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Fast Skies

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Aeons of fast skies
Have worn smooth these hills.

Chosen colours have rubbed in,
Silence folded into sound.

These lacing waters,
These rock dark ribs.

A breath of rain,
A consideration of leaves.

A subtle exchange,
A movement towards earth.

Knife Moon

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KNIFE MOON

In the dark hills
Sons and daughters
Are learning how to kill,
Accurate remorselessness,
The wages of sin.

Down in the valleys
Translucent owls
Kill with God’s own
Gentle hand, guiltless
Down the hedgerows.

A knife moon glimmers,
Clouds severed
On a southern wind.

Out in the whispering,
Rainbow dark
The ghosts of shepherds,
Faithful dogs by their sides,
Long for the drifting flocks,
The steady roll of seasons.

Above the old forge,
The blacksmith’s arms
Aching with joy.
He dreams his cherry-red children,
A quenching thrust,
The soft pink blushing-
His sigh and smiling wife.

The warmth of our blood
We suck from the past.
Our heartbeat, passed on,
Down from when
Her eyes first opened.
We should be content
To simply sing our song
Then wait in silence,
Comforted.

Rain, again, on the glass.
Mist clings to the roots of hills.
The larch, tousled, twisted gold, leaning.
The grasses pale.

Warmth and good memory -
The past, our sweetest water.
A moderation for cold and bitter fires,
The burnished lies and stolen beauty.

—-

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All Roads

From our door
The river we see
Is named ‘river’.
The mountain on the horizon
Is ‘mountain’.
But the woods,
The woods,
Are named from whispers,
And the farms
From grief and joy.

Belonging
Is not a gift
Nor a right.
It lives in an open heart
Free from reasons
And excuses.

The old stag oak
Now wears a crown of gold,
The ash and alder wear
Empty sky.

All roads arrow straight,
But for their bends.
All hills are green
From a certain distance.

The rivers run full
After a night’s rain
And the sun is stretched
And etched with rainbows.

There is not a promise
That it cannot be forgotten.
There is not a day
That cannot be glorious.

The final two sections of this work have waited a long time to emerge. The exploration of the angelic spheres simply needed arranging, but the final section on the Highest Sphere, I had no idea how to proceed with, until one recent morning, the words flew out of themselves.

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Causatum primum esse creatum primum pricipium omnium creaturarum continens in se creaturas. ( First effect, first created being, pricipal of all creatures, containing all creatures within itself)

It has been months now,
Perhaps years, perhaps lifetimes,
Wandering, flying north, reaching upwards.
Lost and dreaming in the folds of space.
Without affirmation, without calibration,
Lost in uncertain geometries,
Torn by laws of motion
And too certain theologies.
Beyond the rational, beyond the poetic,
A mind running regardless,
Generating language, souls and wings.

Materia in potentia (passive receptacle)
Forma in potentia (Pure Act)

Here in the thin silences
Every river has become
Clear white and single streams,
The seven rivers ceased.
Now, a simple irrigation of sound.
A First Cause, before it takes sides,
Turns demons cloaked in thunder
And dark collateral engines of despair,
Innocent and mirroring the forceful
Wells within us, deeper than bone.

Creator omnium Deus -Causa Prima – Voluntas divina – voluntas divina. ( The Creator of All, God, the First Cause, The Divine Will, The Divine Will)

There is nothing grand about the First.
Nothing magnificent, nothing golden.
The smallest shudder, an imperceptible stretch
Before any decision to inflate,
Any smudge of granulation,
Any furrow of rotation.

An indeterminate number of souls -
All the ghosts of past and future -
Holding back, though longing
To explode within:
The only fuel, the only food, the only song.
The geometers approach, but tangle their measures.
The geomancers learn the dance, weigh the odds.
The elders nod and drool.
The angels consume themselves eternally
In flaming passion, revolving.

Only the weeds in the meadow give utterance to it,
And that so sublime, it makes less sense
Than the grasshopper’s click
And geiger song of cicadas.
Doppler shift.
It forms on disappearance,
It shapes and sings with distance.

A flaming torch falling,
A roar through shaped voids.
Cast out, returned, circumferential, pointless.

All the words have emptied out,
And yet more form and flow -
An endless road,
A glistening heaven
Made of rock,
A mistaken sky.

