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They Flee

THEY FLEE

moonlit cool
light edges foam
a small rain.

pray for forebearance
and mercy
and an end to
the rage firing
the city worlds.

there is no
righteousness
does not belong
to the devils.

do right, do right,
despite the weight
of it, despite the
spite of others.

let each breathe
cool in moonlit nights
and bless the light
within darkness.

In the Beginning

In The Beginning..

Words bent to prayer
And bent to slaughter
(A willow woven, hazel bent
Sturdy, slight vessel folded to itself).

Sounds imprisoned
And sounds emboldened,
The revolution of meanings.

Howling words that bite bone,
Whistle through rock, a melting wind.

Gaseous, methane bubbles rising,
Of things rotted down, forgot,
Recycling weightless vapour
From a deepest mind of mud.

Not mine, not thine,
Suckled in time and savoured
For the very sound of themselves.

They will neither be hunted nor chivied.
They may be shorn, dyed even,
But remain stubborn, feeding only
On the green thin skin of the earth.

Herd and flock, making mock
Of each desire to eloquence,
They will (most likely) only settle
Where silence is, when attention
Is elsewhere, in wasted moments
Where careless scattered seed is overlooked.

These words wash up on longer waves,
Rolled together out of reach,
Worn and riddled, broken shells,
Tumbled, tide-swelled
Moon-pulled
Meaning.

A Chance Thing

Twilight now
no certain edge
no end nor beginning of it,
an inperceptible slide.

Colours smudge,
blood turns black
(its bitter colour)
lost in peeled shadow.

All ruins stir-
a swung memory,
tacit rhythm,
mumbled sight pitter-patters.

A moth wing trepidation
vibrating mica dust,
dew singed,
a collapse in certainty.

A heavenly moment
of relapse.
cascading inconsequence.
silent dice tumbled,
bounce and settle.

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The Old Maps

THE OLD MAPS

These threaded paths, it seems, fade first
As the stones are scattered,
hearths humped green and cold,
Byres split, lying sky open,
No more the warm breathed huddle.
No more the feet trampling bracken down the hill.

The roads, though, weave on, either greater or slighter.
They follow the slopes of land and hedge,
Over ford, under the woods, around murk and mud.
Ropes between names that remain much the same.

On the old maps the boldest lines are given to hills and rivers,
The certain land, the shaped sky, the body’s eye for how far to go.
Bold are the mountains names,
and all the rivers and streams called out strong.
The railways proudly curved,
each cutting marked, each bridge, each station.

The nested churches, so many of them,
on river washed promentaries, round walled yards,
God’s garden planted with the patient dead.
All the departed flock silent to wake and watch
The gaudy tombs of the living, their leaden lovely flesh,
Their thirsts unquenched, drowned even, downcast even,
Lost in a mistaken world, old maps redrawn,
The roads lost, the roaring wind, the bleak days.

Tir na n’Og

This land,
The land of the dead,
A second skin, translucent,
Golden.

At the centre of each apple,
The sign of love:
The fivefold mutable, son and mother.

Over mountains a cream and violet fog,
Rolled, undulous, attentively folds.
A mysterious union,
Somewhat secret and holy.

The sky, a long vowel, holding its light.
A fluent time,
A tickled, breezeless sigh.
Not so still as to be nothing.

For the tiny roar
Of valley trees, a whispered thing
Measuring miles.

Vaporous drop,
Drip, congealed,
A reflected skin of nothing,
A silver round fruit,
Womb, belly, dream.

This skin
Is our beautiful horizon,
An inner organ.
Our own birdsong:
A poetic heart.

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Gather ye

GATHER YE

Stealthy as a cat
Night stalks a low moon.

A philosophy of cloud and rain,
A savoured language
Where trees and rocks
Become long, slow vowels.

The wet and fallen tongues
Of petalled roses
Cleaved to bough and path
Melting into something else.

Into the night,
Peeling words
From shape of vastness
And the thick, still silence,

While this world’s half
Dreams and settles down
In a bed of time and skittered light.

Cool along with the living
And the dead, all equal
In shadowed starlight

A tide of slight passions.
Rolling tongue, a roaring
Back and forth

But not so near
As to quell
The simple comfort
Of flecked
And flickered night.

Within its quiet purr
The padding cats
And careful mice
And white flow
Of owls

And the eternal rope river
Hurrying down the valley,
Tree-clothed and glorious.

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Hushed

Swathed, mist cool
Tasting blue dawn
As still as an egg

Hushed as only August can be
Held in a lap of seasons
Replete, ripening,
Remembered now
The bite that is frost,
The gradual fall inwards.

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