Grasses silhouetted against a sunset

Dark Angels Note 160

Dearest Friends

Welcome back to our Friday Note – our weekly collection of writerly thoughts.



Yesterday was National Poetry Day. This annual event held on the first Thursday of October encourages the celebration, creation and sharing of poetry, and aims to bring people and communities together through a shared love of language.

The theme this year is Refuge. On the the campaign website, they share a selection of poems on the theme, and invite everyone to celebrate by reading, writing or sharing a poem #NationalPoetryDay



To honour National Poetry Day we are sharing a few of our own favourites on the theme of refuge.


The Table by Edip Cansever (chosen by John)


The Distance Between Us (chosen by Gillian)

The distance between us
is holy ground
to be traversed
feet bare
hands raised
in joyous dance,
so that once it is crossed
the tracks of our pilgrimage
shine in the darkness
and light our coming together
in a bright and steady light.

Rafael Jesus Gonzalez


This is the time to be slow (chosen by Jamie)

This is the time to be slow
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart

All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.

John O’Donohue



Malheur Before Dawn (chosen by Neil)

An owl sound wandered along the road with me.
I didn’t hear it – I breathed it into my ears.

Little ones at first, the stars retired, leaving
polished little circles on the sky for awhile.

Then the sun began to shout from below the horizon.
Throngs of birds campaigned, their music a tent of sound.

From across a pond, out of the mist,
one drake made a V and said its name.

Some vast animal of air began to rouse
from the reeds and lean outward.

Frogs discovered their national anthem again.
I didn’t know a ditch could hold so much joy.

So magic a time it was that I was both brave and afraid.
Some day like this might save the world.

William Stafford




Where is your refuge? Can you capture that in a haiku?

We’d love to see what you come up with if you’d like to share.



Keep sending us any poems, writings, links and writerly whatnots that you’d like to share with the wider Dark Angels family. We love to read them.





Weekly Tuesday Gatherings

There’s no Gathering next week as Neil is away with Dark Angels in Scotland. He’ll be back on the 17 October, when you can join us again for a reflective hour of reading, writing and communing. Everyone is welcome – from the Dark Angels community and beyond. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance.


Don Roberto – the making of a biography, 12 October 2023 at 7pm

John Simmons in conversation with Jamie Jauncey about his recent biography, Don Roberto: the Adventure of Being Cunninghame Graham. Register for this event here.


Poetry’s Circle of Growth, 19 October 2023

Dark Angels in association with Bloomsbury Festival 2023 presents an inspiring, uplifting and accessible evening of poetry on 19 October 2023, 18:30 – 19:30 at The Art Worker’s Guild, London. Get your tickets here.


26 Wordstock @ The Bloomsbury Festival, 21 October 2023

A mini-version of 26’s Wordstock created in partnership with the Wildlife Trusts – a three-and-a-half-hour exploration led by Neil Baker and featuring a selection of speakers (from poets and artists to experts on the natural world). Get your tickets here.


A journey into the Sahara, 19-26 November

This is our intrepid journey deep into the Sahara Desert. Jamie Jauncey and Neil Baker will meet you in Marrakech, and take you east into the Atlas mountains, about ten hours later arriving at a stunning desert retreat centre called Cafe Tissardmine. Find out more here.
Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here.

From everyone at Dark Angels





Photo by Ankhesenamun on Unsplash