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at last, the final two parts of this piece exploring the medieval vision of the soul travelling through the spheres of existence. As regards angelic hierarchies, they vary considerably in name and number. Biblical references are few. The system seems to have been sturdily spliced with esoteric Judaic traditions, and like the ( much more interesting) demonic hierarchies, show an almost dendochronological accretion of earlier and proscribed spirits and deities. But that’s medieval cosmography for you….

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The Ten spheres of Intelligences. The supra-formal spirit.

Here, then,
The taxonomies of dreaming light,
Of three Orders, lowest first:

Angeli
Archangeli

These bright effulgent hawks,
Down swooping, sharp-eyed angels
Hungry hosts, folded talons.
All have their prey.
A choir of glory at dawn and dusk,
Slipping barefoot over thresholds
A dust of dreadfulness dipped and stuttered,
Swathed, embedded in sultry command,
Ineluctible tides, currents ripping sideways.

Troni
Dominationes
Virtutes
Principatus
Potestates

The second: they are the rulers,
The judges, the shepherds of nations.
Genii locii redressed, renamed, enthroned,
Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominions:
The light lords of city states,
Osiris and Apollo whispering
In the ears of artists and manipulators,
God’s work on Earth, His paint-loaded brushes.

Seraphim
Cherubim
Ophanim
Ordo senorum (Elders)

Now the highest and closest
To the Source:
Heavenly counselers,
O Seraphim, caretakers of the throne,
Wing-covered, evaporating praise.
Two wings before your face,
Two before your feet,
With two you fly and fly.

O Cherubim, the watchful.
Four wings conjoined, all eyes,
Shaggy muscled lion bodies, upon cloven oxen feet,
Four faced, an elemental hub,
Man, ox, lion, eagle.
They guard the Tree,
They guard the Paradise
They guard the Throne.

Now the Elders on their thrones,
A terrible government, a majority.
Who were they before? To reach so
Stern and high, a multiplicity of divine view?
Strange they mimic men, when all around
Vast eerie visions wheel and burn.

Inconceivable are the Ophanim, mighty wheels.
Green crystal wheels inside greener wheels,
Their spinning rims are all eyes
Where their spirit revolves, gyroscopic.

No place, (you might notice)
For the demons and the lost.
Left off the map, redacted, erased,
A progression of graded lights
Devoid of shade and shadow.
No dissention in this vast ascension,
Corners swept of all obscene doubts,
The unclean and unholy extinguished,
Written out, ignored, irrelevant, unnecessary.
A superior hierarchy chambered in chained gold,
Gently tinkling.

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Long Nights

LONG NIGHTS

It is the very egg of long nights:
Still and black, a light rain falling.

The cats peer silent from windows,
The long fire slowly fades and whispers.

In the garden there will be slugs,
Stately, weaving their own fine galactic trails.

Beyond, in the meadows, glimmering sheep
Will nonchalantly chew, nod and say grace,
Nod and say grace.

There will be owls and a scurry of mice.
And there will be dreams sliding
Between the in and the out of breath,
A tower of worlds, made and unmade,
A cascade of tomorrows in dark and light.

For most, (but never for all),
There will be a slow dawn.
A new wind from the hills,
A resumption: nets and hooks set
Eager to catch time, labelled, minuted,
Used, misused, wasted.

But not now,
Not now.
Not in this one vessel of darkness:
One long curve holding curved void.

Not distinguished are the living or the dead.
All are quiet ghosts
Tasting the certain past
And this turning, rolling, cooling night air.

Valley Road

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VALLEY ROAD

Hard against the hill
Is the shining snake road,
A year of seasons in its moods.

By the river’s wide roll it begins.
From sheep and fields and farms it rises.
Past the flat-capped shepherds, tight
Behind their wheels,
Through mud and puddles up, and corners
Rising to the sky, the open forbidden hills.
(A view of storm mountains, pearled
Valleys ploughed with mist and rainbows).

Down and round again, shuttled roads.
The forest’s lip, dark and curved,
With roaring streams and dappled.
Oak valleys pooled below, copper gold,
Horned, delighted.
A cast of rain thrown down
And forgotten.

The wilds of cloud and tussock,
Then down, down to the surf green,
To the familial names, to the crossed roads,
The straight paths.
To the door, our home in the dear silence.
The tall ashes pale now and yellowed
Falling one by one, as if counting,
As if counting.

___

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