…the herb garden

34.After he is gone the loss empties you of feeling, so you stand in the herb garden every night to smoke one cigarette. He was taken away before anything began so you aren’t mourning the loss of what you had, you are mourning what can never be. Except, of course, that’s not entirely true. HeContinue reading “…the herb garden”

…wild silence

33.The wild silence comes with the roaring noise of thought, with words that run and run and run and revel in their cycle, their impatience to go nowhere, their insistence to be heard. The wild silence is neither patient nor restless, loud or hushed, careless or yearning. She knows but will not speak, her emeraldContinue reading “…wild silence”

…new shoots

32.rhizome [rahy-zohm] noun • botanyA rootlike subterranean stem, growing horizontally along or under the ground and producing roots and leaves — Such as bamboo, water lilies, lotus, ginger, turmeric. — Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and both have medicinal qualities, turmeric soothing inflammation and anxiety, ginger a balm for the stomach. WhenContinue reading “…new shoots”

…the dive

31.— Your father taught you to dive at an early age, first sitting you at the edge of the pool, arms pointing like a giant beak, encouraging you to tip gently into the water. You don’t remember the transition from sitting to standing but at some point, when the fear had gone, you would haveContinue reading “…the dive”

…soul in the sky

28. I have found the headless bodies of rabbits and blue jays, and known it was the great horned owl that did them in, taking the heads only, for the owl has an insatiable craving for the taste of brains.Mary Oliver The Owl When you are ten or twelve, you go birdwatching in the early-dawnContinue reading “…soul in the sky”

…the surgeon and the patient

27.You read Richard Selzer’s essay, The Knife, where he describes his experiences in the operating theatre, proposing that ‘if the surgeon is like a poet, then the scars [he has] made on countless bodies are like verses into the fashioning of which [he has] poured [his] soul.’ You have variously equated your writing with theContinue reading “…the surgeon and the patient”

…clouding the issue

26.Interstellar clouds are made up of hydrogen and cosmic dust, the mystical place where new stars are hatched. Creation requires the coming together of things; an experiment, an observable reaction, a bold joining or merging of molecules. The aloneness of the artist is deceptive. The coming together, the connections, are all happening within. Cumulus clouds,Continue reading “…clouding the issue”

…teaching in the age of Covid

25.You return to teaching after many months away. But this is not teaching as you know it, sitting around a table with your students to debate, discuss and enquire. Instead you are in your living room, meeting your students on a laptop screen. This is teaching in the age of Covid, and this is whatContinue reading “…teaching in the age of Covid”

…soon you will write

23.Books on your coffee table: — The Philosophy of the Bed, by Mary Eden & Richard CarringtonYou found this book in a strange kind of thrift shop, a greenhouse beside a garden cafe, its glassy walls housing furniture and crockery, paintings and books. The book has a tattered dust jacket bearing a reproduction of GrandeContinue reading “…soon you will write”

…talking about the weather

22. He said, Things must be bad if we’re talking about the weather. As if it doesn’t matter. — But that day you both stopped under the arches where someone had left flowers and he wanted to kiss you, that day was spring warm and the sky was blue like a promise. — The dayContinue reading “…talking about the weather”