What We Learn in the Dark

There’s nothing in my life I can call my own

not even my time. Sometimes – some time –

I could, or might, regret this; today though

it feels like a gift – how can hands receive

unless they first become empty? I’m learning

to like that somewhere-and-nowhere place

of letting go, of owning nothing. Outside,

dawn after dawn, the songthrush opens her beak

and the world pours through her

and then through me. I’d like to be that tree – 

a holding-together of earth and sky,

steadying the wind for a dance –

in love with dawn, with dusk, 

with rain, with sun – with translating 

these into buds, fruit, leaf-fall.

The title is from a poem by John Burnside.


So take these words

turn them into the colour

of sky, a burst of cello song

this snipe startling

from the underbrush

turn them into a few grains of sand

turn them into yesterday

turn them into love

then let them go

none of us gets out of here


Roselle Angwin is a poet and eco-poet, novelist and author, and runs the Fire in the Head writing programme, and Ground of Being, an eco-soul series of courses. Recent books are River Suite, All the Missing Names of Love, Imago and Bardo. Her new novel, forthcoming this summer, is The Burning Ground. and
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