I recently read a book that many of you will have heard of, called "Eat, Pray, Love", by Elizabeth Gilbert (who gives a very interesting talk here ). Among many of the concepts within it that really spoke to me, the one that has really stuck is that of spirit brothers. Gilberts explains that in Bali, many people believe that we are each born with spirit brothers to guide us:



"The child is taught from earliest consciousness that she has these four brothers with her in the world wherever she goes, and that they will always look after her. The brothers inhabit the four virtues a person needs in order to be safe and happy in life: intelligence, friendship, strength, and (I [Gilbert] love this one) poetry. The brothers can be called upon in any critical situation for rescue and assistance."

I find the concept of this kind of protection beautiful. A sort of internal council to bring you safely through the difficulties of life. But I also love the four virtues Gilbert says are necessary to happiness. Namely, poetry, although I don't mean that literally. To me, the virtue of poetry in my life is represented by all the sightly magical or intangible things. The written word, surely, but really anything that stimulates imagination, creativity and genius. This is the pillar that feeds all my creative energy into Dot & Lil. The things that are beautiful, if not serious. The ones that make your soul feel nicer and open your mind up to let the sunshine in.

So, as an offering to a spirit brother who represents the pillar of poetry in my life, here is a sneak preview poem by Susan Briscoe from the book The Crow's Vow , that will be published by Véhicule Press next month. The poem is a fitting one for spring at Dot & Lil!

Spring has spilled

its most beguiling perfumes


– honeysuckle, lilac,

lily of the valley –


all at once, luring me

down to a clover bed


to breathe in,

in, with you if you would,


while the apple tree swings

its hips and hums.