march 27 return to blackhurst Ghyll

the first time I was here I had a broken big toe and I sat in rain while C explored, today a fresh light day we returned –
I am in literature, the borrowers, toad, little men, as well as spring and primroses, moss and greening
pollarded trees divide and reach up and give my fairyland, not quite narnia or lord of the rings to slight for that, puck of pook’s hill, borrowers on their raft small down the big river into sweet stream- another sunken cathedral with all the trees going for the upside down perfection of reflection, the straggling up to sky it is a dark pool of flatness deep for the time of year, a small skin stretched over and over flat and shallow holding carcasses of trees like caterpillars up turned legs or tiny rib cages or viking ships well their skeletons, or mini loch ness monsters, shadow and murder filmscould personify the trees imagined at night it would be nightmare now a hidden lake – I leave and have lost my companion a strange time loss, feeling like a hundred years, that fairytale, have I moved shifted in time – then I see her red scarf- but it was a strange moment imagination stronger than reality and I had just been mocking it

march 23 Charlotte’s birthday

IMG_8501the skin beside my thumbnail bleeds red, as I stand over the dead lamb, caught running, laid down in stream, legs downstream, lying pooled and held, frozen to the running life as it does not live
a cycle starts again
a pecked eye already, green markings, fur black legged still looks soft and furry to touch, in fact except for the pecked eye it could be lying down and sleeping, no untrue,the spark of life is gone its just the body so fresh and moving because the water moves around, cuddling and cradling in flanks of circles, curved edges, it is a burial slab of movement and the water roars as the full stream towers, bowers and cracks above and below, the lamb is between two orchestras by a mossed tree, making its own riverlets, its own moving drapery, its own mourning song, is quiet, careful, and life is ever more affirming of life living and this beloved lamb gives me more life and blesses a birthday, its a blessing not a conundrum or a curse, as I write the blood from my thumb nail shines, the rain drops on the page and makes it hard to write, I mourn and sing, I observe and feel, I hold and let go, I cradle and dream, I ache and fold in
I slump, haunched ,and feel its innards still full – soon it will flatten and smudge and either be swept away by more water and tossed apart, rent by animals, hard to imagine it could stay beached mid-stream, running till it dissolves – it will be gone by our next meeting, and yet…

march 13


foam bones
snow melt
bubble rush
swirl delicately
whirlpool slow change
ribs, pelvis,teeth, ribs
all linger and slide around in white bubbles, spongy too
just like the real thing
eyed and molared
floating ribs are just that
all with the drawing by water
a tuck of land
a switchback
a melt, a rush and it
whirlpools into moving form
and we see bones and feel them enter us
one can watch hypnotised for hours once one starts the turning miles two different speeds
the open line
through the different speeds
faster more like feathers
slow like skulls
insides of bone-sliced bones


red inner lining
red along the start of the snow
and just behind the next tree the sheep with one whisp around its neck sees us and moves off, for a moment we do not notice the stammering wet lamb that has just been born, then the sheep moves off and this tiny wet, stumbling mess moves off as shaking as you would expect
and now now we have been at birth – now we have savoured the beginning of this cycle
the sheep has moved across the field its tiny cargo now footed and following and lives continue and start and sun illuminates this leaving, this blood red holding in the mud and snow
witness of birth we have seen the whole life span and sources fall into sources water into life liveness and sun and snow and ‘our’ lamb looks up and sees the sky, its world enlarges
and more evidence
this mother has got as close to the stream as possible to give birth near a tree and up to a fence, but it has drawn near, no one tell me that this is just imagination this water called to give birth, hear the sound of a stream, seems proof, proof enough for me
this was our first source search – to return many months later and witness birth seems an unlikely spring
it is a gift of attention
of being in the right place in a single moment
so returning becomes a new life and a re-sourcing over again
will it demand a life-long returning, a lifetime resourcing, a knowledge that streams will lead us on into our different ages and that our lives are beholden as they are
beholden to allow us in if we find the doors and we have found doors,
each door an inch of water, a stick, a shine of mud
a sliver of grass, a bubble, a movement, a movement, movement
and maybe I will die sooner than I think so at least there has been preparation, nothing better

