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Posts Tagged ‘Bardic rant’

TWENTY YEARS ( OF DRUID TRAINING)

1

It was like a rope of light

let down into the chaotic darkness.

Only later would we see

it was a deadly serpent

and the chains of enslavement.

But such is the nature of knowledge

and we shrugged, accepting all costs.

.

Nyt o vam a that

Pan y’m digonat

.

It was not from a mother and a father

That I was made.

.

2

One year we were held in complete silence.

No word spoken

but internal recitation of all the masters’ words.

Becoming each one, and their lilt,

moving into their expressions,

reclothed in passions,

Eyes opening in other worlds.

.

A’m creu a’m creat

O naw rith llafanat;

.

And my creation was created for me

From nine forms of consistency:

.

3

Another year we each were given

one word only, to unwrap.

To follow, to hunt to its uttermost,

to its bright birth,

In a name that has become ours alone.

A map of our journey,

a seal on our circumference.

.

O ffrwyth, o ffrwytheu,

O ffrwyth Duw dechreu;

.

From fruit, from fruits,

From God’s fruit in the beginning;

.

4

Once the words were learned

all the rhythms and the hidden wealth:

We could see how nothing existed

outside of those patterns of plaid.

No move, no colour, no conceit,

nothing that was not drawn

from that well of words.

And so we learnt to see around us,

in every hall, in every byre,

where each would walk

and where in each tale

they would place themselves.

And how with a word

it might be shifted

and how with a gesture

the plot might be moved on.

.

O vriallu a blodeu,

O vlawt gwyd a godeu,

.

From primroses and flowers,

From the blossom of trees and shrubs,

.

5

One year we were given

the gift of madness.

.

Prid o pridet

Pan y’m digonet,

.

From earth, from the sod

Was I made,

.

6

Another year we slept all the long days

and at night gathered around still pools

to learn the dance of stars, and their songs.

Our dreams would be strange then,

and our names, unpronounceable

.

O vlawt danat,

O dwfyr ton nawvet.

.

From nettle blossom

From the ninth wave’s water.

.

7

One year we would speak only lies,

until we knew that truth is itself a lie,

and that the tides beneath us

are drowning darknesses

and screaming passions.

.

A’m swynwys-i Vath

Kyn bum diameth.

.

Math created me

Before I was completed.

.

8

A year as birds

soaring and rising on thermals,

to find the fulcrum of the winds

and to twist the cloud rivers to rope

for sun or rain or storm.

To placate, to restore.

.

A’m swynwys-i Wytyon

Mawrut o brithron.

.

Gwydion fashioned me

Great enchantment wrought by a magic staff;

.

9

A year abiding by trees –

some would not return,

fertilising the world

with their eternal silences.

.

O Eurwys, o Euron,

O Euron, o Vodron;

.

By Eurwys, by Euron,

By Euron, by Modron;

.

10

Another, we hunted and slew all the gods,

taking their women and siring new progeny.

These we fed with our own blood and souls,

so that they would know us when we summoned them.

.

O pymp keluydon

Arthawon eil math –

Pan ymdygyaed.

.

By five enchanters

Of a kind like godparents –

Was I reared.

.

11

One year to placate and cajole poisons.

Those songs were enticing, sweet as death.

.

A’m swynwys-i wledic

Pan vei let loscedic.

.

A ruler fashioned me

When there would have been a burning extent.

.

12

Then we did all return to our own families

To serve one year, unrecognised, in their midst.

For many that was the final chain broken to the past.

Allegiance of blood once sweet, now rancid, old, bitter.

.

A’m swynwys sywyt

Sywydon kyn byt,

.

The wisdom of sages fashioned me

Before the world was made.

.

13

A year of folding secrets into the mundane;

Of speaking to the deep;

Of remaining human.

Learning that love and hate

Are the gravity that keeps us here.

.

Pan vei genhyf-y vot,

Pan vei vach veint byt.

.

When I had being,

When the extent of the world was still small.

.

14

A year polishing swords and mirrors

And placing the singing spells

Of vision and death within them.

.

Hard bard bud angnawt,

Yt uedaf ar wawt

A traetho tauawt.

.

A fair poet, of unusual gifts,

I control in song

That which the tongue utters.

.

15

The genealogies of the lost

And the equations of gods;

Their doorways, their doorkeepers.

The mysteries under the earth

Where the stars wander,

Passionate light on an endless river.

.

Gwaryeis yn llychwr,

Kysceis ym porffor.

.

I played in the light,

I slept wrapped in purple.

.

16

The transmutation of the body into smoke;

To see without eyes;

To move the shining streams.

.

Neu bum yn yscor

Gan Dylan Eil Mor,

.

I was in the citadel

With Dylan Son of the Sea,

.

17

To become free in chains;

To remember the first cauldron

And the journey from there.

Brightness remaining.

To give everything away,

Yet remain undiminished.

.

Yg kylchet ym perued

Rwg deulin teyrned.

.

My bed in the interior

Between the knees of kings.

.

18

To summon guards and guardians;

To curse the dreams of kings;

To know the stars’ positions in daylight;

To travel out on rays of light;

.

Yn deu wayw anchwant:

O Nef pan doethant.

.

My two keen spears:

From Heaven did they come.

.

19

To know one’s manner and time of death;

To move into other forms;

To prophesy and to escape from prophecy.

Transformation at the moment of death;

To remember every name and

The shape and hungers of souls.

.

Yn Annwfyn llifereint

Wrth urwydrin dybydant.

.

In the streams of Annwfn

They come ready for battle.

.

20

To return to simple words,

To return to silence;

To remember and forget,

To move freely without ripples.

