The intention to write a daily poem on the theme of kindness becomes a year-long meditation, honest and unflinching, as the pandemic arrives. This remarkable evocation of a unique year by former Derbyshire Poet Laureate River Wolton is illustrated throughout with beautiful water-colours by artist Emma Burleigh.
River’s poems offer glimpses into ordinary everyday life, at a time when the heartbreak of the world is pressing in on the personal. These intimate and honest windows tenderly reveal the potential of infusing daily-life micro moments with awareness and kindness. Each poem calls us back into connection and reminds us that holding experience with deep friendliness is the ground for loving engagement in the world. – Professor Rebecca Crane, Director, Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University
Although River Wolton’s captivating Year begins and ends with ships, it is the birds flying, nesting and singing in between that ‘get her through’: amongst others, robins, herons, swallows, swifts, blackbirds and a single kingfisher bring moments of intense awareness and fleeting glimpses of freedom. These sky messengers carry her journal’s shifting emotional rhythms – tenderness, pain, warmth, wonder, fear and rage – while the day-to-day movement between inner and outer worlds creates a full cycle of what it is to be a wild and questing human, negotiating the ongoing edges of kindness, ‘feathered, buoyant’. – Linda France
Bringing kindness to life in three hundred and sixty-six evocative poems and a series of exquisite illustrations. Kindness, with all its myriad manifestations; honest, direct, unsentimental and oh so very real. A testament to how a year, 2020, that was both extraordinary but also very ordinary, could be endured and enriched by kindness. – Willem Kuyken, Ritblat Professor of Mindfulness and Psychological Science, University of Oxford