on return the whirlpools have gone
this miracle of timing of taking time to receive the overflowing, changing gifts
the whirlpools held us back and then we were at birth
the whirlpools have dispersed

there is a lamb
an owl transcends to voice in day
called by us, by birth, by sign
and this a few inches from Foul Mile Rd
leaning to be timeful
it is so simple yet gets lost in a


march 9

cloudy up edging, bunked ,piled leaves, mud, bone sticks shifting earth, mulch pooling, pottering filling, spading, stick hair, melt fork, layerdown, its almost as if the insides of trees have been to a sawmill all this chumped up tree, sawdust natural, wetted and wiggled down
the stream from where I am standing I can see 8 water shifts down and a tracing of white brown bubbles all the way down and the sound eight tracks too as the water pitches off rhythm the ones further off like wind, neater like conversation and broken harps
a single line of bubbles is trooping down and a curvilinear procession like a mobiles strip or little spaceships domed in water carrying new beings

overtime I move my hair is nagged, twigs scrap and crown, tickle and skin, breakcrack, bend flapjack, tweak -head low I move on, top of the head first, the hole, the fontanelle first either protection or the most vulnerable or the place that needs to be open to be here to be this the stream out, my own kind of trepaning, head forward flow go
bright gene nettlesome the plants and one other water leaf, some of the nettles have holed dated with the presence of others eating through, oh a tiny dock as I lean to pick the water leaf my eye is held by a vertebrae just under my foot, dug in, camouflaged, this basin stream carries so many bones as I rush to C leaving the dip a small vertebrae eyes me held in a square of trees and on the field in from t a semi circle of a rib lying with its mates, the sticks

spreading outwards in the air ( like Cornelia Parker’s exploded shed) my bones could be held between these trees in air as twigs, I await that going, thats our sheep bones our own disinterment, our own unknitting of the bones in preparation


sunken cathedral brown water rises so high flooded flat trees and yellow mud yellow an artefact like a hedged tree trunk lies like a log – it is my mitten from a previous outing – now lolling in the water, taken aback , just as I wished for the bones of the sheep for my own bones I have left a part of me to be buried here and watch its water transformation , we have got it out, placed it over a trunk of submerged tree – I thought to take it to go with our bones but I don’t know the other glove will have a different history will they know each other – this in its weeks under sky and water wooded and silted , animated and birded, alone, alone, and the other sitting in a coat pocket hanging in the hall. Can they meet again, like any deep experience , can you meet again, oh yes you can meet but the weathering, the journeying on a different level

oh low cathedral, submerged and merged cup of a small world a milky lake of polished floor slidy as skin shaky as wind unbearable of weight I lie close down on an iron tank to have eyes level to the waterfloor and imagine tiny creatures dancing over its polished surface to speeded up birdsong, now looking I see the insects or is it rain, probably a multitude of insects crawl this water so I am not crackers all fairy tales rooted in elemental imagination

a fling around and lie head back on the edge of the tank with a swirl of abandon – and see it all helper skelter and bless the world anew I am midpoint as I lie seeing sky tree water all in a muddle something falls out of my pocket into the yellow water beside me, I let it go, when I sit up I check for my car keys, I have them, whatever went has gone and I leave more of myself behind more
ahead of my eyes a yellow brown snail shell zings with colour in this brown mud day and I know my eyes have adjusted to seeing, seeing the things I miss as I go along, this is the presence, this is the beginning and end of the journey hunched over I sit at the source of our stream and know
aliveness, gratitude,
my backwards reverence ( reverons/curtsey)
head held
the tree holds me as I prepare to leave

