Words we don't always think.
Steve Thorp:- poet, therapist & beach-dweller.

A candle for your comfort

That someone might say of me, as they said of you,

That your poetry was a flag of allegiance to goodness,

Would be an act of love and death, a validation of truth,

an opening of soul: that piece of silver that, sliver-like,

shines in the deep dark of my revolution.


I always held a candle for your comfort and wild, torrid arts;

yet when the dark engulfed the green, the only light

was the one you shone onto my page all those years ago,

catching fire to it, burning the book from my hands

like you were some bush god speaking.


Pushing your beauty aside, only your anger and your

righteous banners remain. I remember to embed myself

in new life, following her baby love like a grizzled tracker.

She takes me deep into the forest, holds up her hands

for me to walk her through the fire and up and down the hill.


She is a baby of revolution, a baby of the future,

a baby of glimmering forest light and fluttering banners:

born into moonlight,born into goodness and destruction.

I fight for her and sing for her and walk with her;

whisper her comforts in the dappled forest night.


And so these poems are to you and the small child

whose life is growing. She is soothed by them, you are fired up

and carry them onto burning streets. I fear for you, my darling,

my wonder, my life. I fear for her and for my soul; yet I will write

these poems, and goodness will make it all seem worthwhile.


For Jay Griffiths (author of Wild, Kith and A Love letter from a Stray Moon; and Freya Mary Mahfoudh, granddaughter, faery-child and one-year old walker.

The sea-dance is good

I wanted to flavour your day with the mint and the bay leaves that grow outside my door.

And to sniff the air and know that you are near.

And take you surfing on waves of air (and the wind will carry you with me until we are submerged in it). 

No-one has ever faced or savoured this moment; no-one has salted the feast; no-one has waited.

Eat with me; sharing the sea fare has reminiscence. Memory is floating in on the summer mint-breeze.

The sea-dance is good. You stood up the first time; your longing was a gentle hipsway and no-one heard your song…

Except me, standing in the kitchen, preparing your soul.

Imagine it that way

our culture is very historically minded. There are other cultures that are not historically minded at all. They’re much more concerned with whether or not the trees are in good shape and are speaking to you. Much more concerned. Or whether the river has changed course: that’s something to worry about. My goodness, if the fish turn belly up, that is far more important to my soul than what my mother did to me when I was four.
Can we imagine that way? What I’m trying to do is simply imagine in this way, rather than make a literal statement that the fish are more important than my mother.

James Hillman 

There has been a lot written about the state we are in – as humans living on an earth with depleting natural resources – but one way of thinking about the ecological and economic crises that we face is that these are partly down to a narrowing of how we human beings see our ‘selves’. In short, these wider crises in the the world out there, are mirrored by a psychological crisis in each of us, one that has crept up on our culture over the latter years of the twentieth century. Writers like Richard Louv and Jay Griffiths have chronicled the disconnection of childhood from nature in the so-called developed world, and it is reasonable to link this growing separation of our cultural life from the earth on which we evolved, with the difficulties we find in solving the world’s problems, and with the unhappiness we often feel. And James Hillman, in particular, chronicled and lamented the loss of soul from psychological and cultural life.

It’s not as if we don’t know what is going on. Although one response to knowledge is denial (as in the eccentric cognitive spaces inhabited by climate change deniers), most of can see that the lives we are encouraged to lead are unsustainable and unfulfilling, and yet we don’t seem to have the courage or vision to create ones that are. Although we rightly sometimes feel angry and frustrated, it might not take as much as we fear to turn things round if we can abandon “the Biblical doctrine of dominion which has governed our relationship with the natural world” as George Monbiot puts it. If we are optimistic about the future, we begin to see that nature is almost infinitely adaptable; that humans – if we turn their collective minds to solving a problem – can often come up with something; that it is possible to reach a psychological and material balance in our minds that can give us something that feels a bit like happiness!

However, in order to do these things we are going to need thought-leaders and leaders-who-do-things who can articulate vision and make a difference. We need highly developed people, with elegance and radiance, who have broad wisdom not simply experts who are skilled or knowledgeable in one discipline, or politicians who are more short-term and shallow in their thinking than the rest of us! We need people who can connect relationships with ecology, science with ethics, art with politics, business with ecology – people who can live with polarities and thrive on the energy they create. We need twenty-first century soul leaders and activists.

From: check it out if you’re interested in exploring more about 21Soul.

Arguably the pursuit of happiness is always a mistake and we should just pursue what we value most.

—Julain Baggani, Guardian, 31 May 2013


My advice to myself: sit down with a blank page.

