things I learnt beside the dark brightness of the sea (in happy response to Sara Collie's pellucid writing) Things I learnt beside the dark brightness of the sea: to feed my feet in the shore - walking, with ringed plovers to heed the crows, scarce whether jackdaw or hooded; to hand the living five- pointedness of starfish back to the sea; to find majesty in the pairedness of butterfly shells; to extend the day's mouth into rainbows, and the wind into the kite's tails; to stalk the heron, awe-ing it into a slow walk before it scoops the harbour mouth; to find the breath beyond the baitedness of wonder © Kathy Labrum McVittie 26 February 2021
I wrote this half way through the main part of the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland, a year on after having returned to my northern home Dhruvaloka = ‘Place of the North Star’ in Sanskrit – my “summer-house”; and place of sanctuary and retreat, where I now live full time.)
It was inspired by a piece gifted to me by my writing student and mentee Sara Collie, a poem called Things I learned in the darkness. You can read it in the spring 2021 issue of Flora Fiction
I displayed Sara’s poem on my wall throughout the pandemic, to the left of the door lintel that leads into my front porch.
It still gives me solace and a feeling of validation every time I read it, speaking as it does the mutually understood language of word-stitching, time-travelling, and navigation through the unwieldly dark corridors of experience.