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Out from the Red Book (The Book of Voices)

Out from the forbidden book,
the hidden, the book bound
in oxen skin, bound in blood,
written in blood, as ever ( perhaps).
All gods (perhaps) begin in imitation
of the gods before.
Infected by the ticks that suck so greedy for meaning.
They begin (perhaps) as commentators, as compilers of concordance, as hagiographers, innocent and pious. Warming to their subject, become polemical, become critics. Constructing their own palaces they forget they are not dwelling within them, and so they become populated at first with (perhaps) the inanimate objects of remembrance –
a bowl,
a key,
a shrugged-off coat.
But soon the mirrors appear, innocent and deep as pools to windowless walls, become themselves windows, become doors, become landscapes, become the weight of antediluvia, become reason enough, become cared for, become owned, become obligated.
Demons are a different species entire.
Not content with philosophical dream
( who is who and what is real,
really real, that is divinely speaking, that is).
Demons cut the crap,
they want results, statistics, measurements, tangible, manipulatible (viz.)
Demons are out to make real change
in a world they disown and disavow.
A world they have spontaneously generated into,
demons deny evolution and chance.
They are here to correct all the clumsy mistakes, all the errors of judgement, all the delusion, all the fantasy. Demons are not here for the ride. They do not acquiesce. Intellect and cunning are their survival skills. To make a difference.

Wait. Wait.
A rolled mist
Blurring edges
Is sitting on the mountain.
Late summer air is still.
It may or may not rain.
Assiduous sheep are tugging
At the grasses,
Or seated, stare off unfocused:
Repetition of mantra
One continuance of chewed whisper.
Listen now. The air remembers rain.
Small leaves dance.
An incense of warm earth.
It becomes cooler
and the dreams return.

It begins with a slight inflection, a singular infection,
a voice that is or is not familiar. A stream, a trickle of thought.
A seed putting out simple translucent root, a fine idea, a resulting pleasing symmetry of leafed cotyledon. A simple isness, A here it is clear and sharp. Before long it, how you say, ramifies, manifestly bifurcates, adheres to Fibonacci's mad acceleration. Where there was one voice, now a fractalised howl of mob and counter-mob, simultaneous equations where x equals why not.
And so the poor dreamer,
and you, poor dear reader, face the chime of choice
which voice it is to follow and where to jump off ( this careering madness),
and when to argue back and when to say no I am lost
in a construction site for a palace I gave no permission for, on land I may once have said was temporarily mine own, or borrowed, or coveted, or squatted upon in a long evening of rest and so fell into dream and slept and melted into the earth, and dreamt of centuries cascading and so thusly, thusly,
the branched words
create and dissipate
and melt.

And what then of the nature of the soul? (Another voice, this one, fighting back up for its moment of enunciation. God or demon, I cannot tell). An eternal this, unchanging as rock. Perhaps once it was so. Before Pre-Cambrian, before the Ice's oceanic weight bore down, grooved and dragged, split and scarred. Crushed and ground down in green darkness, ejected into sunlight as sand. This beach, your soul eternal: the gulls angelic and the gulls demonic pattering for worms buried in your upturned, dreaming face ( as it were).

A radical change of direction, a root radial, circumstantial, circumspect, returning to the red. The red book of Carl Gustav, the Red Book of Hergest, The little red, the red rag, the red flag ( who was raised first by slaves in peasant revolt and by the Welsh Valley miners in the Merthyr Riots long before the bolsheviks begun to get bolshy at the Bolshoi).
The red palace,
the red hall,
the red encampment.
Our mitochondrial mothers chanting in darkness,
sweat and iron and honey.
Beyond gods' dreams or demons' politicking. Beyond history of flesh, before and after reason. A drumbeat trance, a passion ululating. A long house divided into rooms, fires and pools of water, a vestibule, an entrance way, a tunnel, a choice of doors, a basket of grain, a purging void, a suspension of all but breath. Before the gods wrote psalms ( such bitter pious violence), before the demons copied them in glorious, golden satire, before the bifurcation of left and right and wrong, before our bilateral superiority, our redundant symmetrical mirroring, before the cultivation of the tree – thought-topped, guilt-rooted. A simple red ark holding all, a grain. Carp, pericarp, stamen, a seed neither plant nor worm nor fish nor fondness. A hearth of mothers. All things, they say, have been your mother. Birthed by all. Nurtured by all. Loved by all. A golden thread of goodness, stitching, stitching. A darn, a repair, a suture.

