Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer

By the book

  • Containment

    Charm for taking a Swarm of Bees

    For containment. Take earth, and place it

    Under your right foot, and say

    I subdue this under my feet, I claim it,

    look, the power of earth is against all others,

    against malice, against forgetfulness,

    and against the multiple charms of other people.’

    Then throw it over the ground

    where they swarm, and say:

    Sit ye down, battle-wifie, down on the earth.

    Never fly away free to the wood.

    You must think of my holdings

    as a man thinks of his allotted place, his native land.’

    From the Corpus Christi College MS41, p182

    honey bee on michaelmas daisy

    A bit more subtle than ‘Bagsie this!’, no? I’ve been a bit distracted by a book called Leechcraft, by Stephen Pollington, so I haven’t done much translating recently. It is full of erudite scholarship, and makes me think I should look in more depth at my translation of The Charm of Nine Herbs. In particular, my guess that ‘atterlothe’ is burdock, looks very suspect. But my impression that scholars don’t talk to people who have practical knowledge of the herbal tradition does seem to stand up – they assume that all the conversations are between reader and page, whereas in a practical hands-on discipline, people read, and compare and discuss and experiment, and the dialogue is much more between the book and the lived experience.

  • Stravaig 6

    cover image
    Paintings by the artist Mary Morrison. Oil and mixed media on paper.

    This is the beautiful cover image of Stravaig 6, the on-line journal of The Scottish Centre for Geopoetics. It has been a long time in the making – the work in it was mostly inspired by what came out of the Expressing the Earth conference last June. It is very beautiful – the images in particular are superb, and there is a lot of interesting and thought-provoking writing in it, essays as well as poetry. I particularly recommend Mairi MacFadyen’s reflective essay in response to the conference, but there is a lot to see and enjoy.

    My essay By the Book: Herbs Creativity and Ways of Knowing is in it, and I notice that, since it came out, people have been searching this site for an essay I wrote many years ago about Geopoetics, and not finding it since the revamp. I think I will have to rework it, as my thinking has progressed a little since 2009, but for now, here it is:



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