Grief ritual in August

Choosing pebbles – a hand full, no room for more. Grey pebbles each with lines of white within – the threads we carry in us, the seams that run through our bedrock.

Naming the losses, with some lightness as well as depth. Each loss marked by a pebble, with one extra for the unnamed loss, the unspoken grief – the universal mourning of the earth and her being.

Placing each pebble carefully on a patch of smooth untrodden sand. Finger of seaweed a reminder of the nearby and incoming tide.

Moving the cairn to a pebble-filled pool, high up now on a shelf under the cliff, but a place that will be submerged later as the sea rises. Finding an edge pool empty of other stones.

The sun bakes outside the cliff shade and the tide is turning. In a few hours it will splash up on to these rocks, in a salt anointing of my grief.

On Abermawr beach

In a dark world, will there still be beauty?

Will the tide still go out and come in, revealing sand and pebbles and washing up six colours of seaweed?

Will the buzzards still cry to each other, like mournful kittens?

Will the chicory flowers open to greet the morning sun in a blaze of blue, and fold themselves away neatly as evening falls?

Rock, sea, sand and soil

stunted hawthorn groves and flagrant nettles

purple heather above turquoise sea.

Will these things endure, that bring so much delight, even when there is no one to see them?

Yes, my child. They will.

‘Deeds not words’ – story in no more than 249 characters

(‘Micro flash fiction’ challenge from )

The seeds were hidden in my grandmother’s button box, labelled ‘For These Times’. I planted them between skullcap and mugwort, and waited. We marvelled at jet black stems, but I knew what was happening underground, how far they would reach, what would happen then. They may have underestimated us.

249 characters, not including spaces

Lost things (iv)

Seeing her off at the station – the ritual of waiting until she appears on the opposite platform. The little wave – she’s concentrating on remembering how to do this. Her face all at once young and soft, trusting, and distant, preoccupied with the life that I don’t share. The longing to hold her – a part of me, but now severed – how do I let go?

The umbilical cord stretches, agonisingly.

The cows stare gently at me as I pass them, offering me solace in the deep pools of their eyes. There are clouds coming over, child-drawing fluffy shapes, perfect.

There is loss, always and continuously. The world continues to collapse, turn, die and grow. I cannot keep hold of or protect my children. And yet here I am smiling at cows, weeping, and going home.

Lost things (iii)

Picking up the pieces, losing snippets, finding and minding the gaps

Sealing around the hole, stretching and accommodating – scar tissue is strong though inflexible.

Making a space for something to come through – embracing our own fault lines.

Picking up the pieces of our selves, smashed on the rocks – and finding them like sea glass, rubbed smooth and polished by the turbulence of the waves, translucent, beautiful.

And when we hold up to the light the sea glass of our souls, what is it that we see shining through?

Lost things’ inspired by Kristen Roderick’s ‘The Power of Lost Things’ ritual,

Found word poem – Forest

Writing poems by ‘finding’ words in randomly chosen book pages

Forest, soundless among fallen stones

Evanescent empires who have lived lives as real as our own.

Water folds a little

Birds call

Wave upon wave, jutting, ridging, gentle.

Book page from ‘An Atlas of Impossible Longing’ by Anuradha Roy

Lost things (ii)

Half-shrivelled flower on miniature orange tree. It is the scent that is lost – the pungent fragrance that I could smell from the sofa just days ago.

I feel shrivelled. Can I acknowledge the loss and decay, rather than fight against withering? Can I do this for myself, and equally for the world? What does it mean, to be a part of nature – to be part of cyclical growth and decay?

If I sit with a tree, or by the sea, or just by a plant in my living room, and let my grief surface, will nature receive it? And will it respond? As well as holding me and my emotion, will nature open and sing me Her grief?

Lost things’ inspired by Kristen Roderick’s ‘The Power of Lost Things’ ritual,

Lost things (i)

I have lost these things:


plants which died


my health

a step ladder

a set of fire tools

the capacity to walk or drive very far


clothes I used to love


things I wrote 25 years ago.

Somewhere, is there a forest of lost things? My step ladder standing like a strange tree, adorned with clothes – that silk dress, the cord jacket, the hoodie. Next to it, a thicket of pokers, shovel and bellows. In a hollow, shrivelled plants-that-were. There is a dell, where a mist of sleep floats hazily, and around it stand shadows of people who were once with me and now are not. Around their feet, a carpet not of leaves, but of scraps of paper, the writing on them (my writing) blurred by light, water and time. My health is scattered, some of it trodden mud by the path, some of it buried by squirrels, much of it slowly composting down. And curious flowers sprout around – their blossoms intricate filigree that, when I look closely, spells out the words I forget – names of people, places, objects and ordinary things.

Can I trust the forest to hold these things? Can I trust that I will be ok to go on without them – that, as I have managed without the fire tools, I will also manage without the words? That the loss of physical capacity has made space for new things to grow?

As much as has been lost, what has been found?

Lost things’ inspired by Kristen Roderick’s ‘The Power of Lost Things’ ritual,