These Old Poets

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these old poets:
smoke blue hills,
smoke blue clouds.
they rise up so,
they reveal themselves
and are curiously hidden,
conversing with vapour
between worlds
unmeasured, unfathomable.
they loom, nonetheless,
and shape the world.
it is from there
the clear waters fall,
from fell and moor
to feed, to wash clear our eyes,
to fill with song untranslateable,
echoing down the spine,
deeper than eye and brain,
deeper than soul,
into the bowels,
into annwfn,
the dark mysterious,
fecund deep.
rolling, these storm fast vowels,
ancestral to the blood.
this they prove:
there are no new songs.
just old songs
with new words,
old songs
with new tunes.

Your Voice

your voice

your voice like a loving sea murmuring
and me again oblivious lost in mazing pattern.
we weave and are woven, a cloth to keep us warm
and a fire for light and for a future.
bedded together, dibbed between hills,
hammocked in cloud and sun
between two singing rivers
under a patient sky.
and the dead so close to us
we can feel their breath and dream their dreams
and live for them a fresh life
with the same old sorrows and joys
as ever it was upon this earth.


Moon Sutras



endless dhrupad
full moon
eyes closed

full moon
empty house
river whisper

this old man
scribbling poems
shadow trees

these tangled thoughts
this moonlit silence:
surely are the same.
silver veins
these hills
golden shadows

full moon
bright as day
little cat singing

mountain shadow
reaches the river
rising moon

The habit of an old man
down by the river
moonlit haiku


Ar Gof (continued)


AR GOF 2 (past and future fragments)

Here lies this small enclosure,
this square of grass
And stone and hidden bone.

Here is the centre of it all
Silent and weeping and keeping tally.
From whence the landscape spreads out,
To where the past and future repairs
With aching knees and a clutch of flowers
And a hollow dream of howling wings
And a due certaintly that nothing will escape it.

What all shun they have embraced-
A domed silence in the earth,
A renunciation of edge and owning.

They surely hold to the habit of time and space for a while.
Outside, looking in, leaning back on emotions familiar,
A slow encroaching magnanimity of forgetfulness, a turn
Towards the cosmological, a more geological topography.
Becoming as light as willowherb,
floating breezewards down to the river.

A spinning wheel on singing axle,
A moonlight and a sunlight thread.
The fabric of things woven here,
inextricable mysteries we are ghosts between,
Caring not a moment to consider the seen nor unseen.


It comes out from desolation on desert wind with a jealous stare
And has been dressed in robes of love
but knows better by far the hearts of men,
The weight of righteousness and of history and of glory unquestioned.
It builds upon the grey and certain unforgivingness of stone.
It chides and chivvies with heavy prophecy the call to war.
It is nothing less than storm on the mountain side, blizzard in the orchard.


october mornings

crows calling
gold drifts to ground
the smell of hills

pillow wind stills
crow echoes crow
falling golden

river road
car sighs by
clouds pile higher

Slow dawn tints all
hills mist and unfurl
then fade again

jackdaws’ monkey chant
a circle of clapping children
drums for good harvest
and kind winter



i am man become tree become sky.
travelling north, grey bridges
vaulting green deep scars,
stitches across the stern uplands of heaven.
roaring waters rush thin and white night and day,
they pay no mind to their lifelong fall.

this winter comes thick and fast
with clear days and deep frost.
i sleep always now upon a bed of stars
dreaming of blank-eyed heroes
mouthing stumbled anthems.

our only hope for glory-
to pretend we have more than this.
though the gardens become wild and ragged,
our minds untended, left to doggedly roam
moss-covered, grass-cloaked ruins,
the words left us, handed down,
untranslateable sorrow.

for this do we make our art:
for the fluorescent eggs of time
hatching diaphanous things
in hopes of worthy, unreasonably beneficent gods,
who have already fed and will not slay us so quickly
but watch, drunken-eyed, indulgent.

histories scab over, but so itch we must scratch
and things will never heal as we would wish.
a bitter cold between dawn.
valley ghosts, the sweep of headlights
heading to cities.
one by one, things shall awake from sleep.

Black Book



it seems time now
to turn back to those
terse ancient words of winter

(now the leaves flounder across lawns,
the grey lidless sky at the window,
and the hills melted in rain)

to tease out the meat
and gristle of them,
to open the heart,
see the red blood pump through
and where and how
that mysterious circulation,
vowel and consonant,
revolving as keys.

(and the cloud upon Bryn
like a dove on the brow of God.
and the trees in their lordly might
whispering from leaf to root to leaf)

each tooth and tongue
taking edge.
each passage,
a view coagulate.

(and the dusty crows thrown eastwards
on the wind of storm and shortening days)

a small breeze it is
that burns the flesh cold.
a bleak hill
a bleak hill.
harsh is the path,
and we, shelterless.

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