The Opposite of Fear

In fear
we wall up,
shrink,
border,
a tight-packed nut
or a fist.

While in grace
we open, a dancer
spreading her arms,
a bird in flight,

we become the cloud
shading a farmer
from hot sun

we rock a child
as if we were
the wind,
a lullaby

our fingers trace
feathered love
onto another’s
face.

Fear tries
to stop us
from dying

but we can only
live
in the opposite
of fear
-grace.

Guest Post – Poems by Arwen

The Scarf

The scarf that Nan wore

When she was dying –

Green, gold and sparkling,

Delicate tassels of silver,

Luminescent –

From whence did it come?

 

A thing she picked up

In the dementia home,

In her forgetting

(So we presume) –

Unless, on her deathbed,

It just manifested.

 

The only thing there is

To remember her with.

How can it be that she’s gone?

And yet,

If she were not,

It would make sense even less.

– Arwen, September 2017 (Cambridge)

 

Loss

They’re coming, coming,

One after another,

One follows the other,

Hastening, chastening –

The rain

Breaks up loss

Like candles at mass –

Hope in the dark;

When a bee is fallen

(The window never found)

It lies death still –

Like us as well.

– Arwen – July 1990 (Birmingham)
 

These poems are written by my friend Arwen. I feel honoured to share Arwen’s poems which I find so moving- these blazing insights are having their first blog outings.

 

Some words from the writer:

 

‘The scarf’ is written after my Nan died in late 2016.  I then recalled that I’d also written a poem when my Granddad (her husband) died, way back in 1990.  The poem ‘Loss’ is also recorded here, therefore, written on the day he died.’ – Arwen

 

The Refugees

  No one was
alone
  in that sea
of starfish

though few
names
had been
spoken,

tumbling in
empty rain
and rolling
roaring waves.

Clothes, shoes,
money were lost
by the time
the new land

appeared
and the storm
blissfully
stopped.

The moon lit
the sea,
and recognised
the soft, pink ones

as hers.

She gave them names
that could not
be taken or spoken
but were known.

Star hand in
star hand
they walked
to shore
together.

I wrote this poem about five times, all different- I couldn’t settle on one. I hope this one will do justice to something- I was thinking about refugees coming across the sea and thinking about loss and grace and gain all at the same time.