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.
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.