August now, barley moon waxing. I'm not going to moan about the sodden summer here in Frome, out of respect for everyone elsewhere who sat on their rooftops watching their lives swirl around them in muddy floodwaters. I'll just say it's been magical to have a few sunny days - like my birthday, when Peter & I cycled to Bradford on Avon for a picnic by the river.
Then family-stylee supper, then the party at Annie Lionnet's, lioning it up with also-Leo-birthday-girls Annie and Niamh. Annabelle had put music to the poem at the end of my new anthology - a strange and very privileged feeling. More celebrations on Saturday night at my neice's 18th birthday in Salisbury, and a chance to spend time with my friend Grace Gould who runs the poetry cafe there.
And on Sunday, the UK nuptual party of Mo & Anja who wed in California and picked the best day of the summer for their open-air musical hoolie. A great get-together, remeeting friends from our college days in Ireland, 40 years ago now. Yes, 40. Hard to get my head around. Ask not if youth is wasted on the young, ask only how not to waste age.
So it's been a time for celebrations with family & friends, and writerly matters have slid backstage - apart from a blissful day with Annabelle when we walked to Mells through Vallis woods, talking and writing all the way:
The river doesn't reach the lowest marker, and after all that rain.
Sounds of water harsher here, fractal bubbles hurtle
Hearts tongue fern pokes through nettles
snail clinging, glowing pink as pearl nail varnish
dense veridians, the mud path ridged with bike and boot prints
I want more colour, but here is only green
and the dark brown of mud, the brittle brown of bark.
Oh, here's a pair of chubby lords-&-ladies, vulgar red.
Look at those hands on the dead branches, witchy twig-fingers
where moss clings thick as treacle. Litter of sycamore leaves,
Pattern of sunspots shifts like a glitter ball on my shady page.
Vortex of noisy water beyond.
And I enjoyed a working lunch with my friend Diana Cambridge, editor of Greece magazine, who has just brought out a book of savvy advice on: how to write travel articles in one weekend. Diana is Writing Magazine's Agony Aunt, and endlessly supportive to all writers, but realistic too: "A writer has to be able to smear their personality onto the page so that it's indelible.. you've got to inject emotion and honesty into your piece, even for travel. Descriptions of beautiful mountains don't do it any more."