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A LESSON ON MEDITATIVE MIND

Hungry mind feasting on words.

Cloud in the mountains,
The river fast and deep.

Stillness comes,
But not silence.

Silence is the wing,
Mind the eye
Of that red kite
In the valley below.

All the busy roads
Are laid out below her,
Yet she follows none,
But sees everything.

Dhrupad 18 (war song)

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DHRUPAD 18 ( war song)

A RE NE

It is
it is not words we need
not words but the song of words
the music of words
the cry and lilt and torn cry of words
howled out and yearned loud and quietly sobbed
in the silence of the listening hearts.

A RE NE NA

It is not words but the rain of words
the storm of words keening the keening
the wind whipping the eaves of desolation
and the sedges sharp and the sedges grim and the wild paths long
and the bitter air and the lost horizons.
A peal of words a crack of words a silence of words
naming each name lost
each heart lost
each breath stopped
each eye dimmed
each each each and every small beauty
each small memory lost
each small dream destroyed
each each each day gone and never never never sung of again.

A RE NE NA TE

Oh the songs they are all the same
from the bleak hills of the old north
from the brave fools
from the fast journey south to stand on a hill sleepless and doomed
from the quick soft slick betrayal in winter woods
the diminishing the diminishing of life.
From the long night trains into endless smoke stained dawn.
From the massing on the edges of death
and the bare skulls’ teeth with the crawl of yellow gas between between
and the loud death
and the silent death
and the long death
and the death of colours
and the death of goodness
and the peals of ripped hot metal ripped from earth ripped from earth.

A RE NE NA TE TE RE NE NA

It is the madness of song
the madness of words
the mad remembrance of each moment
endlessly unforgotten endlessly cherished endlessly endlessly.

A RE NE NA TE TE RE NE NA RI RE RE NE NA

This salt wound flowing
these withering withered hours that will not let go.
Wordless are the words of the song that we sing
a summing up of the sound of the world
of all time that was and is and will be
cast aside in a moment in a movement
in a drowned moment.

RI RE RE NE NA

Relaxed and airless free now of pain and forgetting forgetting
the drum of endless names lost
endless names endless names endless
this wordless song singing mourning all all
all lost held cast put away put away
deep deep deep in the bones
of the bones of the stone memory
of things named named named.

TE NE TOOM NE

I have included the mantra used in dhrupad singing: it derives from the sacred Sama Veda texts that primordially combine sound with meaning that goes beyond meaning. Any words we use to clothe the unseen depths of human emotion and experience only gain significance when they somehow fold within themselves the wordless music of the world. Poetry only rises above prose when it too folds itself into wordless song, when words become haunted with song that goes beyond and yet perfectly expresses, meaning.

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DHRUPAD 17 (November greys)

I would
should like to
for it wells up to paint with words
of rain discrete and with purpose they drop
sound and dissipate they spell grey in all colours
like the wind does as it moves through in ripples and time
too ripples in and out the focus of each of us each of us here and there
discrete and dissipating to grey reflection a scattering in consonants
and the vowels of the wind they are our ghosts and our
conscience there are words words and advice
and warning and weeping and dreaming
in the simmering of small sounds
as the fire ticks and there
is a tune there is a tune
in the fire or or
between the fire and the ears
in the spaces of a quiet room with this view
out to greys all greys of all colours in the peaceful day
of it and the silver leaf and the golden leaf rattling and letting go
leaving the picture leaving on each move rippling silence anchor deep
anchor deep in the high waves of grey cloud painted in words of wind and lacking edge
blurring light and tumbled mind lost in near distance adrift in rain sound
and the kiss of wind to bring you back a kiss of wind and the fire’s crack.
To bring you back, wrapped all colours of grey rain words wind
words fire words cloud words breath breath grey
and tumbling mind rain thoughts
falling shaped then mirroring
mirror greys there not there
clear not clear
wind then
not wind.
To paint with words
and watch the rain words
fall and fall apart.
Mirrors, we watch
neither there nor between.
Amongst the rain
mind wind
fire greys
waves
of day.

Road to Maesmynis

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ROAD TO MAESMYNIS

These roads
Climbing back through time,
The golden oaks shading golden valleys
And a luminous cold blue in the cold sky.

Hard frost first thing, has gone.
The air lifts above freezing for a while.
In scattered farms the dogs bark as we pass.
The ruined church roofed in yew and box.

It will go nowhere, but end at a gate,
It will give the same view as memory does,
Changing things depending on what catches the eye.
This road says come and go, come but go.

And the sheep in the woods chew and stare.
Not far from the town, but slipped in time,
It curls and narrows, gives views and withholds views.

It remains in the passing sunlight of the mind,
Becoming something else: a map, a philosophy,
A litany of older names, the past holding steady,
Clothing memories in new skin.

