I would like to sum up my own intention for writing at this time in three words
INSPIRE - HEAL - BLESS
It is all an ageing locked down poet can do in an attempt to offer a little comfort and distraction during this massive global crisis affecting us all. Standing on the balcony outside my flat, I received these words and images from a gentle and beautiful springtime twilight. May they open a door into your creative imagination and may you find some peace there, during these very difficult shadow times. Do all you can to keep yourselves and others safe.
Sometimes a rainbow appears at the end of a storm.
I had already enjoyed journeys to spiritual places, through inspiring landscapes in Britain, Ireland and destinations in the wider world before I discovered the angels in Italian art.
I was staying with friends on the outskirts of Rome when I first became aware of a connection between art and heart. The Eternal City had worked its magic, opened a door and revealed a new direction – a path that would ultimately lead me deeper into the West like Tolkien’s elves. I left the parks and gardens on the banks of the Thames in suburban West London for the mythical and often mystical landscapes of Wales and Somerset. These two places are separated only by Mor Hafren or the Bristol Channel, which lies beyond the cliff outside my flat and flows into the Celtic Sea, then on into the wider Atlantic. I have a clear view of the Somerset coast as the distance between the two shores is only about 12 miles as the crow flies.
This journey has been a magical quest to discover my own creative heart. The book I am working on now, Is a map of my creative spiritual journey – a tale of prose, poetry, meditation and celebration, which I hope may be ready around summer’s end. My intention in writing this book is to inspire and encourage others to discover and follow their own creative spark.
At the end of September, I really found my voice, when I attended a Bardic workshop in Glastonbury. I got to write a poem as part of a group presentation for an Autumn celebration. It went down very well and I was very surprised to hear the power and vitality in my voice, when speaking my own words. My effort appeared to have a positive effect on several people and I in turn was moved by the efforts of others. After the workshop, the facilitators both told me how good it was to hear my voice. When poetry is spoken by the person who wrote it, it becomes energised and the effect can be dynamic - the spoken word might inspire, influence, facilitate change or sometimes even heal according to the intent and abilities of the writer. Of course, the Bards of old practised an oral tradition of poetry and story telling. That is how the legends were passed on. Since the workshop, one of my poems has been published in the monthly newsletter of a Druid organisation with an international membership.
Finding my voice with a live audience was certainly a confidence booster and I don’t think I will ever be nervous about speaking my poetry again. Who knows, I might even develop an ability to tell live stories as well...
I am working on a book that maps out my own journey into the creative heart. I hope that it may inspire others when it is finished. This first few lines of a poem and the two paragraphs following it are a short extract from a chapter I wrote around the time of Halloween.
Raven - Iona Jenkins
A solitary black raven
Balancing on a sycamore
Swaying shadow silhouette
On a swirling backdrop
Of autumnal misting sky
And water grey sea wash...
We exist in two worlds. First there is the outer world of form with its conscious mind, knowledge intellect and logic. Then, there is the inner world of the unconscious mind with its dreams, imagination and intuition. Within and without, both worlds are alive with wondrous things to fill my poems and stories. The unconscious sometimes requires a guide and on the time of All Souls or Halloween, I chose to fly with the raven on an inner world quest for inspiration.
I acknowledge the raven as a symbol, a bird of the mysteries - wise and protective. The creature has that look about her, as though she could glide through the night into forgotten corner of the unconscious where creative treasures lay hidden. Black as midnight, she is a sleek Amazon amongst birds with her impressive jagged wingspan, sparkling eye and a solid curved beak that gives her such an ancient appearance. Her voice is raucous, strident like a wake up call as she struts bossily across the grass or sails on sea winds, fearless and sure of herself in all weathers
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