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Posts Tagged ‘awen’

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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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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THE OLD TALIESIN

He does not have to raise his voice –

Silence comes with it like the tide on the shore.

Bent-backed, i see his strong staff, serpent-wrapped.

It is still a tree of fruits, sweet and bitter:

A crab apple scented with autumns, hard with frost

And the seeing of too much sorrow.

I see his bright brow, bald as the moon.

He is being chased again through the halls of the world

By another who shall not relent.

And he will change form again,

On wide, sunlit oceans again,

But not until the three drops congeal in truth,

Not until the chariot wheel is cracked,

Not until a new axle pin is shaped and smoothed.

A year and a day,

And we shall all change places.

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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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GODDESS BOWL

I am the unknowable bliss at the moment of death and birth.

I am the shatterer of stars.

I am intimately enwrapped in every moment.

I am the passion of breath.

I am the fragile vessel of eternal light.

I am the bright moon burning.

I am the smell of molecules and the wetness of love.

I am every skin and every longing.

I am the drip of cave mouth and the yawn of lions.

I am the eternal tree of photons and its infinite song.

Beyond size and judgment, beyond care and carelessness,

Beyond mirrors and windows, every door speaks my name.

Every bowl acknowledges my precedence.

All vowels and consonants praise me.

All silence contemplates my forms.

All seas, all rivers, all days, all nights, all revolving,

All steadfastness, all remembering, all forgetting, all breath,

All consummation, all conceit, all dream, all thought, all name,

All essences, all senses, all waters, all featherlight caresses,

All thunder, all change, all disappearing, all sorrow, all tears,

All reasons, all homecomings, all roads.

Perfect, unsullied, naked, unadorned.

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PROLOGUE (dark druid arts)

I have sat down and tasted the words of the dead.

What do they taste of, the words of the dead?

They taste of the feathers of owls and the scent of old books.

They taste of domed silent libraries and the flow of a million minds.

They taste of iron and the flower of blood as it fills the mouth.

They taste of mud and rain and scythed grasses.

They taste of the forbidden, of the forgotten,

of the bitter and the everlasting.

They taste of answers and riddles and orifices.

I have sat down and watched them

As the old words make pictures,

As they attempt to communicate their forgotten truths

and the lying stories, and the power of breath and the power of song.

2

Let these sounds revolve slow:

The seed that sucks in water swells

Reaches out to worlds unseen

New airs moving, new sense, new scenes.

Becoming is leaving behind in darkness

That which feeds us still.

Moving out, moving out, peeling the familiar.

These fragments to be held without adjustment,

Without conclusion, as it were,

And if we were not shaping, as it were,

As if we knew somewhere deep already:

The old languages of the blood,

The old languages of potent dreaming.

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The Stones Of Words In The Rivers Of Meaning

‘Sacred’

Is the most precious thing.

That which is unpartitioned.

That reaches roads longed for.

That unfurls sky landscapes unbounded.

That is the most precious.

That fills and empties and makes whole possible.

That wraps meaning in glory and silence.

That goes beyond meaning to mean more.

That flows beyond edges still singing.

That is utter silence enfolding, accepting.

That swells and feeds and gives succour.

That cannot be defined by limitations.

That is beyond and within.

The engine of breath,

The longing to exterminate failure.

To awaken, to sparkle, to feel more, to perceive more.

To stand on the edge of a precipice,

To leap and let go and not care.

To recalibrate, to forget.

To sing eternally.

To be welcomed home.

To be unsullied.

To become the story.

To be magnified.

An infinite expanse of meaning,

A means to go beyond here.

The awen – an inflowing and an outflowing.

Exhilaration.

It can possess but cannot be possessed.

That which carries us away.

Exponential expansion of fractal geometries.

Everlasting metaphor.

Edge of the mysterious void.

Extinction of destruction.

Edges dissolve

And we expand

Into the sacred more.

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ORACULAR MESSAGE

In the woods, in the green wet woods

The dead are waiting with their songs.

.

They have longed for their flesh and they have forgotten.

The rivers are full of their passions.

It is a cold steel desire, a lust like winter.

.

It is gone now, subsided into multiplicity,

The tracks lost, the flash of prey in the bushes,

All become unintelligible like a valley dissolves in driving rain.

.

But the dead are waiting there with their slim fingers

To crack open your sight, to break open your eyes

The release the hawk of your mind, the hungry raven of your heart,

The river of your reason.

.

This is for you, a prophecy for you

Because you have read these lines,

Because of the intersections of the stars,

Because you are nothing but this,

About to be forgotten, about to be lost.

.

The dead are waiting in the woods, singing and dancing,

Forgetting everything.

.

You have dreamed enough.

You have destroyed enough.

.

They slide between species, have no regard for distinctions.

They breathe the matter ejected from shuddering galaxies into the void.

.

These words are not for you

But you must remember them and pass them on.

They are for the last one who leaves.

Who turns to flick the light switch

And with a small smile steps into darkness.

.

Tell them the dead are waiting in the green mossy woods.

Tell them to listen for the sighing song

For the surprise of pine scent drift singing storm winds.

Tell them to remember the small things,

The notions that eat worlds.

Tell them the dead are waiting

To take them home.

.

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AWEN

Awen in the deep floating night.

Awen in the river darkness

Awen in the drops of rain

and the wordless cool vessel of being.

Awen in the scent of wood smoke

and between the lights and between the shadows.

The seesaw of the world,

this fragile weight of balanced moments

haunted by what has gone and seeded by thought

not yet flowered, not yet fruited.

The seed within the cell,

within the roots of blood

and the roads of time.

We are within. We are within.

The awen, our eternal passing breath.

—-

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WHAT IT SHOULD BE

Does it, (pay attention,) does it,
Even when become a stream continuous and downward,
Does it lope back to steady prose, pedantic, precise, nonedescript ?
Or else might it wend songly and weirdly woven
Painted true but in madman’s colours, seen from mirror’s view,
Haunted, glanced at the corner of the eye,
Dancing words, rolled, roiling words,
Words that spurt fountains unbidden but shaped from
The lips of stone gods.
We are all here short moments in the moment of time
Gliding darkest matter on pools of spinning light.
We are voiceless until breath finds shape.
Voiceless until we sing sprouted feelings.
The heart, it is not a steady thing.
It is a giddy thing, a butterfly, birdsong thing,
A river thing losing itself babbling wilder gestures.
That it makes no sense, that it fills itself to bursting,
That it runs hands full and scattering meanings,
That it reaches and fails and reaches and finds something else,
That it is not music, that is is not is not music,
A tamping scuffling rhythm in dust, a dance becoming,
A mouth dance, a tongue drum, a skirl, a pibroch, a lament,
An imitation of storms in the mountains,
An imitation of the mist cleared by slow spreading sunlight
An imitation of the meld, the mix, the utterance, the name.
A dipping down to the roots of water, to the mud, to the squirming.
Entangled. Neither one this, nor the other, that.
Turning inside out to find to find what brings it all together.
What enables utter forgetfulness of edges, renames the names.
It is what prayer should be, what gods recognise as their own spark,
Generation unto generation, world without end.

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