens, we watch them go into a co…


And here is the rain again, floating down with such a gentle voice, the way the sea sounds some mornings, coming up on to the earth: reverent. I like that today is subdued, a little rainy, reverent; it seems just right for the traditional day of observation for Ostara, the spring equinox, which comes officially (astronomically) on Saturday here. The earth is a pregnant bride and her lover treats her with wonder and care.

His soul still went on tip-toe before her, lest the charm be shattered 
and the dream dispelled.
LM Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams

All the rain that's fallen lately has been a soft lesson in love and convenience. I want to go out - but it's raining, so I can not. This is inconvenient ... but how can I be upset when it's raining, which I so dearly love? Love is worth sacrifices. Infact, in the sacrifices you may find even greater depths of value. It's a sacrifice of time to make bread by hand for your family. But that time can be used for contempl…

on a peaceful spring evening

It is the late cusp of the day. My front door is open to golden light and old soft tranquility and not even the slightest breeze. Birdsong is strewn through the peace. It's such a lovely last hour to a lovely sea-scented day.

True, the rooms of my house are hazy with smoke because I burned dinner, but I don't mind. It doesn't spoil the contentment; infact, it some ways it is actually an addition to the contentment: it could be fixed with a new dinner and all the windows opened and no need to get upset. I'm finally learning in my deepening age that very few things warrant getting upset. Why waste this precious spring evening being distressed by a charred pot? I have baking soda to clean it, and a sunset to watch.

the natural heart in the natural world

The moon and the morning star adorned today's sunrise. One blackbird on a neighbour's roof sang to the ocean, calling its long white tides to release the sun. Looking out, I thought, as Mary Oliver does in her new book"Softest of mornings, hello. And what will you do today, I wonder, to my heart?"

Yesterday I spent a little while in a crowded store and, upon getting home, had to wrap myself in a shawl and rest. This is what society can do to the introvert. But later on I remembered fallen petals and riverside blossoms, so I went out between thunderstorms for a small and quiet adventure on my own. The flowers were gentler company than shoppers, and I felt restored.

This morning, I read a quote by Thomas Berry: "Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives." The semantics of this actually made me sad, because if we teach children about the natural world we are treating them as separate from i…

the dark beneath the stars

Some people find their way best in the wild and gentle darkness. Perhaps that is why we have day and night. Perhaps there is enough of everything for all the different hearts.

I tried to write more, but that is all I had to say.

Empty rooms fill with light : by Asia Suler
Rainology : I have reopened my photography gallery and will be sharing the pictures I choose to take, not the ones which are preferred on instagram, not any lures for likes.

I thought I remembered going down into the dark to where the stars were. So I wrote asking my brother, and he remembered too. Into the earth, into the secret river, under a vast constellation of old, buried stars. It felt like a rebirthing, this going backwards through the tunnel into a black rock womb. It makes me wonder how many times we clamber back in, and are washed back out - how many times we are born and born and born.

How to Have a Real Life

I'm sure many of us have been informed more than once that we need to get a (real) life. I've made some observations and concluded that this is what such a life would be like ...

* Spent mostly out of the home. A person with a real life should be taking walks, looking at the scenery, immersing herself in nature. The home is less of a haven than a kind of artificial environment, almost prison-like, depriving her of fresh air and weather, without which she is stultified and wasting her existence. (The office or school room does not count in the same way.)

*Spent in the presence of other people. Solitary moments to refresh one's energy so that one can socialise again with cheerfulness and vitality is a good thing, but too much time spent alone is bad. Extroversion is the only natural state of a real life. Joys, sorrows, excitements, achievements, mean nothing if not shared with others (either in person or via social media.)

* Spent contributing in some definable way to socie…

Blogs Can Change Your Life

I read an article about Ursula le Guin which grieved that she was only blogging these days rather than producing more books - for blogging is "a diminished form of writing," and never changes a life the way a novel can.

As a blogger, writer, and reader, I disagree with this. There are books which have inspired my heart, guided my own creative process, and confronted my thoughts. I guess in that way they changed my life. (I've never packed up and moved to another country or taken on a new line of work because of a novel, but there are non-fiction books which have persuaded me to make significant changes.)

There are also blogposts which have had the same influence. Infact, dare I say it, possibly more so. There is a power inherent in the brief, immediate, sincere nature of the blogpost which readily impacts a reader's heart and mind.

Because of other people's blogposts, I began writing poetry. And presented my books for publication. And experimented with homeschoo…

Roses and Wild Lavender

The day is wreathed with storms. I have always loved a rainy Sunday, with the cosiness of sleeping in and then tucking oneself up on the sofa with blankets and a good book or some old movie and plenty of tea, toast, biscuits (the English kind, of course) while the house is lashed with lovely cold rain. I don't even mind when a sudden great crash of thunder shakes the front door. Nor do I mind if I have to go out on some errand in that rain, because coming home to warmth and comfort is such a wonderful reward.

The flowers were a gift to me, and I love how wild lavender and an oak branch were tucked in amongst the roses. I have been making flowers a special focus of this month, luxuriating in the beauty of spring. I almost never buy them, but scour the neighbourhood for whatever is growing wild on a verge or over a fence, as well as those I get from my own little garden. I find that flowers really soften my heart.

