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DHRUPAD 16 (samhain slips by)

We thrum year long year long inescapable inescapable echoes
they say as if as if as if there were something
eternal ineffable about to be spoken though now we wait and
there seems to be nothing but a small wind and the river’s sound and the hiss and hum in the fire of time cascading changing leaving leaving
the door is open the door is closed the draught of it moves the clock’s hands a little ever so little towards a midnight midnight
sitting quiet and upright shawled in stars looking for language taking futures from strands stranded past the pain still listing twisted too hard to let go of too hard too preciously golden edged.
Names all their names uttered at once a storm river
the trees reach sway and sea march inland between the salt grasses one or two feathers glutinous congealed no longer for flight but maybe sharpened pointed or word
the scrape on vellum
careful careful
meaning will pounce and the size for the translucent thin gold
to hold haloes and beginnings where the saints heads roll down to the deep well’s echo.
That is where it all leads the dust the dirt the glory down down down to the soils end
to the speaking dreaming rock that quakes and shivers under angels wings all under angels wings.
Mixed is their histories and their passions and their stories and the endless excuses and the smouldering lusts and the hope for more or something else or more
or more
or more in a heartbeat it flows away
ungraspable music the night slays the flow the midnight bell the round horizons ring and the warm throbbing stones and the shift of roots and the heads rising rising up with eyes in the fast rain cool and flowering here now here we all are again
now quiet yourselves quiet yourselves
and we shall clothe ourselves in your passion and whisper futures to you while you while you breath and twist and curl upon the dreams we dream the same dreams still in the same voices and the same curses and the same blessings as our heads roll
severed into deep holy wells and slaked again our thirst slaked and fathomed and fold the wings so silent land lusts pure and everlasting as cleansed as
the dawn the dawn of tomorrow pale and thin and growing out from the slumber of it
seeded and uplifted grown mighty and tender.
Dream and dream and wake and sleep think thoughts and songs
we know all your words and in the order you speak them and in the lilt and muscle of your standing there
for we do not go we do not go we are not yonder we are not yonder slow the hours as ghosts we wander.
A shimmer of breath and a heartbeat that fades we dream we dream we dream between each breath and harvest.
Give what we must get what we can a festival of small flames and a sweeping of stars we plunge into the earth on every horizon map the paths you walk see they are our paths our places named and unnamed naked and smooth we bite the moment and walk between to greet you to
greet you to greet you our lovely dreams
our lovely dreams our swaddled babes our dearest wishes we greet you sigh and fill all space go nowhere go nowhere listen listen listen our lullaby lullaby lovelove
love we thrum yearning year long echo echo echo a small wind in the long night and a midnight door swinging open open shut but not locked never locked the fire is lit always always and tea is on always always
you know the path and tea is ready tea is ready in the birdsong afternoon by the shady trees and the distant sound of children playing and the hum of bees and something something something to remember to say, something to say.

Small Things

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SMALL THINGS

To die on a winter’s night
And know that your last breath
Will be eaten by a million
Cold and hungry stars.

These flakes of furred life
Curled around their small souls
Encircled by great horizons
That ever suck the warmth
From fast-beating hearts.

No hardship, though, in letting go.
In leaving the fury, in leaving
The dawn cold to other hunters
And the sharp songs in bare branches
And the sharp eyes longing to peck.

To need no need now, to rise and fly,
To become incorporeal, incorporated
In the memory of an ever-loving world,
The blanketed round and sweet murmured world.

_

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DHRUPAD 15 (this bowl)

This bowl
this bowl
nothing is lost

this breath
this breath
nothing is lost

they move through the mist
like music through the rivers
like longing lovers wanting more
and more
and to be filled and to sleep.

This bowl full and full
and empty and empty
this rain this golden view this
mist grey and dark and silent in the
rivers way
the rivers way and the mist
like doors and music and footsteps
quiet padding on this breath

gone his voice
gone his smile
gone this word gone.

