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Posts Tagged ‘ancient trees’

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YEW GROVE AT LLANAFAN FAWR

1
Light sensible, thick as darkness
And light veiled, filtering downwards.

One red cup, one seed dropped,
Rippled out, measured by millenia.
A ring of sinew trunks, weighted, poised.

2
Where the old road
Cups the round, green breast
Of Llanafan Fawr.

Where the quiet mound
Floats above the heads of valley oaks
(Distant voice of rock-sided Chwefri).

Where the dead bask in sun,
Sleep in shade,
Their names carefully chiselled,
Painted, kissed in lichen.

3
Rising up
From the Underworld
Where the dead become stars,
Where bones multiply,
Where dreams are born
And shadows grow their own souls.
There, the umbilical roots
Bind light to darkness
Making song
That wheels this world.

4
Fed by scintillating constellations,
A certain, mutual apotheosis,
A rippling out of layered years
Laid down in sinuous orbits,
A hug of dimensions,
A vessel for longevity, for remaining.
Only holding on.
Only breathing.
A mirror from each metalled yuga,
Withstanding heaven’s gobby adolescence.

5
Three great props to prop the sky.
As the gods choose their own forms
Grown from curse and pleadings,
From a universal need, the deepest science
Of leaning upon
They have measured up,
Filled the matrices,
Solved the quadratic and the algebraic,
Judged the swing of planetary orbit.
Readjustments made, reconfiguring
A weighty gravitation,
Collapse, expand, spin.
(Those three doors all life dances through)

6
Old before the brazen, gaudy eagles
Meticulously trampled lands not theirs
To glut the slovenly cities of the South.

Old before the contrivance of contorted guilt,
The crosses to be borne or cast away,
The ring of truth, the hope of doves.

Old before the King of the North and his kin
Bred saints amongst sacred hills.
Before Dewi and Afan, (who, maybe,
Were as eloquent as uncle Taliesin),
Sheltered wise candles from the wild storms:
The slick guttering stroke of marauding steel,
Thud and groan and a pouring out of life
In a red gush, anguished and final, among the silent trees.

Old as the penetration of water through rock,
The endless drip to sunless oceans below,
Is the strife of men, the lamentation of their women.

Old, and the richest of composts.
The most intricate of tallies,
A long genealogy, a swirl of lusts.
All commingled, compressed, considered,
All fit and meet, an elevated sight,
A blossoming of poison and beauty,
A perfect circle, a sunlit ripple.
One tree is a forest,
One grove a memorial
To these thousand thousand lives,
Drawn up, drawn in,
Held, encompassed.

—-

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VOICE AND NAME
(Says the yew of Llandovery)

A song uninterpretable.
Vast as mind.
As black and white,
As dark,
As ocean elided.
None of the small, bright words,
Clear and ambiguously bright.
No fluttered pennants, simple and gay.
No battle standards, maces of cerebral dogma.
No knife-edged brilliant certainty.

It is a howling void of the real,
Resolving in beauty only on fullest surrender.
What is your name?
It would take an eternity to say it,
And then nothing would be unknown,
Nothing left out.

Dark time, invisible to counting.
Inconsequential moment
By-passed, mistaken, overlooked.
A beggar’s bowl by the roadside,
Never full, never empty.

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LLANHIFANGEL ABERGWESYN

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Heather, royally purple, clothing the hillsides above.
Around the circles of Llanhifangel Abergwesyn,
The silver, sanding shores of Irfon, curved and rippled.

Sheltered from sheep, this round silent shield
Is where they are gathered, where they are splintered,
Where they are woven.

United, divided, leaning into the storms of Time.
Hausers swinging between centuries
Binding sun and earth, to heaven, even.

Knitted light revolved and spun,
Wheels in wheels, a thousand eyes
Open and closing, a blink of orbital rhythm.

These trees, these towers, these castles roaring upwards.
Ladders of chant and silence,
Spilt shade.

Bow ye down,
Bow ye graceful between the gravestones,
Flaked and moss green.

Bone and mind incorporate,
Reawoke, voiceless and benign
In speckled sunlight, sublime.

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