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Posts Tagged ‘ancestors’

WILD HUNT

I am lost

So I am yours, Gwyn.

Driven mad, worn thin,

By the fickle certainties of man,

The lies of the blood

In the lees of trust.

To slip and wriggle

Into cracks and crevices,

To numb as many seconds

As we may.

Kneel down in the soil

And weep.

You are clay that knows death

And have learnt a mechanical time

So as to watch its coming.

The whispered “This is how it is”.

That is a lie weighed down

By the phantasms of others’ dreams,

Souls worn wan draped in dust.

If we are not reborn

Then where does this yearning come from?

If we are not reborn

Why does music bring so many tears?

If we are not reborn

Whence the joy, whence the sorrow?

If we are not reborn

How do our desires arise?

Whence our dissatisfactions?

If we are not reborn

What purpose does hiraeth serve?

What purpose the stirring of the blood?

The bones of trees

I turn to small hopes.

Collect your souls, Gwyn.

Scatter them into a new Spring.

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ALDER FOLD

Singing severed head

Folds and puts away

The blanket of space,

Rolls away time.

A comfort against poisons,

A comfort against memory.

Sunlit is the hall,

Spacious with birdsong.

The sound of the sea

In the sound of the words.

And there is no greater magic than this.

By the shore, by the river,

By the evening light,

By the dividing of the roads.

One gasp and it will be gone.

Floating down stream,

Lodged in the mud

Of a new world.

The root of the tongue.

The cotyledon of sight.

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THEIR NAMES

Their names are the doors they wait behind.

Dreaming, dreaming, they thus dream us.

A silver moon scythes the snow fruit that admits us.

Timeless is the round dance of breath.

There is constant war in heaven, and hunting,

And fast, hot seduction.

How else, otherwise, could it be here?

The stars pour themselves into the hills.

There will be ice upon the marshes.

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CHRISTMAS NIGHT, CHRISTMAS MORNING

The moon strides through mist.

He is one: half-dead, half-reborn.

The garden is all jet and water –

The black shadow that is time and space.

There is no truth here but stories,

Is what we learn if we live long enough.

The river in its shroud, past the silent graveyard.

Nothing for you to do but weep and sing,

Says the sighing pines.

Nothing but to find beauty here and sing it,

Says the sighing pines.

And the stars look down in envy.

They would fold their wings and walk

These muddy, leaf-strewn paths.

They would feel the cold air of morning,

Let go of hope and fear,

Sing with sun and sparrows.

Would build their small fires,

Feast on emptiness and fullness.

Eternity weaving clothes for itself.

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A lot of my writing this year has been towards an art/word project inspired by The Black Book of Carmarthen, a small, handwritten manuscript containing poems collected over a lifetime by one person. It is the oldest known manuscript written in the Welsh language. A mixture of ancient bardic poems and prayers, it is at once mundane and transcendent, simple and utterly baffling. The words that come to me are either reflecting some of the imagery or subjects of the fifty odd pieces, or dwell on the nature of the author and the continuity of language and writing. The art works I am making mainly combine parts of the manuscript pages overlain with my own woodblock prints from decades ago. There will, probably, be a book that combines text with image. It is in no way a translation of the original text. It is one artist’s reflections of the magical mirror and timelessness of ancient books.

MER KERTEV KEIN (Black Book)

(The marrow of fine songs)

It is a river

Uncurling in caves,

A white torrent on dark slick rocks.

It is a shoreline cave where mystery is born by echoes,

Far from comfort, where opposites couple in the roaring of it.

Spanning centuries each word tumbles combining elements.

Shadow worlds are dressed in time to shatter and rebuild the fragments.

Oh, speckle-breasted thrush,

Thrice the song to sing.

Morning rain.

Rain of morning.

Dawn storm.

Eternal song.

A river where meaning slips like fishes,

A flash, a flank, and gone.

The next ripple, the next wave, the scintillating light.

Umbral echoes.

It dances from sound to sound.

A juggler slipping from stone to stone

In the midstream rush. Where next? Where next?

