The Cauldron Seethes


White with snow are the hills on the horizon.
The rivers are quiet, the pools frozen.
Clouds from the north taste bitter cold sunrise.

The deep, dark, breathing earth accumulates to itself,
As if the threads and shreds of shared sentience
Net down the long years and become soaked
With drip and ceaseless dream, each wish and ache
And spark of memorable brightness,
Catalogued, compacted, savoured, saved.

And with these do they clothe themselves: in a world’s memories
And thus, learn to speak in howls and long whispers,
An aesthetic without emotion, a dance only, a game, a chess board,
A gwyllbwyll, a ritual that is not quite imitation nor mirroring
But has its own exquisite golden reason,
A long dreaming sublimation of spent and careless thought.

All these cobwebs and leaves, they are truly
the only gold to be cherished.
The damp and fusty decay of life thrown off,
Carefully considered and gathered again for feasts of kings and angels
And dark giant forms that have no concern for any future,
but nurture the past cradled in deeper woods, rocked in song,
Draped in arcane languages, swung on sunless, starless seas,
Shattered on mirrored starry pools and fountains.

A moment too slow for this world’s water
( a dream of even clearer water, a blood clear river,
a serpent spiral of cool life,
Silver water, perfect loom of water,
eternal life giver, rock cooled, cave silent,
Tremulous with distant footfalls, distant light.)

More real than the real, more real than time,
more present so it is squeezed between each chink
Of time and space, our substratum, our mother matter,
our folded vast and black pinions,
Our beautiful storm, our glory and tragedy,
our mulch of words.
To where all words sink and their images too,
to reform, re-loved beautiful monsters, free from doubt,
Unburdened of guilt, violent and innocent,
purely, demurely selfish and sharing the virtues of edge and shadow.

Ploughed deep in the dark trenches,
the midnight river boat of sun and moon,
sung with choir of gods and stars and lascivious,
long limbed goddesses born for pleasure.
They will swallow us all, open up and consume,
become fecund and full and birth us over and over,
their lovers named and unnamed, loved and laid to rest.
The smallest of things, a feast of passion most holy.
Most holy the earth and its names,
most holy the mystery beneath us,
the mirror within us, the eyes, the feral eyes,
the hungry eyes that look back
and do not ever, ever, look away.




To come out from the sorrow with wings
(The wind rising deepening thick darkness)
To find song that sings continuance
(The rain flown miles burns cold)
To find a haven, a hammocked clarity
(No stars, nor shadow, nor moon tonight)
The long roads aching empty, dreary, full of tears
(Lightless, limp, dreams splintered, knowing not the way to try)

Over the hills, bleak white drift forces itself into crevice and bank.
A slow, tempered piano hangs notes and melody, not new, nor remembered.
It echoes so and brings some small pillow of ease.

Firelight flickers,
All sink sleepless into dream.
A small thing it is to fail,
to cease, to become unmattered.
(The street empty, the empty house,
The mind revolving. The heart of things,
A sudden distance).


The Shadow and the Hill


The Shadow and the Hill

Light becomes torn by rain and cloud.
A delicate distance
washed, lost, illuminated.

There is a fast
Wind river in the forest.
Below, another, threaded with light
Funnels between the knees of oaks.

Steadfast sheep, white as stars,
Nibbling deep wet grasses.

This hill, too big for birdsong,
Graciously accepts
And rolls deeper
Into its green haunt.

This hill a hero hill in name,
Breaks kindling silence,
A drift of saintly flocks.

Yesterday, the oaks were gold.
Today, they are all become steel.
Armed for winter.

Deep is the depth of the world.
The sheep know it,
The oaks know it.
Slow are the spinning shadows,
The long shadows that stroke
These patient hillsides.


Under the ground an old black cat
Is dreaming of sun shine
Curled around his own still heart
That is a seed swelling and reaching
Into a world of roots and song.
The earth purrs and holds him snug
Knowing already everything there is to know
About his soft ways and sharp paws.
Our short time is named by our name
But we are nameless and vast in eternity
Breathless yet breathed through,
Becoming the fabric tides
Kneaded back and proved,
Bread of heaven.
There is a black cat curled and cosy
Under the ground on the first day of snow.
And he will be dancing through the white uplands
Eyes bright and nose twitching,
Sleek and shined and licked perfect
And loved by one and loved by all,
A grace of freedom moving,
A river heart, endless and unforgotten.

Hills Behind


Hills behind

There are hills behind the hills,
Words behind the words.
Clouds of understanding billow up
Then dissolve to fog.
The old words, the mountain words,
The river words –
No matter how fast you move,
You can never catch up with them.
The old words,
They have the deepest roots.
We sit by the forest edge,
Sky and grasses and the sallow dell.
Starlings shift and rise
From field to field.
Their patterns weave small tongues,
Bright eyes.


Called back by a sound
The world remains the same.
Lost, my dreaming mind.

Grasping the permanent,
Nothing remains but sorrow.
Grasping the secret, the sage
Laughing as certainty disappears.
The Tao is empty of discrimination,
Easy with all things.
The heart is full, then empty, then full.
This is the music of the Tao,
Playing with fullness and emptiness
And making no distinction.

Breathing in and out
Old men exchanging haiku
River listening

A wind-tangled self.
Knotted word amid breath
Blown wide open:
One endless view.

By the riverside
Hunched heron
Wrapped in grey light..

We shall all,
As they say,
Head south
Soon enough.
No more
Held up by air
Nor by grace.
Dead weight,
Empty is the sky.

Rainy day today.
Pity its too warm for a fire!
Weaving words into a bag of magic maybe…
Or doze listening to the sound of water running off every roof ……

But the longing
For all things blue,
The distance that can
Never be touched,
A perfect poem
Penned by another hand.
Gravity is where we are.
Mind floats buoyant,
A little thread only
Prevents an endless drift

Branwen Sinks Down



Peeling away from this world
No longer glued by its bold certainties.

On a bare, high rock, above the sea,
The voices of wheeling gulls
Make more sense and better songs.
All the gods shrunk again
To caracature and silhouette.

Bawds and predators in golden ships
Sail across the shining sea
Offering friendship and support.
Business opportunities, so they say.
But there is nothing in their pipelines
But death and drought and bones.

A multitude, dreaming dreary dreams
Not their own,
A calcifying inculcation calculated
And considered,
A drip-feed of paralysis and boredom.
Our men of skill are liars
And gloaters over trashy baubles
Transfixed by the mutilation of time.

And so she will sink again
Into the green mounded ground
(White wings folded over her head),
Not wishing more desolation to be hers,
Not wishing to remember anything
But the oldest songs still drumming deep,
A heartbeat under everything,
Hidden roads, perhaps forever safe.

And so she will dream on wide wings,
Back and forth over wide seas, breathing,
Breathing, whispering messages,
Carrying messages, a quivering web.
Pushing down deeper,
The dreams will always, always,
become more real.

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