I gently sway in my hair held way eyes closed
tree guides my dance as it holds my shoulder now and as I swayed in my neck a bone changed and shifted and clunked and the weightless became form and I feel myself holding my own bone inside myself

from my feet looking down
a rib turned away and beyond
a forearm or foreleg for a sheep
in the water a bouquet of gathered ribs lull with the water
then the biggest part the pelvis white and coated with mud wings towards the water two vertebraes attached just beyond some river rubbish mud and slush and on end, most of a spine arches up
the stream and stream’s edge holds them all in their going


february 4 3013

Cernunnos the horned god lies shimmering among the mirrored trees
A ghost of a god

the light comes out and wellingtons covered in gunk stay underwater up to shins, we have discovered a horned sheep’s skull huge dark eye membraned in tree reflected liquid- water giving four horizons, skull is caught against the largest gatekeeper of the huddle pond, laying low I am sitting on it now at the other end, i boot in, one out, and along its length of drowning wood tiny circles of woodworm spongy insides sumptuous moss – it is held caught, looking further out I see what must be a thigh bone but is wood dispersal, diaspera of the bones, held in sky reflected branches and brown wiggles,bubbles, lines with white abstract shapes like paintings but really just the forcing through of light, crissing and crossing and coagulating, so many ripplings at once, the flickering, bickering jiggle like a hoover noise as movement, the slight cresent of the line resounding from a tiny drop ranging out like map contours,lines, slow mush and bubble jellying more lumpily on surface- the running, tripping, lengthening of what a breeze does to still water, a thousand forests, a lump of old mulch, horned skull, layering of reflection, sinister eye, sacred horn, come up from the depths whiter and complete we have decided to take it away with us totem of our wandering, our collecting, our collecting, this is and isn’t it’s burial place it is unearthed to be water bound, branch held, oozed out, it bears its own life lived and died died here in the birth of death pond we are gathering, gathering, as waters die back we find as expected but still shocking the bones, yellow and spongy too, circle marks, graceful curve of vertebrae wing sycamore

and now 500 seagulls fly under head reflected down another level, high up above almost soundless, I noticed them corner of eye flying over pond tried to catch upside down flying with camera and of course I missed it, missed again, i will have trees and bottom of pond and bubbles and mess and today too difficult to write, entering the hedge a pelvis under my feet stoppered me then out of a low overhang a spoon dull but cupped up catching the drops, a stream’s cup of tea? strange site, dainty and level, then the sprawl of open back bones slinking up the bank, whose life are we seeing disintegrate – its not like I keep forgetting these bones held a body but I am finding my own life reflected in the bones letting go how rare to see such a process time after walk after visit, not knowing if its one or more and each bone further and further away. This must be the way we earth why I fight cremation, I want to be earthed have since a child some elemental need to go to ground not fire though all to air eventually. I will always return to my pond cathedral now monumental burial site like all land just exposed to me, joining earth water air fire- this moment of cut sun blazing straight in on me shockingly

Spinal kite stranded high in the hedge
Stegasaurus plates, hooked on
A ladder to the sky, beginning nowhere
P1060931elevated bones, calmly watched well not watched by sheep, a flying spine hooked 10 feet up over a branch – entwigged – how- it’s story a storm hallucinating, a farmer flipping it out of his way, weather, just weather, leaving it adrift along the top of trees air bourne it links to another unexplained story, human, inhuman, animal, elemental and we flounder before it wool gathering tipped on brambles blown like swotted bees nests, a congregation of puppet mourners whisp clothed and huddled. I am wooled, sheeped, bone tumbled. Gathering debris of old lives we hunger for attachment as we linger in the dispersal afraid and yet accepting linked in our own vertebraes of families below grandchild, child, children above older bones, parents and parting, that way too, all part as we part middle age


gathering, collecting, tying bones together, undoing bones, treacherous simplification, yet so calming to grow to accept the growing, groping towards an ever changing dispersal, because we try to grasp, to have, to understand, to capture, knowing its unlikely, knowing its impossible but knowing its the cloven rule, our dis-creating selves, buried by air, so there

bone stealers


December 11th

The silent clicks and trickles of winter water wash over the dead ewe
sending her bones down stream as the weight of her flesh is dissolved  
So many bodies are tangled in the dead wood, silted up in dams
bones stuck in the soft mud of the pool sinking to the middle of the earth

