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This Sky ( part 2)

Book of Voices ( This Sky: part 2)

Each cell voicing its own obituary,
Each mitochondrial Neanderthal fire-watching,
Knapped sound, flint words, held, tapped,
A feel for languid, mushroomed word
( so much glory hidden tangled beneath a milk stream
Of holiness, food, fingered, fluvial through substrate,
A healthy holy rot).
All with voice, all with dawning chorus of song.
An evacuation, a cacophany profane, blessed,
A golden urgent urination ( just so),
A mineral-rich, arcing satisfaction, an urge,
Urgent, unguent, a chrism (even), an eventide
And morning of the first day.
Smudged, succumbed, scumbled, it solidifies
And whispers itself out.
Such clarity cannot hold, a boiled ferment bakes dry,
Returns to sleep, mist rises in the valley,
Stars become acceptibly few, named, blink in and out.
The voices turn to their own dreams involuted,
A cochleal murmur suspended,
Slow revolving wrapped sleeping in spider-webbed tranquillity.
Sleep whilst you can, sleep in unity, in slow breathing
Revolved planetary orbits. Sleep pretty and woven.
Eyes lidded now, eyes lidded.
(Words, fragile as insects, scurry iridescent
Into darkness.)

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This Sky ( part 1)

Book of Voices (This Sky: part 1)

Let us say: this sky, as pink certainly as warmed skin.
This, an indefinite and infinite blue, as those eyes.
And as close,and as distant, as God.
Let us say: there will be again,as ever,one voice that begins,
A clarion clear and moon-bright,
One stirring uttered echoing on the valley flank
Or deep on the sacred golden wood,
Cloutie-hung with shredded prayers,
(Shellac shined black ink careful lines on white silk,
Vehement, scratched curses on lead, tight folded,
Hidden in crack and crevice, utterance to vengeful ones
To do it, do it for me).
A shower of seasons tattered reasons,
Shattered, smattered, sculpted, howled to mothers
( hungry and cold in the dark, glint of light
And voice whispered behind the holy door).
Like this, almost exactly: one clear star
Glinted, marked out, a definite oneness,
A line, a shaft, a rope to upness and downness,
Dimensional isness, a road to stick to.
But as eye accustoms to deeper delved
And shrinking edge of silence:
One more there, and another, and so another
Until the sky is dark with inescapable stars
Vying for eye and patterning the mind with yes
And yes, a plan, a map, a purpose, a chorus
Of foamed ejaculate, a tide ripped and roaring in
Upturning pebble feather flotsam bone and tattered weed
( a flap of iodine, a wriggle).
Let us say, this close to madness
Is this close to revelation.

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Night Rain

NIGHT RAIN (Book of Voices)

White noise, a rain of words
(All drops reflecting whole worlds),
But free from explanation, no discourse, no argument.

Indistinguishable millions falling through darkness
Only heard as they disintegrate, pool
And continue a life moving downwards.
A silent freefall ’til disillusioned by the solid,
Exulting, shattered, they shout.

Thought precedes language,
Orchestral is the soul.
A dance of demons and angels
Cross-dressing and interbreeding.

An heretical creation,
An unexpected evolution of many sorts,
Comes down as night rain.
Sound in darkness dancing.

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LLYM AWEL, verse 8: Improvisations.

Ottid eiry, tohid istrad;
Diuryssini vy keduir y cad;
Mi nid aw; anaw ni’m gad
.

Falling snow, the wide valley covered;
They hasten, the warriors to war;
Myself, I do not go; a wound does not allow.

‘Istrad’ is not any vague ‘valley’, but an open, level or wide part of a valley floor, ( ‘dale’ or ‘strath’ are modern translations, suggesting gentle, cultivated land), distinguishing it from a steep or narrow-walled valley (cwm, combe, dingle, dell,)
‘Tohid’ could be ‘blanketed’, or ‘covered’. ‘Blanketed’ sounds too soft and benign, ‘smothered’ too dramatic. I’ve settled for ‘covered’ , though it seems a little pedestrian.
‘Keduir’ ( kedwir) are warriors, ‘cad’ is battle, but ‘warriors’ and ‘war’ is, perhaps, a better echo of the original sounds and semantics.
Each line ends with the same rhyme: istrad/cad/gad. The last line has a nice reflection in ‘..nid aw; anaw ni’m..’
There seems to be a disconnection between first and second lines. We are left wondering :what is the context? Is the landscape description simply to provide a scene through which the warriors move? Does it reflect the two events: a blanket of snow paralysing the fertile valley floor, the descent of the war-band on hapless neighbours? Is the snowfall a cover for an unexpected, aggressive assault?
There is a clear suggestion of the quiet, open space and silence of the valley contrasted with the fast moving, tightly animated, urgent group of warriors.
The stillness and emptiness of the landscape is echoed in the last line by the helplessness of the narrator left behind as his companions depart. Though there is no suggestion whether the narrator feels guilt or relief, we can see the view of the wide, empty snow-filled valley floor as a correlate for his physical, emotional and mental state.

