Resolutions – made a week ago

I am sitting here, dawn just coming up through the theatre of Philippe’s field at the back of the house, and the new kitten who has come to stay – permanently it seems – rubbing around my legs and climbing on my shoulders. She is Lullaby Lou, whose everyday name is Lulu and who has appeared, without invitation, but already seems to be totally at home. She accompanies Phil as he gardens and makes walls in the last of the sunshine.

It is early morning – I have not adjusted yet to the ‘gained’ hour – it just jolts me awake at 5 a.m. and I spend the rest of the day falling asleep in odd places. Exciting things have happened – although the tiny scope of our little place in Normandy – referred to by our French neighbours as le chateau on account of the extensive concrete projects that Phil has been engaged in over the summer, makes them small endeavours. Mimi Khalvati arrived in the post – her new book ‘The Weather Wheel’ has been eagerly anticipated. I have read some of the sequences in PN News and Long Poem and knew it was going to be a wonderful book. A waterfall of language it will take a lot of standing under to fully appreciate it but already the resonances are in my head. Then the new Poetry London has a wonderful introduction (for me) to Caroline Forche – exciting stuff and starts with poems from CK Williams containing what I think might be my favourite quote of the moment:

‘Sun, can you hear my teeth grinding? Can you hear my dried-out battered brain,

my already broken down thought –thing rattling like a bean in a gourd down a hill in a hailstorm?’

I am currently in the condition of someone slowly rising to the surface after a fairly long session of being lost under water. Dealing with physical deterioration and pain has been salutary but hard and the edges of life erode for a time. It is a struggle to come back. On the way though there have been significant things that have helped and I don’t want to forget them now that I am feeling more normal.

Thankfulness for small things: its clichéd but the sun rising, stars in the night sky, the way the flowers have kept going and are still shaking their petals against the wind, the pumpkins and squashes in a long line drying on the wall, reflecting the sun on their leathery skins. I have had to slow down and now it can take a whole morning, like yesterday, to make soup and salad for friends for lunch but I savour the slow moment, relish the colours and smells, the smoothness and the bumpiness of garden soup and the crinkle of the last red and green lettuces of the season. I vacuum and clean slowly and with enjoyment, when the mood takes me I can iron all the creases out of the sun and wind-smelling clothes and iron tension out of myself at the same time. I guess I’m saying that when you think you have lost the facility of being free and moving with the motion of the world it is wonderful to come back to things fresh and grateful.

I have finished my space novel for children and sent it off to the Chicken House competition; not really in hopes of winning but enjoying the discipline of having to get it prepared. I am going to start on illustrations now for copies for my smaller grandchildren. I have made Christmas cake and pudding so as to approach Christmas without pressure – I had a lovely time making them!

And poetry – ah – it is beginning to flow again. I am doing a Poetry School reading course on the Mercian Hymns of Geoffrey Hill and loving the challenge of the difficult language and the circuitous route he takes us through history and biography.

I want to make changes to my blog and to start writing it regularly and to widen the group of people who might read it – but like everything else I have to be patient and approach it slowly!

Here is my poem about Lullaby Lou and Mimi Khalvati which I wrote to entertain my friend Isobel who is also recovering towards normal life again.

Reading Mimi Kalvhati in morning sun


Reading Mimi’s Weather Wheel

with Lullaby Lou purring on my knee

transported through snow, fog,

the salaam of monsoon. L.Lou sits

quiet, just an occasional squeeze of paw.

She arrived one day on the wood-pile;

when we came near she came winding,

winding. Nobody claimed her. 

Calme et jolie she has anointed us

with her presence, a padding angel

in winter fur, her eyes gleam of stars.


How far? How many countries

vines, sand, cactus, countries

of love and loss, happy and woeful

how far has she come?



Filed under What's happening?

6 responses to “Resolutions – made a week ago

  1. This makes me happy to know that you are re-emerging, that you have a loving cat to help the process, and that you are starting to enjoy life again.

  2. 6vicky7

    Lovely blog – and the poem too – it is so special the way animals find us – love to you both and hope recovery continues xx

  3. Love this version of the poem, Brigid. Tighter, less didactic… Letting the poetry and the images do the telling. And your kindness in offering the poem that is more than entertainment. As to our re-emerging – our Autumnal springtime into poetry, being mindful of the thing under the hand to do, and enjoying the time to do it. Thanks too for the pointers to poets I have yet to read. Looking forward – at last – to being able to read again.

  4. Caroline

    Brigid it is lovely to have your blog again and be able to picture you so exactly in your wonderful petit chateau Life has been a bit up and down and a cat’s life over and another one in its place after ghastly adventures of being lost and found near death … will be in touch soon am still recuperating after something much smaller than what you have gone through and have finished my first course of eye injections and it seems I am one of the lucky 30% for whom sight is improved again … for now, anyway xxx C

  5. june jefferies

    Good to hear that you are writing again. Love the cat poem. Hallo Isobel-you are improving? Thankfulness and joy all round. We now have winter. The bird bath water was frozen solid this morning. Brilliant sunshine, clear blue sky, fur boots.

  6. Jing

    Brigid, lovely to read your poster and poem again! I couldn’t access your blog from home country and now I moved overseas so I can get in touch with you again….keen to read your children’s story in the future.

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