For my next story, I'd planned on writing quite a shadowed, spoo…

The Healing of Home

As a storm tumbles around my cottage, I have been cleaning, although I don't think you can see much difference. I need new furniture! Sometimes it feels wrong to think of mundanities like furniture when the real focus should be on soulful things, but then again the home environment we create for ourselves can be a source of healing and dearly needed peace.

I think that's true also of our neighbourhood environment. My personal vision of utopia is small, circular communities centred around communal gardens, with communal responsibility for waterways and woodlands and air quality. Everyone working to support themselves and each other within the community and in networks with other communities. Fairs, gatherings, harvests. The old village way.

It's really about love, isn't it? And kindness. Not only to each other, but ourselves. If we have sofas and cushions and tables that we love, it's easier to give love to the world; to be happier, easier, more benevolent. If we h…

Finding Rest in Gentleness

robert mealing

It was a house where you felt welcome the moment you stepped into it. 
It took you in . . . rested you.

(Mistress Pat, LM Montgomery)

With so much trauma, disaster and degredation in the world these days, I struggle with writing gentleness. As a freedom-schooled child of liberals in the seventies and eighties, I did my part protesting, and volunteering, and applying my dollar judiciously. You would assume I'd use my small platform here to speak against the awfulness that happens every day. And sometimes, I wishto do so. Other times, I am simply too overwhelmed.

Mostly though I think it may be just as helpful to write gentleness. After all, the world is in such a terrible state because for too long ... perhaps forever ... we have lacked gentleness with each other, with our environment, and with other living beings who share this world. You'd suppose it would get better as more people could afford comfort and so were less desperate, less frightened; but really it&#…

A Tumble of Questions

I am a tiny bit unwell, this rainy old morning, and have nothing interesting to say. So I've gathered some questions from tumblr, just for the fun of it. Maybe you would like to share your own answers to them in the comments section? That would be lovely.

If you could move to a foreign country, which would it be?

England, if I could live in the countryside. But as I have loved its history and literature for so long, and was raised with other people's love for it, I feel English in my soul and to actually stand on the green hills of Albion almost seems unnecessary.

Name three books you keep rereading through all your life?

The Anne of Green Gables series, the Riddlemaster of Hed series, Robert Frost's Complete Works.

If you were set in only one season, what would it be?

Spring. Cool, quiet, lush and flowering, with bewitching nights, wild-hearted storms, and lovely days - not too long - of gentle warmth. I feel such hope in spring, even though I know summer is coming.

What is …

The Loveliness of Spring

The higher we reach to the stars, the deeper our roots must burrow into the soil. - L.M. Montgomery

I actually got a little sunburned, working in my garden today. I planted white primula, stock, alyssum, and some pretty frilly pink flowers whose name I don't know. My house is a cottage, and so I keep my garden gentle and old-fashioned. I also hung a jar of flowers on my front door, inspired by Denise Andrade-Kroon, whose soul is as beautiful as a wildflower. I seldom actually use the front door, but that little jar is less a welcome than a blessing from our house to the world beyond.

Cycling to the plant store, I had to stop twice to revel in unexpected flowers along the way. Tiny long-stemmed ones that surely were cousins to the violet, growing in grass along the footpath. Velvety white ones on a small tree, their lush white petals curving around each other as if suspended in a wild moment of a dance. The blossom I found last week has all shed away, so I feel its beauty even more…

Falling into Beauty and Love

My previous post was a quote from Nicholas Sparks, whose books are popular but not what anyone would consider literary fiction. I myself have not read any, although (or perhaps because) I watched the movie version of The Notebook. But I loved the quote, and I thought it proved something I wholeheartedly believe - that you can find wisdom, inspiration, and beautiful truth in ordinary kinds of books, romance novels, adventurous fantasy novels, comedies. Where ever there is love made into words, where ever there is sincere writing, soulfulness can shine through.

That is why I personally would never tell someone to write from their fear, or that it's good if composing their story makes them terrified - deep truth seldom comes that way. Fear not, the angels say. Open your heart instead to sacred truth, to beauty, to eternity.

nikolay krusser

I would also say that fear is the shadow of love, it shows us what we love. You are never afraid over something you don't care about. Even so,…

The Beauty of The Small Life

"And I learned what is obvious to a child. That life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time. That each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes can not be bettered."

Nicholas Sparks

Nesting Amongst the Wildflowers

Now comes the month of proud sparrows singing a warding spell to protect their nests in eaves and blossoming trees. Now too the month of violets. I grow them in pots in my kitchen so I can put the flowers in salads, on puddings or cakes, and between the leaves of books. (Have you ever pressed flowers within library books? And left poems on tiny pieces of paper between their chapters? I think that is something the army of the kind might do. Small, gentle guerilla acts to make the world ever so slightly lovelier.)

Yesterday, I sat on my doorstep with a book and a cup of tea. I had to wear my sunhat, the sky was so bright. All around me bees and white butterflies enjoyed the flowers of the garden. (Not enough flowers - I need to add more, always more.) The pride of the garden is a lush rosemary bush, for which I've named this house Rosemary Cottage; it sustains many winged populations all through the year. I would love to have roses too, but my landlady doesn't like them. Imagin…