The Turning of the Year

(2020/21 – in Covid-19 Lockdown)

Plants in frost

The year turns yet the earth stands still.

Fertile, fallow or parched,
the land waits as the stillness settles,
partying paused by the
quiet, insistent, invasive spread of a virus.

What wonder that such a singular organism,
spiked with its own cruel beauty,
can trump the dominion of humankind.

Above the frozen, ice-bound soil,
above earth saturated by flood waters
or scorched by the heat of
a thousand flagrant, unmindful, industries,
arrogance is borne on the seemless air
along with a trillion coronavirus particles
and quietly disposed of.

We come here, Lord,
to this new land of stillness,
and search for what it means to be human.

Alone with our thoughts
and the insidious product of our dominion,
we seek forgiveness for our plundering of this precious world
but cannot turn back time.

The year pivots,
balanced between the plunge to oblivion
and an arising.

More than ever now
we need to fall upwards.*

©  Anne de Gruchy

*With thanks to Richard Rohr for his continual spiritual inspiration!



My Son

Since I parted with my agent, I have hardly done any writing.  Indeed I have abandoned this blog for a long, long time.  I find myself disengaged with writing in general, and instead have thrown myself into new roles with my Quaker community and at work (as a Mental Health First Aider).

However I have continued to attend the occasional meeting of a Christian writing group which I belong to.  We often have short workshops to write on a theme and I tend to revert to poetry at these times.  Last week we discussed the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak and the self-distancing (compassionate spacing!) and self-isolation measures, and how these were affecting us individually.  We were encouraged to use a simple 15 minutes workshop time to write a letter or communication to someone important to us, inspired by the current situation and our hopes for the future when restrictions are lifted.

I found myself writing a poem to my son.  We have booked a cottage on the west coast of Scotland overlooking the Summer Isles and hope (had hoped?) to go there, along with my son’s girlfriend, towards the end of June.  I share this with you now and wonder how long it will be until I am inspired to post again!

My Son…

My son,

You are the most precious star in my universe.

I imagine your light glittering in the movement of the sea
as we sit,
here on a cliff-top,
with the Summer Isles set before us.

Lush green mounds,
spreading like cookies baking when I taught you as a child
and we watched, excited, through the oven glass
for the fruition of your efforts,
and yes, the taste in our mouths.

And here are the Summer Isles
settling in the sea.
A warm hue of yellow green
that I can almost taste
because of the intensity of your presence beside me.