Belinda Raitt’s poems
Belinda Louise Raitt was born in Paris, France on 13 May 1971, moved to Frascati, Italy in 1973, then The Netherlands in 1979. After graduating from Edinburgh University with a degree in psychology, she worked as a head hunter and life and career coach in London and Royal Tunbridge Wells before moving to Portugal in 2019 where she established - an organic olive farm offering relaxation, yoga and coaching retreats. The beauty of the nature surrounding her inspired her to write not only poetry, but also capture wonderful images of her environment.
I am a child of everywhere and nowhere,
A sign of the times, a cultural vagabond.
Like a chameleon I have learnt how
To change my colours, like a cat
I smile and observe without ever
Losing my wits, or myself. I belong here,
Now, wherever the wind blows. Sometimes
I look up to the sky and see the breeze
Scattering the clouds and understand
That like the sea, constantly washing
Grains of sand to the shore, I am right
Where I am meant to be, where I belong,
Until I follow the stars to where I should be.
Who am I? I am unique, the same as you.
A reinvention of a past life, a revocation of
All that doesn’t fit me now, here, where
Nothing matters anymore, where everything goes.
Some people think the sky
Is far, far away
A distant universe
Reached only by
Travelling through space And time.
That you can only touch
The clouds when you soar
High above in a plane
Or a spaceship.
But look, here it is.
Do you feel it?
That pulse, that quickening
Can you hear it?
Your breath, inhaling the taste
The smell, the air,
Slowly exhaling part of you
As you draw it in again
And the sound of the trees
As they sway and bend
Towards the earth, dusty, rich
With life and nurture
Feeding it into the veins
And sharing the deep
Unspoken truths that
You’ve always known
Forgotten amidst the toil
The search for knowledge
That you already had
The learning of yourself
That you already are
The encounter with
That which is all around
And realising that it is you.
Somewhere between the hot breath of summer and the morning mists,
Between the blues and the browns of the sky and the land,
And the black shapes of outstretched birds stencilled onto the clouds;
Somewhere between the stars scattering across the deepening dark,
Between the carved out moon and the breaking day,
And the lightness of a butterfly’s wing as it lifts;
Somewhere between there and you, here you are.
Between the tangle of trees and the velvet earth,
And the certainty of knowing and not knowing.
Somewhere between your waking dream and your sleeping self,
Between your everything and your nothing, you wonder
And question, as your heart hovers over the answers.
Somewhere there, you stop.
To the silence.
You hear everything.
And you know.
When the last shreds of sun
Start to float down and settle
In between the trees, done
For the day, with lighting up
The world, and now shining
Just for me, just for the joy
Of the silver lining,
The secret whispering of
Each ancient olive tree,
That’s when I start to believe
In magic, when I see
That nature holds the answers
That nature sets us free.
On the river, in quiet contemplation,
At one with nature all around,
Droplets of water glittering
As the breeze blows the sun
Over the green reflections of the banks,
Darts of silver catching the light
As little fish jump out of the water
To lead the way in front of me.
Others swim alongside, for company.
Big winged birds swoop silently above
And the trees bow and sweep the sky
With their crowns.
Even the clouds were paying homage
To the river – or was it just me,
feeling at one with everything? –
Scudding like shoals of fish across the blue.
And then back to shore and connecting
With friends here again for their holidays
And feeling that this moment,
Here, now, this is everything.
This, this is when you reach inside yourself
And gently touch the tender rawness within
That dark, soft part of you that you’ve been
Carefully tending to all these years,
Anointing it with self-doubt,
Holding it safe, sterile, confined,
Keeping it hidden away, shielding it
From anything that might cause it to erupt,
In fear...Of what?
That you might actually feel something?
That you might accidentally forget
That it’s there? That you might no longer
Heed the tug of it holding you back
And instead you let it spread its wings
And you soar,
Liberated, alive, full of possibility
And you realise that this, this is now.
This is living. This is life itself.
If I were in a poem-writing sort of mood
Where I let words roll freely round my head
Like pebbles gently rocking at the water’s edge,
Smoothed and rounded by the lapping tide,
I’d tell you of the secrets buried deep inside
This pearly, lichened trunk,
The stories of all those who have gathered under
Its silver green canopy,
Seeking shade and solace on hazy summer days;
I’d tell you of the sound of laughter echoing through its core
From children hiding behind it, chasing each other round,
Arms circling the warm, soft wood;
Of the hands that have plucked a thousand tiny fruits
From the laden branches and turned them into liquid gold.
I’d speak to you of the hardships endured
Through years of austerity,
The grim determination that shaped a nation
To share everything it has and more, to make the most
And the best of what will be, to accept and embrace;
I’d tell you of a proud, strong people who know
That the good things in life are often the simplest pleasures,
Who enjoy other people’s joy, whose kindness knows no bounds.
I’d speak to you of the beating heart of Templar lands,
of Portugal itself.
The rain finally came
After some surly rumblings
The dry smell of parched August
Grass was slowly replaced by
Petrichor and the clean smell
And crushed mint
Filling the still air
Once the storm had passed.
Then the sky lit up.
I like to think that sunrises
Are woven together
From tiny wisps
Of star cloth sails,
That they are the trails
Of tiny ships
Navigating the sky,
Kept on course by
The whispered breath
Of every soul that's ever
Touched our heart
On our own journey
Through the clouds,
Lighting up our way,
Across the uncharted
Oceans of our life.