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Posts Tagged ‘art’

RESTLESS

This mountain sails through its weather

just as it moves through the centuries.

Magnanimous, it shelters all under its shadow.

Infinitely patient, it welcomes all,

Folding their tired dust into that long gaze.

The mountain, settled in its own weight

Breathes whispering streams and roots.

In the garden a robin sings in light rain.

The autumn winds curl the edges of leaves.

Dogs bark, uneasy from their white walled farms.

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JOHN PRICE ‘BEULAH’

Between heaven and earth

John Price, there, was a blackbird before rain,

a song thrush in the evening.

He kept to small lanes

and taught others his delight

at the end of a hard day.

Carpenter, son of a carpenter,

between the rolling roads and rising views,

between Llangammarch and Beulah,

he measured with a clear eye

the mortice and tenon of his rhymes,

turning the tune, tapping home the notes.

His voice heard mellifluous

by the hills and rivers,

by the gathered singing poor,

by maid and shepherd,

by schoolchildren and labourers.

To sing in chains

is to watch the chains

dissolve.

John Price ‘Beulah’ was born in Llangammarch. He learned his music from a couple of skilled local music teachers, particularly the ‘sol fa’ systems of notating music. Apart from a couple of years in America, where quite a lot of his music was published, he spent his life as an estate carpenter, teaching music and local choirs around the Irfon valley in his spare time. He was a prolific and influential hymn writer in the early 20th century, and also wrote many popular songs. His work did much to promote local choirs, so central to the characher of Welsh rural life.

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Larches

The way colours remain long into the grey autumn.

The way the hanging cones resemble syllables

Lingering on the tongue’s tip,

Or kanji haiku brushed carefully careless.

The way these larches let go and dance

On pale cooling hills.

The way images blur and smudge but remain themselves:

Brushstrokes of careless, magnified light.

An autumn aesthetic: nostalgic patterns floating.

Delicacy and decay: look close and the world

Disappears into light.

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SUMMER RIVER

Golden edged

Summer river

Rocks cooling their toes.

Golden river

Summer gnats

All diminuendo

Cooling their old bones

Grey worn rocks in summer heat

Squatting in midstream

Soft summer rivers

Water folding up sunlight

Shoals of darting fish

High summer

We see them gather

To cool their feet:

These venerable rocks

Dreaming in the slow waters

Time flows silent

By the river side

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A DANCE UPON Y GARN

The bones of the hills

The bones of rivers

The bones of the mist

The bones of meaning.

How shall we talk to the bones

Of things, the sweet marrow?

That great grey slope,

A rising falling sine wave,

A rumbling note bending horizons.

Converse with it dressed thus in cloud

And become a stranger removed from illusion.

Untied, drifting, anchored only to words

And a dance that is so so slow, it brings worlds to their end

And changes them that new languages are needed

To begin to know it, to begin to know it.

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LEAVING LLANGAMMARCH

Who would choose to leave this Llangammarch

Wrapped in birdsong on a warm and sunny morning?

Who would lift their eyes from the glistening waters

Draped with alder shade and grasses?

Throughout the houses it has now the soft hush of loss.

The hollowness of a hollowed name, a rehearsal of memories.

Llangammarch threaded between wood and waters;

An easy confluence neat folded against the green grey heights

of Epynt and its sighing skies, its distances tasting of blue.

Except those who tend the dead ( the small things singing), no one lives on Epynt now.

It is a roofless, empty house, shadowless, and singing winds.

Perhaps it is there our departed go, congregating to watch the unfolding world,

At ease and in peace, soothed by a longer perspective on sorrow and joy.

Who would leave Llangammarch, warm and dreaming?

Those with dreams urgent and golden;

Following the light upstream,

the open skies, the warm winds,

the curlew berating heaven.

A floating world, a breath away.

One breath away.

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SHINING WORLD

(MANANNAN’S ISLE)

Glass-smooth the sea,

Its light a silk knife

Whispering sighed names:

The hidden islands.

Bathed in rainbow words,

There and not there,

Not to be focused upon.

To be rolled upon the tongue,

Tasted and weighed,

Melted to a honey meaning.

Sung in fickle keys

Near impossible to memorise.

A world away, here between breaths.

Suffers none to name it

Nor clothe it in anything

Other than it is.

Unknown by knowing,

Reached by rudderless boat

Through mist to sunlit sands.

Their mouths say one thing,

Their eyes another,

Their hands dance around,

Gestures in hypnotic weave.

Hope is not there,

Nor is it elsewhere.

Those who want shall

Never be satisfied.

To remember perfectly

And to forget perfectly,

And to continue, nonetheless.

That is how to belong there.

From the lands of eternal dreaming

We seem here to vanish continually,

Swept away,

The tides of joy and pain,

Doomed and mortal.

But without time

What can be done?

The perfected go nowhere,

Nothing accomplished.

Sun and moon and stars hold still,

All roads vanish in the mists.

Wordless songs.

We dream of them,

They dream us,

The in and out of breath.

A golden chain,

Link needing link.

We must dance together.

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