Falling snow is valley’s shroud.
A warrior’s heart is vast and cold.
With skilled companions, open to chance,
Brave and proud.
A blizzard roar sweeping away all.

Unfathomable is the mind of a mountain;
The language of clouds: not easy to read,
a mystery sung by rivers.

The silence in waiting long.
Unkind the distance between here
And good company.
Vast and empty is the future
We fill with hope.
Empty and shelterless
Is the valley void of laughter.

Wide, white and shrouded
Is the green glory of the young.
Each year these wounds
And the memories of wounds
Pile up to muffle song.

A keening wind will bring tears,
Even to the strong.

Halt and bold,
Blood-smeared will be the footsteps
Of those who return.
Their tracks:
The lines of those before us,
All aches smoothed over,
Disappearing,
The wide, vast future
Brought sharp to a point:
One moment whole,
One moment severed.
Cut short,
All certainty
Reduced to dream,
All echoes dying away.

The groans of ice.
Frost-cracked, the stones split,
Gape skywards toothless:
The road and door
To other worlds.

Left lame, useless,
Not knowing.
Watching slow snow fall.
Hands without strength,
An empty mind trudges distances.
Goalless, remote, the hollow eyes.
A dry and empty cup.

The minds of mountains
And their clouds
Weep and rejoice.
Glory of sunlight
Spitting shadows.

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Spring
in Llangammarch:

Every house
a nest.

The cool air,
a wash of song;

The river,
a sighing.

Even in rain,
The sun enfolded

bright
In the heads
of daffodils.

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All Fool’s Day

ALL FOOL’S DAY

Someone who believes the voices in their head
Are worth listening to,
Who shapes a voiceless howl
And paints peacock the grey goose feathers.

Bitter or sweet is its confection,
But flown, not owned.
A convection of breath muttered,
Cooling fast to silent shuffling.
A spark to set heads alight.
A bird at dawn joining in, joining in.

So very modern, so social, so angst.
Shaped anger, a certain brittle brilliance
(Too many pills, too many movies).
Judge not, lest ye be judged.

My colours are earth ochre and mud:
They blur and smudge and taste
As bitter sweet as old iron.
Red is not better than blue.
Nothing but our breath
Is not borrowed,
And that is shared with ghosts.

If I pick a posy of weeds
And small insects
It shall likely be thrown away
By evening, change within a day
To wilt and slime and compost.

A river of muscular words,
Knowing their trajectory,
Slick with fitting exercise,
Polished, glancing slyly
At themselves in mirrors.
Mine: are orphaned, skulk
Adolescent in corners
Wishing they were anything,
Anywhere but here, ignored,
Misunderstood, awkward
With self and not-self,
Ready to punch
And run away screaming.

Small curses and bitterness,
A sweet green wormwood of words,
Unfashionable as Homer and the ‘Seventies.
Nothing if not shaped air,
A moments held tight and wriggled free,
Regardless of reputation
And good sense.

Outside my window
The world tips towards a hidden river.
Every tree and field a palimpsest of seasons.
Boughs thick with time shudder and bend,
Hold their taut silhouettes.
Tangled, indistinguishable are their roots,
Their eloquent green tongues.

A patch of blue sky
The shape of continents
Slides across the sky,
Dissipating like smoke
Slowly turning.
First drops of April rain.

Glory Passes

GLORY PASSES

All the mountains have walked away.
The hills, stirred themselves and flown.
Nothing remains but clouds and mist.

Rivers fall straight from heaven.
Forests, hushed and silent now, listen.
Distance is the well of Time.

I sit without words, empty,
(Though words themselves
Are hollow flocks).
They graze and move on,
Ineluctable patterns,
A partial view of constellations:
Midnight cloud.

It is a virtue to forget,
To remember and to forget oneself.
A virtue to see what is without compare.

Unremarked, glory passes
As sun and storm on a Spring day.
Jewelled with light the bare branches,
Silver and dark the upland roads.

The sky laughs at the invention of morning,
Rises up as mountains return
Refeshed and glistening,
World without end.

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