June

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“Protect all the trembling bells of delight that you notice out of the corner of your eye when everyone else is oblivious.” – Martin Shaw

“We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of the world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.”  – Jack Gilbert

“Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” – Margaret Attwood

 

June

 

The field has softened into the sweet song of summer.

Charms of goldfinches flit among the long grasses and

the hedgerow is dotted with bramble flowers and wild roses.

If I crouch down into the waist-high canopy, a whole world unfurls:

a metallic green flower beetle is climbing a sorrel stalk,

a huge turquoise dragonfly patrols the grasstops in zig-zag lines

and grasshoppers hop and sing in the jungle below.

High above, circling in a cosmos blue sky,

buzzards ride the warm currents.

In the haze of a hot June afternoon, the field hums.

What kind of world are we heading into?

Lying on my back in this gold patch of earth

my worries about the future, ideas of hope and despair,

success and failure, and other funny human concepts

dissolve into peace, and delight. In this place, this living poem,

held by the earth, wrapped in the huge dome of the sky,

for a moment I feel like the world just wants us to feel good,

bathed in beauty, bathed in light.

 

 

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Evening

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“If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

 

I need these nightly rituals, now;

the damp smell of the earth

as I water the garden,

the happy presence

of seedlings sprouting,

a moment alone with the

new moon rising.

Noticing how, wherever there are spaces,

Life fills them up.

Sanctuary

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“What we need is a great, powerful, tremulous falling back in love with our old, ancient, primordial Beloved, which is the Earth herself.” – Martin Shaw

March of last year brought blossoms and snow flurries and news of change: we were to move, and soon. A brisk, fortunate April wind carried us east to Hellingly, where we landed in a little corner of heaven. We are beginning to take root here.

It’s been a while since my last post. I wrote this poem under the oak tree in our back garden around the recent summer solstice.

Midsummer blessings all x

 

Sanctuary

 

I sat down with Grandmother Oak

there on a blanket she had woven

of clovers and sweet violets

where the fat bees cobble about.

She wrapped me in her scented boughs

and gently held all parts of me –

the flesh, the brittle fragments,

the embers, the salt water and the bone –

with soft and steady breaths she blew

the shadows from my shoulders

and asked only in return of me

that I might be with her a while and,

in ancient, long-forgotten psalms,

that she might sing me home.

June: Hope in Small Spaces

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“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” – Mary Oliver

 

Postcard from the June Garden

 

Herringbone clouds drift in infinite seas

A perfect half-moon in a cosmos blue sky

Elderflowers float to the earth at my feet

Cat slumbers, sun-baked, white among sage and thyme

Green-glorious symphony of breeze, birds and bees…

 

Around me, the lush upward surge of the June garden is full of magic and vibrant green possibility.

The few things I got around to planting from seed with my daughter this year – wildflowers, nasturtiums, sunflowers, sweet peas and broad beans – are growing, their tiny green arms thrust open to the sun. In the unrest of current events (we have a general election here in the UK tomorrow on which it feels like so much is resting) I am reminded of this simple truth by the seedlings:

Turn your face stubbornly to the light and keep it there.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

I’m quickly running out of space for any more plants, but even our small, shady courtyard garden is enough to show my little girl that with the right conditions and a little care, seeds will grow; magic (or, science we can’t yet explain) exists; hope comes in odd places; and small things have great power.

A pair of great tits nested in the bird box for the first time this spring. I watched from my daughter’s window as they, beaks stuffed full of fat green caterpillars, flew tirelessly backwards and forwards to greet the raucous cheeping and chirping from inside the box.  I worried about their babies, what with our resident rat and cat – but they made it! Few things could have lifted my spirit more than the sight of the fledglings.

My small courtyard garden is sanctuary and medicine in a tumultuous world. There is so much in flux right now; so much swirling in the spaces between hope and despair. But when I go outside I can narrow my focus and find moments of peace, perspective and joy in the smallest of things: the tenacious little avocado tree which has sprouted unexpectedly from the compost heap; the jasmine flowers glowing like fairy lights in the moonlight; the soft scent of the herb garden in summer rain. The perfect, crystalline sphere of a raindrop glistening on a fern leaf. The yellow flash of a charm of goldfinches chattering in the elder tree. The joy of simple things and the promise of bright days ahead.

When you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine initial act of insurrection.” – Rebecca Solnit

I sometimes feel as though the world is poised in a moment of hope and possibility. I’m not saying everything is going to be fine; I’m saying I still believe there’s a fine chance things can get better if we believe it and make it happen. And while there are green things, sunrises and people hell bent on making a better future – in ways both loud and quiet – hope is not ours to surrender.

There is still a window of time.
Nature can win if we give her a chance.
You have an indomitable spirit.
You can do something every day to make change
and make this a better world. ” – Jane Goodall

A green bottle fly, orange-eyed, metallic and resplendent on the budding marguerite daisies, glints emerald in the sun’s reflection and buzzes away, over the wall, across the allotments and up into the sky beyond.

Wishing you midsummer blessings, vibrance and serenity this full moon x