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Posts Tagged ‘ancestors’

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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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.

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these old poets:
smoke blue hills,
smoke blue clouds.
they rise up so,
they reveal themselves
and are curiously hidden,
conversing with vapour
between worlds
unmeasured, unfathomable.
they loom, nonetheless,
and shape the world.
it is from there
the clear waters fall,
from fell and moor
to feed, to wash clear our eyes,
to fill with song untranslateable,
echoing down the spine,
deeper than eye and brain,
deeper than soul,
into the bowels,
into annwfn,
the dark mysterious,
fecund deep.
rolling, these storm fast vowels,
ancestral to the blood.
this they prove:
there are no new songs.
just old songs
with new words,
old songs
with new tunes.

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Preseli Meditations (Rock Signs)

Eye
Is a palindrome,
As is
Sees.
Voices distant
Speak in tongues
From cracks in rock
Split open by light.

Split open
By light
A heaven swing
Through star roads.
A cloud hymn
And the sing of insects.

The sing of insects
Deep in winter.
Sunlight clicks
Its fingers.
One door opens.
Another closes.

Another closes
Creeps seeps
Through the
Butter of time,
The honey of space.
Dressed in bones
They come
Rolling down
With news
From heaven.

From heaven
Fingers prise
The smallest chink.
An eye blinks
The mirror
Cracked becomes
A door.
Backwards the
Paths lead
Backwards to
The beginning.

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MIND STREAMS

(for ‘Book of Voices’)

There is a landscape
Knitted over with slim streams.
Bright and dark, loud and whispered,
Each, eternal threads worming
Stories of thought and thoughtlessness,
Stories of song and reasons and whys.
Whole histories, whole epochs, whole aeons.
A continuity of dream, a muttered heart.
A thousand voices vying for eyes,
A turn of attention, an immersion in,
An interpretation of, an affirmation.

Some sing, some skirl, some shout.
Golden chained, ear to tongue,
A merry dance, a forced march.

There is a dark, tangled tree.
From my tongue it pours sap
Through throat and lung,
Wrapped to rooted loins.
A lean language, tango Argentinian,
A whipcrack thing, sinuous sine,
Insinuous, inescapable, one
Of a number of souls.

(On the black hill, a scattering of snow,
The bare trees spell out the names
Of distant saints born from rivers,
All borne to the sea, a tidal deity
Coming and going, coming and going.)

I carry with me, pelican-like,
All the souls, black and noisy as jackdaws,
On the tree from the mother inhabited
Down to now, a flock of sharp eyes
And voluble tongue……

—-

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1
We are, after all,
Nowhere other than here:
Held in the soil-stained hands
Of earth.
Held as a wish, a dream,
A joy, a grief.
Gone home to rest, to be cast,
To be moulded, kneaded.
To be on the cycle,
To be recycled,
To be returned,
To be cherished.

2
The dream was of the great circles, Stonehenge, Avebury. Their function, to stop people “falling through earth”. To set them back on the wheel in the right cycle, the right place.
Using the right quality of sound and space, the right length of rod, the self-healed, snake-strewn ground.

3
Drawn up awake
But dreaming.
Brought all to the rivers
By moon-faced reflection:
The one face.
Drawn out awake
Yet asleep, soul’s home
Bright revealed.
Pierced by blade and bleeding,
Held, not allowed to fall through,
We shall be returned, given life.

Turned, turned , the road become moonlight.
Flesh golden, stripped of burdens,
Certain ratio, a spell of line and curve,
Placed on the wheel,
A language of trajectories,
Forces multiplied and compensated,
An art of vectors, of prophecy,
A heft of distinctions.
Revived with tongue and breath,
A dance in footprints,
The learning of a song,
Its thousand thousand verses.
Its drummed rhythms
Its curses, its blessings.
Jewelled serpent:
Her back, the path of the sun.
Remember,
Those of you who know,
The bite, the sting, the knowing.

4
There shall be three:
The child, the man, the woman.
Eternal, bound, faceted.
In threes the remembrance.
In threes the curse.
In threes, the healing….

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