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Bleached

Sure of this Sorley has spoken
His sweet scouring gravel words
Pure paced, precise grey grinding stones
Pouring splendid golden grain,
Eloquence of earth.

Though few have heard
Or paid him heed.
Old, tweeded, sharp-eyed scholar
Wandered, windblown on
Steep lined western shores
Between deserted croft
And sand-scoured macha.

His mountains named
One by one,
His steadings remarked,
His memories buried safe,
All buried under stone,
The language of remaining
Despite scorn and spittle.

A path half-made
Through hillside rocks,
The prints of deer,
Silence is the heather.
These winds whistle
Through an empty heart.
These words, a whisky
For the tongue that is parched,
A decent medicine
Against the clean sin
Of city streets,
Their promise to forget
Cold and weather,
An unceased consumption
Of time and art and loveliness.

Without the cry of curlew
Without the wheeling hoodie
Without the slap of salt wind
We think ourselves gods
Who are short, soft animals
One moment from bleached oblivion.

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Two by Beulah

TWO BY BEULAH

1
A break in the cloud:
A mouth of light
Drifts slowly over Beulah.
Dawn cannot be long.

Bats flicker vision,
A fluttering heartbeat.
Warm air, rain-wet
And rose-heavy.

2
The road sways soft
Down to Beulah.

Drowsy with valerian,
Hammocked easy
On sweet drift meadowsweet.

Awake the spired, serry willowherb,
And betony: scatter of exclamation.

We float light upon
Our own bright shadows.
The afternoon sun
And cloud valleys singing.

The road down to Beulah
Under the mountain.

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Stretched

Under a silent sky
Stretched with cloud,
Grasses loll green and pink and grey.

A firmament of birdsong
Curled, woven to sift shading green.

Tractors sigh and roar down the lanes.
Fields turned now and mown.

Stay quiet, stay still a while,
Hear how the river mumbles.

Fed we are,
Appeased by the width of things:

The deep caverned wood,
The slow, fine rains,
Flowers, now, of cloud.

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vapours of heaven1 vapours of heaven3

THE VAPOURS OF HEAVEN

 

Shall they stray far,
These wandered thoughts,
Drenched with the vapours of heaven?
Shall they, distilled, sublimate,
Take new form, grow winged
Then smiling, dissolve?

Shall they, folded,
Nest upon timeless light.
Sleep, and wake golden,
Luminous, singing?
Shall they, without surcease,
Dance eternal energies,
Still named, at home
On vast, breathing cascades
Of space?

Shall they, (these thoughts),
Turn swallows, spin as swifts,
Light as thistledown, rise
Like willowherb, weightless,
A drift in summer,
A slow gentle breeze
Bird-filled?

Shall they stretch, sprout nerves,
Become sensible, grow good souls
With new names, find mouths
And lips and tongue
And sing their own song?

The vapours of heaven:
A saffron casket, rainbow-locked.
Small whispered bells,
Honey-lipped bees.

A sky stretched
To blue transparency.
A tent with purpose,
An unseen sea,
Scaled skin of cloud.

In amongst and between,
Within cloud and moving mists,
Droplets suspended awaiting surface:
To acquire direction, to know gravity,
To locate tidal choirs.

It is all music, all music,
Nothing but song.

vapours of heaven8 vapours of heaven26

These images are taken from a series of ink drawings, scanned and photographically enlarged to reveal strange details. The revealing of other structures formed a parallel word stream imagining thought/word becoming sentient of themselves, hence the text, as one possible accompaniment to the images. (Other possibilities included star names or quotes from the works of John Dee). Some of the images are pixelating because of extreme enlargement, so these I may remake as pencil drawings…

SCRY

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1
Small things
From deep pools
We rise.
Vaporous things lifting,
Turning,
Weightless drifting.
A lick and dissolve,
Ice smoke, sighing, aimless
Rise, spin, twist and dissolve,
A white fade lift,
A tongue, forgetful, vague.
Without a mirror, you see,
We scatter.

2
The falling down of words
Like honey bees or like rain.
They shall patter and gather together.
They shall wash away all dust of death.
They shall be as mirrors
And as suns.

3
Johannes, named from a river
Forever flowing east,
Named from the delta of Aphrodite
And the Aegyptians,
Of perfect memory and skill mathematic.
A subtle blade, enough to wriggle between worlds,
Searching the point between brightness and darkness.

4
All the cities are dying.
Accursed, they spread limp
And rot from centre outwards.
We have purchased all, yet still hunger, empty.

