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.

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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

 

Shooting Star on the Street

She was tree-tall, fair
with shooting star
hair

she couldn’t sleep
on the street
that night,
with bare feet

once a forest
would rock her
to sleep
– not concrete.

She laughed
at the bird
and the song
she heard

and I gave
her some change
to keep her out
of the rain.

How did a girl
with shooting star
hair
ever end
up there?

Where is she now-
did she find a way out

or is she back on the street
trying to sleep
in bare feet?

Dear readers, I had a long talk with a homeless women this morning who inspired this poem. She was intelligent and pretty, and I just kept thinking- how did she end up on the street? She had been homeless for three years, and it was too cold to sleep the night before, outside on the streets of Cambridge, England. I bought her a hot chocolate- what can one do?

 

 

I Lay Down

I lay down until
I was mostly lichen,
a bare branch,
the bark decayed.

I lay still longer
and I became dirt,
a mushroom digging
its roots through me.

I was bound,
unmoving

until I was
raining

pouring into
the ocean
and I became

undertow.

Drowned in the
taste of
salt,
no color or smell

until the tides changed
and I rode up
on a white horse

and I saw
golden sun
blue waves
and the green
of the shore.

Ah if I knew
this was my fate
I would not have been
afraid to die.

I was inspired by Mary Oliver’s poems- many of her poems- especially ‘Sleeping in the Forest‘. My poem is only a small telling in the face of her gorgeous writing, but I thought it was worth mentioning the inspiration.