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It is rivers

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.

Election

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ELECTION

Cloud is low, a light rain.
The rivers will rise, and the cuckoo’s voice.
These is no road to happiness.
Sit still a while. It is here.

In cities sprout the sudden
Intricacies of deceit:
New plans of action;
Words dressed, eloborate dances.
Fear cultivated as if it were virtue.
Hypnotic screens drip poison:
Connla’s Well on every tongue.
We rear the monsters of others.
The monsters of our own,
We have not recognised.

Shucked out and flailing,
Naked goodness pecked by crows,
Growing cold as the summer
Warms the wooded hills.

And they are still here
Still beneath the land
Protesting the desolations
As ravens do on heather banks.

And they are still here
Too proud to move or sway
Driven down, weathered and grey
As their own gateposts, slowly
Laminating, word on word,
One purpose losing its one memory.

And they are still here
Though always leaving.
The language of rivers
Muttered on slated lips.
Eyes closed,
Dreaming on hilltops.

They are still here
Initials carved on tumbled stones.
The neat hearth scattered,
Black earth, cold fire,
Comfort lost.

They are still here on
The cool breezed morning,
In dew bright hollows,
On silent roads
Sunlit, full of hope.

Music for the End

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MUSIC FOR THE END

I shall not go into tomorrow
( though I may dream there).

These poems poised to begin again.
Our music, the only thing to give us birth.
What the endless aeons of starlight have waited for.

At this river’s edge – the taste of tears and flowers.
I shall dream tonight the distance –
Roaring waterfalls in Yolmo,
And the pearl liquid silent waters:
Loch Craignish after rain.

Do what we may, it will never be enough.
We paint the day and start again.
The gods have cursed us with their beautiful weaknesses.
With poetry that will not stay,
With friends and with loves
And with endings.

Lament

LAMENT

The ones who cared for these graves
Are in their own now, or gone
To the churning, restless cities,
Sick of rain and creeping moss
And the lament of the kite
And lamb and buzzard.
Empty on the hillsides,
No small fires, even,
Amongst the tumbled walls
And broken doorways.
In its own green centuries the ivy creeps
And swells to cover all disgrace
And tragedy.
It clings well like nothing else can,
On the flat, grey slabs of day
And the gouged, dark ruts of night.

The ones here now – what stupid clumsy tongues
That cannot speak, cannot mould the sounds
To poetry if they tried, if ever they would.
Escaping their own shipwrecked lives
And cast up breathless and lost in beauty.
Who would think such inundation
So complete, so far from any shore.
These seething, roaring tides,
This wrack and seagull tattered debris.

In the hills small pools unexpectedly
Catch and hold blue patched skies.
The streams fist their names down into rock,
Enunciate the mad gush of seasons,
Lost and found and wrapped within
The dark and shining horizon.
If it can be nowhere else, then rest here.
Dust thou art, and the only food
For any futures there may still be.
The cold wind wraps itself around
And will not let go.
Soon will come the rain.

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1
Go down, come down
Through the hollow heart,
The yew of Llanfechan
Peeled away, the long
Sunlight moment
Mesmeric, the voice
Of voices whispered
On green tongues, long
And longing, and full
Of tragedy.

Enclosed, but
Wearing thin,
Boundary still between
Worlds, the boundary
Between times,
Given up to earth,
Food for the
Little things.

That is what the mighty
Always are.
The upright fading away.

Let me bow down,
Bow down to earth
And mulch,
Forgotten in lost
Corners, lost
On a tangent,
The slant of
Trajectories
Towards
The same
Centre.

2
This heart,
A bowl of dust.
These hollowed hills
Scooped out, abraded
By flocked moments,
Voracious, universal.
This pulse, this canopy, this swan,
Arced and spread-winged,
Reflected, shattering rainbows,
A quiver-full of light
And a mumble of story.
We no longer swing the verses,
Though the chorus is our breath itself,
Self-generated, a blueprint, a prayer.

Curtained in cloud and light, the valley floor,
Unfamiliar at this height, all becomes
Mysterious and fading.

The old tree, clasped in itself
Knotted with hymns it knew
Before brick and stone.
Its own Last Trump, its own
Resurrection, the woman in the sun,
Seven bowls and seven seals,
A thundering voice ‘How much longer
Shall we suffer in hunger? How much
Longer shall we suffer in thirst?’

To change shape and, invisible,
To infiltrate the insignificant.
A sermon on patience
And darkness.

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Red Kite

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RED KITE

She has bones of air,
Feathers of air.
Floating, she becomes air.
Horizon eyes of vast
And particular scope.
Unclouded the focus,
Bright with hunger-fire,
Bright with soul-fire.
Floating unworldweary,
Weightless, a jewelled heartbeat
Adjusting to each breath
And sigh,
the green valley air.

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