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MARI LWYD 4

This dream we cling to
As if it were the only dream.
This wind, these hills,
This heart so tattered,
So threadbare.
Scoured even,
Stretched thin,
Worn down.
A whisper in the rain.
A word forming in the pines.
Winter shows the bones
Of what is, of what
Will remain,
Of what the old songs sung.
This has been your life
Down to this frozen moment,
This darkening path,
Distant laughter,
Sparks spinning
From the bobbing torches.
Shall we go on?

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MARI LWYD 3

We follow sightless bones
Through the narrow door into a New Year
Because white bones and sightless eyes
Are the only things ever to pass through
From now to the future.
The wise will wander aimlessly,
Lost, discussing the dark paths, the short cuts,
The less muddy way.
We will stumble drunk and aimless
And find the warm door
And ask the right question
And fall to sleep
As the voices laugh
And roar
And the light
Slowly rises and fades.

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MARI LWYD 2

Sparks spin into night.
Through darkness a white ghost moves.
We follow, laughing.

Landscape remains.
Mind stays the same.
It is only the light
That changes,
Only thoughts
That come and go.
The music of it all
Remains,
Though the notes
Are constantly rearranged.

This dream so real
We fear there is no other.

We follow the grey empty void
For which we have made sparkling eyes
And a name and a thunderous roar;
And filled it with questions and answers,
Sustaining itself in darkness,
Intruding into our hearth.
Skull empty judge,
Bent bone and curved empty,
A void of time.

Lacerating tattered hearts
The wind that scars the hills
And incrementally erodes
Once warm moments
Wearing down words to screams,
Wisdom to leaden clubs.

A white sky.
Snow cold are the hills.
The rain freezes.
Beauty is not for you to survive,
But to savour
And then to long for forever.

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A sequence of connected works, or variations, to do with Time, New Year, tradition and mysteries. The Mari Lwyd, (‘Grey Mare’) is a horse’s skull decorated and carried on a long pole that goes round houses on New Year’s Eve exchanging banter for food and drink. It seems like a really ancient tradition and has the edgy, initiatory, feel of the oldest of memories.

Part One

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MARI LWYD

A fluid darkness, a slow river wind.
Wild torches taste change, sparks tumbling into tomorrow.
We follow laughing, the Mari Lwyd with the wild futures
As all before have done this New Year’s Eve in the old valleys
Lost in the darkness, these hills watching, loomed.

Following the Grey Mare who tests the wit and want,
And begs for food and the oblivious warmth of drink,
To remember and forget the fading paths, the slender chance,
The fatal message.

A laconic nightmare stirred up for a vigilance and a testing,
Slick and breathed upon with frost death, breath white sheet cloud,
An ectoplasmic emission, the dancing myth of earth,
A decay and return of Time to its rightful round.

Not a horse of this world, patient in the paddock.
A night horse, all will ride willy-nilly,
And a rough ride or a wild drunk banter.

We ride the words, we ride the stories, into the night.
The torches are well made, but will still gutter and die in dawn’s drizzle.
Mari Lwyd is mute this year – no wit left amongst these sundered tribes,
No one can recite the triads, utter the names of things, the innuendo beneath the sheet.
We rake over ashes, but for want of fuel the fires will die
(And perhaps they should, perhaps they should).

A new fire, the valley snaking north, caught glorious in a winter dawn.
The light slides deep, across pale oaks and forest boughs,
Slides with shifting cloud across the tops, across the fields.
The bones of things dressed in warmth,
But it is only the bones of things that will ever pass
Through and along and between the long nights,
And into the death and birth of years.

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Ice Breath

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Ice Breath

Is it not true
That it is always the past
We burn to keep ourselves warm?

The young sun
Is on the tops now,
The deep valleys shadowed,
The mists let go, rise and melt away.

One slow hawk
Skims the treetops.
The cold, still sky
Has yet to choose its colour.

Ice will soon breathe,
relax to water,
Struck by the
warm weight
of light.

Those
that have survived
the night
Will stir
and sing.

The Blossoming Magnitude

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The Blossoming Magnitude

I step out.
Thick darkness
And above night fog.
A few stars come and go.
This world
We cannot ever leave.
Every inch of us
Reeled out from its heart.
Made to stretch
And grow and fade
Between each breath
And each stillness,
Between each moment
Of presence and absence.
The world pushes through.
Wherever we might go
This world, too, shall come.
We are seamless
And utterly loved.
A fragment only
In strange fragmented minds
That do not realise the utter silence
Contains the voices of all.
The utter silence that answers us
Is the blossoming magnitude
Of the simple ground.
A round flicker of star,
Tasted, acknowledged, named.
Never are we severed,
Never lost, nor alone,
Though the angry, hungry tide
Of voices may say it.
Our science is love
And our gravity, delight.
Obedient to our breath,
We come and go,
Remembering how it all goes.
A bowl of sky.
A bowl of earth.
Enough food there is
For all things.

Mabinogion Haiku

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MABINOGION HAIKU

This golden river.
Words bob down the long ages-
Mysterious truths

Moon well, sun cauldron.
Who would not become transfixed?
Their utter beauty.

There is not one thing
That is not another thing.
Pay attention, Pwyll!

Green mound lost in fog.
What dream does the world dream here?
breath weaves life and death.

How could she be true?
Oak and broom and meadowsweet,
Made of season’s change.

Do not take possession
Of what is not yours.
(And nothing is yours).



Sort of a hybrid between haiku form and gnomic verse. Apologies for all those who do not know the allusions, but those who know the Four Branches might take some little pleasure in these fragmentary nods…