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Lesson

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LESSON

That little owls
Smell like
Old tea towels.
That barn owls’ wings
Smell of the pages
Of old books.
The weight
Of the night
And the folded green
Of light.
The balance
Of hunger,
And the return
To earth.
Pinion and
Orange eye.
A changing wind,
And the heft
Of an eagle’s claw.
Eight miles
Of sight
In a few ounces,
And a life
Of floating
Between.

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Late Summer Haiku

dark clouds.
blackbird singing.
pure heart

day by day
the rowan reddens –
memories stored for winter.

the old graveyard.
ivy and old man’s beard.
we all cling to what we once had.

morning mists.
a river dreams of seas.
dew in the stubble field.

reading poetry:
seeing the memories
of someone long gone

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Vision Hill

For want of anything better
We climbed the hill at Narberth,
Bellies full, awaiting wonders.

But as we looked abroad
The land was empty and bare:
Void and desolate.

The clouds race unremarked,
The fields empty, no drift of chimney smoke,
No children’s laughter.

Because you have forgot the turnings in the road;
Forgot the choices, slipped down the easy paths
And left the future to evaporate,
All this has happened.

Once and again,
The tide of light recedes,
The storm winds roar.
There will be no shelter
But the future we fashion for ourselves.

Splutter

SPLUTTER

I tire of these poets’ ragworm tongues.
Words dragged drugged as alibi for art.
Stabbed and stripped, a menu mocked:
One cup of spit, a bucket of bile, wrangled gristle,
Punctuating slice, the wet meat slap,
Served up alleluia teenage grit.
Sneer chant, hooligan thrust,
Smelling of quick ink and sweat.
Educated ejaculate, staccato excess.
Did we not do all that in the sixties, but better?
And Dylan before that with fire and form
And beauty in the boiling of the blood
And its exquisite deadly music
Throbbing word by word.
But it is all too soft now
In the smell of burning plastic
And the falling fruits on flicker screens.
A manufacturing of synthetic ecstacy,
Needled sublime in neon sewer arches.
A scribbled, dribbled sgraffito, rude and crass.
Self-lubricated splutter, skinned, pampered,
Hung out, drying, shrunken, mean.
Slick city strutters, the ravens watch unfooled.

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Miles of Sky

Wandering over miles of sky;
The song of the height of the day;
Thoughts graze on distance.

There are many paths here, many views.
One can but choose this single moment
Where the next step may fall.

The old sages would place their huts
In quiet groves next to some riverbank,
Letting the world sing them to sleep.
Idly doing the will of heaven,
Showing the way by staying still.
Breathing as forests and mountains,
Babies full and swaddled in beauty.

Restless we wander, honking like geese,
Like sparrows in the eaves,
squabbling over straw.
Tears for the moon –
waxing and waning.

The best we can ever do:
To care for small things
And to learn
a deeper kindness.

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A SUMMER LAMENT

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A Summer Lament

Summer, the dream we so soon forget.
Feeling the bones of winter beneath,
Its bleak branches bleached
Upon a cold, dark sky.

Green folds the small roads here
And the rain is warm.
But in the heart of the cities,
In the hearts of the powerful
Burns always a welded light
Wedded to words of war.

The cold is never far
And simple goodness
Too easy to be proud of,
As simple as breathing in and out.

So on the long days of a short summer
They will still wish for the clear pain of winter,
Something to rail against.

For they cannot let go of being more,
Though they are nothing
That the world will not allow
For a moment or two
In the brief shadowed sun.

To be a cause of pain is not power.
It is a road that promises,
But falls to void and oblivion.
Hedged with narrowing views
When the marrow melts
And blood burns free
To its coagulation
And the bitterness of hollow words
And the leaves curl
And an end that is not peace,
A bitter question, a hollowing answer.

We so float upon this thin skin of summer,
Longing it eternally, and as vague as holiness.
A glorious relaxation of edge and purpose.
The dive and long sighing arc of swallows,
The endless warm rivers of lark’s song,
The murmured chanting of a million bees,
Forgetting ourselves for a while,
Melting into being, nested in spirit,
Lazy in directionless, dreaming light.

Til the bite of the cold night
Returns us blinking
Wondering and hungry
And small in the face of almighty things.

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BEYOND SPITE INN (haiku)

Cuckoo echoes cuckoo
Beyond Spite Inn
The road rises into cloud

This valley folds the green road
Rain drips from the copper beech
Grass bends over tumbled walls.

On Brynffo the spirits drift
Light as thistledown between the firs.
The sound of running water is their voice.

On Esgair Fwyog the sheep graze new grass.
The rain has melted distance.
A line of hills rest in sunlight

A sunlit hill.
Clouds shift.
It melts in rain.
Sound of running water

The steep slopes of Brynffo
Pine needles and the smell of bracken
Moving waters whispering

Lost in the dark forest
Whisps of mist drift aimless
Enjoying cool silence.

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