Modus Operandi

After another fine day making books with Chloe Daykin at the Hearth in Horsley and aware we’re approaching the Autumn Equinox – with a sense of new beginnings and other things ending – today I have been combing through my old notebook, now full, to see what I’d like to remember and save.  As well as my own notes, journalling, the seeds of ideas, I keep quotations from other people I stumble upon in my reading, listening, watching.  Here are a few of my favourites from this particular notebook.

*

…the seed for your next work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece.

from ‘Art & Fear’ by David Bayles & Ted Orland

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As you see, so at length you will say.

Men of little faith stand only by their feet…when most at one with nature, I feel supported and propped on all sides.

Thoreau

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…beyond the energy of his possessed and conscious intellect he is capable of a new energy…by abandonment to the nature of things, that beside his privacy of power as an individual man, there is a great public power on which he can draw, by unlocking, at all risks, his human doors.

Emerson – The Poet

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A rose can’t bloom as a violet and a violet can’t bloom as a rose.

Zen teacher

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If it is the highest and the greatest that you seek,

the plant can direct you.

Strive to become, through your will,

what, without will, it is.

Goethe

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Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing.  Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.

…You, Beloved, who are all

The gardens I have ever gazed at,

Longing.

Rilke

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To be desired is perhaps the closest anybody can reach in this life to feeling immortal.

John Berger

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From Charlie Kaufmann’s ‘Adaptation’:

…Should one be lucky enough to see a ghost orchid, all else will be eclipsed.

…When you find your flower, nothing should stand in your way.

…It’s easier for plants – they have no memory.

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Poetry is above all a concentration of the power of language, which is the power of our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.

In a history of spiritual rupture, a social compact built on fantasy and collective secrets, poetry becomes more necessary than ever: it keeps the underground aquifers flowing; it is the liquid voice that can wear through stone.

Adrienne Rich

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Fields have meanings and memories for millions of us.  In their manifold forms, fields express our cultural crafting of the land.  They are our unwritten history, carved clearings in the wild wood, the accumulation of practical experimentation, invention and subtlety, extending over generations.

‘A Manifesto for Fields’ – Angela King & Sue Clifford

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When our sea-walled garden, the whole land

Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers chok’d up,

Her fruit trees all unprun’d, her hedges ruin’d,

Her knots disorder’d and her wholesome herbs

Swarming with caterpillars…

‘Richard II’

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Paradise is closed.

Robert Hughes – ‘The Shock of the New’

You may also be interested in a new story over in the Compost section of The Poet’s Garden.  Last weekend it was the last session of the Plant Medicine Course I’ve been doing at the wonderful Dilston Physic Garden.  It was a beautiful sunny day and it felt like a summer wedding with lots of cake and freshly brewed herb teas.  We were asked to give ten minute presentations about the herb we’d chosen to study for our medicinal herbaria and encouraged to be creative.  My herb was Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca).  I’d hoped to write a poem but for some reason it just wasn’t happening and I found myself coming up with a story instead.  It felt a little like wearing the wrong clothes but it made it possible to be much more descriptive than I’d have been able in a poem. And there’s a limit to the damage you can do in ten minutes…. You can click here if you want to take a look.

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