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This River

This river
Roaring pink
At sunset.

Drawing down
The woven laced waters,
Undressed the hills
Of their fast brightness.

The road rises,
Rises and rises again,
Shines towards a westing sun,
Winged, borne up.

At his black pulpit hedge
The upright larch,
Ragged golden zealot gesticulate.

He points the path
To John Penry’s home,
Who stirred the cauldron,
Pricked the fat yawning clergy,
Called for God’s word in Welsh
To gather the scattered, downstruck flock.

The old road rises west,
Towards heaven,
A herd of rainbows
Fed on distance,
Fed on sloped green,
And sapped colours
Of an evening fading fast.

It will never end,
Nor will it ever remain the same.
We shall all be woven in,
Embraced, where light
And rain dress pastures,
Where sheep, patient as saints,
Drift into starlight.
This ribboned road,
This river flood,
These veined
And holy oaks.
A consequence of notions.

Glimmered paths

GLIMMERED PATHS

Beneath those clouds, that dark and glowering sky,
Lie and roll the high hills of home.

Beneath the bracken brown and sedge-sharp hills,
The grey and time-cracked waiting rocks.

Beneath the rocks the slumbered weight, the beds of coal and iron.
The slow seep, the echoed drip that always, always tastes of blood.

Beneath that blood, a fierce and endless joy and sorrow:
Souls and stars, swaying each along their own and glimmered paths.

Beyond the paths, a singing ark of life,
A soaring choir, a cast bell, a cave, a resolute remembering.

There, are turbulent silken seas, all the bones ground down to salt,
Worms turned eloquent: a sudden, unexpected glory.

I dream the drovers turn towards home, tallies marked,
Murmuring their loves, long and low.

Their secret green and hollow ways
Singing light and fireside.

Hard is any parting in winter.

December, Towards Solstice.

The silent sky opens upward
Right to the cold edges of space.
The ground sinks into the waters,
Its weight, another’s years folding.

Now is winter’s river:
Flowing fast and deep
Over all, through all,
Between fire and distance.

Hedgerows are neat and black,
Barns stacked full,
Land drains cleared
Of two months rotting leaves.

The long low light of day
Points to shadow’s reach
But cannot quench them.
It slides off hillsides,
Skims deep valleys.
It declines to matter.

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Llym awel 3, improvisations.

The third stanza contrasts the atmospheric tumult of winter with the motionless, perhaps frozen, lake and the lifeless stillness of the remains of vegetation around its shore and in the woods. The complex sounds and rhythms of the first line give way to the stark alliteration and simple rhymes of the second and third lines.
The overwhelming impression is of a stripped hollowness, everything destroyed by the storm. The key is “cold bed” conjuring a flat, unwelcoming expanse of coldness. All the emotion of the narrator is summed up in those two words.

Oer guely, lluch rac brythuch gaeaw;
Crin calew, caun truch;
Kedic awel, coed im bluch.

“Cold bed, the lake in winter’s tumult;
Withered stalk, broken reed;
Violent wind, the trees stripped bare.”

For now
It is, surely, a cold cauldron-
This seething winter sky
Within the mute
And broken vessels
Of the earth;
Hollow, rounded,
Iron still.
Held
The grey lake,
The naked wood
Stripped bare
( the suitors of the sky
Voracious for space),
Ripped and opened
To uncaring wild heavens.

Cold bed this lake, death-still,
Through winter’s rage;
Withered is the stalk,
Broken the reed;
Violent the wind
That has stripped bare
The trees.

Broken withered still the soil,
Still cold the unmoving expanse of lake,
Cold as death.
That which bends is broken,
That which yeilds is bare.
Nothing moves
But winter’s endless roar.

Winter’s roar.
All, broken.
Slapped down, the lake,
Cold, folded, comfortless.
Hollow the woods,
Ripped of leaves.
What was, is remains.
Severed, the warmth
Of summer

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In Winter Hills

In Winter Hills

A shallow
cold stream
of inconvenient air
Is winter in the shaped and cocksure city.
It fills only the void between buildings
And the thin, guttering bones of the homeless.
But a raw six months is winter
In the hills of the northern world.
It builds itself a dance of long-knived layers,
Sucking heat through the ice-spangled drills of starlight,
Peels back and back the year’s green thrust,
Draws out a most echoing hollow certainty
That just one wrong turn, one unlucky day
And this thin, frayed thread shall splay,
Split red and run itself to mud, to ice,
To empty earth, to earth a carcass chord,
A final cold bed,
concluded iron,
sighed
silent
mulch.

Llym Awel, verse two.

Llym Awel, second stanza. Improvisations.

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Ton tra thon, toid tu tir;
Goruchel guaetev rac bron banev bre;
Breit allan or seuir
.

The alliteration of the first line rolls and rumbles like the waves that are described therein, then stutters and becomes harsh as the roaring sound is described, followed by a diminishing gentleness of the vanquished sloping land. The last line has a shocked gulping sadness, or an amazed sorrow. It frames and positions the narrator in an emotional as well as a natural landscape.

“Wave on wave, covering the side of the land;
Very loud the roar against the high hill;
A wonder anything remains.”

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Wave tops wave.
A coupling clamber
A mating roar,
cast seed
spray spume.
Before one, before all,
up sloping land.
Seige unopposed,
howled hunger thrown,
A wild encroachment,
a burst breach
Long and longer reach,
a tumble.
The high hill groans.
What can stand,
what can stay?
From this slide skywards,
From this steep,
utter submergence?

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Desert Songs(2)

Lulled by light, long and low.
Warm winds, fled with birdsong.
Distant rises the muezzins’ heart,
A hive of bees, nectar-fed.
The sands lift to colour the air,
A wave of snakes, a river in time.

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