Like water drums

Please bear with me. It’s not been easy. You see the darkness was, well – how can I say – very dark.

It was not my old friend – I’ve come to talk to you again – not in Paul Simon’s voice – although it hung around, keeping me company, hooded and brooding.

Talking to me – and I could not shut my ears.

It’s difficult to describe but – the best way, I think, is to say – there was no light. I only know this now because of the lightness of the breath that has returned and the bloodstream now flows – yes, that’s it – almost unnoticed.

Oh, I nearly forgot. I knew I was alive because I could hear my heart in my ears. Loud, monotonous blood moving, pumping like water drums.

Hanging around me, talking, reminding me of the darkness.



Hello again

It is in my skin and bone. This joyful breathing dawn.

The sunlight on a June morning with colours of bees and honey. The morning glory of birdsong, sill and open window, the half-awake stirring. Whispered dreams ghost-shimmer.

A new day lightly lands through the big-eyed playfulness of a breeze, helloing again another day.


It is in my skin and bone. The sunlight on a June morning with colours of bees and honey. The morning glory of birdsong, sill and open window, the hardness and the stirring. A new day lightly lands through the big eyed playfulness of a breeze, helloing another day.


Signing hope

On the train to London this morning,

I was caught by the thought of

one day

never seeing you again.


I did not think I was being morbid but, rather,

deeply aware of how

this life is flimsy and so temporary.


The feeling has wrapped me all day and it is is

only tonight that I am trying to make sense of this

momentary, fleeting emotion of what will,

one day,

actually happen.


I wondered if it is because I think of Steve who,

without any warning,

left us

and is the undercurrent

of the tenuous flimsiness of our incarnation.


This life and flesh, breath and heartbeat,

signing hope.



Our beginnings

The baobabs squat, guarding our memory. They have witnessed our human story – they keep the secrets of our ancestors and are our the eyes and ears of our beginnings. They have seen our squabbles and battles and heard our anger and shouts of joy.

Our ancestors find their shade and they too watch out and stare into the loneliness: the long grass, which once rubbed their legs, the scrub that has felt their rough touch, the stones that have held their secrets. They see our unhappiness and chuckle at our silliness.

The earth has turned countless times since then. Adam and Eve have left their garden and now we run wild in this Eden, the sun hot on our backs. We pick up the same stones and disturb the secrets that have slept in the shades.

The ancestors gawk at our youthfulness and our voices mingle with theirs, although we don’t know it.


Wild Life

The ancestors stand at the window, peering from the long distance of time and space –

right from the very beginning, stretching to that experience when they were part of the flora and fauna.

And they were wild life for what seems like for ever, born on the savannah,

perhaps rock artists, most certainly story tellers.

Giving me life, they are my eyes and ears, they are my fight and flight, my belly laugh, the timbre of my voice, my height and length, my knees and my flesh.

And I am grateful to them.

Their headaches and heartaches, these grandmothers and grandfathers dead now – but their power still lies in my bloodstream, and in my breathing.


You are not surprised by the force of the storm

“Onto a Vast Plain”


translation by Joanna Macy + Anita Barrows

You are not surprised at the force of the storm—
you have seen it growing.
The trees flee. Their flight
sets the boulevards streaming. And you know:
he whom they flee is the one
you move toward. All your senses
sing him, as you stand at the window.

The weeks stood still in summer.
The trees’ blood rose. Now you feel
it wants to sink back
into the source of everything. You thought
you could trust that power
when you plucked the fruit:
now it becomes a riddle again
and you again a stranger.

Summer was like your house: you know
where each thing stood.
Now you must go out into your heart
as onto a vast plain. Now
the immense loneliness begins.

The days go numb, the wind
sucks the world from your senses like withered leaves.

Through the empty branches the sky remains.
It is what you have.
Be earth now, and evensong.
Be the ground lying under that sky.
Be modest now, like a thing
ripened until it is real,
so that he who began it all
can feel you when he reaches for you.

Book of Hours, II 1

From the website