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Posts Tagged ‘ancestors’

FROM TRE TALIESIN TO YNYS LAS

1

We climbed the ladder road,

The wind road, peeling away distance,

Letting it drop curled below us

And the wide river mouth talking

Of nothing but the past it has known,

And the sands blowing snakes of words

Across the scoured wet flats

Where the land once was – a safe

And green world sloping down to sunlit seas,

Where now are tiny fishes and wriggling worms

And the hush of marram and the high wail of gulls.

2

That river has a poet’s mouth –

Meandering and easy, opening out to sunlit distance

The glory of horizons and a sweep of dangerous current.

I have sat on Taliesin’s grave

Gnawing his white knuckle bone

Between my teeth, tasting the marrow of bitter truth:

That there are no primary domestic bards here

But only the drone of tractors bailing sweet green hay

And thin clouds carded by wind over the bay towards Borth,

And a lazy river snaking between wavering weeds of slap-brown mud.

Swung between the rugged and the banal, lost on thin white roads.

These words, at best, are dry-stone, held together by habit

And a certain gravity that is the stubbornness of breath.

Look out, look down from here, from the throne, from the tomb,

From the seat of recognition ( the sword pulled out, the sword sheathed again).

We long for peace and call for peace,

Knock on the doors in the hills for our admittance

But have forgotten the password and cannot satisfy the gatekeeper

With our unconvincing boasts of embroidered skill.

It is not to do with pronunciation,

It is not to do with truth.

It is the quality of our hunger,

The rain-sated weight of bland inheritance,

The mouthed repetitions.

But let that go. Let the wind sweep it clear,

Let the estuary throat sweep away the salt bitterness.

The world is bright, regardless. It shines in the sun, regardless.

And the song remains, regardless.

Though no one hears it.

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Night Air

NIGHT AIR

This is their hall,
their echoing hall.

Acolyte owls mist and dust the snow flurry
that is an endless decease.

Heat of heart and heat of blood
rises wavering, steams, dissipates.

Cold eyes, lidless, remain.
Smiling, our ancestors by their fires,
looking down to see whatever passes
(the long roads, the short roads
To their welcoming circles).

This is their hall, domed and dark
where the warm soul of breath expires.

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LAND MASS

It goes deeper, deeper than the flowering Cymru
Fighting like cockerels, fighting like stallions,
Shaping its gold, sharpening its iron,
Burying their wise in wells and living for eternity.

It goes deeper, deeper than the careful hunters
Moulding bone and wood, sure- handed, closed-lipped,
With measuring eyes, with sparkling eyes,
Fire- gathered and moving on, moving on.

It goes deeper, deeper than the bear-must caves
And the guardian watchers over the far plains,
Dried and herd-filled and spun with the sky-filled mysteries,
The wheeling light, the earth, the sky, the roads between.

It goes deeper, deeper than this. Delved, rooted out,
Held firm, a fountain of birdsong, an endless forest
And the glimmer of scents woven, woven.
Warm blood and racing hearts offered, shared, changing shape.

It goes deeper, deeper than sound to those silences of aquamarine,
Not rock nor liquid but the grinding of time on time
Scraping the bowl of the land by slow scraped degrees,
A return to the simplest and the sheltered nests of first things
Miles below groaning ice, dreaming of procreation
The passing on of breath to breath, an exhalation of word.

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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.

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THE WORDS WE COLLECT

It is the whispers in the walls,
The ghosts that breath upon our lips.
We dissolve, lost in sounds from elsewhere,
From rooms, from halls.
Left, empty enough, losing attention,
We step out of ourselves
And for a moment become monstrous,
Glorious shadows in the winds
Of strange, bright mornings.

Though none of it speaks for us:
The silent, swirling mists, nor
The resounding, thundrous deep,
Nor the wells without light,
Nor the stars without memory,
Nor the movement of seconds,
Nor anything of the vastness.
For all these are constrained
By our sound, and uttered unbeknownst
By those guilty of innocence.

Left dancing on air, breathless,
Pierced, spun to a fine point, examined,
Cast out, then disregarded.
Swimming in an ocean of shadows
It is hard to know what is of value.

I shall put my ear to the door of the earth,
And listen to the ones never dead,
A music not of our blood though equally holy.
Even its echoes dissolve flesh and name
In the round chambers, skull-domed,
Grass-topped and nibbled by sheep.

For the extraordinary rests upon the ordinary,
As sound rests upon its own silence,
The known is upon the unknown
As birds rest upon tall oaks in evening.

We live above the noise, dipped in cloud.
Hearing rumours of the dreams of others,
And building what we can out of that.
Once given a name, believing that makes us real,
Practicing a story sewn from fables.

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NAMES WILL BURST THROUGH

How long will it be before the words form?
And the names, how long til they congregate?
How long until they accumulate weight enough
To press down and hold still and never ever be forgot again?
On lips, on paper, on stone, into the bark of trees.
These names are fragile, finite, unknowable as rivers are.
In their passing we believe we have known them.
A familiar dream. So familiar. So much of a summoning,
A stirring up, a fold and an ache in the hearts,
A fold and an ache in the valleys and on the hills.
The wind will blow them away and the rains shall erase them.
As a long day in sun, the language changes.
What is smooth grows harsh. What is bitter turns to poignance.
(The sobs of the dying, lost in mud- one more ridge, lads, one more.
We shall be remembered in stained glass,
On stained grass, on mud among the poppies of remembering
And poppies of forgetfulness, my love.)
They stretch out and pierce through the noise.
Given any chance they shall strain to matter.
Our dear dead ones and our forgotten ones.
Beneath the skin, beneath the soil, beneath the silence.
Their names echo around our lips as we sleep.
Under lids the eyeballs roll and flutter.
Is it for this, only for this, just for this,
And one more, one more kiss, lip to lip,
Breath to breath, sigh to sigh.
The river sweeping it all away.

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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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