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sisters & sparrows

Poetry. Photography. Life.

Category Archives: inspiration

We went to Borth and swam in the sea and then lay in the sun and got burnt.  It was marvellous.

I took some photos.







Tim (wearing, by the way, Kat’s sunglasses)

I’ll be back soon with more news!


{photo: how to catch a sun by Mlyutin}


Denise Levertov

What patience a landscape has, like an old horse,
head down in its field.
Grey days,
air and fine rain cling, become one, hovering till at last,
languidly, rain relinquishes that embrace, consents
to fall. What patience a hill, a plain,
a band of woodland holding still, have, and the slow falling
of grey rain… Is it blind faith? Is it
merely a way to deeply rest? Is the horse
only resigned,or has it
some desirable knowledge, an enclosed meadow
quite other than its sodden field,
which patience is the key to? Has it already,
within itself, entered that sunwarmed shelter?

Denise Levertov is fast becoming one of my favourite poets (have you noticed?).  She’s so effortless.  Get out her collection This Great Unknowing (her last forty poems, published posthumously) and you will see.

Going to meet all my friends tonight, and then out to dinner with my family at the sexy new restaurant in town.  Dressed up of course – can’t resist.

And isn’t this beautiful?  (Thanks to Ellie for sharing this with me, you legend).  I could really do with a beach day!

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Well today I met one of my most wonderful friends, LJ, for a coffee and indulgent chat, and she gave me a bunch of daffodils.  Made my day.  (They may have got slightly crushed in our rather exuberant public running-hug, but let’s gloss over that.)

{photo by teaforjoy}

Also watched the second part of BBC’s adaptation of Women In Love(/The Rainbow). May I say that D H Lawrence drives me up the wall?  His characters can never just make a decision and get on with life: they agonise over every small thing, and pine away wishing for unreal things.  When they fall in love they do it in such a grey way.  They’re always loving and hating their partners simultaneously which leads to ridiculously drawn out lovers’ tiffs which end in unnecessary separation/death.  Take, for example, Gudrun and Gerald.  They’re blatantly in love with each other, plain and simple.  Why can’t Lawrence just let them get on with it?!

Still, I enjoyed it, not least because of the manly charms of Joseph Mawle as Gerald.  And the photography was excellent.

Tomorrow will be spent walking Pegs, working, and doing some prep for Sunday’s Mother’s Day meal.  Planning to make this pudding, which I’ve sampled before (delicious).  And apparently Delia thinks it’s ‘just the sort of thing that you hope will be served after a convivial Sunday roast, complete with home-made custard’.  Dandy.

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One friend told me she has no idea what’s going on in my life unless I’m blogging – so – this is for you S.  (Can’t wait for you to get down here for your visit!)

I’m back home which is wonderful so I’ve gone a bit cold turkey on stuff I do at uni – namely, blog, and communicate with people.  I’ve been spending eons of time drinking coffee in the new coffeehouse in town (amazing), walking my brother’s dog Pegs, going jogging (along the river), and sitting in the library, reading, researching, writing, trying to build up the portfolio.  Met up with my first few friends to get back from uni, for lunch at said coffeehouse.  It’s been fun.

The big fat essay on poetry is coming along, stands at about 1000 words, but I need to do a huge chunk of reading before I can get any further.  I’m really getting into it though.  Along the way, I’m reading John Donne, George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, R S Thomas, Denise Levertov and Michael Symmons Roberts.  Just ordered a book of essays on literature and Christianity which should be really helpful.

Developing a desire for a writer’s room.  Might start badgering my dad to build one in the garden.  Feasible?  Definitely.  Will he do it?  Definitely not.  But you know, nothing asked nothing gained.

Roald Dahl’s room.

Martin Amis’.

Seriously though this series is wonderful, photographed by Eamonn McCabe.  Check it out.

Reading – essays and poems, mostly, at the moment.

At The End

R. S. Thomas

Few possessions: a chair,
a table, a bed
to say my prayers by,
and, gathered from the shore,
the bone-like, crossed sticks
proving that nature
acknowledges the Crucifixion.
All night I am at
a window not too small
to be frame to the stars
that are no further off
than the city lights
I have rejected. By day
the passers-by, who are not
pilgrims, stare through the rain’s
bars, seeing me as prisoner
of the one view, I who
have been made free
by the tide’s pendulum truth
that the heart that is low now
will be at the full tomorrow.

Watching – Downton Abbey with my mum, lent to me by a friend at uni.  We’re on the second episode and already hooked.  My Grandma would be proud.

Listening to – among other stuff, James Vincent McMorrow.  Also this (thanks to Mat for this):


That’s all folks.  I’ll try to post again before the week is out.

Tonight I went to see The Tempest by Cheek by Jowl in the Warwick Arts Centre.  (On my own, might I add.  I secretly love going to the cinema, to the theatre, for coffee, on my own).  Russian company, Irish director.

