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Slow River

Slow river, sing them a song to sleep.
Breathed upon by love, talk to me in teentaal,
the dhoop of desire.
This world, this wind, all there is (for now)
blended through and through with bliss.
Honey-smooth and rumbling, I can hear the river,
where it has been, where it is going,
The long silver song of now.

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LONG DREAM

This desolation is ours
Allowing no other song.

Our history of misery, threadbare and golden
Would not keep a family of mice
Alive on a winter’s evening.

Such honour we give poison
And the acid tongues that spit it out.

One by one we snip our roots
To free us from this sullen holy soil.

Cool mountain air and the rain
washes distance away.
It says:
You are not important enough to be hated.
Even a long dream will still be woken from.

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UPSTREAM

As the tides flow in and out,
the voices, withering and young, flow around.

We ride the oldest of things against the flow,
back up to a source where the stolen thing
is hidden unknown to any, unknown to all.
Forgotten forgotten, unnamed even,
taken before three days seen, even.

All these places are places and more than places,
more than time, more than ciphers, more than mystery.
Follow one thread of meaning and you will, for sure, tangle the cloth,
lose the weave, the weft and pattern.

To hold in your hand such a bright wriggling thing
and stop yourself from any grasping, from holding it steady,
from pressing the life and scintillation from it.
Mud and leaves it will turn to, where now it is dancing gold and laughing.

A pattern pressed into mud: perfect impression.
But breathe too hard, even, and it will smudge and dissolve.
That is how fine our truth is, how the names and places and tales wriggle.
Take one road but do not forget the others.
Take one small thread end and tease it out, like smoke, like water,
like the music of gnats.

Neither too big, nor too small, you must dissolve everything you are
and quietly wait, memorising the names and their genealogies.
How snow falls; how fire and promises are one;
how darkness carries its weight;
how the gods mould themselves and learn new dances;
make promises that will never break –
singing bones and feather dust in dark halls.

As soon as you are sure of something, let it go.
Do not hold on to what is not yours ( and nothing is yours).

To know what is, you must know what is not.
To know what it is not, you must know what it is.
Lose sight of this and you will fall down long centuries wondering why.

As soon as it was named, it became lost.
As soon as it became separate, it was no longer known.
Moon tides swing to the bright prison where the river bends,
the crooked one, the turning wheel, the water road.

Say the words, say the words, until the words grow wings and fly away.
The sound of their whistling pinions will diminish, diminish, diminish,
and now the wind will rise and bear you up into oceanic moonlight.
If you call me by my name, you do not know me.
If you call me by my name, how can I answer?
If you call me by my name, you have learned nothing.

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Harnessed in silence
It shall fold itself
Back into the morning.

Voiceless, comforted
Into the cool slow sunlight
And the mist by the singing river.

It shall be polished with ashes,
Burnished by breath.

And we can not help but die,
But that is not the problem.
Says the breeze in the pines,
The breeze in the chapel pines.

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DHRUPAD 21 : blackthorn spring

There was a song one morning in front of, behind, deep down,
my eyes opening, open eyes and still dreaming,
dreaming words and rivers a song of a song of a Spring song
of a blackthorn Spring,
song of a blackthorn song a dream song slow and fast and glorious.
An opening song a Spring song, a blackthorn white froth cool wave
warm sun song
a sudden slow here it is song
snow in sunlight not melting but blooming warm snow song
settling in sunlight song song.
On black branches along the roads
a sprinkled silk fine tight bound waiting waiting
for bursting out when the air melts and colour, colour colour,
to remind us of winter gone to remind us of flowering to remind us of sweetness and bitterness to remind us of beauty within it all
beauty within us all, silence and beauty dressed in white and waiting.
A heaven full of spirits here and now,
in this bowl in this valley in this horizon.
Leave them be, these fields of dreaming, leave them be and laugh.
A fragile bursting foam aflood in the warm valley side
not in the hills yet not in the hills but here and there in the flash of sun
or how then now then it is not sun
not sun but sallow sallow
by the river valleys orbed golden and mist green and shining gold sallow
in seas of light dipped and tasted and diving down
to find the old beauty the ringing song.
Sallow willow sweet willow goat willow great sallow
dipped rooted down to water and bursting gold
peeled back and shooting gold in misted blues
the long miles of blue and haze and mild shadow furred and generous. Blackthorn and sallow
sun and snow sun and snow
a year song long
and remembering these notes
this tune
this dream
a year
song.

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Light-hammered days.
Green burnished boughs.
Always this beginning
Scoured by cold winds.
Here and gone before we know it.
Birdsong too intricate to remember –
This woven life
With subtlest changes,
The dream repeats.
Though you might wish it,
There are no lessons to learn.
All the stories, a foam of blackthorn,
Blossoming suddenly everywhere.
Taste this now, it will soon be gone.
Gone to return, a somewhat different song,
Called out from another valley,
A little nearer, a little farther off.

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SPRING SCATTER (haiku-ish)

Moon as bright as morning
burnished by a cold wind.
Mountain river white as clouds.

Floating mountain.
Two crows.
Spring sun melts frost.

Cold wind.
Bright sunlit air.
These blackthorn days:
Tumbled jewels.

Along the lanes,
blackthorn blossom.
On the high hills:
the bones of the snow.

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