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Poem by Helen Simpson

So suddenly the sky is dark, 

Patterned with brightly sprinkled stars.

A heavy jar of liquorice called tea 

To sweeten and soften tummies.

Waking in the quietness of early morning, held

In a new friend’s soft, kind, wise hug.   

So many words, toppling, stretching, smiling

Into sharp focus: “ radical self love”. 

Waking as monks, silent, early to 

Deep space in the circle of meditation.

Big spades dug into steamy compost 

wheeling a new path and long, straight beds.

Small tubs of sauce, the creamy consistency

Of delicious hazel nut anointing sparkling vegetables.

Deep shadows fell over the dark water until,

Swimming through the cold, we reached sunlight.   

Rice summer rolls lay waiting,  dazzling by

The vibrant reds and yellows of edible flowers.  

The Silent Warrior only signed up at the eleventh hour

To lead us, lightly, into the chambers of power.

Laughter gurgled from Rabia’s being as,

Hands deep in pockets, nettles came alive at her touch.

In the forest a drill made holes for

Injected spawn to sprout mushroom miracles.

Water freshened with citrus, flavoured 

With surprises, poured easily from the tap.  

Two courgette cakes, poppy seeded

Melting in the mouth, a secret recipe.

A close night, flickers of light leading into the wood

Where we stayed still, silently breathing together, enchanted. 

An instant of wild, the white rear darted from the trees

Exclamations. A deer glimpsed for one joyous second.

Mishal Baig

Research Intern