The cloud has lifted,
Tentative sunlight.
Mountain's crown domes up
Into a temporary sky.
All the flock is rested now,
Stilled and free from hunger
( though a crow still hops between them
Pecking for worms in the grass).

One tide voice recedes. One dream takes the advantage. The red book pulses, veined an endless circuit. It disappears into green hedgerows and down to the valley wood. If the worth is not here, it does not lie elsewhere. The word's sound in another's head. Demon or god, I cannot say. That is all. That is an ending, or a beginning.

Notes: this tribe of voices arose after reading a couple of pages from C.G.Jung's 'Red Book'. The text was a dialogue between two entities, one of whom suggested to the other that it was real but nonetheless a fantasy. This being the case, many more possibilities were able to be conceived. Being real, and being fixed, and being limited. Jung has been assiduously avoided for a century now. More subversive he is than Marx ( who of course modernly eschewed all things spiritual as a hoax). The voices I was entertaining could have been those of the sub-cellular. I have met them before. They have impeccable logic, and are deadly to the pompous ruler of the personality.
How the voices are represented by the red flag of peasant revolt is a clever twist ( just noticed). The cellular majority rising against the oppression of the elite. But also the red rag of forbidden blood. The mysterious female contract with creation, and so the women's huts, and so the Neolithic floor plans of squatting goddess form, and so the subdivided longhouses that remind one of the mitochondria, those indwelling stowaways in every cell – the female genetic line from primeval bacterial beings….

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Nonetheless

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NONETHELESS

Words pass through, clothing the heart
clothing a vast mind with minutes and moments.
The view needles, driven down, desiring root or anchor
and an ear or two to echo and echo round.

These crows, sky-ragged, hanging on each corner
waiting the next small eye to glaze a milky stillness
frozen by the glory of another world, now willing to feed
the warm pump of blood in those with beating heart.
These crows know waiting well.

The beautiful road draped around the hills, hardly held
and careless of its edge, floated on the grassy waters
propelled with slow-mouthed sheep tip-toeing
through centuries’ mulch, of wind and mire and dragging mist.
This road knows staying well but going better.

These wraiths, these mummers, these waif-thin travellers-
they do so dress themselves in a passion of centuries
and believe a continuity that failed a millenium ago.
But still, the echoes of it are perfect and enough yet
for a generation or two ( cloud and hill mated
the seed will spill and root, dark and deep in muscle,
the cloud-bank roaring black a captured pulse, a one legged,
one eyed giant clambering the cliff of white thighs,
the howling wind breath of dog fox and his vixen).
We and they know fading and forgetting well.

August now, the thin grasses begin the slide to yellow.
Small birds, smuts in the slate dark wind.
A longer darkness, a longer silence.
Lighter than earth, all the while, these white seeds drift.
A simple skein of wishes, a veil shaping features on nothing.
Words passing through, a slivered door, ghosting towards, nonetheless.

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Midsummer night occluded.

Clouds rent slow and pale light.

One rolled silent tumble

Psalming more for gentle gods.

Rising, falling the hills

And through them threaded

Rising, falling hours of owls.

Weeping wonder

Well gone before done,

A brief flick and dreamer dreaming.

Capel

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CAPEL

1
Prayers fledged fluttering hungry to heaven.
Sins numbered, piled up on threadbare Sundays.
Precious is the clear sound of running water in high summer drought.
Clear-throated the hymns from the strong men drunk in praise.
These chapels set dour and grey against the weather God tests them with.
A pungent slow burning peat, this faith of farm work and school mistress.