5
The view mists, fogs over.
A spray of rain and rose petal.
Summon the spirits again, Edward.
Summon again the blast of visions.
I have learned the language of angels
And now they pester me
As flies in summer meadows.
The kings and queens of England
Process in elegant spite, shifty-eyed,
Blaming cousins and the fickleness of peasants.

6
Around the garden walls,
Drab sparrows squabbling,
Happy as morning.
In the hills again,
Lost in mists,
Tight-lipped hunters.

7
Those accustomed to gaze and gaze
Letting in the world unmasked, unaltered,
Though they disappear, remain behind each edge
Every line of silver,
Seared into time’s retina.
Like Padmasambhava’s cave,
Taking up his body’s shape,
A perfect void forever sitting,
Open mind, open heart, unclassified,
Uncategorised, a species beyond light,
A ripple cascading throne,
A point through stillness, through reflection,
Through mirrored glare.
The eyes that look back
At all eyes,
Time collapsed to a breath,
Space folded
To a golden nest,
A beer relished at evening.

8
The sacred,
Always a little smutty,
To these men of science.
A vermilion stone smeared with faith.

9
So slight is the edge that shines,
The mirror’s reflectant skin.
So small a thing to throw back vision,
To show what is and is not there.
Such a line between, ( if line there is),
Seen and unseen.
So fragile a mechanism
To construct comprehension.
We settle to a silver lie,
Satisfied with thin smiles.

10
The eyes may tear something new from light.
New stranger seeds, planted in sight,
Doubts of how deep and shallow
All this reflected life might be.
God buried deep in the liver of a fool.
The Devil buried deeper in his reason.
Rise and fall, a history of empires
In this one small breath.
The same elements congeal
In madmen and in stars.
Somewhere a sun shall rise
And we shall be young
And beautiful again.

11
They push through our bitter fictions,
A stain within vast humid dream.
Spirit filled are the worlds elsewhere
Engraving slowly, they take form line by line.
Removed are the curls of nascence
A ticking clock, a creak, a shadow.

12
It is not malevolent to desire survival,
To thrust through to bigger life.
We are pushed and torn apart
As natural as morning, an evolution of sorts.
Best not, then, weigh nor judge,
(All, after all, the mockery of self
And self-existence).
A fly lands and takes off,
A pest, a nuisance, slow in slow air,
But what if, what if.

13
Our prevalence, our striding
Incessant self-portraiture:
A mistake, a neurosis, surely.
A better view must prevail,
A breaking through of stronger stories,
Radiant gods with heads of eagles,
Sky gods with lightning hair.
Beyond a mirror’s glass
That thin veil allowing silvered vision,
Presumes a surface woven illusion.
So many haunted eyes,

14
The utter strangeness of it.
A timed lapse, a void, a flicker.
Dark matter, the deep fog,
A sunless pressure, trenched, ocean deep.
Black smokers blistering more strange life.
We become utterly replaced again.

15
A charming magus chants destruction
And parturition in one caught breath.
The wonder is we do not see
How small and fast, how struggled and unfree,
How lost and how imprecise,
How glorious and how wrong.

16
The wise remain silent,
Watching skies unutterably changed.
I cannot say with whose voice for sure,
Or whence or from when.
A slight recorder.
A wave front.
A gravity well.
A spinning top
Each second more slowly.
The grate of opening
And closing doors.

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A lovely mist

A lovely mist
Swaddles and swathes,
Dissolving the ground.

The chant of it –
An ululation of hilltops,
A thin taste of cloud.

The silent morning,
A slow rolling light,
A gentlest breeze,
A river ripple.

A high
And abandoned moon
Sings up the sun.

A Roar of Summer

A ROAR OF SUMMER

Of what shall we sing
In the ringing silence,
In the hushed ocean forest,
In the crow morning?
These ghost words haunt
The sway and shift,
The weight or lightness of moments,
The scented full and falling roses.
How can, how shall, the shifting pulse,
The dark and light cloud,
Stray highly, voiced onwards?
The dead sigh, roaring in the winds,
Rasp in the trees.
Their songs push and spin this world,
(As we might hope to
For ears that strain in summer dawn,
For futures and reasons and signs
To hope for goodness and good dreams).
The limp honeysuckle, the weaving bee,
A masked eternal glowing.
To be shriven and rid of this
Wasteland drab, dulled down leaden.
A golden storm is coming.
Hush. Summer’s engine.
The smallest cloud
Is greater than all this.
The light rain from the hills
Shall send us deep sleep.
The dreaming ear
Catch, but not hold,
An answer.
We are not what we were,
Nor shall be.
A pall, lifted.
Edges blur in oncoming rain.
We shall become slaked,
Unquestionably whole,
Purely hollow,
Of lightness and vast,
Perhaps,perhaps.

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