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MARGINALIA

below this turbulence:
slow, vast, are the currents.
Knotted threads soften, unwind
(As morning mists
In curling, upward sun).

The ghosts we hold most dear,
Those haunted voices we always hear,
That diffuse the endless night-
They come and go
As if they owned the place,
As if they mattered more.

They are so tiring,
These endless stumblings
Proudly towards truth,
Where simple goodness would suffice.

The broken-nailed, mad eyed dreamers,
The demon-fed preachers.

For we tumble towards a close,
And that is always and only certain.

Here, is the benign patience of Spring
Come again to remind us
That warmth will split the hawthorn blossom
(And the hills already drunk and hazy on it).

Just one sunny day,
and all we dream of
is summer.

A slow dance of swallows,
lambs and birdsong,
One blue warm billowy morning in May,
enough to banish all the long months
Of winter, to open and relax,
To build a nest
As if it were forever.

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CONJURATION

He sits by the window letting the landscape go.
A little incense will stretch and curl in the moving airs.
There is welcome rain on pale, misted hills:
The meadows and their trees will green.

The shoals will flicker beneath thin surfaces,
And there is skill in waiting and skill in catching up the glimmer.
Sometimes it is enough to hold one wriggling thing.
Sometimes a light touch will tease a line,
A bright twist into this world, a hopeful humming reel.

There is the holding and the letting go.
A whisper wish to Gwyn ap Nydd
Who hunts these lost ghosts and churns them upwards.

To mark a path only, or to push down into it,
Or to be pulled willynilly in mad rush and see,
See where it leads, traipsing forgetful, curious.
Or but to float above serene and light as hawk bones,
To not become distracted by maybes,
To contain all, to exclude nothing, to lose track of no slither,
To allow a subtle sedimentation – to be that patient,
To become equanimity, geological.

It will be the touch of madness that marks it out,
The touch of madness they shall not forget.
The discomfort of impossible resurrection:
Light that is not there, a bubbling up of echoed sounds,
A mystery of conjured voices, a song of ghosts.

This, the slow and certain engraving of our vanishing lives
Upon your smoothed and cooling brows; etched, hatched and nested within
Your twigged and tumbledown minds.
A thimble of the past to dull each ache of uncertain stitch.
That impossible race to reach each sunsetting horizon.

Between the moment and the madness
Is where the bright shoals swim.

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How the cuckoos sing sweetly
Of treachery and loss.

In the dewy morning
The rivers run low,
The hills to themselves,
Quietly weeping.

Ravens are joking on their way
To the slaughter-fields.

They do not need
The permission of gods
To be satisfied and at peace.

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SOMETHING TO BE SAID (MAYDAY)

Pauses grow longer, a melancholy may soon creep in.
We cannot escape our own voices.
( “We rarely go out these days and visitors, though longed for,
are a great discomfort”).
It is a wild guilt that wants our words in other’s heads.
Always a nuisance and a pleasure
to be infected with poetry,
to admit the familiar voices, to see which one leads, this time, the hunt.
Gwyn ap Nydd collecting souls, the ghosts of words,
The white words, the vapoured words,
the haunted words – as poetry is.
‘White, Son of Mist’ – like the morning,
the first attempt at May, after a night of rain,
new in stillness and birdsong, mist on green land,
the ash trees still thinking about their coming fountains of flowers,
roots wriggled so deep in the past, and aching old.
The dunnock’s sweet descent.
It filters down as if spider webs
And gold dust – the flecks
Of memory and forgetting.
A city with loud inhabitants, unkind and strange.
A darkness punctuated with doors and reasons.
As if it didn’t matter, everything collapses.
The moment passes, the tongue gives up.
It cannot make the chords that the brain sings in,
Just one note at a time, syllable by.
There is something to be said for silence.
The way the mist in its own dreaming gravity
Slides along the slopes
And settles in the cwms.
The way it shifts space.
The way it delineates what is not itself.
With what would we fill these silences
Should all the voices stop?

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SONG OF THE LORRIES

Through an open window
The song of the lorries
Pushing up the hill,
Their rumbling voices
And whistling lungs.

When they have passed-
The chant of the thrush,
Praising the god of sunlight
And feathers.

And this sky,
The colour of bluebells.

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THE SENDING AWAY OF NEGATIVE ENERGIES

One, two, three.
The thrush in the ash:
Vast mantra of space,
His bell voice and dorje bill.

Phurba crow
Struts alert amongst the dreaming sheep.
He stabs the ground
With a pure vision.

Silence as the clouds build to rain.
Taiko in the hills.
Lorry dungchens drone
On the valley road.

My ears are pierced with golden words.
Golden dust is in my eyes.
Golden smoke arises from horizon altar.
The Will of Heaven, unfathomable
As ever.

Some say there are stories to tell,
Some say stories to disprove.
In every hedge a blackbird rattles alarm,
Though there is nothing to fear.

Who has the shell as blue as sky?
The robin, I think.
Its white eternal arc
Is the world turned inside out.
Lying unnoticed, fallen from the chapel hawthorn.
A ruse to escape death.

Like shinto priests
The magpies strut with care the chapel roof.
They enunciate name and place
And the desires of each supplicant.
Hop and bow, hop and bow,
And call aloud to the spirits
Who will listen.

Whilst the domed mountain
Rests in Wang-Wei
And Wang-Wei rests in the mountain.
The ghosts of words stretched thin,
Their lips unsure whether to cry or smile,
But that is the nature of prayer and praise.
The whines of the psalmist irritating the gods
To distraction.

Give a little thought to the little things,
The wriggling life stepped upon unseen.
The unconcerned hosts, the vast inconsequential
Upon whom you rest.
The threads wear thin,
The seed unhurried.

A syllable breath forms
In the river’s mouth.
Never quite uttered.
Never quite understood.

We have not enough silence,
Not enough pause to continue here long.
From the dimpled, starry horizons
The Protectors gather.
What shall they deem worthy,
And what destroyed?
It is not a trick question.
But there is no answer.

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When they speak it is rivers.
It is pines roaring in the wind.
It is sparrows at daybreak,
Swallows in blue open skies.
It is the rain in old gutters.
Vague as mist-hugged valleys.
Harsh as ravens and the keening
Of spread-winged kites.

And yet it fades and falters
Year by year pushed to a further edge,
The language of grass and trees,
An anachronism.
As if it had not tumbled down
From the highest empty uplands.
As if it had not been passed along
The careful tales and whispered spells.
As if it were not that simple coagulated dust
Brushed from God’s own hands.

Jealous of its rainbowed fluctuations,
A by-passed parish, a redundant economy.
It is a sad craft that kills the past.
It is a miserly mind that accepts
No drop of mystery to remain.

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