Wednesday, 23 September 2020

where does enchantment wait?

Where does enchantment wait?

One of the positive things about this strange summer has been a rediscovery of local landscapes, with people taking the time to walk half-forgotten paths, to find lost corners of just down the street or up the road. We have remembered that home territories hold their own delights

In my continuing Between 2 Worlds story poems for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, now we pick up the question “what adventures do ordinary places hold?” or maybe “what enchantment waits on the other side of this tree”

I have a long-standing love-affair with trolls. Not excluding other members of the world of Faerie, and not meeting them as lumbering carnivorous horrors (or 21st Century tech-driven idiots) but as the slow unfolding of a rock into a character, a figure made of rock and earth, grass and pool and flower, for me this holds a special affection

Gritstone skin on a stoneface troll, folded down here with grass in the creases of her joints and something scrabbling holes in a nostril. She basks here on the ridge above the Moss, lumpen nose raised to the sun and eyes closed deep in those stone folds. But ravens come and whisper into her sleep, sharpening their beaks on the edge of a finger. In that sleep, she feels the crow who flies by on lazy wings, a curlew’s call echoing across the landscape of her dreams. And once in a whole, just now and then, in the slow breathing of a hill-shaped troll, a hen harrier will rest on a head-rock and watch the Moss for movement.

For us, as human people, our connection to place often gets overlooked. We know we like this place or that place is special. But a walk is often taken over by a conversation with friends, by a dog’s excitement, or even by looking through a lens. We often forget – or don’t think about – just enjoying a place for its own sake

For me this is important: getting outside and having a walk, with friends, with a dog, with a camera, with a bucket for rescuing toads, are all good and rewarding and renewing activities. But there is a different treasure to be found in just going out to wander. To stop. To appreciate a place because it is there. It might not be some wild, dramatic landscape. It might be the municipal park in the middle of town. It might be your own garden. Sometimes it is be there and simply stop. Breathe. Watch. Listen, Touch, Smell, Feel. For some people this approach is mindfulness. For others, it is prayer. For me, it simply is.

Take it a little further, or maybe a bit too far, and, like the person in the Earth Trolls film, maybe you’ll become entrolled and stay there. For everyone else, let the earth in. Let a flower open inside your heart. A hoverfly buzz through. Let a breeze carry a scent and an echo from the worlds where the horns of Faerie still blow

Relax. Remember the wonder of everyday places. The treasures of the familiar

Becoming the place where I sit,
Old stone and tree roots,

A grassy heap,

A shadow on a park bench,

I stop trying.

Just sit. 


A wind blows round the edges of me,

Me, green as the grass,

Me, brown as the earth,

Bristling beech husks, that’s me

And the river runs through the hollow shape of me,

Here I stop.

Here I let go

Here I can be still.

Here I become my own troll.

If you have enjoyed the Earth trolls film and these various blogs, why not sink a little deeper. My book "Old stones and ancient bones: poems from the hollow hills" is still available. £5.00 (inc 2nd class postage) in UK. Overseas contact me direct.  You can also get it on Amazon (costs a bit more there). Message me for order details:

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