My work is loving the world 💚

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Messenger
by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
          equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
          keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
          astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
          and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
          to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
          that we live forever.


photo Rose Cook
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May 1st …Beltane blessing all

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Lone Hawthorn On The Moor

 

For you are ancient and withstand terrible weathers.

For you make a dark shape in winter, carry a nest.

For I saw you sheathed in frozen snow, your berries hoar.

For you grow on the crest of a slope.

For you are potent, with medicinal properties.

Wands made from you hold great power.

For in spring you are covered in white blossom.

For you are the May tree and shake confetti on the girls,

who dance around your trunk.

For you are most erotic and bless love and fertility.

For you teem with life, insects that fly and crawl, lichen

and every kind of bird wants to shelter in your branches.

For you fill with the hum of bees.

For you must never be broken, nor taken home,

For you are hope, which remains wild.

For you have thorns and red berries, which imbue meaning,

though children make itching powder, babies are fed your syrup.

For you offer protection.

For you are grizzled and grow low to the ground.

 

Rose Cook

 

* this poem is in my new book  Hearth which is available from me or http://www.culturedllama.co.uk/

 

Reading in the Spring

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it’s time for the next monthly edition of Uncut Poets at the Phoenix Arts Centre, Gandy St, Exeter on April 26 at 7.30pm. Mixing memory and desire will be their two guest poets, Roselle Angwin and Rose Cook.

Roselle’s new book from Pindrop Press, A Trick Of The Light, is a luminous, reflective account of the history, landscapes and special atmosphere of the island of Iona, where she leads annual writing retreats.

Rose’s latest collection Hearth, from Cultured Llama, showcases her characteristic mix of lightness of touch and clarity of vision, dealing with the changes, the losses and gains that age brings, as well as the beauty and revelations of the natural world.

The evening in the Phoenix Workshop will be presented by Alasdair Paterson and a mystery co-presenter. Admission £5 (£3 for open mic and concessions). Lilacs bred out of the dead earth optional.

The chance of humming…Rumi

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A
man
standing on two logs in a river
might do all right floating with the current
while humming in the
now.

Though
if one log is tied to a camel,
who is also heading south along the bank – at the same pace –
all could still be well
with the
world

unless the camel
thinks he forgot something, and
abruptly turns upstream,
then

uh-oh.

Most minds
do not live in the present
and can stick to a reasonable plan; most minds abruptly turn
and undermine the

chance
of
humming.

 

~ Rumi
translation by Daniel Ladinsky
from Love Poems from God

 

 

photograph by Rose Cook

Keeping Quiet…let’s stop for a second

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Keeping Quiet             by Pablo Neruda

 

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth
let’s not speak in any language,
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines,
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victory with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

 

photo Rose Cook