Observed

photo at pexels

I am glad to have been described
as ‘always enthusiastic’
by an energetic nine year
old who observes and then reflects
with her keen and critical care –
perhaps she has noticed that I
enthusiastically find
life-enhancing gifts in cupboards
drawers and nooks and crannies and
answers and more questions to my
frequent asking ‘why?’ – and in the
wondering I’m encouraged to
journey into heart and mind where
reminded of countless graces
I touch core spirit and soul in
all of us – infinite and kind

Running The Red Line

Running The Red Line.jpg

What an enormous privilege it was to be invited to capture some images of a vibrant and wonderfully ‘alive’ book launch for Julie Carter’s Running The Red Line on 21 April at The Skiddaw Hotel, Keswick. There’s nothing quite so wonderful as a room full of inspiring and inspired, encouraged and encouraging, charismatic and articulate friends – gathering to celebrate something profoundly rich – and thereby ‘write in light’, creating living poetry in the electrified air.

Broadband users, please click on the image above for a photobook (pdf) which will download in around 30 seconds.  Best viewed full screen.

 

Aloft

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Stories

Sometimes the stories of
the garden of our lives
are written in ink or
by ribbon or toner and
machine, engineered
instrument or flight-capable
quill

Sometimes the stories of
our flowering and light
are written in soft breath
gossamer touch, sunlit
thread, the sudden
resurrections of graces
we’d thought might be quite
dead

Sometimes the stories of
images arise in our hearts
the aching loves and the
false starts and the hopes
and aspirations turned, as on
a wood-artist’s lathe: formed
resuscitations

And so day by day I return
to the garden to be still –
howsoever the stories are
inscribed, however revealed
my spirit knows that in this place
simple, silent and smiling –
they will

SRM

Allegiances

american-river-1590010_1280
photo at pixabay

Allegiances

It is time for all the heroes to go home
if they have any, time for all of us common ones
to locate ourselves by the real things
we live by.

Far to the north, or indeed in any direction,
strange mountains and creatures have always lurked –
elves, goblins, trolls, and spiders: – we
encounter them in dread and wonder,

But once we have tasted far streams, touched the gold,
found some limit beyond the waterfall,
a season changes, and we come back, changed
but safe, quiet, grateful.

Suppose an insane wind holds all the hills
while strange beliefs whine at the traveler’s ears,
we ordinary beings can cling to the earth and love
where we are, sturdy for common things.

William Stafford
The Way It Is – New & Selected Poems

A few key dates in William Stafford’s life: born in Kansas in 1914. A conscientious objector in World War II. A man whose habit was to write something daily, who would rise at 4.30am to ‘sit and wait’ for what he knew lay within to be written. His volume West of Your City published by Talisman Press in 1960; Allegiances published by Harper in New York in 1970; the author of over fifty books, he died at his home in Oregon in 1993.

William Stafford thoroughly understood that once we have tasted far streams … / found some limit beyond the waterfall, / a season changes, and we come back, changed …

And therein lies our hope for this old world in our own time and season.

Dreadful elves, goblins, trolls and spiders have always existed. Some of them, some of us too, have sought to be ‘heroes’ – fenced around by their and our own ignorance. It is time for all the heroes to go home.

How then may I and we locate ourselves by the real things / we live by – ?

Perhaps – having tasted – it has always to start with me, with what I now clearly see: that instead of kidding myself it’s my job to change the entire world (whoever I am, whatever my place of birth, gender, skin colour, creed or lack thereof, and wherever on earth I think myself called to be the hero, the unsolicited ‘saviour of the world’) my best contribution to that same world will be to allow seasons and experience to change me.

While strange beliefs whine at the traveler’s ears,
we ordinary beings can cling to the earth and love
where we are, sturdy for common things.

Note sturdy. Not wimps without cogniscence of – or willingness sometimes to act upon – right or wrong. Not people who turn blind eyes to goblins and trolls. Not people who do not grieve, or hope, or offer healing or hospitality, or pray, or live and die. But sturdy. Believing in the possibility of being positively changed. Experienced in the quiet and slow methods and the poetry of seasons.

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Each has a different journey

BBC Professor Brian Cox’s Forces of Nature last night was another stunner! Explaining how earth’s beauty is created by just a handful of forces, he gave a detailed account of the formation and startlingly beautiful symmetry of all snowflakes. Whilst sharing the same basic shape and form, each is marvellously and particularly different. No two snowflakes are identical. Why? – because of the journey each has taken to its resting place on earth. Movement, the pull of gravity, patterns of humidity – the way is unique for every one. Snowflakes, that is. But also human persons. No two are identical. Because we all experience a different journey; myriad experiences along the way. It’s the roads travelled, as well as the basic physics, that makes us alive – who and what we are. Forces of nature creating forces of nature. Yes: I am continually awestruck – and because I am a human person, capable of thought and of reflection, I shall take the more care to respect the long life highroads that others are treading – some of them quite, quite beyond my experience or aspiration.