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DHRUPAD 16 (samhain slips by)

We thrum year long year long inescapable inescapable echoes
they say as if as if as if there were something
eternal ineffable about to be spoken though now we wait and
there seems to be nothing but a small wind and the river’s sound and the hiss and hum in the fire of time cascading changing leaving leaving
the door is open the door is closed the draught of it moves the clock’s hands a little ever so little towards a midnight midnight
sitting quiet and upright shawled in stars looking for language taking futures from strands stranded past the pain still listing twisted too hard to let go of too hard too preciously golden edged.
Names all their names uttered at once a storm river
the trees reach sway and sea march inland between the salt grasses one or two feathers glutinous congealed no longer for flight but maybe sharpened pointed or word
the scrape on vellum
careful careful
meaning will pounce and the size for the translucent thin gold
to hold haloes and beginnings where the saints heads roll down to the deep well’s echo.
That is where it all leads the dust the dirt the glory down down down to the soils end
to the speaking dreaming rock that quakes and shivers under angels wings all under angels wings.
Mixed is their histories and their passions and their stories and the endless excuses and the smouldering lusts and the hope for more or something else or more
or more
or more in a heartbeat it flows away
ungraspable music the night slays the flow the midnight bell the round horizons ring and the warm throbbing stones and the shift of roots and the heads rising rising up with eyes in the fast rain cool and flowering here now here we all are again
now quiet yourselves quiet yourselves
and we shall clothe ourselves in your passion and whisper futures to you while you while you breath and twist and curl upon the dreams we dream the same dreams still in the same voices and the same curses and the same blessings as our heads roll
severed into deep holy wells and slaked again our thirst slaked and fathomed and fold the wings so silent land lusts pure and everlasting as cleansed as
the dawn the dawn of tomorrow pale and thin and growing out from the slumber of it
seeded and uplifted grown mighty and tender.
Dream and dream and wake and sleep think thoughts and songs
we know all your words and in the order you speak them and in the lilt and muscle of your standing there
for we do not go we do not go we are not yonder we are not yonder slow the hours as ghosts we wander.
A shimmer of breath and a heartbeat that fades we dream we dream we dream between each breath and harvest.
Give what we must get what we can a festival of small flames and a sweeping of stars we plunge into the earth on every horizon map the paths you walk see they are our paths our places named and unnamed naked and smooth we bite the moment and walk between to greet you to
greet you to greet you our lovely dreams
our lovely dreams our swaddled babes our dearest wishes we greet you sigh and fill all space go nowhere go nowhere listen listen listen our lullaby lullaby lovelove
love we thrum yearning year long echo echo echo a small wind in the long night and a midnight door swinging open open shut but not locked never locked the fire is lit always always and tea is on always always
you know the path and tea is ready tea is ready in the birdsong afternoon by the shady trees and the distant sound of children playing and the hum of bees and something something something to remember to say, something to say.

Small Things

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SMALL THINGS

To die on a winter’s night
And know that your last breath
Will be eaten by a million
Cold and hungry stars.

These flakes of furred life
Curled around their small souls
Encircled by great horizons
That ever suck the warmth
From fast-beating hearts.

No hardship, though, in letting go.
In leaving the fury, in leaving
The dawn cold to other hunters
And the sharp songs in bare branches
And the sharp eyes longing to peck.

To need no need now, to rise and fly,
To become incorporeal, incorporated
In the memory of an ever-loving world,
The blanketed round and sweet murmured world.

_

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DHRUPAD 15 (this bowl)

This bowl
this bowl
nothing is lost

this breath
this breath
nothing is lost

they move through the mist
like music through the rivers
like longing lovers wanting more
and more
and to be filled and to sleep.

This bowl full and full
and empty and empty
this rain this golden view this
mist grey and dark and silent in the
rivers way
the rivers way and the mist
like doors and music and footsteps
quiet padding on this breath

gone his voice
gone his smile
gone this word gone.

This bowl holds everything
love and tears
love and tears this bowl
this heart this land this mist this mountain
this song this singing this loving this holding
this heart this bowl this silence this empty

gone gone this path this river this
gone gone this path, the bowl this river.

And they walk up mountain mists
as if
as if wading through streams,

gone gone
the dead singing and glorious,
the swinging singing star eyed dead gone gone

Shall we fold
shall we shall we
fold up neat and smoothed our memories now
Neat and smooth for later
safe for later fresh as rivers bright as stars
Folded away for later
Where it all still is the same
But better
Where it all still is
Where nothing is lost
This bowl this bowl this bowl.

The fine webs
That tie us
all together
Golden and silver
Stretch and snap and little by little
those of us who remain drop
down into singing
darkness suspended by dreams
And dreams and names and the way things were.
What ties
us here
what ties us
when so many
have gone?

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