I am slow this morning, heavy with sorrow, still with the air and trees
confused by the walls of conditioning and the patterns that shape my life
gasping for a way out

Gathering bare bones of my self 
daughter, mother, grandmother
my slimy bones are not ready  
I am not ready 
I will come back for them

I will die and the water will take me back to the earth 
I will not go in a box, leave me naked by the stream
it will only take a few weeks 
Then come back and gather my bones
they will be scattered by this living place across the fields


november 30 2012 streaming

P1050858last day of november, round moon in the sky, red sunrise frost, clear, find a source near the busy road, cannot control those enclosed cars rushing by us sitting in a closed in, barbed wire, junked pool ,overlooked farm house face, padlock ,more barbed wire – its like a ditch shut off from the business of fields, ivy covered, old animal holes, silted brown bubbles, iron red sourcing, chumped junk, still skim of film, non-reflective or whited out, almost still, ivy tumbled in and unbeaded holly, rack of mushrooms in old tree trunk, backpack shoved against a scrapyard of a source – coldly we let the beauty arrive, cars still flowing  but birds now compete and linger outlined songs jutting into air, feet start to freeze with fingers but sacrifice is worth it

C has stood up to her calves in wellingtons in the glom trying to capture the muck murk two floating leaves face down, hold life and light yellow, waiting for the long sink to leaves coated in mud – see a process I haven’t taken time to see before a leaf falling on a still sheen gradually seeps the water in, lowers and muds, and becomes part of a nest of dulled leaves mulching down to leaf mould ,watered soft mush of pond bottom, this stream hardly moves, it is the freeze, the lip of land hardly falling, lowering, a tea saucer of rain – no it has a vein off, hard to follow in this crimped space hammered in on all sides, now when I look into a field and see on back of trees a frazzled hedge, I will know the possibilities of water- already I am gleaming into this spot, outlined twigs against stark bitter white light, breath surprising me as steam, and I am lifted breath and track myself loving being here early morning recording water in the frost and traffic, this looks like the worst pollution but it might be it orange up from the ground

standing in low mud my feet in wellingtons felt unguarded the one mysteriously soaked, find the slit in the boot, done for now, rubber or whatever plastic it is gone – my socks and tights hold water – not observing but blooded by it! as the sun opens white fields seem whiter and pool more glittering feel slightly sidelined with my uneven foot, seared through its rip, opening to  iced water

notice the modern conservatory looking clear to this scrappy place windows looking at us probably unseeing, who would look at a scrap of scrambled wood, fenced and densed and draggled ,almost a nuisance to the field – find a new place a meeting of 3 waters, bracken still growing among stinging nettles which have lost their bite, against the one patch of moss there is a tiny white feather, fluffy like a flower, cannot find a ready answer to how it arrived where it is, which bird, as sun hits ,beauty unscrabbles this dirt oasis, water sings loud on my left, along the hinge of meeting, baby waterfalls boom out speed

as light jumps up a ceremonial drumming starts in the local barn, I could imagine anyone greeting the sun with a heartbeat, know it must be some farm equipment, chopping, cleaning machinery, less now just odd beats, but job done, sun up, and commuting in laying, laying us down in gratitude and duty. I take to the moss, breath firing goldened eyelashes, nose fuzz, streaked hair glow as toes go,  light through holly looks like water ripples hanging vertical, now as sun moves they are outlined holly again, my breath surprises me as I think it is mist moving down the stream,  a real cock crow as if from a children’s talking book, another low firing, another crow a sigh, falling water crow, stream lined up at the base of my boot straightening off into holly light reflections all the way down, as I begin to cold up I feel the place develop becoming overwhelming, no need for more than a pore in the land, a cup, to recognize the land’s vein traveling, traveling, i am streamed again lunged into reaping the unexplored in my swirling breath at each of my breaths out

we are lying as if sunbathing well we are sunbathing it is on my face , my thighs, I’m glad for clothes though I see how I could melt away into cold, as tips and tops of extruded parts freeze off and leave,  the eye does not feel the cold fortunately impervious to this it takes its time to look, held back by dripping nose and chipped cheeks ,  wood pigeon, truck, gate close, C gives in, surrenders colded and ached to the music of streams, wrapped and warm she lies combe-like and dreaming, patient and perfecting a moulding, to place bones of spine drifting apart, muscles letting go, only the courage of the breath continues like the moving stream unable to stop until it does.

