Snowdrops are up in our garden, already, because, I suppose, it is so mild, and they make me think of the poem by Waldo Williams, where he endows this small flower with courage because, for all its delicacy and ‘modesty’, it still pushes through hard, inhospitable conditions – winter earth –  ‘like steel’ to lead … More Eirlysiau

Admitting Winter

I was struck, when reading the book, by this poem included in Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. It is a distillation of her abiding interest in Taoism, a worldview that informs her writing, where life is recognised as a mix of darkness and light, as is symbolised by the now ubiquitous taijitu, the … More Admitting Winter

Dad’s Mahonia

Every year, 22nd November marks the day on which my dad died in 2004. It’s been fourteen years now. Mum followed five years later. It was as if something in her began to leave soon after Dad passed …  The mahonia in our garden is one that Dad gave us years ago. It’s still here, … More Dad’s Mahonia

Naming What is There

Rebecca Solnit, the American writer, hits the nail on the head over and over. She speaks in her recent book Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises of the paramount importance of right naming – using language to name our world with precision, and remake the inherited stories that are no longer fit for purpose. She … More Naming What is There

Something of the day – seed, flower, fruit

There’s that Zen saying ‘No seed ever sees the flower’ and I’m thinking, in this season of mellow fruitfulness, about transformation, like the caterpillar and its transmogrification to butterfly. How could it ever foresee itself as the latter when living as the former? How can the crab apple seed dream itself as blossom or fruit? … More Something of the day – seed, flower, fruit