Poem of the Week

Thank you to everyone who has suggested poems for us to put up on the shop window of The Good Heart during the lockdown.

Photograph by Alexander Andrews on www.unsplash.com
Week One: Stay Home by Wendell Berry

 I will wait here in the fields
 to see how well the rain
 brings on the grass.
 In the labor of the fields
 longer than a man’s life
 I am at home. Don’t come with me.
 You stay home too.
 I will be standing in the woods
 where the old trees
 move only with the wind
 and then with gravity.
 In the stillness of the trees
 I am at home. Don’t come with me.
 You stay home too.
Week Two: Covid Spring by Dan Lupton
 As we are confined and turned in on ourselves
 The rest of life is coming into bud
 Days lengthen, soils warm
 -       And we are grounded
 A shock in one species which the rest of life ignores
 We humans are fixated by our dramas
 Of course I am too
 I monopolise the centre of my universe
 This tide between self-importance
 (Species and individual)
 And the flow of life
 That may shrug off both humans and covid,
 Mirrors winter and spring
 We may emerge purified
 By tragedy or isolation 
 Or give a sigh of relief
 And jump back into our familiar prisons
Week Three: Today by Mary Oliver
 Today I’m flying low and I’m
 not saying a word
 I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
 The world goes on as it must,
 the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
 the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
 And so forth.
 But I’m taking the day off.
 Quiet as a feather.
 I hardly move though really I’m traveling
 a terrific distance.
 Stillness. One of the doors
 into the temple.

Week Four: Spring by e e cummings

 O sweet spontaneous
 earth how often have
 fingers of
 prurient philosophers pinched
 , has the naughty thumb
 of science prodded
 beauty, how
 often have religions taken
 thee upon their scraggy knees
 squeezing and
 buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
 to the incomparable
 couch of death thy
 thou answerest
 them only with

Week Five: Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda

 Now we will count to twelve
 and we will all keep still
 for once on the face of the earth,
 let’s not speak in any language;
 let’s stop for a second,
 and not move our arms so much.
 It would be an exotic moment
 without rush, without engines;
 we would all be together
 in a sudden strangeness.
 Fishermen in the cold sea
 would not harm whales
 and the man gathering salt
 would not look at his hurt hands.
 Those who prepare green wars,
 wars with gas, wars with fire,
 victories with no survivors,
 would put on clean clothes
 and walk about with their brothers
 in the shade, doing nothing.
 What I want should not be confused
 with total inactivity.
 Life is what it is about;
 I want no truck with death.
 If we were not so single-minded
 about keeping our lives moving,
 and for once could do nothing,
 perhaps a huge silence
 might interrupt this sadness
 of never understanding ourselves
 and of threatening ourselves with death.
 Perhaps the earth can teach us
 as when everything seems dead
 and later proves to be alive.
 Now I’ll count up to twelve
 and you keep quiet and I will go. 

Week Six: How to make Apple Crumble by Cathy Grindrod

 Balance in your palm a green winter moon. 
 Slide a steel blade in
 to set in motion
 the fall of spiralling skin
 wheeling in rings, twisting its light path,
 splashing a snake-trail on marble. 
 Slice your naked moon. 
 Let flour rain
 like dust motes through sun beams
 in kitchens of glass.
 Make a sweet blanket,
 rough as a cottage, pebble-dashed;
 where a witch once lived
 who stirred a spell in an earthenware dish
 the colour of sand.
 Smother your slives of applie moon
 like a fresh snowfall. 
 Make it white hot.
 Take a cold spoon;
 dig deep to its creaking core.  


Healthy comforting food for challenging times

Tibetan Memories are happy to provide home deliveries during the lockdown. Please contact Elissa on 07986 726147 or Namdi on 07908 139244.

Main dishes at £5 include: Chickpeas in a Spinach Sauce; Seasoned Mixed Vegetables; and Potato and Pea Curry. Rice is £1/portion. All portion sizes are 500ml.

In addition we can offer Sweetheart Moms (£5 for 4 pieces); lentil dahl (£4); Herbys4s local apple juice (£2.50 for 250ml/£5 for 750ml) and Shotimaa Organic Chai (£4 for a box of 16 tea bags).

Everything is gluten free with the exception of Sweetheart Momos. Other ingredients are: vegetables; fruit; lentils; coconut milk; spices and rice (no dairy products). Please check with us for other allergens when you order.

