Wednesday 17th November 2021

Shared Reading, Sally White, The Reader  6.30pm – 7.30pm

This session requires no preparation by participants and no special knowledge or ability; all you have to do is come along.

Sally will share the story with you on-screen and read it to you. During the reading, there will be pauses to think about the story and join in or not with your thoughts. I would ask that you have your camera and mic on during the session if you are able.

This is not an academic exercise; all thoughts, reactions and feelings are equally valid.

As a torn paper might seal up its side,

Or a streak of water stitch itself to silk

And disappear, my wound has been my healing,

And I am made more beautiful by losses.

See the flat water in the distance nodding

Approval, the light that fell in love with statues,

Seeing me alive turns its motion toward me.

Shorn, I rejoice in what was taken from me.

 

What can the moonlight do with my new shape

But trace and retrace its miracle of order?

I stand, waiting for the strange reaction

Of insects who knew me in my larger self,

Unkempt, in a naturalness, I did not love.

Even the dog’s voice rings with a new echo,

And all the little leaves I shed are singing,

Singing to the moon of shapely newness.

 

Somewhere what I lost, I hope, is springing

To life again. The roofs, astonished by me,

Are taking new bearings in the night, the owl

Is crying for further wisdom, the lilac

Putting forth its strongest scent to find me.

Butterflies, like sails in grooves, are winging

Out of the water to wash me, wash me.

Now, I am stirring like a seed in China.

 

Howard Moss

Pruned tree

As a torn paper might seal up its side,

Or a streak of water stitch itself to silk

And disappear, my wound has been my healing,

And I am made more beautiful by losses.

See the flat water in the distance nodding

Approval, the light that fell in love with statues,

Seeing me alive turns its motion toward me.

Shorn, I rejoice in what was taken from me.

 

What can the moonlight do with my new shape

But trace and retrace its miracle of order?

I stand, waiting for the strange reaction

Of insects who knew me in my larger self,

Unkempt, in a naturalness, I did not love.

Even the dog’s voice rings with a new echo,

And all the little leaves I shed are singing,

Singing to the moon of shapely newness.

 

Somewhere what I lost, I hope, is springing

To life again. The roofs, astonished by me,

Are taking new bearings in the night, the owl

Is crying for further wisdom, the lilac

Putting forth its strongest scent to find me.

Butterflies, like sails in grooves, are winging

Out of the water to wash me, wash me.

Now, I am stirring like a seed in China.

 

Howard Moss

Amy Lowell Spring Day Excerpts

In the fresh-washed sunlight, the breakfast table is decked and white. It offers itself in flat surrender, tendering tastes, smells, colours, metals, and grains, and the white cloth falls over its side, draped and wide. Wheels of white glitter in the silver coffee-pot, hot and spinning like Catherine-wheels, they whirl, and twirl—and my eyes begin to smart, the little white, dazzling wheels prick them like darts. Placid and peaceful, the rolls of bread spread themselves in the sun to bask. A stack of butter-pats, pyramidal, shout orange through the white, scream, flutter, call: “Yellow! Yellow! Yellow!” Coffee steam rises in a stream, clouds the silver tea-service with mist, and twists up into the sunlight, revolved, involuted, suspiring higher and higher, fluting in a thin spiral up the high blue sky. A crow flies by and croaks at the coffee steam. The day is new and fair, with good smells in the air.

Over the street, the white clouds meet and sheer away without touching.
On the sidewalks, boys play marbles. Glass marbles, with amber and blue hearts roll together and part with a sweet clashing noise. The boys strike them with black and red striped agates. When they are hit, the glass marbles spit crimson and slip into the gutters under rushing brown water. I smell tulips and narcissus in the air, but there are no flowers anywhere, only white dust whipping up the street and a girl with a gay Spring hat and blowing skirts: the dust and the wind flirt at her ankles and her neat, high-heeled patent leather shoes. Tap, tap, the little heels pat the pavement, and the wind rustles among the flowers on her hat.
A water-cart crawls slowly on the other side of the way. It is green and gay with new paint and rumbles contentedly, sprinkling clear water over the white dust—clear zigzagging water, which smells of tulips and narcissus.
The thickening branches make a pink grisaille against the blue sky.
Whoop! The clouds go dashing at each other and sheer away just in time. Whoop! And a man’s hat careers down the street in front of the white dust, leaps into the branches of a tree, veers away and trundles ahead of the wind, jarring the sunlight into spokes of rose colour and green.
A motor car cuts a swathe through the bright air, sharp-beaked, irresistible, shouting to the wind to make way. A glare of dust and sunshine tosses together behind it and settles down. The sky is quiet and high, and the morning is fair with fresh-washed air.

