October 21st










This poem is a product of my not-quite daily practice – of simply writing to fill up the page.  It is a discipline learned from Julia Cameron’s invaluable The Artists Way, where she advises Morning Pages – filling up three A4 pages every day.  You are not attempting to “write” or do anything creative, you are just getting to the end of the pages.  In the process, all sorts of interesting things will happen, but that is not your concern.  You are learning to silence your inner editor, getting it to turn the other way while you are in the first tentative stages of creating.

Once you have got used to simply writing, and not reading or thinking about what we have written, after a few weeks of filling up pages, you can begin to go back and look at what you have written.  Sometimes, amidst all sorts of moaning and lists and thinking on the page, you find you have the beginnings of something.  Sometimes, it is like mining ore.  Once your inner critic learns to leave you alone, you find all sorts of things emerge, like this.

One of the things I often find myself doing is describing what I see around me.  This is what I did.  To honour the process, I have called the poem by the date, rather than giving it a subject.  It is a record of this moment, this sitting in the garden wrapped against the growing cold, writing.



October 21st

How lovely the light is, low and golden,
falling in sheets through low, golden trees.

And the birds sing now, this morning,
in a song sharpened by last night’s frost,
the first – cold, clean, white.

The red roses are scentless with ice,
petals rolled to elegant, sugared points.
And above them the tall, brown seedheads
rattle gently in a gentle breeze.

I will cut them back, but not yet.

They hold this moment, now,
in their full, dry cups, swaying
between summer’s fallen petals,
and spring’s sharp green.
And coiled inside their
tiny black seeds are
flowers without number,
scattering in the icy breeze.

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