Names and Wonder

My garden has never been the same since the drought of three years ago. The flowers wilted and the rose bushes died and, although we’ve had a flood of rain since, I’ve never got around to replanting them.

One surprising survivor is a cluster of storm lilies that comes up every time there’s a sunshower. A soft blend of translucent cream and lilac, they are—unfortunately—rarely there more than a day. They epitomise to me the wonder of life in all its transience, fragility and beauty.

I have a serious addiction to wonder. It’s probably the reason I’ve never outgrown that child-like asking of, ‘Why?’ Sooner or later, that is the question which leads to a moment of spellbound awe. CS Lewis admitted to the pursuit of joy; for me, it’s wonder.

It was Martin Luther who said, ‘If you truly understood a grain of wheat, you would die of wonder.’

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Anne Bartlett
Penguin Books

To read Knitting is to be caught up in a weaving of words as cloud-soft as angora, as shimmering as silk, as tingling as mohair.

After her husband’s death, Sandra finds herself in a skin-tight prison of glass, unable to grieve. Reminded of her own desperation during her husband’s last illness by the fleeting look of a woman kneeling over an unconscious body on the street, she is drawn into the lives of Martha and Cliff.

Martha is rosedown warmth to Sandra’s brittleglass cold. A gifted knitter, she inspires Sandra to invite her to collaborate in a textile exhibition. But Martha’s generosity and her fragile hold on sanity, coupled with the escalating scale of Sandra’s ambition, begin the unravelling of their blossoming friendship.

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Fire of Roses

From the exquisite ending of TS Eliot’s poem, Little Gidding, to the purifying petalled flames in George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin or the purging fire in Anne Bartlett’s Knitting, I am utterly entranced with the symbol of the fire of roses.

From time to time, you’ll find the image haunting my own writing…

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