The swirl of crowded streets. Shock and recoil of traffic. The stock-still brick façade of an old church, against which the waves of people lurch and withdraw—the flare of sunshine down side streets. Eddies of light in the windows of chemists’ shops, with their blue, gold, purple jars, darting colours far into the crowd. Loud bangs and tremors, murmurings out of high windows, whirring of machine belts, blurring of horses and motors. A quick spin and shudder of brakes on an electric car. The jar of a church-bell knocking against the metal blue of the sky. I am a piece of the town, a bit of blown dust, thrust along with the crowd. Proud to feel the pavement under me, reeling with feet. Feet were tripping, skipping, lagging, dragging, plodding doggedly, or springing up and advancing on firm elastic insteps. A boy is selling papers, and I smell them clean and new from the press. They are fresh like the air and pungent as tulips and narcissus.
The blue sky pales to lemon, and great tongues of the gold blind the shop windows, putting out their contents in a flood of flame.

 

 

By Amy Lowell

Breakfast Table

In the fresh-washed sunlight, the breakfast table is decked and white. It offers itself in flat surrender, tendering tastes, smells, colours, metals, and grains, and the white cloth falls over its side, draped and wide. Wheels of white glitter in the silver coffee-pot, hot and spinning like Catherine-wheels, they whirl, and twirl—and my eyes begin to smart, the little white, dazzling wheels prick them like darts. Placid and peaceful, the rolls of bread spread themselves in the sun to bask. A stack of butter-pats, pyramidal, shout orange through the white, scream, flutter, call: “Yellow! Yellow! Yellow!” Coffee steam rises in a stream, clouds the silver tea-service with mist, and twists up into the sunlight, revolved, involuted, suspiring higher and higher, fluting in a thin spiral up the high blue sky. A crow flies by and croaks at the coffee steam. The day is new and fair, with good smells in the air.

Walk

Over the street, the white clouds meet and sheer away without touching.
On the sidewalks, boys play marbles. Glass marbles, with amber and blue hearts roll together and part with a sweet clashing noise. The boys strike them with black and red striped agates. When they are hit, the glass marbles spit crimson and slip into the gutters under rushing brown water. I smell tulips and narcissus in the air, but there are no flowers anywhere, only white dust whipping up the street and a girl with a gay Spring hat and blowing skirts: the dust and the wind flirt at her ankles and her neat, high-heeled patent leather shoes. Tap, tap, the little heels pat the pavement, and the wind rustles among the flowers on her hat.
A water-cart crawls slowly on the other side of the way. It is green and gay with new paint and rumbles contentedly, sprinkling clear water over the white dust—clear zigzagging water, which smells of tulips and narcissus.
The thickening branches make a pink grisaille against the blue sky.
Whoop! The clouds go dashing at each other and sheer away just in time. Whoop! And a man’s hat careers down the street in front of the white dust, leaps into the branches of a tree, veers away and trundles ahead of the wind, jarring the sunlight into spokes of rose colour and green.
A motor car cuts a swathe through the bright air, sharp-beaked, irresistible, shouting to the wind to make way. A glare of dust and sunshine tosses together behind it and settles down. The sky is quiet and high, and the morning is fair with fresh-washed air.

Midday and Afternoon

The swirl of crowded streets. Shock and recoil of traffic. The stock-still brick façade of an old church, against which the waves of people lurch and withdraw—the flare of sunshine down side streets. Eddies of light in the windows of chemists’ shops, with their blue, gold, purple jars, darting colours far into the crowd. Loud bangs and tremors, murmurings out of high windows, whirring of machine belts, blurring of horses and motors. A quick spin and shudder of brakes on an electric car. The jar of a church-bell knocking against the metal blue of the sky. I am a piece of the town, a bit of blown dust, thrust along with the crowd. Proud to feel the pavement under me, reeling with feet. Feet were tripping, skipping, lagging, dragging, plodding doggedly, or springing up and advancing on firm elastic insteps. A boy is selling papers, and I smell them clean and new from the press. They are fresh like the air and pungent as tulips and narcissus.
The blue sky pales to lemon, and great tongues of the gold blind the shop windows, putting out their contents in a flood of flame.

 

 

By Amy Lowell

I watched the sun moving around the kitchen,
an early spring sun that strengthened and weakened,
Coming and going like an old mind.

I watched like one bedridden for a long time
on their first journey back into the world
who finds it enough to be going on with:

the way the sunlight brought each possession in turn
to its attention and made of it a small still life:

Though more beautiful still was how the light moved on,
letting go of each chair and coffee cup without regret

the way my grandmother, in her final year, received me:
neither surprised by my presence nor distressed by my leaving,
Content, though, while I was there.

 

© 2014, Esther Morgan

THIS MORNING

I watched the sun moving around the kitchen,
an early spring sun that strengthened and weakened,
Coming and going like an old mind.

I watched like one bedridden for a long time
on their first journey back into the world
who finds it enough to be going on with:

the way the sunlight brought each possession in turn
to its attention and made of it a small still life:

Though more beautiful still was how the light moved on,
letting go of each chair and coffee cup without regret

the way my grandmother, in her final year, received me:
neither surprised by my presence nor distressed by my leaving,
Content, though, while I was there.

 

© 2014, Esther Morgan

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

Rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

Of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

Waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world and am free.

 

Wendell Berry

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

Rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

Of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

Waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world and am free.

 

Wendell Berry