An extract from Grieving with the Animals:
I came home
to find him
Could do nothing.
Sat on the sofa
lost to the world.
I have some bad news
I’ve been seeing ghosts. Birds on water
The day before I received the news, two swans flew low over my head. Their wings thrummed like a helicopter. Eyes turned to watch the rescue vehicle, and instead saw white bellies.
The sound travelled, nothing like their usual flapping, as they soared over and onto water.
Returning to my boat, a shadow shifted on the river bank. A furry creature – small, sleek – edged its way through the grass, took a moment to drink, then slop, slipped in.
Animals are in communion for you.
As are we,
nosing each other’s armpits
as we bed in
for warm companionship.
Because you went cold.
Words in response to ‘Social or Solitary’
‘Your observations and comments are thought-provoking and that is how a good book should be. About how people live their lives, to what extent they give or take from society; how we treat each one of them and what we think of their chosen lifestyles. Food for much debating – great!’
‘I am really enjoying the book! It is bringing me strange nostalgic emotions – harking back to times past’
‘Truly truly loving your book. So beautifully written! Inspiring!’
‘This was incredibly beautiful, moving and inspiring.’
‘Last night I finished your book – very impressed. I don’t often re-read books, yet this will be one.’
‘Just finishing now has made me all weepy and inspired!’
‘I’ve just finished your book. It is AMAZING! Like Eat Pray Love but better! I couldn’t put it down!’
‘we read to each other from your book – it was like sweet sweet rain drops on our tongues – THANK YOU!’
‘Got your book. Am hooked. Am cancelling all social engagements and retreating into your thoughts for the weekend. What a gem, can you write the sequel now please!’
‘I’m a long term fan of that kind of writing (it reminded me a bit of “My Secret History’ – one of Paul Theroux’s earlier works) Polly’s (or the character’s) trip through New Orleans was particuliarly fascinating and a unique insight into life there. I don’t think there are many writers that can credibly depict it if they haven’t lived it.’
‘I really enjoyed reading each chapter of your journey – to vicariously live amongst those characters whom I would never meet (or probably dare to mix with) was wonderful. There was none of this book I didn’t enjoy, in fact there were numerous passages I re-read because I enjoyed them so much. I was thoroughly gripped by its rich, beautiful, insightful and endearing story.’
‘Argh I really need to go to sleep but I can’t stop reading your book tales! The whole thing is so big and brave and wonderful.’
‘I found it a gripping read and read with great appreciation, both as a story and as a remarkable journey.’