And the foaming roar of it:

The world dancing elements and prophecy

And the arc of words cast up and caught, too fast for the eye.

A stream, a stream, of passion itself.

Sound clothed in the names of things,

The naked, naked sound.

A river of God’s being,

A bowstring caught and released,

The mouth’s harp

And its breath drum rhythm song.

There are spirits here

There are ghosts

Where I see these landscapes,

Familiar, sunlit, wild

I have never been.

I am haunted by the names

And by the meanings

Within the meanings I know.

Other pages in other hands:

Mirrored, pushing through.

I am become a palimpsest of prayer-

The angels with clawed feet

Offering golden torcs.

A language of waves,

Of echoing empty hills.

My eyes water the seeds of words,

Grow vast forests.

The dance of sounds:

Lost timeless for a while,

We dance and dance.

The memories are not ours

That lodge in our hearts.

My soul fragments to the four quarters

As though I am already buried.

There is a cold wind from the north.

A woman who is not a woman

Moves at the edges of my sight

Whispering rhymes with berry-stained fingertips.

One of Three and Three in One.

Before Eden we quake.

The Tower was too high,

The Tree was too bright.

The Flaming Sword

That drove us outwards

We stole for shovels and mattocks.

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WAR CRY

A furnace dawn.

It will come on

To rain tears later.

Why are we always

Led by fools?

.

It is not gold, but spelter.

Not ore, but slag.

The forge of beauty is cold.

The taste of the morning air

Is bitter.

.

Two swans, white and dancing,

Fly low following the river westwards.

A sorrowful sky full of rain

Will cause more leaves to fall.

.

All our roads are cracked and failing.

They have borne too much,

Never thanked nor mended.

We watch weeds grow tall in crevices.

.

Within the hills

The druids and saints

Are turned to stone.

The names of things carved and fading

Where sheep are grazing.

.

There will be peace at last

When we are all gone.

First frosts will kill

The last rose.

.

The gods of creation

Sought perfection

And so always failed.

They have taught us sorrow,

The fleeting smile of time

And space.

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It is not the roads that we have lost

That leave us blinkered and aimless.

It is the songs.

It is not the gold we have given away

That leaves us impoverished and hungry.

It is the songs.

Left silent without even echoes.

The body’s rhythm stuttered,

The heart’s reason stultified.

We have gathered, huddled in silent cities,

Upright, efficient, vague and unmoved.

No tides of song, no roaring winds of song,

No rising hearts, no heat.

Never lost in the making of names.

Never tangled in the fleeting syllables.

No lilt, no catch, no net, no praise.

No meaning that dives deep below meaning

And feeds the spirits of the dead and of other places.

No offered breath, no chant that infuses hours with timelessness.

The electric hum of compliance.

The drone of automatic equilibrium.

White noise of dissolving passion.

Quietly waiting an end to tedious static.

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BONES

Do you hear your bones speaking?

Of the groaning glaciers and the ice waters

Released from the dark caves.

Of the small things you do not weigh up.

Of the large things, so large you are oblivious.

Of the earth swaying on tip-toe

To see the glorious horizons

That the gods dream of.

Of the rumble of sunlight

Piercing the hillside cairns.

Of the feathered footsteps

Of the reborn.

Under the still shade of the yew trees

Your bones speak,

But all you feel is fear.

The tipping point, the cliff edge.

Fingertips turn to pinions,

A hunger for corpses.

You can never steal the gold

That is the due of the gods,

Nor the silver that is the blood of the moon.

It shall all be returned.

That is what your bones say.

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Because of their words:

A quantum entanglement.

Whether equation or story,

The ripples vibrate.

All metaphor is truth.

All truth, metaphor.

So said Euron.

So said Eurwys.

They wrap the bones

Of space in pictures.

Weave timelessness

With heroes.

By means of language

And of matter

They fashion magnificent trees,

The span of universes,

A melodious ocean.

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BLESSINGS OF THE MOON

What are the blessings of the moon?

Return, return.

What is worn away,

What is consumed,

What is lost.

Returned, returned.

No diminishing of light.

No perturbation of path.

Return, return.

Is the blessing of the moon.

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