Discarded Christmas trees rest against wheelie bins, back doors or lie beached on pavements. We drove past a woman just outside her front door leaning her full weight against a six foot tree as it threatened to topple in the wind.

Be kind was Pinky Lilani’s maxim for businesses¬†on Desert Island Discs. Be humble and kind was the refrain from the last song Bob Harris played on his look back at 2016 show. Be kind. A simple request.

I collect words for my lexicon. They come from all sorts of sources. Crosswords, stories, overheard conversations, Poetry Extra. Borage blue and Sparky Lea. Barry McSweeney a Northumbrian poet, previously unknown to me. The drink took him too early. If he couldn’t write he’d write with his life, said friend and poet Ian Sinclair. He didn’t have skin, his flesh was exposed to the air. Torment in pursuit of ecstasy, said another. More words. Pelt, apogee, physalis, flotsam, inchoate and sing.

We make the sound today. I am nervous. I know not what I do. Always new.


And be kind.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.