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SOIL OF A NEW HEAVEN

The bare trees bend.
Birds bob and float –
Words of a haiku
Searching for a place to rest.

A single beam of sunlight tracks the valley floor
From a sliding sky-pool of bright gold.

The last few leaves have fled
And there will soon be rain.

A fragrant savage despair –
Like love, but not love.
A bitter yew red dust wedded
To ash and water,
Sprinked jet, sprinkled amber.
A language hugged and big as mountains.

The words of Taliesin sucked in through eyes,
Turned, fermenting in a cauldron heart.
Spat out in a limping century,
Adrift in baseless magic,
Amongst debris of another false economy.

Strike this hard sky-grey flint until the sparks fly –
Then the river words shall flow torrenting
Pulled by a centre true and weighty:
Inescapable earth, the spinning fort
Where all yarns are woven up, mataté and mill.
We shall be ground yet,
Ground down and ground up.

We shall become grist and whispers in the ears of playing children
Who do not know anything of us, not names nor actions,
But threaded on the same hopes,
The lilt of a language as natural as falling asleep.

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OUR GEOGRAPHY – CWM DWFNANT

It falls from other airs, some other whispers, other, other cries:
The echoed uplands out of sight that push the clouds
Where the ravens reach.
It wriggles itself fast into its folds,
carved back, a groove deep and dark,
slanted in forest and tumbled stone.
The road spins around it, a snake’s hiss,
slick and narrow, and the racing waters beneath it.
Its name is Stream from the Abyss, from the Deep,
from the Resounding Deep.
And it is loved by cloud so
And loved by mist so.
They cling to and nourish themselves there.
They are born there and are raised there.
Mysterious as poetry, its waters race down
From their hidden places, bright and ice cold,
stirred by shadows from worlds above and worlds below.
Cwm Dwfnant, a mouth that utters,
An eye that gazes heavy-lidded,
vision crowded,
Dream-wrapped.

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DHRUPAD 19 (this soil)

Through miles of forest a river wind whispers:
The songs of the living and the dead that they have learned from each other.
There is nothing less than this, there is nothing greater:
This sullen holy soil.

Slow river wind whispers
This sullen holy soil
Sustains us

The hills have dreamed wings and flown away.
In worlds of mist what sustains us now but hope and waiting?
Hiraeth – the dream of what never was and that always has been.
This sullen, holy soil.

This moment, as close to perfection as it is possible to be.
Belonging with nowhere to go, nothing needed, nothing missed.
Home, rested and whole.
This sullen, holy soil.

It weaves and weaves
winds about and strings thread shudders the miles
miles miles of wood and forest pulls gently the surface
the hearts the songs shuddered shuddered soft as bells soft as
as silk bells slipping away away to night valleys slipping down and away
a smooth silk whispering sigh along the long miles all gathered in the spiral here of space and now.
The shh shh of the last breaths of all things
and the first breath quiet
quite the first breaths small tentative but growing growing and pouring
into the world’s bowl. The world’s bowl empty and full resounding resounding the seasons’ reach the soil the soil the layered blanketing dreaming soil.
Slow so it moves so,
slow it moves, slow and low it sounds flow
low flow through it ought it ought reach out reach in through all sliver things flick and swing
rhythm of rock and rime weed water and waste
stretching out out rough roughcast hewn high and heavenwards
threaded the stars path thread the suns light thread the moon as it passes here and here the waters edge the glister spark cold and dancing light.
A day unclothed unclothed and silent
gone on the old paths beyond beyond the point of point and edge
bliss burdened lip silent
bliss stretched out sightless and white holy white formed and vast vast comforted
nothing nothing vast hills of nothing
memorise that word that word what was that word?
Yes yes it was is wordless
heart filled bowl sky empty word yearning still still ever
for ever still a day word a dawn word a starfilled night word a river rush whisper word a world word a world word a world
here this this word now now now word hissing the silence long miles word word feather soft and silk stretched smoothed arched word.
This this speaks the soil.
This how now is says the soil.
Sound full fall found soil. This now, here.
This sullen holy soil.

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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.

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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.

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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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