Write whatever comes:

write about the swallows swooping and clicking around the barn

write about the first joyful Spring that we have spent here

write of the meadow that we have planted, and of the first bold, pink flower that shot up shouting ‘hey!’ in the midst of tentative green-fuzz growth

write about the peaceful desert and the beach of souls

write of the way spaces change as you walk into them, and about how you came home

write about how you grew up and how you will be a child again, and  of ageing and the pain of pathological forgetfulness

write about babies and smiles and birthdays and of undivided attention

write of presence and being, of silence and deep journeys, and a world that can be saved with a story

write of I and us and connectedness…

An endless storm

"There’s a storm coming, when the bird you are becoming is eventually weightless and the earth no longer holds you.”

This is the storm. This is the love. This is the end that everyone comes to. This is the flight that everyone makes. We all come back home, eventually.

Where is home? Where does the storm return to? I am the wind within me. Is this an answer that will satisfy the curiosity of disruption?

When there is a lull, we imagine that the worst is over. The truth is that the worst is to come - but it will not finish us off just yet.

Each of us has our own ending worthy of a scratched mark on the stone, a simple acknowledgement of the passing of time. A small celebration. None of us deserve anything less or more.

One day our gentle spirit will diminish and the breeze will die. There will be a stillness before the winds begin their furious work again. 

This is the endless storm. Everyone dies. Everyone lives. There is joy in the passing. There is a smiling silence and a flood of love.

Meditation based on: There’s a storm coming, Steve Thorp, in The Fixing of Things,creative thorp, 2012.

The creaturely, the wild, the soulful animality of live being – how we lost it is one thing, but how we recover it, and what we do to protect and respect it in ourselves and in the world about us, is another.

John Burnside in the Guardian, 20th January 2012.

Perfect love

When did I realise that love was overrated? Probably at the times when I was loving most cleanly; seeing most clearly how wonderful this intensely human, emotional connectivity can be.

Yet it is precisely at these moments that I realise that it is not nearly enough. The one thing that we yearn for, cry over, hope for, reminisce about - love, attachment, relationship - is only ONE strand of life. Sometimes our lover, or grandchild or soul friend makes our life very special indeed (and this has come to me recently with the arrival of Freya, who, for the past ten and half months has forced me to change the way I experience love and commitment) but even then there are other energies bubbling up that I cannot ignore. Not all of these are positive and ‘good’; certainly not all will lead to happiness, but I must follow them nonetheless.

The other day, someone asked the age-old rhetorical question: if your life was over what would you have like to have spent more time doing. The answer for me was instant: writing poetry. And what do you wish you had spent less time doing? Well that’s a harder one, no instant answer, but a deceptively tricky little one: I’d like to spend less time worrying about when I am going to spend more time writing!

So I’d actually like to BE in the moment more (whether that is being with Freya, being on the water - surfing, or being with a poem I am creating). This BEING is really nothing to do with LOVE - it’s not even about ‘loving myself’, that mythical magic injunction of self-help. What it is about is being open to whatever is in my life right now - whether that be an impulse, a person, an environment; and this is a more challenging thing to be than it might seem.

Sometimes being open means being vulnerable to currents and storms of cruelty and indifference. Sometimes being open means being with a sense of flatness and ennui. Sometimes being open means understanding that the important connection, right now, is with something deep in the world and not just the person lying next to me. Sometime being open means allowing what is emerging to emerge without any commentary or judgement.

And all this is so hard. No wonder we sometimes stick to yearning for perfect love! Life can seem so much simpler that way!     

Brine and burn

I became sick at this new consciousness as it bled into me - flu sick, proper sick, like with a high temperature and tight, pounding head and everything! It wasn’t until days later when this red storm subsided that my body told me a new story, and the sickness became more like regret or yearning or that deep hollowed out feeling that comes with the ultimate realisation of the irreversible.

Calm, I told myself, be calm. It is not too late, you have miles on the clock – you have time enough to figure it out before the chugging engine coughs its last. My optimism was misplaced, as it often is, and the acceleration of decay set in: my skin greyed and my hair thinned and my limbs wasted in alarming fashion. Before long, I was not the body I had thought I was.

I crumbled slowly into the air, which took me into its molecular embrace and held me there. I could feel the boundary of my skin and air vibrate and coalesce; I felt more, I felt less, I felt carried, first on a faint breeze, then on a gale. Then, another accelaration, and here I am travelling at the speed of fright on a vortex of myself. And landing, soft landing, into the belly of the earth at the precise spot where one day I will be buried or scattered.

For now, I am reconnected with my fevered self; the red and orange flame that burns me down too quickly for my soul and leaves me pyred in the cold ashes of canting ambition and intent. If only I had known, if only I had seen - I sigh as I prepare to sign off. Then there is tinkling laughter, almost too faint to be heard, and I understand that this ludicrous reawakening of a child was completed on the day I bled brine and burned.