Thursday, 30 May 2013

Thinking Like a Tree

These are pictures from last year, and choosing them really showed me how late everything is. This time last year the alchemilla looked like this: and it does, just about!But in my May folder there are pictures of my iris border in full flower, and it's only just in bud now, and all these aquilegias - barle a twinkle in the border's eye!

Things are beginning to move very fast now. I still have the very last daffodils, the cowslips, the lily of the valley and the tulips, while the rowan and cow parsley are in flower and the sweet rocket - which may well go on all summer is begiining to show. The housemartin nests under the eaves across the river are full of noisy chicks already, though they only came back at the beginning of the month, and the first birds - the sparrows, starlings and chaffinches have fledged, and there are young greenfinches on the riverbank, while the black-backed gulls are still sitting tight on eggs.Tadpoles in the pond are large and very lively, and the magpies are courting disaster trying to fish for them - mostly without success. All the vegetables are planted out now, and the window-boxes are ready to go into place.

On the writing front, things are maturing nicely, mostly thanks to the conversations I have having with a poet I met at Wiston Hall - Cora Greenhill, which have not only moved me in a new direction, but made me more aware of the complex and multi-layered processes that go into my work - all of which should mean a bit less thrashing about in all directions trying to get moving, and a lot less settling for the quick and empty image-grab. If I've been a bit quiet lately, that's mostly why. I'm having a moratorium on the whole jumping-in-with-both-feet thing, becoming less of a magpie-mind and a bit more grounded, persistent and nurturing to my ideas - more like a tree, maybe? It's rather a pleasant process!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

New Blog Links

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!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Merry Month of May

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.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

NaPoWriMo - the score card

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
  • Land-Chant
  • Murmuration
  • Nettle Shirt
  • Plantation
  • Primroses
  • 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!