Dark Angels Note 50

Dearest friends,

Welcome back to our writerly thoughts to distract, inspire and reassure you. Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here..


1 Writing

Find a solitary place outdoors. Draw an X in the centre of a piece of paper to represent you. This is now your sound map. Close your eyes for a minute and listen to the sounds around you. Begin mapping what you can hear by drawing a symbol or simple picture to represent the sounds you hear. The location of each symbol/drawing should reflect where the sound appears to be coming from, in relation to you. Record everything you hear, not just natural noises.

In your notebook, write a simile for each sound. You could use this prompt: The distant sound of _______________ is like ________________________.

Something may emerge from the sound similes in the moment, or bank them for future writing pieces. But it will be time well spent.


2 Reading

Letter to My Great, Great Grandchild

Oh button, don’t go thinking we loved pianos
more than elephants, air conditioning more than air.

We loved honey, just loved it, and went into stores
to smell the sweet perfume of unworn leather shoes.

Did you know, on the coast of Africa, the Sea Rose
and Carpenter Bee used to depend on each other?

The petals only opened for the Middle C their wings
beat, so in the end, we protested with tuning forks.

You must think we hated the stars, the empty ladles,
because they conjured thirst. We didn’t. We thanked

them and called them lucky, we even bought the rights
to name them for our sweethearts. Believe it or not,

most people kept plants like pets and hired kids
like you to water them, whenever they went away.

And ice! Can you imagine? We put it in our coffee
and dumped it out at traffic lights, when it plugged up

our drinking straws. I had a dog once, a real dog,
who ate venison and golden yams from a plastic dish.

He was stubborn, but I taught him to dance and play
dead with a bucket full of chicken livers. And we danced

too, you know, at weddings and wakes, in basements
and churches, even when the war was on. Our cars

we mostly named for animals, and sometimes we drove
just to drive, to clear our heads of everything but wind.

J.P. Grasser
Originally published in American Poets vol. 58. Distributed by the Academy of American Poets.


Earth Your Dancing Place

Beneath heaven’s vault
remember always walking
through halls of cloud
down aisles of sunlight
or through high hedges
of the green rain
walk in the world
highheeled with swirl of cape
hand at the swordhilt
of your pride
Keep a tall throat
Remain aghast at life

Enter each day
as upon a stage
lighted and waiting
for your step
Crave upward as flame
have keenness in the nostril
Give your eyes
to agony or rapture

Train your hands
as birds to be
brooding or nimble
Move your body
as the horses
sweeping on slender hooves
over crag and prairie
with fleeing manes
and aloofness of their limbs

Take earth for your own large room
and the floor of the earth
carpeted with sunlight
and hung round with silver wind
for your dancing place

May Swenson
From Collected Poems by May Swenson.


3 Gathering

Join us via Zoom for an hour of writing and talking with other Dark Angels. We meet at 7pm UK time every Tuesday. Click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance and we’ll be using the same link every week from now on. There’s no charge. And feel free to bring a friend along.


4 Workshopping

Elen and Gillian will be hosting an online day of writing on June 9th. Even if you’ve done a Starter Day before, this will be a fun and creative day of practical exercises in the company of a small group of 6-8 people. You’d be very welcome.

From everyone at Dark Angels


Also published on Medium.