I’ve just added some new blogs to the list, following the Dark Mountain Weekend. Go check out, Graftage, The Poetry Pile, The Salt Road and Weaving Poetry – you won’t regret it!
As I look out of my window, May doesn’t seem so very merry. There is a mass of thick grey cloud away to the north, and a cold wind blowing intermittent rain showers at the window. Moreover, I’ve been out of action with a bad headache, and not feeling disposed to be merry at all—
However, we do seem to have turned a corner. It’s much warmer than it was, and there was at least one day of welcome sun. All the trees, even the ash and oak, are in leaf, the pear plum and cherry trees are in full bloom, and I’ve just seen the first apple blossom on my neighbour’s trees. The swallows and martins are busy, I’ve seen the first swifts, and the birds are all carrying food, not nest materials. Every time I look at my garden, I feel happier.
The productive bit of the garden is beginning to shape up too. The vegetable seeds are in, and coming on nicely and there are blossoms on the fruit bushes. Because of the current anxiety about bees,I am trying to take photos of all the bees I see in my garden, and there certainly seem to bee a lot more about this week.
They aren’t very bright! This one was trapped in the greenhouse for ages, as unlike wasps, they don’t seem to understand glass. Butterflies aren’t much better. There was a peacock trapped in there last week, as I tried to waft it towards the vent or the door without success. The warm weather brought out a lot of butterflies. I’ve seen tortoisehells and peacocks and the first whites.
And I’ve tried my hand at a more complicated sourdough mix, this time including rye and barley flour. I was really pleased with it – I can see that I’m going to have to make a lot more sourdough in the future!>
On the poetry front, I’ve been working on some of the poems I started in April, and I’m very excited by it. Having to produce so much in such a short time pushed me out of my usual range, and meeting so many good poets at the Dark Mountain Writing Weekend really helped me raise my game.
Well, April was a busy month! As well as Easter and the Dark Mountain Writing Weekend, there was the Easter holidays and the spring garden work to contend with. All this, and NaPoWriMo too! Unsurprisingly, I didn’t make a poem a day, but I did manage 24 poems. Most are still in first draft form, and a lot of them are haikus, but still—.
Here they are:
- About to Get Lost
- After Visiting Time
- And So Today
- Anda Union
- April Rain
- Border Fells
- Buzzard Poem(s)
- Change in the Weather
- Chant for a New Start
- Dum Y At
- Grey Mug
- In the Fields
- In the Woods
- King of the Birds
- Nettle Shirt
- Ruined Abbey
- Starling Walk
- The Way We Live Now
- Wind Changing
- Wood Violets
Some of them will probably be combined to form longer pieces, and at least one poem will probably develop into at least two, so the final total may be as few as fourteen, but really, that’s not bad for a busy month! The experience of doing NaPoWriMo has been a very good one, not only providing me with a lot of material to work on, but also a great confidence boost at a time when I was beginning to falter. I think the Dark Mounatin Weekend which I blogged about last time was crucial in this – I came home with the bits for ten poems out of three days! I’ll put up some pieces here, but the longer ones will be saved so I can submit them elsewhere, as even the most limited appearance here can be counted as ‘previous publication.’
Anyway, thank you to the people who organised the whole project, to the poets and family who encouraged me to take part, and especially to Jo Bell, whose prompts were unusual, imaginative and truly inspiring!
Last weekend I was at the Dark Mountain Wriiting Weekend at Wiston Lodge, organised by Susan Richardson and Em Strang. Sue was someone I’d got to know via the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, and you can read some of her poetry in the new issue of Stravaig, and I’d come across Em’s work in Earthlines so that was encouraging. Then the good people of Wiston Lodge coped easily with my awkward dietary requirements, so it was aways likely to be a good experience. It was better than that, however. The peace and the structure that was set up gave me a chance to forget all the stuff happening at home, and just write; the workshops and the conversations they generated were inspiring, and I met some wonderful writers and made some excellent friends. What more could a person ask?
This is the campfire we had on the Saturday (that’s Sue in the photo). Some very exciting ideas were hatched and there will be more about them over the next few weeks and months. Several of us have blogs, and I’ll put links to them in the sidebar.
But now I’m home, and busily catching up on the garden work, the housework and all the dealings with medical services which are making up a large part of life just now. But at least spring has happened. Every day there is a new flower, a new bird (swallows arrived on Wednesday!) or new leaves of another tree. Even the hail this afternoon doesn’t seem to have stopped it. These are the latest – cowslips in my tiny woodland garden.
And I have finally achieved a long-standing ambition. I’ve baked our own bread since I was married, but sourdough has eluded me. This is my first edible sourdough loaf, and it was lovely. There are so many recipes I’m going to try now!
Most of the garden seems to have been in suspended animation lately.I’ve been looking at the rhubarb for a month, saying “Another week will do it!” with no result. On the other hand, the primroses are thickening up nicely,
and the whole spring border seems to have made a step forward.But everything was getting very dry – an odd thing, after all the rain last year – and despite the gathering cloud, the dropping pressure and the humidity, it never rained. The wind remained in the east, and it was cold.
This morning, though the wind remains easterly, it has rained – half-hearted drizzly mist at first, but now genuinely wet stuff. I’ve just been out to water the greenhouse, and it smells wonderful!
There’s been very little gardening lately, what with the frost, my arthritis and my daughter’s illness, but I’ve been keeping up with NaPoWriMo – more or less, and so far I’ve written:
- Nettle Shirt
- Dum Y At(haiku)
- Ruined Abbey
- Opening Autumn
- You Will Get Lost(from a prompt from Jo Bell)
- Chant for SpringPrompted by Jo Bell, again
And the new issue of Stravaig is now online. I don’t have any poetry in it, but there’s an essay about my territory, and a review of last year’s Dark Mountain anthology – a beautiful book, with an awful lot to say.
- The Words of Mercury
- The Tipping Point
- Remembering, Renewal, Rebirth
- I Have Brought You to the Ring
- Finding the Form
Archives by Date
admin arts bees birds Burnedthumb Charm of Nine Herbs Colin Will Cora Greenhill dark mountain Double Bill editing eurydice rising Expressing the Earth family fiction garden gardening Geopoetics haggards half a hundred herbs herbs home Jim Carruth JL Williams Kenneth White Mrs Grieve Norman Bissell Northwords Now photography poetry reading Red Squirrel Press review Sally Evans Scottish Poetry Library Stanza stravaig Tappoch broch the place of the fire The Territory of Rain The Well of the Moon unwilding walking the territory Wren in the Ash Tree writing