It was all in Russian.



Here’s what Le Figaro said when the show came to Paris:

«This is a very clear-cut, bold, playful and stirring performance. It is Russian and it is Irish too. It is the summit of the world literature. It is Shakespeare at his most universal best.  <…>

This time we are offered Shakespeare’s testamentary play performed by Russian actors. Isn’t it a bit too supercilious to go to Sceaux to watch great Shakespeare performed in Russian? No, it isn’t. That night public was reluctant to let the actors quit the stage after all the joyful and striking experiences they made us go through.  <…>

Declan Donnellan managed to dig down to the ultimate meaning of the play and he did it with childish affection. He presented us with the childhood of the art. ».

Armelle Héliot – «Le Figaro»

Amen.  More than that, the actors had great presence, they were so tangible, their noises, the energy of the movements they made – I understood so much before even glancing at the surtitles.  Miranda was amazing, portrayed as this kind of feral child who crouched low, bit and licked things… bizarre and wonderful.

Taking a leaf out of Erica‘s book I’m going to tell you a few of the things in life that I most love.  Non-book or poetry related.  Guys, this will be informative for you.  After you understand that I love these things, you will have new insight into the philosophy of my life.


I have to stress that bread and jam must be enjoyed only when the bread is hot out of the oven, a fat doorstep of homemade loaf or a hunk of baguette, a fat bit of salted butter, and maybe raspberry jam.  Excellent with thick french coffee.  If I have kids they will have this on Sunday afternoons without fail, with warm milk.

Yessss.  Treehouses.  I’ve never been in one ever but I’ve always wanted one.  They’ve always fascinated me.  Those amazing treehouse cities with mazes of bridges and ladders, also the modern minimalist pod ones with huge windows.  I’d love to stay here.

Castles.  Any castle.  I’m obsessed with King Arthur and the knights and all that (never quite grew out of it).  This castle is one of my top favourites.  (If you live in England you should absolutely visit it.)  I like the ones that are quite ruined so you can have a proper explore and imagine how it used to look, and find little nooks where no-one else goes and imagine queens gazing out of windows there and so on.

Uh.  Cheese.  Specifically, shropshire blue.  Seriously though, Sunday evenings have been cheese and wine evenings at home for as long as I can remember.  I miss the tradition at uni (what student can afford it).  On a tangent, I also love food photography.  Specifically Katie Quinn Davies‘.  I think I have a bit of a girl crush on her.

The Armoury.  This is my favourite pub in the world and a default meeting place for me and my Shrewsbury friends.  It’s got humongous bookshelves along two whole walls, and all the chairs and tables are mismatched.  They have loads of local ales and the food is wonderful.

The Stiperstones.  I just love this hill.  It has a lot of good memories.  Also legends!  I love legends.

And I also love people who talk about books and their arms get all animated and their eyes shine and I love it when people talk about God like that too – even better when it’s both combined, like when they’re chatting C S Lewis.  I love it when my flatmates order take out for me and we drink beer and watch rubbish telly.  I love misty mornings that turn into yellow afternoons.  I love trudging through the countryside in the rain when I’m wearing chunky boots.

I’ll stop now.

I was away for the weekend, back in the shire for a training weekend with Christian Union mates.  But I’m back and now facing the toughest three weeks of this term.  Two essays to do, and tons of stuff with CU to sort out.  I’m gritting my teeth.

{Photo courtesy of my mate Josh}

IN OTHER NEWS. If you are in the UK, click this LINK.  It is to a brilliant company called Graze.  You will get delicious free food delivered to your door, no snags, and I will get me a nifty discount.  Do, oh do.  Please, oh please.

More on topic, I’ve been mulling over the subject of my fat 5000 word poetry assignment which I have to do soon.  I want to do it on something which is really going to interest me, something I can sink my teeth into, so that those 5000 words aren’t unnecessarily deadly.  So.  I’m going to write it about God, and poetry – the harmonies and conflicts between Christianity and literature.  Religious poetry.  The presence of the divine in contemporary poetry.  Or something of that ilk.  I had a massive meeting with my poetry tutor and she gave me some names… among them, Michael Symmons Roberts.  I think I’m going to buy a few collections because the couple of poems I read were wonderful.  Here’s one.



So, God takes your child by the hand
and pulls her from her deathbed.
He says: ‘Feed her, she is ravenous.’

You give her fruits with thick hides
– pomegranate, cantaloupe –
food with weight, to keep her here.

You hope that if she eats enough
the light and dust and love
which weave the matrix of her body

will not fray, nor wear so thin
that morning sun breaks through her,
shadowless, complete.

Somehow this reanimation
has cut sharp the fear of death,
the shock of presence. Feed her

roast lamb, egg, unleavened bread:
forget the herbs, she has an aching
fast to break. Sit by her side,

split skins for her so she can gorge,
and notice how the dawn
draws colour to her just-kissed face.


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