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ALL THE MISSING
NAMES OF LOVE
UK poet, author and painter Roselle Angwin leads the ‘Fire in the Head’ creative and reflective writing programme.
As an eco-poet and eco-psychologist, she also leads ‘Ground of Being’ outdoors work on Dartmoor, the Isle of Iona and abroad.
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 novel IMAGO was published by IDP in 2011.
Roselle lives in Devon, and has a daughter, a partner, and other animals.
ALL THE MISSING NAMES OF LOVE
Indigo Dreams Publishing
Publication 07/05/ 2012
138 x 216mm
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The wild garlic this year amongst the bluebells
is prolific, pungent as parable. For months now
we’ve gathered leaves and starry flowers for salads,
soups, sandwiches; better for the heart even than roses.
Everyone we love will leave us eventually,
or we’ll leave them. That’s what the wise vicar
said at that wedding blessing all those years ago.
Knowing that, how can I not love you fully?
Reading The Wild Places
And look how it all in the end
falls back into silence:
these walls, the battles ceded or ‘won’
(as if we don’t all lose);
the fertile fetch between us
quiet as the deserts
I read yesterday how many tons
of photons strike us in the course of one day –
how we’re more ‘gap
Later, on the causeway
glimpsing the kingfisher stitch light
back across the mudflats,
I remembered that a Manx shearwater
in its life flies as far as the moon
and back; but us –
I may kiss your mouth today,
molecule to dancing molecule;
what’s most real within me
might remain unlaunched;
may never make the leap between
my heart’s dark lonely nebula
That day we sat on the hand-hewn crude
oak bench in mild September sun
at the top of the Teign: Hunters’ Wood,
where the rowans splashed crimson
the slant light’s opaline threshold,
a prefiguring of the blood
which we didn’t see then
would have to be shed, where you’d need
to be strong to survive the descent
into holy darkness. I remember leaves
crisp underfoot; the voice of the river;
and I remember the single white deer
almost not glimpsed as she, brief visitor,
flowed into and out of our world
as if to answer a promise
you’d made at your birth,
as if you’d come back to find her.
Poetry again after such an absence,
the house quiet, looking out at the courtyard,
its many leaves fat with gratefulness for this spring,
for rain; a bullfinch swaying like a tropical blossom
on the pot choked with seeding cranesbill, one
thrush, a late swallow checking out the eaves, rain
making the woods more distant and impenetrable,
its tap on the stone step an invitation. The valley’s hush.
Rain settling in like conversation between
lifelong friends; rain, plants, stone, birds
at ease with themselves and each other, at ease
with how the world needs to be.
Reading poetry as she’s dying
because there is nothing else to do. Rain
blurs the day’s horizontal hurry and to sit
here and do nothing is of course also a decision.
How something so small and so close to
unconsciousness can give so much
of herself to being still so engaged
with the world, with so much attention –
leftovers from the turning inward and away
with so much more heft still than ours.
At the feeder the young woodpecker
shrieks each time he pecks, which draws
the magpie to see him off, over and over.
There is being born, there is dying,
there is the flickering fullness between,
and there is, after everything, renewal.
Nothing more in the world today than this
small corner, the dog’s tight-shut eyes,
her chest still rising and falling,
the darkish exuberance of this new spring rain.
Coming down that day
blood thick as a summer river
with pure lysergic acid
I stared as the ryegrass lawn
snaked its roots in an ancient
patterned step dance, galliard maybe,
intricate as a living Persian carpet.
Sound tuned out, we laughed
from two storeys up till tears poured
at the wedding party below
(who saw nothing of what was
transpiring beneath their feet).
Swore to each other that whatever
we’d never believe in marriage.
Later, you opened the book.
I fell into the painting,
hours in the same one, until,
having myself become both
waving corn and sky, Van Gogh’s
three crows flew me
over the edge of the world.
The Cartographer’s Dream
Each time, almost.
Night after night by candle
I run my fingers
over the contours of you.
By candle I run my fingers,
watch the play
light and touch make of your
forests, hillocks, small
Light and touch; I make you
and name you, pore over
the thin blue veins of you,
taste your salt.
Tasting your salt I know
that that of God
in your rivers
is the sea.
In your rivers. Then
you evade my naming,
and I wake to repeat
You evade me, and I
arrive beached, at
the same place.
To arrive, only
to begin again.
Walker Between The Worlds
I am the god who fills the head with fire.
My blood is ancient as the blood of stone.
I walk the cusp where darkness turns to light.
I am the god who fills the head with fire.
My tongue’s the language given by the nine.
I speak the wild waters, the song of bone.
I am the god. Who fills the head with fire?
My blood is ancient; is the blood of stone.
All The Missing Names Of Love
Today I’m obsessed by things transient
or lost: the dog dead for fifteen years
who today lapped water in the kitchen
at noon, even though I couldn’t see her;
my father’s mislaid past; or the names
that slip through my mother’s grasp
like the minnows we’d try to catch
up to our childish knees in the Vellator streams;
the single goose flying out of the fog;
the mulberry that shook herself free of leaves
in a single outbreath one hot June moment; and now
the days’ quickening towards the equinox.
Here too is the lover abandoned half
a lifetime ago in winter mountains – a man
who knows about loyalty, and how to
honour what’s gone with nothing but good.
And, nearer, the moment when my friend
smiled, or rather I sensed him trying to smile,
as if he didn’t know how, as if
it might cost him more than he had.
And something glimpsed in those oxide
hands, the bear’s face and horses
half a mile under the limestone, 25,000
years ago drawn with love and deep
knowing as if pets, as if yesterday,
their carbon and manganese fixed, though
the artist has long since meshed atoms
with everything there is.
And then there is always that Other –
my dark and bright holy and wholly himself
And there’s the way I can slicken up
language, but still not pronounce
all the missing migrant names of love.
for Nick Collier, who gave me this title
How many years did it take, how much rain
and bone and sun, how much loss composted
into black peat to make this leaf, just this one
new leaf flickering green in the January ditch?