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SCENT OF SALT DECAY (war song)

Wave on wave.

How can anything

Stand against

This world of change?

The cliffs shake,

The moments judder.

It will all be overthrown.

It will all find surcease.

The movement will not stop.

The movement in the heavens.

The whispering rush of undertow,

The pouring sands into the depths.

What is set in motion

Will roll ever on.

We shall move from despair

Into empty lands

Yet not escape the roar of it.

They clamour and tumble

Towards the heights

And fall back broken.

Hollow caves are their hearts

Beating cold wrack and ruin.

The scent of salt decay.

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YOUR JOY

It is the time of year when dreaming bleeds into daylight.

All the roads turn green and make their way back home.

The thrush is singing loudly in the budding ash tree.

The nature of art is to tell truth through lies:

This smudge is not a butterfly,

This hill, you cannot climb,

This moment is long gone.

Crows and cuckoos, the bleat of lambs,

Sunlit grass and the dark uplands.

We war to keep things safe, to keep things the same.

Not even one day will survive into the next.

All the gods are here, waiting for your joy.

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SEEDS

The seeds of sorrow

and joy

Are always present.

.

Take a little time

To cultivate

The seeds

of joy.

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ELECTRIC SILENCE

Memory is an electric silence.

Snowstorm at midnight

The tyre tracks we follow disappearing fast.

All the words, all the words,

Settle thickly obscuring what lies beneath.

If you do not know that moonlit void,

Without a body, without a thought,

Freedom shall elude you.

Racing on,

The road vanishing

Under the weight of white noise.

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IN ABERGWESYN COMMONS

There the world shall open out,

Open out beyond the senses.

A wide valley shout with clouds,

A bonny plaid of river grasses,

A brow of grey tumbled crags

And the ravens and kites wheeling there.

The road rides the waves of miles,

Pushed upwards, lean and full of longing.

Free of voices, free from thought,

As if it were a better world

Unsullied, shaped by simple life

And simple death.

Praised by its mist of rain.

Blessed in its silence.

I have told you the road.

And you found it so.

Open-hearted, washed, released

In Abergwesyn.

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SNOWON THE MOUNTAIN

Snow on the mountain.

When will fools be silent?

When will the wise speak out?

.

Snow on the mountain.

Raucous sparrows

Wake a fragile sun.

.

Snow on the mountain.

An empty train crosses the valley,

Keeping its promises.

.

Snow on the mountain.

Cold wind knocks on every door

Seeking shelter.

.

Snow on the mountain.

Murmuring flocks

Sheltering the newborn.

.

Snow on the mountain.

The broken tree

Still with new shoots.

.

Snow on the mountain.

The coal-house latch

Burns cold.

.

Snow on the mountain.

It is always the clever ones

That save us, then destroy us.

.

Snow on the mountain.

Blackthorn in the valley.

War is never far enough away.

.

This piece consciously echoes an Early Medieval Welsh poem that begins each stanza with the same line. It also has a flavour of a haiku sequence. It was written in early Spring this year.

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WILD HUNT

I am lost

So I am yours, Gwyn.

Driven mad, worn thin,

By the fickle certainties of man,

The lies of the blood

In the lees of trust.

To slip and wriggle

Into cracks and crevices,

To numb as many seconds

As we may.

Kneel down in the soil

And weep.

You are clay that knows death

And have learnt a mechanical time

So as to watch its coming.

The whispered “This is how it is”.

That is a lie weighed down

By the phantasms of others’ dreams,

Souls worn wan draped in dust.

If we are not reborn

Then where does this yearning come from?

If we are not reborn

Why does music bring so many tears?

If we are not reborn

Whence the joy, whence the sorrow?

If we are not reborn

How do our desires arise?

Whence our dissatisfactions?

If we are not reborn

What purpose does hiraeth serve?

What purpose the stirring of the blood?

The bones of trees

I turn to small hopes.

Collect your souls, Gwyn.

Scatter them into a new Spring.

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The minutes crack open and bleed cold.

Breath is chapped and hesitant in semi-quavers, a minor key.

The hawk is ice that hunts unrepentant the mountain heights.

Slay complacent warmth, the fickle needs of small hearts.

The flutter of joy, cackle of crow.

A silent field: whiteness extends to the very mists of deep mind.

Carved walls at the edges of space, words written there:

We are extinguished and free.

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ALDER FOLD

Singing severed head

Folds and puts away

The blanket of space,

Rolls away time.

A comfort against poisons,

A comfort against memory.

Sunlit is the hall,

Spacious with birdsong.

The sound of the sea

In the sound of the words.

And there is no greater magic than this.

By the shore, by the river,

By the evening light,

By the dividing of the roads.

One gasp and it will be gone.

Floating down stream,

Lodged in the mud

Of a new world.

The root of the tongue.

The cotyledon of sight.

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RIVER WORDS

They do not say

What they sing

For your listening

But for their own joy.

No will of their own

But to find the deepest

And return.

Where streams meet:

A birth of spirals.

By the bridge

The patterns hold steady.

Acquiescence to the way.

We think we know them

By their names we know them.

We know them by their names.

You name the river

‘Destroyer of the children of men’.

I name this river

‘Gentle mother of fields’

The river calls itself:

‘Longing for stillness

In the deep’.

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