dogs barking now, long cock crows out of time now ,with duck’s scratch- sounds, a livening world- we got here early to feel it,  I wonder at a farmer passing now, would think – two ladies, clothed and booted, lying on the banks of a tiny stream sunbathing in the sun on the last day of november, maybe it happens all the time, armies of women greeting the morning lying beside frozen muddy rivlets of water-  I am charmed by the image, all this lying down and sleeping near the water is the getting up, the waking really, we just forget over and over what fools

breath communion, my common prayer, my dissolve and matter

air, light, ground, water

november 15

the mouth, dustpan makes its journey down, rippling in a slow spin carrying its carcass rubbish, tiny leaves, pens, cup pieces, an orange peel, a gull

tapering , lingering, like live oil smoothly manipulating itself down in an ooze of mud-grey muddle, undertowed elastically, smoothly inexorably, hunted, haunted

tiny leaves pass others from the same family why so much faster why twirl so, bypass, underpass, swerve delicately, slow motion tumble, they are deeper deeper is faster stronger the pull more receding, reclaiming, lumping, raring,pulling, I watch a steady stream of insults, deep catastrophe after deep

the dustpan, yellow plastic, faded maybe even attempted to be orange in its prime, holds it sharp edges, rubbish collecting rubbish, well not rubbish, mostly fallen leaves, willows, a stick, holding water rather than flowing like a microscope it holds a living world ready for examination, a moving river microscope, cherish the rubbish, the holder of lifetime of dust and dirt and perennial tidying up, holds this river, holding it flying down in slow motion its mouth open it faces up, from my dream lying on ones back swimming but arms as wings…this this dustbib, I have forgotten its too familiar name, know I’ve just written it but it has gone on – is now rippling in a rhythmic hip to hip wiggle a big bounce, now another rim ripple the thin end the place where dust and broom met edge and plastic, more leaves drift on and it begins to be held handle towards the river bank filling, filling with moving water, more sticks, more leaves, tiny red dots, slim yellows, nearly orange-green, a stalk of wheat, it ripples hand is held now filling itself, drowning itself in water debris leaves and grass, dust, the rim is heading skyward and the part deepens and drags down its held by its own weighted water and forest of leaves, open container of autumned life, held in moving muddle of water to the sea, my own speciman case still useful to hold the leftover, the dust, the remnants, I never thought I would pray to that rubbish, find my altar in this plastic shelf but looking at now its edges are like angel wings, straight, lifting, holding up, the base drawn together at its shoulder, it is my own out stretched outheld edges, out of water, clarity-defined, holding an opening shelf. I never thought to see an angel in a trashed dustpan or an epiphany in a sinking shovel

we leave it now, we hope it follows all the way, but it is stilled, weighted and inert now, until the next  lurch of water

ok there’s the pen again, white with green actually its a broken toothbrush, I see cuttle fish and fethers, leaves and cotton dust, underwater plants dense and pulling up, so not only the drains of humans

orange polysterene lump like a misshapen halloween vegetable

just found cuttlefish pool sign!

