Conversations ... front cover


Bruce Garrard
A5 paperback, 48 pages
​Notebook extracts, poetry, prose, photographs
Published January 2019
Reprinted with corrections, March 2023
R.R.P. £7.00
Special price for copies bought from this website: £5.00

Conversations with the River Spirit is based on extracts from my notebook, written during regular visits to the River Brue in Somerset over the course of a year. It begins in November, that being the Celtic new year. It was written at a time of increasing climatic instability; spring came early, but then there was snow in March. The summer was unusually hot and dry, the autumn mild, the future unpredictable.

This is the third book in a series of four, based on the Four Point Plan put forward by Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. A summary of the four points is contained in the book. The third point is Prayer. This little book is not about prayer, though perhaps it is a prayer.

Certainly much of it is wonder and praise. Other parts of it are difficult and disturbing. The River Spirit has many moods, and thankfully they do not include despair. Like the rest of the natural world, however, She is in deep and mortal danger.

She is also a joy and a delight to be with, to sit beside, to get to know as well as I am able. I would encourage you to do the same – if not with the River Brue, then with whichever river it is that flows nearest to your home.


Good morning, Spirit of the River.
I love the starlings that fly past in great swathes,
and the ducks faintly audible in the distance.

My thanks to you for bringing me here once again, with this purpose,
to record through the year what I can see and hear of you.
It’s a wonder how such thoughts slowly emerge into my mind
where before there was only a mixture of vague ideas:
then suddenly the plan and the intention are here, and it’s obvious.

But less of me. I come to listen to you.
Your waters move by steadily
and the reeds are dying back at this time of year, sinking.
A bird of prey, a kite or a buzzard, hovers over the field on the far side of the river, then disappears as I fumble for my camera.
The breeze blows downstream, unusually, and the sound of ducks comes with it again on the wind.
Another pair of birds goes by, spying out the land,
circling, further upstream.

The ground here is muddy
after the water has risen a foot or two and soaked everything thoroughly,
as if preparing for a flood.
It’s back now to its regular level, but at this time of year
large volumes of water could come any day,
any morning.

Thank you, Spirit of the River.
I shall return here several times each month
and do the best I can to honour you well.