June Readings

I’ve started, so I’ll finish. My thoughts when I think about coming here to record my readings for last month; June. This is the only way I’m keeping track of what I’m reading in terms of books, and when I started I felt it would be a worthwhile pursuit. Something to look back at, at the end of the year, and be proud at the achievement. At the fact of reading so many books. I didn’t set a target I don’t think. But forgive if I’m wrong as January feels so far away now. And thank God for this practice as I can’t remember what I read back then. Or even last month if I think about it. Hence being here now, before any more days of July rolls by and I haven’t marked down what books I read in June.

So here is the list of completed reads. And I’ve got so many other books on the go at the moment that I won’t be able to share them all, but I’ll share a smattering of them to give you an idea. There have been times when it’s been difficult to concentrate on a long read. I’d read a chapter and then skip off to do something else, or read something else. Concentration and focus have been elusive. I think that’s where poetry collections come into play. Quick and easy and brief.

Books read this month:

1. Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful by Alice Walker

2. Mama Amazonica by Pascal Petit

3. Between the Islands by Philip Gross

4. Hare Soup by Dorothy Molloy

5. Ledger by Jane Hirshfield

6. Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz

7. The Creative Doer by Anna Lovid

Books in progress this month:

1. Overstory by Richard Powers

2. Becoming by Michelle Obama

3. Grassling by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

4. The Sea Inside by Philip Hoare

5. Seeing the Body by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

6. Ecotherapy: Healing with nature in mind edited by Linda Buzzell and Craig Chalquist

Day 17 – Why did Victorian glass domes of stuffed birds make people happy?

behind the scenes

dusty corridors lead to musky back rooms

where cold vats of animal carcasses wait for a steady hand.

2 partridges, a blue jay, a cedar waxwing and a hummingbird

positioned amongst a tangle of blossoms,

wings ever spread, bodies ever ridge,

gathering around a nest,

the wild and exotic brought in close, perching in a domestic setting.

Species preserved through behaviours which made them extinct.

such a colourful display; the fashion for an object of art;

stuffed birds for our delight, for our ever expanding egos.

Day 14 – Did you notice the Primroses at the edge of the path?

Their influence upon me was unacknowledged.

A light touch, with the hint of lemon,

at times translucent like a petal.

It was only when someone pointed out

a cluster of her words and his images

sprouting between mine

that I made the connection, that I caught

their dark shadows napping within my lines.

I had to apologise as I went about pulling

them out by the roots , laying out new foundations

in order to breath life into my own creations

growing from my gut to my heart to my hand.

Day 6 – Curlew, Sphagnum Moss, Peat

a spongy carpet;

clusters of green stars

holding water

storing carbon

amongst cotton grass

big rosemary and cranberry.

Curlew, Steng Moss Bog

peatland upland graasland.

blue stockinged long long legs

wading curved bill down.

I miss the air

against my skin

flicking hair impressions.

before they breed

the male bubbles a call

high pitched across the greyish mist.

threatened they skim

mudflats and dig for shrimp.

this closeness to nature

of cream of buff

of feather is like love

being ripped out

from the roots and fashioned

to fit the narrow folds of life,

yet still being golden and wild.

Day 4 – Dreamscape – Our own longing for silence is the rhythm of fire

Someday soon, in the distant past,

with an evening the colour of falling

maple leaves, I am trapped in a windowless

room – the desert is within us all.

I pose, pleased with my skin of darkness

and I will speak to you in lizard tongue

and shining face.

But night is still night to conjure

a backdrop of Georgia O’Keefe’s

bleached bones and bountiful blooms,

I come to you with my wild soul

thirsty for sugared water with fruit

nestled into my indigo hair.

Day 3 – NaPoWriMo – Music doesn’t always have to be about love

Trying to eat crayons,
I lower my carbon footprint
by losing weight

Working against the yellow of the sun
I circle the moon buttoned into the night;

warm as blossom,
silver as fish.

It’s hard going over pebbles
and shingles, jagged and raw.

Their shouts disturb my sleep,
Fuck off and go back to where you come from.

Is he referring to me?

Not even Harlem has this sorry soundscape. Halfway through life,

an awkward texture between the air and me, I’m too blind and too mute

for the ugliness and
violence found in such beauty.

My Blissful List for April

1. My DryRobe – This is a must have for when I’m going on a sea visit. I just slip my cossie on underneath and I’m out the door. Sometimes if the sea is far out, I’ll wear this robe right up to the shoreline, snuggled into the furry lining, soaking up the last few ounces of warmth before I throw it off and dive into the cold North Sea. And then I know it’s waiting for me when I come out, to soak up the wet and keep off the wind and rain and get me all warmed up. This was a gift to me from me and it just keeps giving. I love my DryRobe hugs.

2. My footed mug. – It was a special red, hand planted one with birds from Anthropologie but I broke it the other day. I was mighty upset. Making do with this little beauty from Tesco’s for now. But hot coffee on repeat. Just the ritual of making it, popping the kettle, rinsing out the cafeteria and putting in two scoops of decaf coffee and pouring the water on and allowing it to brew. The smell in the kitchen, the rising steam. Small simple pleasures.

3. My turquoise plush blanket. – When I left my last teaching job they brought me a gift voucher for Debenhams as a goodbye gift. I took it, I think £30, and bought this comfort blanket as it was a luxury item and I felt I’d just gone through a few months of hell teaching full-time and deserved a little treat in my life. This blanket is super cosy and has been my hygge go to ever since then.

4. Books and more books. – Growing up I used to hoard books. I used to buy them thinking by just having them in my possession I would be intelligent and knowledgable. I now know I have to read the books to gain their insight and message. And this is what I love to do. Anywhere really. Sitting room, bedroom, the bath is a favourite. And I love my physical books but hells bells if I’m going somewhere and packing is tight, then Kindle books will do for me. I just get lost in books, and inspired and cheered up.

5. Paper and pens – Yes I like my fancy journals and fountain pens. But when it comes down to it, just give me any scrap of paper and a pencil and I’m happy. I can then create. Lists are my go to in times of trouble or doubt. If I can brain dump whatever I’m carrying around in my head and body onto that paper, I feel better in the process. I can get things organised, I can let down my load and walk away feeling lighter, calmer and happier.

What is your Bliss List for April? Give me 5 items or more. just follow your bliss and see what you come up with. What makes you happy? What makes you glow from the inside out?