This bowl holds everything
love and tears
love and tears this bowl
this heart this land this mist this mountain
this song this singing this loving this holding
this heart this bowl this silence this empty

gone gone this path this river this
gone gone this path, the bowl this river.

And they walk up mountain mists
as if
as if wading through streams,

gone gone
the dead singing and glorious,
the swinging singing star eyed dead gone gone

Shall we fold
shall we shall we
fold up neat and smoothed our memories now
Neat and smooth for later
safe for later fresh as rivers bright as stars
Folded away for later
Where it all still is the same
But better
Where it all still is
Where nothing is lost
This bowl this bowl this bowl.

The fine webs
That tie us
all together
Golden and silver
Stretch and snap and little by little
those of us who remain drop
down into singing
darkness suspended by dreams
And dreams and names and the way things were.
What ties
us here
what ties us
when so many
have gone?

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LI PO WAITING FOR DRAGONS (DINAS WOOD)

Li Po, I suppose, will be standing there,
hands thrust deep into sleeves,
breathing the slow hills.
Admiring the play of light
and the way the oaks
catch the late year’s brightness
on their wriggled limbs.

And how green is the gold,
and how golden the air
spicing the hazy distant.
In leaf litter, the rustling
of jays and squirrels,
gathering up the fallen year.
In the glass layered river,
sounds swallowed
and turned to light,
light to sound.

Li Po remains motionless,
holding all the river of his thoughts,
so he forgets nothing, misses nothing.
What has gone, and what arises:
balancing the mind of clouds,
the mind of mountains,
the mind of Dinas, cave-filled, hunched.

He sees the forest crown
shaping syllables: each tree
a slow, fast, steady song.
He weighs dark and light
On the cliffs of Craig Clungwyn.
Notes the rainbow mists
above the Doethi valley.
Floats above the scouring wind,
hawk and skylark and willowherb seed.

Li Po, waiting for dragons,
for the roar of the Tao in the mountains,
the narrow road winding northwards,
the cauldron of the seven stars.
For the eye of the world to open unwavering,
mind melting into mind.

He will not have long to wait –
a century or two
at most.

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DHRUPAD 14 (sky wedded)

seen
see now the sky now
wedded the sky wedded the sky
to silence, silent pool, sun sliding,
sun slides slips bright morning, citrus sharp and thin morning.
still, sharp morning.
Fennel, collecting
collecting fennel seeds so fragrant on my fingers,
green and full and cool and and.
It lies so still so still and cold now
still and cold the slipping sun the slipping sun low and citrus bright
delicate as fennel seed the pink cloud light puffed pink cloud morning, rimmed cold rimmed bright the slipping sun
and the apples falling now out of sight but falling
the leaves crisp and dry giving colour away
giving gold and green and all their days away to watch open-eyed open skied and breathing slow the silence grow
the silent singing silence the singing sky the slipping sun
and the moon still,
the moon still half gone
rolling bright dreaming dreaming of the last night gone,
night dark with stars
and now so clear and still there
there now there now settled bedded laid in silence
the slow dark and light the dancing shade the cool and citrus shadows the glaze colour gazing morning gesture clouding flow
small bright flicker shading clouds now shading sliding sun and riding moon higher still that that
higher than that cool cool riding the day wave bright and glorious cool sky sky wedded it is now.
World sky wedded

Dhrupad 13 (emptying out)

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DHRUPAD 13 (emptying out)

The skies are empty now empty of whistling wheeling swallows.
A quiet white
blanket of satisfaction mists the land
the ashes peel curl and fade, the hazels crisp.
Veils thin and mysterious return.

the slow dead
and the quick dead
turn and rise to see the returning tides of winter.

But it is still peace today sunlight floating down
the world slowed but still growing.

Searching for the right words, is it?

Like the swallows
sweeping crying have gone have gone but
for one or two flitting and diving
and getting
their last supper
for a good long while a good while
on the winds to the warm lands,
the sun warming wings and the rising air wriggling with life.

Distance distance words wheel enough enough corner of the eye corner of the mind distance empty.

