LINDA FRANCE poet: "The mystical power possessed by nature is one of many layers Linda peels back through poetry…"

Linda France Nat_Poetry_Comp_47<a
Interview with poet Linda France Story: Jade Cuttle

Image credit: summonedbyfells

"We are all flawed, short-sighted and confined within our own conditioning," declares Linda France, "but we can push our boundaries by empathizing with others, reading poetry.”

The perspective that poetry is a portal to an extended range of understanding, a stepping stone in our search for clarification, endows poetry with a pleasing sense of power and purpose. However, if such flaws and short-sightedness extend to everyone, even to poets, then it is difficult to imagine how this purpose is possible.

Linda France has published seven poetry collections including The Gentleness of the Very Tall and The Toast of the Kit-Cat Club and edited the ground-breaking feminist anthology Sixty Women Poets. She won first place in this year’s National Poetry Competition for her poem entitled 'Bernard and Cerinthe', painting a man’s erotic encounter in a greenhouse with a Cerinthe flower. Whilst the seed of inspiration was slightly less sensual, the poet was left almost as “astonished” as Bernard following her surprise at stumbling across something she had never seen before; the “fleshy, flirtatiousness” of a Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ as it “conceals and reveals at the same time”.

“The most reliable hook that draws me in is curiosity,” she explains, “piqued by something that resists my sense of knowledge.” In what is described as a mix between intrigue and nosiness, her curiosity is channelled into a “commitment to peeling back layers.” If layers of understanding are first peeled back on a personal level, then poetry is arguably more important for the poet than for the reader, and thus, inspiring people to push their own boundaries becomes a by-product of this process.

The mystical power possessed by nature is one of many layers Linda peels back through poetry, though, despite having lived in Northumberland for thirty-three years, she confesses she has still not unearthed its truths. There is “an attraction to darkness or otherness” she insists, taking root in childhood warnings such as “don't go down the lane” and “don't go into the woods”. This attraction is rooted in exclusion, pinned down to being “painfully separate” and applies to her personal approach to poetry as she admits “there has always been something there, a curiosity, an absence, and I wanted to fill the gaps.”

To read the full interview pop over to here

EVANESCENCE, Li Po, Joan Tollifson, inner weather – &amp;amp; the only definition of reincarnation that makes sense?

EVANESCENCE – I had never come across this word before, except in Baha’i writings. How beautiful it is and how pregnant with poetic possibilities – ‘soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing: the evanescent Arctic summer’

‘Evanescence’ begs to be connected to inter-spiritual and mystical challenges such as self-effacement and detachment.

In relation to such matters I often return to;

“The birds have vanished from the sky,
and now the last clouds slip away.
We sit alone, the mountain & I,
until only the mountain remains.”

8thC Chinese poet known as Li Po

Also resonating in my mind is a piece contemporary teacher of nonduality, Joan Tollifson, wrote on Facebook – 31 December 2015 at 19:11.

Joan’s post starts with a fine description about the effects of weather in the area where she lives; “This morning is clear and bright, not a cloud in the sky. I watched the morning light spread slowly and quietly over the landscape. Some days this whole valley where I live fills with freezing mist and the mountains around me are completely invisible—even the nearby trees disappear into the whiteness of the fog. And then gradually, the mist dissolves and the landscape reappears. Snow storms and rain storms blow through, clouds pass across the sky, changing shape as they go. And sometimes, like this morning, the whole sky is clear.”

Joan then shifts to describing what she calls ‘inner weather’
“The inner weather is much the same—endlessly changing weather systems, sometimes cloudy and sometimes crystal clear. All of it one whole undivided, inseparable happening without any solid borders or seams: cloudy and clear, inside and outside.”

This enables Joan to gently invite us to challenge ourselves spiritually within the context of teachings on nonduality;

“In every instant, the universe is born anew. When we’re awake, we notice this. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is a wonderful time to appreciate the newness of every moment—to notice what happens when we leave the known (the past) behind and are simply Here / Now, awake and present—not needing any handles (any conceptual formulations or explanations), not needing to know who or what we are or what this is, not needing any purpose or meaning, but simply being present, being this moment, just as it is.”

The challenges come in the form of questions – enough for weeks or months of meditation;

“Of course, I’m not talking about losing our functional memory or permanently erasing all knowledge of history—that all has its usefulness—but can we be awake to when this is useful and when it is simply a burden? Can we question our stories and beliefs? Can we hold them lightly? Can we notice how the “same old me” with “my same old problems” reincarnates through thinking and story-telling, how “the same old world” is seemingly recreated again and again? Can we wonder if this needs to continue? Can we simply be present with the raw energies in the body, whatever they are, and with the pure sensory aliveness of what is, right now? Can we notice how different this living reality is from all the ideas and concepts about it?”

In this last section Joan gives us what for me is the only definition of reincarnation that makes sense – Can we notice how the “same old me” with “my same old problems” reincarnates through thinking and story-telling, how “the same old world” is seemingly recreated again and again?. The first being”inner weather’ Two brilliant ideas.

Brilliant writing, brilliant teaching. Joan’s wonderful website is here –



Here are a couple of definitions of evanescence;

‘…evanescence is a noun that means the event of fading and gradually vanishing from sight.

After you lose a loved one, often you’re gripped with a fear of evanescence, or the rapid fading from sight or memory of that person. Evanescence comes from the Latin evanescere meaning “disappear, vanish.””

Something that possesses qualities of evanescence, has a quality of disappearing or vanishing. The evanescence of a shooting star makes it hard to catch — it’s there one moment and gone the next. Evanescence is a word typically used to describe an event that fades from sight or memory, or sometimes the fleeting quality of worldly success. –


Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing:
the evanescent Arctic summer’

Words that rhyme with evanescent

acquiescent, adolescent, albescent, Besant, coalescent, confessant, convalescent, crescent, depressant, effervescent, erubescent, excrescent, flavescent, fluorescent, immunosuppressant, incandescent, incessant, iridescent, juvenescent, lactescent, liquescent, luminescent, nigrescent, obsolescent, opalescent, pearlescent, phosphorescent, pubescent, putrescent, quiescent, suppressant, turgescent, virescent, viridescent

Mist on river Burnlaw

RP Is this not also resurrection – of self from slough of despond to Self?