Heartspace: a daily moment of calm

Are you interested in strengthening your capacity to stay calm and kind during these challenging times? Would you enjoy spending half an hour in the company of a small and friendly group of like-minded people?

Every weekday morning, the team at The Good Heart offer a gentle half-hour of mindful reflection. The current Heartspace leaders are: Paul Wielgus (Mondays); Dan Lupton (Tuesdays); Alison Murdoch (Wednesdays); Rob Collett (Thursdays) and Sandra Whilding (Fridays), each with their own individual style and approach.

Open to everyone free of charge on a drop-in basis: come and try it out.

9.00 – 9.30am Monday – Friday

Here is the Zoom link for August

Alternatively, the meeting ID is 823 5719 7685 and the password is: 989579

Year One

The Good Heart opened in July 2018 and was originally conceived as a ‘one year pop-up.’

During its the first year the café not only served an ever-increasing customer base of momo enthusiasts and others, but also offered hundreds of free meals to people in need. Questions are never asked, but we know these have included homeless people, families on low incomes and those struggling with Universal Credit delays, as well as anyone who may have simply been hungry and short of funds on that day. Some are referred by Fair Frome, the Frome Medical Practice, the Town Hall and other local organisations, while others find their own way to our door.

Pay it Forward is a simple but elegant system that enables everyone to eat together regardless of their financial circumstances. We rejoice in the way that it seems to happen almost effortlessly, sustained by the ongoing generosity of the many people who are willing and able to sponsor the meals of others. In the Spring of 2019 we were proud to be part of International Pay It Forward Day.

At evenings and weekends a range of other activities took place, all on a donation-only basis. It’s been a pleasure to host the monthly meetings of Sustainable Frome, as well as the creative gatherings of the children involved in the school strikes for climate change. Extinction Rebellion soon outgrew the space but continues to offer a weekly Extinction Café at 3pm on Tuesday afternoons, where people come together to deepen their understanding of the climate emergency and its effect on us all.  When Somerset Drugs and Alcohol Service closed down across the road, we offered to host a weekly art therapy group for their clients.

In the autumn of 2018, we hosted a six-week mindfulness course called Kinder Calmer Stronger designed to help people learn to meditate and shed their stress. We also began hosting meetings of alternative therapists, which has grown into a vibrant group called Wellbeing Frome which now offers a range of treatments by donation to local people who cannot otherwise afford them.

On 30th July 2019 The Good Heart hosted a small party to thank some of its key supporters. We never know what the future holds, but have to accept we are no longer a one-year pop up…

Alison Murdoch

Kindness as a radical value

Kindness is often seen is a rather fuzzy way, as a quasi-religious virtue of being “nice” to other people. “Kindness is like snow- It beautifies everything it covers.” as Kahlil Gibran puts it rather cutely.

I think kindness can be something more powerful, a potential tool of personal and social transformation. Here are three way of looking at it:

a) As a way of perceiving the world: kindness invites us to consider other people and the natural world not just as objects to use (for good or ill) but as subjects with which we already have a latent connection. Choosing to seek connection changes our understanding of the world and our place in it at a deep level.

b) As a stimulus for positive reciprocation: genuine kindness seeks no reward, but generous behaviour towards others usually prompts a positive response. There’s plenty of research to show that being kind correlates with life satisfaction, so provoking kindness in others may make them feel better.

c) As a way of nurturing affirmative community: the virtuous circle of seeking connection and reciprocating kindness generates pro-social behaviour throughout the network of relationships of those involved, and beyond. It creates healthy bonds of community by revealing the best in people.

I don’t think kindness is just a desire for sweetness and light. It goes beyond optimism and good-heartedness. Perhaps it’s a shrewd way of redefining how we create positive social relationships – kindness as a tactic to resist the anger and polarisation of our times?

What do you think?

Simon Keyes 2 August 2019

One Year Old!

A year of dozens of creative and inspiring discussions, hundreds of free “pay it forward” meals” (thanks to people’s generosity) and lots of individual acts of generosity, kindness and goodwill.

It seems to be working – here are some of the highlights of our first year. We’re planning more activities in the autumn (see Events) as well as scrumptious Tibetan food every lunchtime.

Come and see us soon.