last days of may

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This week we have a timely guest renting the gite opposite. Three years ago, almost to the day, Julia offered up her Sussex home for our barefoot wedding. She opened her doors, her lawns and her trees to have a ceremonies under, marquees on, and dance reels around. Above all she opened her heart. Now she has moved on from those humble beginnings and she arrived here replete from hosting a convention of Tibetan Rinpoches at Beech Hill Farm!

Julia is, amongst other things, a poetess, and she has asked me to to illustrate musically, her beautiful collection of 16 poems called 'The Rhythm of the Year'. We had our first meeting last night, and if you read the last post you know what kind of space I was in - not here, not now and certainly not very creative! However, here are the words which conclude her poem on June, which allowed me to be simply where I was and, as one must in all creative work, dare to start from there:

How soon
Do we allow ourselves
To reap the rich rewards
Of all our changes?
Which season
Do we hold
Most dear in our hearts?
The might-have-been
Of soon
Or now - this moment -
Not sooner or later
But now - this time -
This year

In the gite garden, the green figs promising a summer spent dripping over the wall, we spoke about the sound of 'the rise of unseen sap', an 'insubstantial scarf of mist' and the 'meteoric swoop of swallows'. Her words are as musical as any I've found and it is going to be an exciting project.

We are working with two old folk melodies which take on each-other's rhythm or lilt and which, at the key points of March and September, become indistinguishable from, the unsung compliment to, the light lurking in the darkness within one-another; we are working on a general rise in pitch and increase in vibration as the months move towards midsummer, and the power of the sound of silence.

I asked Julia if I could reproduce some of her words here, and so here, as it draws to a close, is May:

This Maternal month
Of full bloom
Building and Bursting
Into growth
Rushing towards midsummer
With open arms
While behind the green camouflage
The nesting pairs
Sit tight
Against the black and white

And the ending of the month,
When the Easter colours
of purple and yellow,
Crucus and daffodil
Dim and disappear
into a sea of green,
Hedges overflowing
With meadowsweet,
The sinking wave of early summer
The thin wafer
Of the new moon
Soon to slide into the sky
On the back
Of warm evening smells.

Here, where I sit
In this circle of scent
Dripping soundlessly
Off the long white
Moments of the wisteria
I am held in the arms
Of birdsong,
The swelling sound
Of cattle-call,
By the meteoric swoop
Of the swallows
And the soft blessing
Of the first drops of rain
Falling fatly on the ground
Marking on me
In their melody
the blissful scent of summer
And the memory
Of the end of this day
Of the end of this month
Of May.

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