2
Beyong the roof of human pride
Where Time slows, then stops, then turns to stone
(Mapping out the green bloom, the grey wheel of lichen breath)
Counting down the centuries ’til Eternity
There floats the height of the day and the meat crow dancing:
Poised upon life and death, the line they know so fickle and thin.

3
Drab with the spew of winter and as bitter as Jeremiah
Polished pine slows each musty sunbeam.
Bent arcing benches, each pew a hierarchy strained forward towards the throne,
Concentric jury leaning in to catch spark,
Dazzled is the ignition of the Word.
Burned up in glory or despair
(The cast-iron certainty, the stinging blister of guilt).
Now silence swallowed again, head bowed, the creak of doom summoned.
An enunciated slow pronouncement from other deserts
To a lost people, outnumbered, outmanouvred, dispossessed.
Gather ye in these bleak barns, ye Chosen lost and living yet.
Humbled together, take tea of Christ and God’s new supper.
A thin brew and be thankful for that: there is nothing else.
But better beyond the doors of Time and a hope of warmth and light
And just rewards for a drudge of work in mud and ice and rain,
And a voice of thunder and delight of which the organ sings,
so strong and sweet.

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Notes: Wales is full of Non-Conformist Chapels. Every village had one, two, three, barn-like constructions looming over the lanes. Though they are dour and weatherworn now, the ones that have escaped becoming trendy private houses, can be very impressive, with wonderful wooden interiors. The photographs show the interior of our village chapel that originally dates from the 18th century. Gosen Capel is named after the Land of Goshen in the Nile Delta where the Hebrew tribes were settled so as not to upset the urban Egyptians. There is an irony here with the Old Testament histories and the plight of the rural poor of 18th and 19th century Wales. The egalitarian and popular nature of Methodism addressed the general populations in a way that the established churches had no wish to do, as they were supported and run by the educated and Anglicised gentry.
The ‘height of the day’ and the ‘meat crow’ in the second part are literal translations from the Welsh of the names for skylark and raven.

.

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A Precision of Holly

This is how it seemed
in the white midnight of midsummer,
with a whispered moon,
between waking and sleeping:

through a hushed land a procession made
of Holly Lords, strong eyes of peace,
and all together with Holly Ladies, so soft with love.

Soft and strong singing quiet with steady step,
tall and whip-like truth not tip-toeing
around the sleeping, not roaring but
tipping the world in a slow spin onward,

setting rhythm to rights and breathing
green pooled ease in the red ripening of it,
in the swell of seed and fat-juiced fullness of it.

Dark in sunlight, pale glimmering in shade,
an equipoise of attentive judgement,
a precise distinction making room for joy,

an opening upon a narrow sky,
a cooling and a warming of blood,
too hot and too cold, wrapped, held, woven.
A statement, a clear intent, an incense risen up,
a perfected purification, a curved calm vector towards peace.

Dark Moon River

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DARK MOON RIVER

Dark moon
river runs eyeless.
pools star-filled and silent

then dawn in honey cherry ink
stretched, spun silent,
a planet’s edge mating space

though most are dreaming
so miss the wide breath of beginning

a placid fire before an invention of green
all blue it is, and utter peace,
and the mist, like smoke, hangs upon the hills.

Scurry

SCURRY

The dull slurs of the fooled seep slurry on good.
Oil waves curious and more black than rainbow’s slime
Away from any mirror face. We are wan:
Sucked in, fleshed out and blown dusty.
Of no consequence the numbers,
Of no weight the true sorrow.
The push through will be fool courageous,
A more destroying certainty.
No weight, no way beyond a crippled moment
Sluiced and slopped down,
History wiped clean regardless.
Robotic minions clichÄ—.
The house is burning,
The demons above in the sky.
A blind archangel shall slay all who move, insouciant,
Temperance scoffed at.
The feast of too much and too late.

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