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Posts Tagged ‘art’

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DHRUPAD 5 (bluebells)

Shimmers so
there,
unlikely unsky
sky,
woven down by green air
in the water washed wood
and the cherry sound
of chiffchaff chiffchaff,
chaffinch, twig twitter song.
Glory, glory, the deepest blue but not,
but violet but not,
but smudged heaven taste beyond eyes,
cell washed deep sound,
a sound even lying on it all,
lying across it all.
A sky blanket sun dipped.
Kingfisher blue, as if,
sudden flash blue, as if,
floating violet pink haze blue.
There
not there.
In passing flicker flicker from
a deep seen somewhere else,
from a silent safe mind springing up
with smiles.
Language unwrapped,
unfolded, spread open,
smoothed
there now, there now,
sun at last
sun at last,
sun, at last!
we shall push on push up
take colour become
come ring sound
and swing down singing
down the slopes,
a tumble bells sighing sound,
swaying dance a deeper dance,
down down the deeper sky,
sunless starless moonless,
a sea sky
footsteps
footsteps
the wooded
wooded
bluebell
way.

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DHRUPAD 3 (blackbird song)

Blackbird rain, blackbird river,the rich so rich evening cool air, evening rich scent air, blackbird still river standing cool. Pines whisper the breeze the breeze the slide knife heart song thrills, mellow knife heart knife song. Rounded world voice river now ripple now voice. Apple rounded, juice voice, drip drip drip voice, echoed stone voice, remembering voice, saying floating cool rain voice. Golden smooth and jet black shiny voice. Rain split, rainbowed wrapped twist thread, weaving woven gold and gilded through and through, this warm this cool this water clear air song voice moment. Stopped and started time held and space thrilled, sun and moon and stars all, all named together, one river named, one moment twirled named, this river sorrow joy river, this eye opening out, vast vast this throb, this little throat, this heart, heart full, rain washed, cool washed, all washed, voice river, named.

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DHRUPAD 1 (mountain air)

slow now, slow the grey cool,

slow
the
way
down.

The gods love this – space free of souls,

no
weight
of prayer.

Small thought light as wings, light on light,

shimmer stacking cloud.

The journey is one breath belonging to horizons
all ours.

They hover here,
hover here,

endless attractors
the cascading distant waters,
the air breezed
from
high
ice
centuries abiding in white.

Slow now, the in and out

suffering little from its movement,

revolving an axis honeyed.

If there are words, they become smudged distance. If there is

sound,

it drifts cloud and misty vapour,

sand, grained and free,

slipping
sift
away,

slow, now, slow.

I have been listening to a lot of Classical Indian music lately, especially rudra veena and surbahar that are instruments ideal to interpret the ancient style of dhrupad. Dhrupad is a vocal devotional music that slowly and thoroughly uncovers the notes and patterns of each piece. There is a lot of repetition and sequences, and although words are sung, it is the emotion within the notes of the raga that creates its profound effect. These poems take some of the rotational effects of dhrupad and its exploration of motifs and rhythm. Originally written as a continuous text, they will best be presented in an open arrangement so that the eye intuits the timing of its narration/reading by the various groupings of words and phrases. (I do not think I will be able to accomplish it very well here within this page structure, but hopefully there will be some of the flavour I intended). There may be something of e. e. cummings, and something of Harold Budd, something of the word patterns of George Macbeth and something of the helter-skelter pace of Dylan Thomas. But most of all, I hope, the slow savouring of sound and image suggested by the alap and jhor of dhrupad.

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ONLY THE DEAD

Only the dead
Can thrive in heaven.
Let us unravel here
In words and feelings:
This hollow as heavy as lead,
A weight of mists,
A weight of starlight fluttering.
A winding road after rain,
Leading uphill into cloud.

If we can
And if we choose
We shall balance it all with bliss;
Sound that goes beyond hearing,
Beyond the bones of meaning
And the bones of winter.
Sunlight warming closed eyes,
A drift of sheep and birdsong.

The sky is cloudless, silent.
But it will come on to rain later.
Day stretches across fields and hills.
Savour time,
For one day
Time will be no more.

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GWION WATCHING

There you must stay
(Placed there for some reason)
Sitting next to impenetrable darkness
To stir what no-one else can.
Hunched as the moon
While the crooked woman sleeps.

It is not yours, this world you must watch bubbling,
It has another purpose of its own in time:
Inchoate gestation, full of all potential,
Unlimitless sound, a well of pealing light,
Webbed dawns, bird song full.