Searching for the right words,
like counting ripples as rain fills the puddles
and mud coloured is the earth
and mud coloured is the sky and
mud coloured is the day filled with muddy thought
and tongues still as the still hills
and mind as fast as streams and as easy to understand.
The wheeze of swallows fills space leaves space empty space gone gone gone

for rain here cools and day shrinks and the long night the long night dreams dreams and whimpers a new tune
a new song the right words
the right words ice sharp and curled clear and ice bright

and here now here clear and calling and big as hills

and a throat of bursting rivers
and a sleep of dark moments
and shadows longer longer
reaching to horizons and the bell of the star sky ringing ringing and the shiver of distance opening
up and a deep, round silence
an empty skull dome silence
a cave drip drop dark silence a
story
silence where footsteps walk
and branches swish back
and in the corner of the eye the corner of the eye
change
wings
low
and sleek and loping through the drying soughing

a language change a sloping change of light
turn out turn in turn around empty skies

wind empty cloud empty star empty word empty.

Gwastraff / Waste

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LLANWRTYD EISTEDDFOD 2018 – waste gwastraff
This was my submission for this year’s local eisteddfod, that happened just yesterday night. Good to take part in a celebration of art that has its origins so long ago in the 11th century, even though I am not (yet) able to submit pieces in the Welsh language. There are so many pressures these days distracting people from coming together as communities to appreciate each others’ talents. The Eistedddfodau are truly the jewel of Welsh cultural community. Categories range from set pieces in music, recitation, poetry and song to personal choices and works on given themes, as this was. Llanwrtyd Eisteddfod lasts all day, with children performing in the morning, youngsters in the afternoon and adults in the evening. We left about half eleven at night and it was still going! Each local eisteddfod is an opportunity for those who are aiming to enter the prestigious National Welsh Eisteddfod, to get sufficient adjudication and placements to go forward into the finals – so even in the smallest eisteddfods one can see really top quality performances, as well as locals having a go. Getting well respected adjudicators is a key element in attracting the best performers to a local eistedddfod. At all the eisteddfoddau I have seen, the adjudicators are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful in their comments – a true encouragement to creativity.

I have pared away the warm, waiting wood.
The ring of it: the blade pulled,
The curling lucent layers dropped, shuddered to floor.
The shape changing, the deep cut,
The curving line, the scent within the grain
And the borrowed light upon its smoothness.

To make a bowl slowly by hand
Is to contemplate emptiness
And the arc and sorrow and gravity of it all
As the thin curls scatter.

Not much of anything is needed, after all,
If all and all moves toward a single, singular point.
The rest, remains, resting pointless,
Discarded, unfulfilled, as debris.
Becoming something else, but not a worthy thing.
A means to an end, chaff and dross, lees and leftovers,
Swept and piled to make a kindling for a winter’s fire.

On the seventh day
Was there a pile of junk,
The unmade becoming unmanageable,
The chosen and the unchosen,
The first inkling of heaven and hell?

Where went the scraps?
The unwanted edges, the unfinished lines,
The swirling, sanded away interstellar dust?
Perfection is nothing but a stubborn tyranny,
A piling up of discarded beauty, disregarded,
For a dream, the hope of something that is not yet, not yet.

And this life now, whittled away,
Hollowed out a little more by each breath:
Less remains now, for certain, than what has gone by.
If there is an end, not just a turn in the road,
What shall remain of this slow work, day to day?
What of the careful polished surface, the tidy edge,
The slow shaping, the muscles’ rhythmic ache?

Careful or careless, we blind ourselves with dutiful goals,
Discard what seems unnecessary, untimely, unhelpful.
To make something to hold us safe in eternity
We scrape away the real, carve away the grain,
Slicing through the beating heart of things
To find the food that will feed our deepest hunger.

As a vessel for your grace, or as a begging bowl,
We are slowly emptied out, as a waning moon
Over a restless ocean.
Three drops were all that was required,
All else became poison.

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