Sara-Jane Arbury*

MEET UPS : February, April, , Words & Images, August, September


The Little Orange Bird

I sent the bird to a friend on her birthday and she sent me this picture of it in situ in her house! Along with a card that said “The little orange bird will take you where you need to be. I know you will succeed in creating your collection. Keep visualising that little orange bird!” 

PROJECT: I am working on a first collection of poetry that will include a sequence of poems about my neurological condition Meningiomatosis and subsequent brain surgery and treatment – taking in recollections, thoughts, musings, observations from a wry eye and a radioactive mind and, above all, an awareness and celebration in the most direst of circumstances of “how ordinary extraordinary things are or how extraordinary ordinary things are” in the words of Norman MacCaig. I am thinking of calling this sequence ‘Velvet, Red, Face, Daisy, Church’ (or a variance thereof) after five words I was asked to remember in a cognition assessment by an occupational therapist following an operation during which I had a stroke. These words have never left me and I’m confident they never will. They are my hook snagging the “it’ll be fine” feeling.

The collection will not solely be about this subject. Like The Wasting Game by Philip Gross which contained a series of poems addressing his daughter’s life with anorexia, I see this as a sequence of poems contained within a wider collection. I will be revisiting poems I wrote a while ago, as well as including new pieces, on a variety of themes and thoughts. I will use poems by Julia Darling and Claire Williamson as guiding lights. 


An ordinary day

I took my mind a walk

or my mind took me a walk–

whichever was the truth of it.

The light glittered on the water

or the water glittered in the light.

Cormorants stood on a tidal rock

with their wings spread out,

stopping no traffic. Various ducks

shilly-shallied here and there

on the shilly-shallying water.

An occasional gull yelped. Small flowers

were doing their level best

to bring to their kerb bees like

ariel charabancs. Long weeds in the clear

water did Eastern dances, unregarded

by shoals of darning needles. A cow

started a moo but thought

better of it… And my feet took me home

and my mind observed to me,

or I to it, how ordinary

extraordinary things are or

how extraordinary ordinary

things are, like the nature of the mind

and the process of observing.

A writer

Events got him in a corner

and gave him a bad time of it –

poverty, people, ill-health

battered at him from all sides.

So far from being silenced,

he wrote more poems than ever

and all of them different –

just as a stoned crow

invents ways of flying

it had never thought of before.


No wonder now he sometimes

suddenly lurches, stalls, twirls sideways,

before continuing his effortless level flight

so high over the heads of people

their stones can’t reach him.


5 comments on “Sara-Jane Arbury*

  1. poetryspacepoet says:

    I really enjoyed getting to know both you and your work better yesterday Sara-Jane.


  2. veronabass says:

    Sara-Jane, I think you have a scintillating voice. Your manner of expression both in the spoken and written form carries lucidity, and a lively humour. I do like the play on the extra-ordinary to be found in the ‘ordinary’, as described above. As poets that’s surely what we’re trying to cultivate. Thank you for the inspiration.


  3. I am looking forward to meeting you on Saturday, Sara-Jane.


  4. Shaun Butler says:

    Intriguing, interesting, sassy, rehearsed,


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