As the cormorant hangs still upon its cross of sunlight,
As the lovely whiteness bends
To a bowed and then starless dark,
As the coagulation proceeds you can do nothing but watch,
A small, waking thing on the edge of pearl-lipped perfection.

The wise know the dance ( and always have done):
The dark and light across the skies,
The mother gravid with light child, hungry darkness following,
Born for her, hungry for her and her for him,
The metre of time, a dance of shadow,
A pattern woven to weave its reflection on the ground we stand,
Limned by stones and pool, the notched stick, the knotted thread.

We must stay ( placed here for some reason)
Watching the starlight bubble,
Watching the season’s seethe and its cauldron sky heat
Steamed with cloud and drift of poetry,
The song the same, ever unsung in its entirety,
Lost in its own passionate cataracts, its tributaries, its silver streams.

And here now, when you least expect it,
Drowsy and all else in mind sleeping,
Eloquence will leap out and take you.
Words will alight from burning void,
Words not yours, becoming yours.

You will race laughing, screaming through all worlds
And finding no rest, you shall squirm a heartbeat from death,
Chasing and chased by darkness
And in the end fall golden, nothing but grain,
To ripen in night’s breast and belly.

Born nameless again, gestated on oceans,
Drowned across time towards subtle lands
Neither shore nor sea but the roar of river’s mouth,
A beam of sunlit dawn dazzling,
A perfect song, (having forgotten and remembered everything,
Lost and found everything).

Darkness curled and potent on your lip.
Light, a perfect spear upon your tongue.
Slippery as eels is language
Fed by the weeds of the world beneath:
Dark and light and all things,
And nothing, will be your song,
Everlasting echo, three drops
In a dewdrop
Moment.

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AFAGDDU

Am nyt
Vo nyt vyd;
Nyt vyd am nyt vo
;

Since it may not be
It shall not be;
It shall not be
Since it may not be;

To the light, bright, guileful one
This darkness unfathomable
Is a fear ugly and unbreached.
Refusing its nomenclature
Sullen beyond edges, unruled.
If it has language it is the language of mould
The skittering of small things, of decay.
A mulch, a compost, a howl of vowels
A gutteral bubbling of green mud,
White, stripped bones grinning
Through swags of drooping flesh.
It is the architecture of night,
The logic of humus, its own gravity,
Penetration of life within life,
Life searching out new form,
Stretching for new freedoms,
A rainbow slick, gyrating in fractal.
Subhuman, unruly son of the mother
Held in her arms, limp and ever dying,
Pieta, beneath matter’s crucifixion,
The rot of resurrection, a weaving of thorns,
Refusing the excuses of others, nothing to tell,
Washed in tears, its own aromatic unguent.
A secret not what it seems, that few will approach,
Is the centre of all things.

Vyg kadeir
A’m peir
A’m deduon.

My song
And my cauldron
And my rules.

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Sky Boat of the Durotriges

There now, let them rise up: the dark voices, the light voices,
The feathered, the fervid, the iron road of truth is a road we must go down
And the boat of morning and the waters of night.
We are three of indeterminate form:
Too fast, too patient, too vast to keep a single shape.
We are three, is all you need to know, the indicator of splendour.
They see us who know us, they know us who see us.
We glide on shadowed moments, in dreaming time,
On pools of blood and pools of passion.
Words that approach silence ornament us.
They say it is a boat, a barque, but it wavers as a reflection does,
As a path in shimmering summer air, as firelight in a drunken hall.
For we ride beyond the waves of light, on photonic tides,
A boat that is not a boat. A promise scratched on stone.
There are three, and that is all you need to know:
The door, the lock, the key.
A boat of gold riding endless, sparkling darkness.

The Durotriges were an Iron Age Celtic tribal group in the South of England centred on what is now the County of Dorset. They produced coins of silver and gold, often with similar designs. They are abstracted and difficult to read, though they would have been easily read by those familiar with the imagery at the time. Celtic coin imagery follows the key design features of the Mediterranean prototypes, but always playfully morphs them to subvert the message or to ‘own’ the message as part of tribal identity. The Durotriges were seafarers, familiar with the estuaries and rivers of the Dorset and Hampshire coasts. This design ultimately derives from the main features of a profile head (crown/hair, eye,nose,lips) but is usually seen as a boat of some kind with three occupants. In most versions of the design the three beings have the same characteristic shapes, suggesting they are three specific and distinct characters, that might be read as male, female amd child. The fact that there are three is a clear indication of sacredness, if not divinity. Whenever groups of three appear in Celtic art, supernatural power is signified. At th moment I am working on a series of sculptures derived from this image, and so now and then new possibilitis of interpretation arise. Of which this is one.

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