The singing will never be done

Once, you could hear
Sheep munching grass
Half a mile away.

Now the soundscape
Is full of mechanical sounds:
Auditory assault.

We have lost the music of the world:
Birdsong, animal sounds
The wind in the trees.

Birds have to sing louder
To be heard over the sound of cars.
Whale song is interrupted by ships.

The singing will never be done,
But no one can hear it when
we have lost the music of the world.

Yvonne Aburrow
8:19 am, 2 May 2022

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The Sun came up

It was May Morning this morning and all the Morris dancing made the Sun come up.

But wouldn’t it have come up anyway, I hear you ask.

For the answer to that question, Terry Pratchett had an answer, in The Hogfather, where the sun will not rise unless the Hogfather rides safely home.

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Books I read in April 2022

Dragon Rider #2: The Griffin’s Feather, Cornelia Funke

Another exciting tale of magical creatures, with lots of thoughts about conservation and wildlife.


India: one man’s personal journey round the continent, Sanjeev Bhaskar

The fact that Sanjeev Bhaskar is part of the Indian Diaspora and visited India as a child gives him a really good perspective on India, as both insider and outsider. He also writes in a very engaging way, so this book is easy to read. The TV series it was written to accompany was also very good, and both the book and the series explore the multifaceted nature of modern India. He also writes very movingly about Partition, the massacres that took place, and its effects, both on his family and on India and Pakistan.

“into the twilight woods”

Twilight. Betwixt. Liminal.
The setting sun
Making an archway
Through the trees
A window to infinity.

Things half-seen
In the mazy places.
Not sure where this path goes.
Maybe through, or within.
Some hollow place.

The half-light transforms
Known into unknown.
The woods drift between.
Trees asleep,
Nocturnal animals stirring.

Shadows gather.
Time stretches out,
Ready to pounce.
One star. Night’s eye.
Colours drain away.

Everything waits
For moonrise,
To flood the woods
With silver.

Yvonne Aburrow
8:15 am, 29 April 2022


Inspired by the phrase “into the twilight woods” in Iowa City: Early April by ROBERT HASS

“three large rabbit-breaths of air”

See the world as a rabbit sees it.
Wide angle view,
Not straight ahead
As a predator sees,
But sidelong, as prey animals see.

Long shadows,
Tall grass.
Noting every hiding place.
Ready to bolt
At the first sign
Of predators.
Each breath taken
Short and shallow.
Darting from shelter
To shelter.
Grass here,
Lettuce there.
Sun is warm,
Earth is kind.

Yvonne Aburrow
7:50 am, 28 April 2022

Inspired by the phrase “three large rabbit-breaths of air” in the poem My Weather by Jane Hirshfield

Nonetheless

None of the poems I read today
Spoke into the depths
Nor raised an answering echo.
Petrarch, Chaucer, Donne,
Whispering their plaints into the soft air
Fell to earth, drifting ash.
Nonetheless I wrote this,
To record the ensuing silence.


Yvonne Aburrow
27 April 2022

The uncomplaining stars

The low cosmic hum
Of all the stars
singing the worlds into being.
Who can know the thoughts of a star,
Or how they compose
The music of the spheres?
What faults might stars commit
That they fall to earth
A bolt from the infinite,
Becoming finite, massy?
If they look upon the pale blue dot
And hear the tumult,
Do they not complain
Of the marring of their music?
Or is the discordant theme
Woven into the greater music?

Yvonne Aburrow, 8:00 am, 26 April 2022

Inspired by the line “The uncomplaining stars composed their lucid song” in Voltaire at Ferney by W H Auden (1939). With a nod to the retired stars Ramandu and Coriakin in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C S Lewis, and the music of the Ainur in JRR Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. And of course, a nod to Carl Sagan’s awesome meditation, The Pale Blue Dot, which was inspired by this photograph.

Ramandu, by Pauline Baynes

The line of prayer

Roots pushing down
Into the dark earth
To find the mother.

A tendril of incense smoke
Seeking the stars.

Sparks from the fire
Riding the currents of air,
Winking out in the night.

Water threading its way
Through caves
Ready to be reborn
Into the light.

Love finding its way
Through the cracks
In the pavement.

A hand extended
To caress or bless.
Reaching for the sun.

The heart’s rhythms
Exploring the depths
Of the underworld.

A thread of gold
Snaking through the clouds
Of the unknown.

Inspired by the phrase “the line of prayer” in Some feel rain by Joanna Klink

Coven structure & roles

I recently listened to an interesting podcast from Circle Talk: Four Witches on Coven Hierarchy. I was pleased to note that most of the speakers on the podcast were advocating for a pretty flat hierarchy. I have written a fair amount about the roles and expectations of the different degrees in Wicca (in All acts of love and pleasure: inclusive Wicca) and quite a lot about coven leadership and the concept of “elders” (in The Night Journey: Witchcraft as Transformation). I regard the Wiccan degree system as being like the apprenticeship system in medieval guilds (apprenticeship, journeyman, master). There was very little in the podcast that I disagreed with, except the one guy who makes his first degree coveners clean the coven brassware. I’m with the woman who said she is happy when people volunteer to help, but she doesn’t make them do tasks.

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