a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Gorse had blazed along cliff-tops near Hopeman –
(concealing warm-breasted birds, nests of pale eggs)
into which a cigarette was flicked
a hearth of tinder quickened,
became a giddy beacon over sandstone cliffs and caves –
on that June day the coast choking, dark plumes drifting onshore.
Autumn when their vows were made by candlelight
in the sea-hewn Sculptor’s Cave. Afterwards we climbed
the ‘Lummy,’ tide and rain closing behind –
of each guest
that rocky cleft, and from above hands helping us to safety…
Finally they followed, heads wreathed with herbs, flowers, berries,
bride and groom feted by a pod of leaping Dolphins
Further up the cliffs we paused beside the old coastguard lookout,
drawing breath, inspecting cleared ground, piles
Here the newlyweds handed out their gifts –
of soil and clay we cupped in our palms…
then whooping flung between ridged lips of land
to release those plundered
for spring germination.
Meanwhile, Dolphin presence and the sky’s steady drops
on this couple’s wedding
vows to serve the Earth’s regeneration.
Names of other-than-human beings are deliberately capitalised as part of my longstanding ecopoetic practice, raising their status from the margins to which Western culture has relegated them.
Helen Moore is an award-winning British ecopoet and socially engaged artist based in Somerset, England. She has published three poetry collections, Hedge Fund, And Other Living Margins (Shearsman Books, 2012), ECOZOA (Permanent Publications, 2015), acclaimed by John Kinsella, as “a milestone in the journey of ecopoetics,” and The Mother Country (Awen Publications, 2019) exploring British colonial history in Scotland and Australia, along with themes of dispossession. A collaborative bilingual Italian-English work, INTATTO.INTACT: Ecopoesia.Ecopoetry, featuring Helen’s work was published in Italy in 2017; and in May 2018 Helen gave the annual INSPIRE lecture at the Hay Book Festival, with her award-winning essay ‘Is love the answer?’ Helen facilitates ecopoetry workshops in schools and universities, offers an online mentoring programme, ‘Wild Ways to Writing,’ and leads nature-based writing retreats. As a socially engaged artist, she uses creative writing to support health and wellbeing in the community, and has collaborated on ecologically oriented community-wide projects.