I looked up list poets but none were listed. But there is such a thing as a list poem. I wanted to write a happy list. Not as a poem but as a reference point that I could return to when bleak. Things I could do. I always like to have  things I can do. Small things. Sometimes miniscule things. Like  walking near the bakery so that I can catch the smell of freshly baking bread so as to alleviate the dreariness of walking in the dark and the pissing rain. Or the breathing in the scent of the dog roses, sharpened in the wet, just beyond the Castle. So often happiness, or is it bliss, or merely pleasure comes to me via my sense of smell, such as the perfume of night-scented stocks on a warm evening, or the warm sweet-buttery-ness of a Danish pastry straight from the oven or that of ground coffee beans in Covent Garden’s Monmouth Street’s Coffee House. One has to be specific. That specific. Smells can disappoint. For the moment I think of sun. Of sitting in the sun. Of sitting in the sun on a balcony. Just sitting. Doing nothing but sitting. Warming my bones in the sun. The sun empties me out. It roots out the mouldy darkness, the dread, those corners of impossible-to-articulate dread and washes it white. A white-out. How I want that. A white-out. Clean white sheets. Never patterned. Have I ever said how much I prefer not to sleep in patterned sheets? Sleep, bed has taken on a holy state. I need its warm, then cool white emptiness. So that I can empty out. But not before sending out love, good thoughts, healing whatever you want to call it. To her in that prison. They call it languishing. The word seems wrong, inappropriate like  Lydia Languish of The Rivals. Languishing implies a prone body, stretched out bored on a chaise longue. Not so in the case. I thought of her today, this morning. I thought of her as walked in the relentless rain, shopped in the supermarket and as I put away the food. Don’t let her be forgotten. Somebody do something now, soon, please. I want to feel for others. Sometimes it is all I can do. To stand beside. To sit beside. To be in their story. To listen. It seems such a small thing. What am I for? Perhaps it is not about happiness, a sometime scary thing, a wildness, but more about peace. Is that it? Is that what I have to offer? My peace? A lifetime’s work. To be at peace with oneself as a gift to the world. Here. When I have it it is yours.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.