Monday, 12 October 2009

Shrew Babies

A family of four shrew babies were nesting underneath the studio. A few weeks ago they decided to take an outing together. As babies they tolerated each other and cooperated to dig small holes and keep each other warm. We watched them - small bundles of silken vibrating energy - as they darted around searching for tasty bugs. Then one by one they headed for home, as if the instinct to regroup at the nest had been passed from one to the other on a cellular level. Their interconnectedness was absolute. As they grow into adulthood they will become intolerant of each other and will part ways to live their solitary lives.


Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Gwen asleep on the Rug

My little dog is 16 and two months. Her heart is straining to pump the oxygen she needs and her lungs are bubbling and crackling with fluid overload. Still her eyes are bright and full of expectation. And in her sleep all four legs kick out in synchronised jerks as she runs like the wind in her dreams. I trace her outline - her boney head, the cleft where her shoulder blades meet, the curve of her ribs - like someone who is losing sight of our shared future.

Saturday, 19 September 2009


It seems like an age since we were in the wonderful Spanish sunshine. While walking in the mountains we saw lizards basking and understood their need to soak up the sun. Back home, after days of rain, the sun seemed unseasonal. I went into the garden to pick the last of the peas and there on the fencepost was a family of lizards - a mother and two babies. Desperate for warmth, they were head to tail, a circle of petroglyphs in relief. We were all suspended in the shared moment. I watched the rhythmic tic of the mother's heart. Then one of the babies loosed its grip - unhinged its four limbs and seemed to float down into the dark roots. I read that lizards have the ability to slow down their landing so that they don't harm themselves when they fall. Also it fascinates me that they have a predetermined fracture plane from the sixth vertebrae onward and can perfom self severance of the tail to survive. I thought of the lines from Eddi Reader's song "Simple Soul" - "if it hurts you, let it go".

Saturday, 22 August 2009

The Plum Thief

A few hours after I posted my poem Fallen Plums, I went outside into the garden and found Nel our border collie stretched out under the plum tree gorging herself on the fruits. Earlier in the day I had watched her pick off blackberries from the low brambles. Our little fruitarian!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Fallen Plums

I collected the plums,
fallen without sound
into the tall grass.
One half
was sweet with ripeness,
the other soured green.
My tongue
alive to the wholeness.