The Fallow Space

It's often hard to write and some days it is a constant quest whether internally or externally to know what to write about and then how. When I saw this quote from Inward Outward in my inbox yesterday, it was a salutary reminder of how to honour the fallow space - it's too early for the digging and the turning over-  the soil is not ready yet, and what will be planted and what will grow are big questions. 

Why are  these "Lenten" thoughts already breaking through so suddenly into Ordinary Time?

Lent is a tree without blossom, without leaf,
Barer than blackthorn in its winter sleep,
All unadorned. Unlike Christmas which decrees
The setting up, the dressing up of trees,
Lent is a taking down, a stripping bare,
A starkness after all has been withdrawn
Of surplus and superfluous,
leaving no hiding place, only an emptiness
Between black branches, a most precious space
before the leaf, before the time of flowers;
Lest we should only see the leaf, the flower,
Lest we should miss the stars.

Jean M. Watt 20th Century

Let mystery have its place in you; 

do not be always turning up your whole soil with the ploughshare of self-examination,

but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may bring,

and reserve a nook of shadow for the passing bird; 

keep a place in your heart for the unexpected guests, an altar for the unknown God. 

Then if a bird sing among your branches, do not be too eager to tame it. 

If you are conscious of something new—thought or feeling, wakening in the depths of your being—

do not be in a hurry to let in light upon it, to look at it;

let the springing germ have the protection of being forgotten, 

hedge it round with quiet, and do not break in upon its darkness. 

Then this appeared and looks interesting too- Five poet-theologians explore faith and spirituality in this book " Making Nothing Happen."

Click here for the book's Introduction.

Click here for poet Tamar Yoseloff's reflection on W.H. Auden's much quoted line "Making Nothing Happen."

Anthony Wilson has a great post on the vicissitudes of being unable to write in his article " No Poem To Write" from here.

So I need to honour this liminal space, and some of this is reinforced at what I read at i- Benedictines post today when I read that it is the feast of St Antony of the Desert.

My post on St Antony from last year is here.

and there's another interesting one on St Antony from Parabola magazine here titled "Surrounded By Water and Dying of Thirst "  from which the image below is taken.

Art Credit: 'Saint Anthony Abbot Tempted by a Heap of Gold', Tempera on panel painting by the Master of the Osservanza Triptych, ca. 1435, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Inspiration comes dripping slow these days.

Image source
An earlier post featured a New Zealand writer, Joy Cowley,  and this next part of my post features an Irish writer who also has links to New Zealand. How weird is it when these things come together unbidden ?!

Sinead Morrisey is Belfast's inaugural poet laureate, and this week was awarded the T. S. Eliot prize for poetry. It is the fourth time that she has been shortlisted for the £15,000 prize, considered to be the most prestigious poetry award in Britain. The prize, presented annually by the Poetry Book Society, was funded by TS Eliot's widow, Valerie Eliot. Since her death in 2012, it has been supported by the trustees of the TS Eliot estate.

  Click here for a transcript of a far ranging interview with Sinead Morrisey from The Stinging Fly in 2002

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