Sarah Connor – Guest Feature

Patricia’s Pen is delighted to welcome poet, Sarah Connor as she celebrates the launch of her pamphlet The Crow Gods published by Sidhe Press. Without further ado, it’s over to Sarah.

The Crow Gods

Sarah Connor

When I was planning how to arrange the poems in my chapbook, The Crow Gods, my editor – Annick Yerem from Sidhe Press – pointed out that the vast majority of them were markedly seasonal. I hadn’t really thought about that before, but once she’d said it, it made absolute sense. We played around with a few options, but in the end, that’s how we arranged them, as a seasonal cycle, pinned in place by the Celtic cross-quarter festivals – Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain. These are points in the year that have significance for me, that, yes, make sense as markers in the annual cycle. I don’t actively celebrate them, but I’m aware of them – an itchiness at the back of my soul.

Where did that awareness come from?

A few years ago, some Jehovah’s Witnesses moved to become our new neighbours. I don’t know much about their beliefs – I know Witnesses don’t allow blood transfusions, and that they don’t celebrate Christmas or birthdays. When I explained that to my daughter, she was horrified. Why would you join a religion that had fewer celebrations? Why don’t we have more? We played around with ideas for new celebrations for the rest of that car journey, and then moved on to whatever came next. Tea, probably. Homework.

A little while after that, I heard an actual druid talking on the radio about the druidic year. He pointed out that druids mark a celebration every 6 weeks. My daughter had provided the hook – I hung that fact on it, and it stuck in my head. I read a bit more, and then I was lucky enough to be offered some space at earthweal (thank you, Brendan) to explore the quarter festivals more fully.

They are my festivals – the ones that make sense – the times when the year shifts for me. January 1st is a terrible time to start a new year. Imbolc, at the start of February, when green shoots are pushing through the soil and there’s a greenish pre-bud haze developing in the hedgerows – that feels like a shift. Beltane is another shift: the start of May – everything’s bursting with life, summer’s within touching distance. Lammas, August – I can see the crops being harvested. August has a different feel to June and July – the nights are longer – that giddy summer feel shifts into something dustier, grittier. And Samhain: the clocks have changed, winter’s here. We’ll be heading home in the dark, looking for warmth and comfort. These seem like natural shifts in the year to me.

The other thing that has added to this sense of time is lockdown.  Those weeks of being trapped in space. Weeks of walking the same walks, within that narrow radius. Weeks when I found myself unable to look wider and started looking deeper. A few months after we all started breathing again, I entered my own personal lockdown: chemotherapy. Eighteen months of being limited. It was hard to travel, hard to walk any distance. It was really hard to be creative. I spent a lot of time looking out of the window, or tottering a few hundred metres up the lane. It was a difficult time, I’m not going to lie and say it wasn’t. It was no gift. But it did give me an opening to go deeper. When you look at the same view every day you really notice that the leaves on the crab-apple are a couple of millimetres further along than they were last week. You spot the first blossom, the first daffodil. Suddenly, there are no starlings. In a few month times, suddenly, they’ll be everywhere, clotting the telegraph lines and wheeling over the river. The rooks are carrying twigs up into the treetops. The swallows have arrived.

I suppose the value of working with somebody else is that they see things that you don’t. They can step back and see the bigger picture, the pattern in your work that you might be too close up to see. I certainly had never thought of myself as a temporal poet, the way some poets might be urban, or pastoral, or surreal.  I can’t imagine having a sense of place without having a sense of time. Once you’re away from the equator, places change so much as the seasons change. A place you only know in winter can be unrecognisable in summer. I spend a lot of time in my writing exploring those changes, trying to capture the feel of a season. I write to capture emotions and sensations, and for me they are utterly bound to the moment, the time in which they happened.

About Sarah Connor

Sarah Connor was brought up in South Yorkshire and now lives in North Devon. She spent her working life as a Child Psychiatrist. She has two adult children and one husband.

Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, and in 2012 discovered she had spread to her lungs and bones. She originally started blogging as a way of exploring her feelings about her diagnosis. When she began writing poetry she tried to keep these two worlds separate, but eventually realised that cancer invades everything.

Writing has enriched her life so much. She has been published in numerous publications, including Spelt magazine; The Storms; anthologies from Black Bough, Experiments in Literature and Sidhe Press. She is a regular writer of prompts at dVerse, and is still hanging about on Twitter.




Blog 2

Where to Buy

Sidhe Press – pdf for small donation

Sidhe Press


7 thoughts on “Sarah Connor – Guest Feature

  1. merrildsmith May 16, 2023 / 1:30 pm

    I really enjoyed this interview with Sarah. Those season holiday/shifts make so much more sense to me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia M Osborne May 16, 2023 / 1:32 pm

    Really pleased you enjoyed it, Merril. Thank you for reading and commenting.


  3. anjum wasim dar May 17, 2023 / 4:44 pm

    Reblogged this on POETIC OCEANS and commented:
    Amazing, brave efforts -wish you the best of healing


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