GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
LOOKING FOR ICARUS
Roselle Angwin leads the ‘Fire in the Head’ creative and reflective writing programme.
As an ecopoet and ecopsychologist, she also leads ‘The Wild Ways’ outdoor workshops and retreats.
She's passionate about wild places and the natural world, as well as the meeting points between inner and outer geographies: relationship, connection, land. She has been described as ‘a poet of the bright moment...whose own sources of creative inspiration are her native Westcountry, the Scottish islands, and a highly individual blend of Celtic myth and metaphysics, psychology, shamanic and Buddhist thinking’.
Her ten books include poetry, novels and non-fiction.
Looking For Icarus
Indigo Dreams Publishing
138 x 216mm
£9.99 + P&P UK
PUB: July 2015
To stand in mud
and know the flow of blue air
parting round your body
to feel for footholds
to feel your feet hold
to feel your feet held
to be mud, part of mud,
part of mud’s harvests.
To feel the blue air
splitting round your body
to catch the spill of light
with all of your skin; to be
coming in and going out;
to be another reason
for the wind to dance.
To be streaked with mud
saltwind, blue air. To be
held, here in the river’s
darkness. To take the harsh cry
of the heron; its bristle
on your body. To take its call
in your own lungs.
To be the heron. To be
the head of the otter splitting the water
to be the flow of water
transfiguring that head.
To know light.
To know the way it falls
the way it breaks.
To not be afraid of dark
or of the mudflats’ swollen flanks.
To swim, and not be afraid
of drowning. To strike out
for where the light shivers
breaching the river’s deeper
currents. To feel
blue air parting round your
light-rinsed mud-licked head.
To be recognised by light, by mud,
This is not the colourless season
of margins and absences
This is the black and white time
Sharp in the dawn this one pure note.
Wind, monoliths, salt on my lips
This high hinterland furrowed
by plough, waves of lapwing and fieldfare
Me, resilient, gale-swept.
January’s first day, and everything
yet to be broken
Washed, untrodden sand; deep sky;
this wave, caught at its curl’s apex.
Kelp, green weed, boulders like seals
Everything always the same, and forever changing
I am the tether
of this moment’s kite.
There is the white sand
and there my welling footsteps
There is the prowling tide
and then only water.
A muscled instant, a question
hanging poised for the kill,
and a green storm waiting to break borders,
burst the chest, a frantic flood.
We turn on this moment mind to mind,
wordless now, the language of thigh
to thigh, slipping skins like borrowed truths,
and our rawness is where we meet.
Nothing but cliff between us, cliff
and chill blue air;
and the instant spins, falls in on itself;
now a wave in my hand
now a fox
a burning bush
then again the hawk’s high arc;
and then all the wide sky calling,
the day brilliant with feathers,
answers opening over us
‘This collection can inspire, intrigue and compel simultaneously – a powerful combination’
D A Prince
‘..a confident, assured, and utterly engaging lyric voice. Great images, and a totally cogent sound world.’
‘A hugely sensory experience ...expressed in a lucid yet personal style which I feel I am immediately in touch with.’
‘...be warned. The book is hard to put down. Don't pick it up if you have an urgent appointment.’
‘…high-quality and thought-provoking work. This is a densely-packed collection, wide in scope, from a poet prepared to take risks with form and structure, shape and sound.’
You have gone too far into the darkness;
there is no other word for it. You have
given up your name, what made you
human. You live now at the crossroads
‘entre chien et loup’. We who love you
can no longer reel you in.
What you were circles in its own self-
referring echoes, a distant shout
on the drizzling wind which swam
through these leaves an hour ago
or a lifetime.
In memoriam, then, I shape
these words; touch a finger to
the nouns that you might still inhabit:
tree, rock, river, heron, wolf.
Looking For Icarus
Here we eat silence
as heat eats us
the crickets’ song
only underlines absence
and every sunflower turning its face
to the sky
reminds us how far we have come
how far we still have
Say there were no guns
say war was illegal.
Say no child was ever tortured
in the long scream of a dark cellar.
Say no-one bled alone in midnight alleys.
Say there was no greed:
no-one was hungry, or homeless.
Say the blind could see
and life-support machines
had taught the almost-dead to dance.
Say we championed dissidents.
Say Biko and Ken Saro-Wiwa
had never had to exist
and Auschwitz wasn’t even a figment.
Say there was no death.
Say fear was as foreign as Mars.
Say we could promise to love one another
Would we have to invent the dark
as a place in which to hide?
Would we need death?