August Caterpillar

I stand by the apple tree, my attention caught by a big fly and a caterpillar sharing the same leaf. They are both steady still. Waiting, I wonder: who will move first? It is the caterpillar. It raises a face with fringed eyes. It has a yellow stripe down its inch-long body. The caterpillar sways…

Imagining the Full Hundred

I want to realise identity with all life, even with such things as crawl upon earth. GANDHI I Making Elderflower Cordial Creatures can get very small – their smallness comes as a big surprise. These tinies are flecks of distress, sprung pell-mell from the elder flowers now I have squeezed the lemon juice there. Is…

Making tea, November 4th

Making tea, November 4th Look at this keen moon, out already at five o’ clock. A Greenwich Mean Time moon means tea time keeps its hour, later. At the sink, I chop and think idly about the colour of veg and the mildness of November. We say it’s wonderful for the time of year and…

The Near-Death Experience of a Cartesian Philosopher

  The Near-Death Experience of a Cartesian Philosopher Animals he regarded as automata … devoid of feeling or consciousness. Men are different: they have a soul – Bertrand Russell on Descartes There was a man who saw the soul as for man alone, so dogs and the poor rest must go without. He made a shout…

Brother Francis

‘Bird Garden’   Brother Francis We buried the bird and believed that God was crying with us, for the rain lasted only as long as the ceremony, which you led with your pocket-sized Psalms. Serious we were, circle of bowed heads, hair school-parted, breakfast not yet. Mummy, why? we wept: broken bird in a soily…

Gwen

    Gwen On the night before the little black cat was due to be put to sleep for the cancer, she left the room she had chosen to make her home those last two years, in the house she had slipped into through the cat flap, a refuge from the hunger and the toms…