Saturday, 21 February 2015


'Whatever happened, happened for the good.
Whatever will happen, will also happen for the good.
What did you lose that you are lamenting about?
What did you bring with you that you have lost?
What did you produce that got destroyed?
Whatever you have, you received it from here.
Whatever you gave, you gave it back here.

What belongs to you today, belonged to someone else yesterday
and will belong to someone else tomorrow.'

I read these words - the essence of the Bhagavad Gita - on the morning of a curious day. I was not very well but determined to catch The Theory of Everything at the cinema before it disappeared. I broke a rule by smuggling in a non-sanctioned cinema drink (coca-cola not bought from the cinema offerings) and once seated, proceeded to be mesmerised by the effects of my action. The bottom quarter of my latest journal of poetry had been resting in a pool of spilled coke for the few minutes it had taken to reach my seat in the dark, and many of the endings of my poems have turned into a kaleidoscope of smudged colours and shapes.

You know me - I handwrite my poems on handmade paper. I dry flowers and use real ink. I have never considered making copies of entire books or typing up poems beyond the world of my blog. You might think this sort of thing has never happened to me, but I don't have that excuse. Once, in Italy, I stood on the edge of a pier scribbling verse. A boat was gathering speed in the near distance. A laughing crowd on board smiled and waved at me. I waved back. A wave, a real watery wave of enormous proportion grew like a Hiroshige painting and engulfed me, my book, the lines of verse…
I love my poems and I feel sad for a while after these strange encounters of loss, but the lesson in detachment and impermanence never fails to impress me.

The Theory of Everything was a lesson in impermanence and the laws of change. Eddie Redmayne deserves every accolade. His portrayal of Professor Hawking's descent into the deepest human understanding of the nature of time is subtle, intelligent, worthy of the subject matter. The ending is terribly moving because the director uses a cinematic ploy to imagine time rewound. Redmayne's Hawking slowly gets out of his wheelchair, stands up, his feet uncurl, his legs walk him down steps, he reaches down to pick up a fallen pen. The moment does not feel like fantasy. Professor Hawking's special gift is to make us believers in ourselves, first... the universe and its cosmology, second. 

(The Geeta Saar quote was taken from the instagram account of Deepika Mehta, a yogini.) 

Monday, 9 February 2015


'...I wanted
the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country; I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
I wanted
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,
whoever I was, I was

for a little while…'

- excerpt from 'Dogfish' by Mary Oliver

It's a funny thing being a poet, and reading the poetry of greater poets and finding yourself therein, and wondering what there is left for you to write, but then discovering that you, the small poet, and they, the great poet, are inspired by the same poet, and so you are connected... I discover in a radio interview that Mary Oliver reads Rumi every day. And that her poems have been becoming shorter as a result. Because once you have said the thing, what need is there for further decoration?

Snowdrops make me feel that way. Also tulips in a vase which remind me of the tulip giver, my mother whose birthday it is tomorrow…

Thursday, 5 February 2015


The sun is setting and it is quite beautiful.
Elsewhere the setting sun is more beautiful. I know this because someone elsewhere has a more powerful camera, and is on holiday in a more tropical place. Or more historical. A pyramid perhaps, or a cave of swimmers.

I was supposed to be somewhere this morning, but a migraine ate my eye. I was dreaming when the doorbell rang, but I cannot remember. I have always lived furiously in my dreams. Once, I kept a dream diary, but then I wondered why.

It was my mother. She brought tulips. She arranged them and made me a cup of tea.

There was snow yesterday, but only a threadbare carpet, nothing to excite my nephew and nieces with. The doorbell rings again. It's the supermarket delivery man. 'Where's your snowman?' he asks. 'Where's the snow?' I counter. A little post-migraine banter. He calls me swee'hear', though he's never met me before. I like it when strangers on the phone call me 'love' or 'darlin'... It comforts me. I like it when my mother calls me Dilly Girl. It derives from Darling Girl, but only she knows how the derivation came about.

I fengshui-ed my flat last night and am sitting on my newly arranged sofa looking at the patch of visible light and branch-webbed sky. Why am I?
The pheasants reply. And I am satisfied.

Dearest, where are you? And will we ever meet? I am melancholic and content. Is this a perfect life?