a bird flew out under my feet, a quick burst, I am just above some reeds and mudflat grasses – it whipped out horizontal

water and rubbish Charlotte’s mantra

bubbles pouring upwards from a tiny spout in the mudfloor, like a miniature geyser furious with energy, is it a worm

now every piece of rubbish hols the possibilities of altars, caught far out in reeds a white polysterene box missing a side, one edge, forms a holder open to the sky, why is it not found face down, tomorrow it may be as water moves but for today i have these open shelves

the river has started to run in all directions like ornate flowers twisting and twirling back baroque and patterning, what pushes it to go upstream, be antagonistic, to confound, I walk towards the shore it suddenly dips and shifts away and meanders back unperturbed, the turntable of the sea and river, this blooming, bursting, contradicting, chromozone counting, torn, tortured, tumbling, tagging, tremulous melding of matter, liquid hurricanes, liquid earthquakes, so many people must stand here and feel baffled tangled by its

river mouth sea

mouth river sea

sea river mouth


one’s own restless mind

a few pieces make it down and out, black seaweed, odd stick, stripped and red, a tiny tiny leaf, a popping seaweed like a sycamore bird/twizzle, dark leaves, a string of long seaweed, here it seems only the natural returns to the sea, all that rubbish holds itself back, not wanted

its cold on this edge as I stand watered on all sides and wet rocks under my feet, cold held back by a sun’s glimpse and the noise of water is blanketing in some unknown but comforting way

its gone dull green with yellow highlights, the colour I have chased for much of my life as my eyes, beckon towards it when close, to have changeable eyes affected by light like the water suddenly makes me feel natured and close


november 2

P1050285rebound  our first revisit our den of dying dead sheep, skulls, ribs, spines we found our graveyard last time but responded to it as a place of clarity of peace of golden acceptance

these sheep lay down to leave life returning to the source this high point near the road the source here under our feet this hollowed out space pooled pooled trees lie drenched in mud mud-coloured water, leaves coating the ground, just a few trees with leaves to all, a beech, a willow a hawthorn, some oak leaves in a gaggle just fell, holly of course and ivy still on

I sit on a dissolving tree, mossed, uprooted,its length marking the whole pond all the trunks and branches boring into the mud, a very slow journey back to coal, today it is logs and mud water, november cold, and yet it is blessed, tractor a field away, birds crackling, slight wind, masses of rain earlier now sunlit patches, as we wait, what light can do to water is like breathing every  time renewed,new

I am sitting on this dunked tree looking back at a puddling stream, flowing fast and lit by reflection against a skyline, this is the first return

caught my back on a hawthorn tree held saw sheep’s wool held too its moving wool is holding a strip of yellow leaf all moving

I am unsteady in the mud leaves my boots don’t give me trust in fact I am waiting to slip, it will happen, this is a feast and a resourcer, maybe we become sellers of resourcing from which you don’t come back, to be carried by tree and water, sky and leaves, sheep and grass, another being
is opening a fold, witnessing a collapse, a real aching heart yes my real heart is aching, the body wail of pain I saw is reflected in me, I am going with earth but this bright time of speaking is maybe flooding me, receive it allow it, I can be left without , well maybe not if I keep uncovering the folds, let the water stream out and stream onwards, one drop in the centre of the pool and its reverb out, I am resourced but deadly my heart hurts so much, is it me, my heart, my branch flesh that hurts, do I want to lie down and give it up like the sheep choosing where to be , I must , I lay down

we start down the stream, a new sheep’s carcass lies peacefully in the water new since our last visit 3 or 4 weeks ago the fur is still on the bones, the flesh is like lumps of mud strewn out behind it, the bones are still covered in a hairy substance, its teeth gleam  and the hair on its head rises up, the ribs circle and widen, one leg turned around and crushed, ligaments and cartilege still there, water flows on and stays clean, the graveyard of happy sheep

lie down in a stream to return

october 16

tangerine reflection in the milk of clippenham stream

like looking through old thick negatives that brown heat

I am at a lip in the stream – a single branch thick and fallen crosses the water, caught leaves hold back, overhead light makes for glitter og vertical diamonds, bristling with bubbles

I am sitting in the beauty and sublime while missing my lecture on Burke and Kant and beauty and sublime I miss it and yet am in the doing

does life ‘narrow’ down or ‘widen’ so much that being with a stream is life enough?

walked along further

found a triangular field

took the horizon line of beeches and skyline

the stream got harder

then had a moment stripped off and went in – it was cold, one dunk each was plenty

invigorated  carried that on and in my body all day