Three drops spinning –

Their taste, the honey moment.

To know that all is song.

That all is one song, one river,

And to listen to the winds from the hills there,

From the rapids, from the shallows,

To leap upstream, to float downstream.

To inhabit the world that inhabits the wise.

.

Ef gwrith, ef datwrith,

Ef gwrith ieithoed.

.

He made, he remade,

He made languages.

.

Llachar y enw llawffer,

Much llywei nifer;

.

Radiant his name, strong his hand

Brilliantly did he direct a host;

.

Ysceinynt yn ufel

O dosas yn uchel.

.

They were scattering in sparks

From a drop in the heights.

The Welsh is taken from ‘Cad Godeu’, a long and mysterious poem attributed to Taliesin. It is not meant as a commentary on my verses, nor the other way round. But perhaps they both come from the same place and act as a counterpoint in time and space.

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THE SHOUT

1

Anchor my mouth in the sun

and let it roar the world’s width

to wake the dreamers

and to find the tides

to race the weed and wrack

and sweep the land clean once more.

A hook is my word

for to catch the shining, leaping warriors.

It is cast out in the waters of the air,

in the brightness of the morning.

It is laced with gold and the promise of blood,

the crunch of bones in the jaws of wolves and foxes,

the ravens collecting the last fading visions of the slain,

The souls, brave souls, looking for new forms in the wild hills.

A hook well tied to reel in the strong eels of wriggling passion

Well knotted to call them back for gold and glory and another day of war.

Deep rooted my tongue in the synaptic shudders of the past.

Deep rooted my buried word grasping the chambers of stone.

Deep rooted so as to throw out long whip-branches

And a sturdy trunk with a thousand branches of meaning.

It is a shelter to the people, a roof and a feast hall.

This tree of persuasion, a fleet sent out by breath,

Each a vessel of contingency, an unassailable fortress of intent.

2

Battle boar sits on my head, roars though my mouth.

A bright god, bright as sun, bright as moon, springs from my tongue.

Its mind and my mind are united.

It is the circle of the land we are sworn to defend.

The circle of time we are to fulfil.

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I DREAM THE DISEASE OF INSISTENT TRUTH

We have already lost the world

We have already lost the world.

But we go to a world where it still is.

.

Filling the bright circle

With a cadence of whispered names.

.

It is not this.

It is not this,

Where we step through to brightness.

Going nowhere, we turn,

Become pillars of silence

Against the metred songs of a warrior god,

Sung in a warrior’s language you hardly even know,

Built for grey walls and bitter days.

.

A circle of leaves

In a sacred number

To build a door in air.

.

The knots are tied and untied

To measure the moon’s dance,

The stones moved round the circle.

.

The one who was lost

Is a clue to the thing

That can never be found by looking.

.

All our friends who are not with us are dead.

They are remembering other roads

Beyond the shadows of trees and the towering fountains.

.

We dance with mathematical precision,

A syncopated falling.

.

Small white flowers shall puddle

In her footsteps

Though the bones of the snow

Spell cold on the mountains.

.

We cannot tell if your bleak holiness

Shall heal yet, or simply dissolve our duties

To leave us standing mute and shelterless.

.

We fall into the roaring gorges,

The broken roaring overhung,

The dark, weeping trees.

.

It is a battle whose sides

We once understood.

.

Through a silent circle of leaves,

Holy in number,

We shall step and take new forms

That wait for us

Winged or furred or fluttering,

Whispered or yearning

We shall slide between

The rocks of certain truth.

.

Stones will shatter for our gentleness,

Worlds cave in and crystals crack,

The dark shall fill with pulsing light.

.

The impossible sky

The impossible sky

We will dance within.

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TALIESIN’S HANGOVER

We are the ghosts,
And the demons dance
Roaring in our blood.

The holy and the profane-
The weather of our tastes.

Better would be silence
Than a thousand poets
Limping their rhymes
Through barren landscapes
They mistake for freedom.

Bitterness shall wake us,
Beauty put us to sleep.

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BITTER , EVEN

Am nyt vo nyt vyd
Nyt vid am nyt vo

Since it may not be , it shall not be;
It shall not be since it may not be.

A bard would waste no time, waste no words.
(A flaying knife of quick tongue
to buck up the drowsing drunken lords.)

Forty years thrown away for one curious look
Beyond a dusty door.

The balm of forgetting ( the long war over)
The balm of art and of companionship
Shattered in cold salt winds.

The little island storm-wracked,
No pilgrims given shelter.

Proud Arthur unearthed the protecting head –
He thought the land needed nothing
But force and brave bluster
To keep it sound and sovereign.

Manawyddan turned cobbler
Who should have been king.
He chose a small, good life
Rather than justifiable strife.

And the bard knows,
The bard knows
That the future is a waste land, forever unmade.
And the present, only the hiss of foam spray
At the very edge of an eternal ocean,
The roaring, ever-flowering, accumulating past.

Boet gwir venhyt
Dragwynawl byt

Let there be true joy
In the sorrowful world.

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BARDIC REPLY

Our art is not about sanity.
You, who have learned neither name nor edge,
Who insist there is one word, one view, one meaning.
You can know nothing of this glory, this defeat, this wonder.
Whose life must be pleasant above all things,
despite death and all its monsters, despite the shadows, the whispers.
Trained neither to remember nor forget, muddling through.
Oh the mirrors are sharp and they are fine, but they lie.
That is never your face that looks out -just a trick we
Have become accustomed to, knowing no better.
Staring into dark pools hypnotised, dissassociated, becoming
Numb, drained of decisions, drained of moments,
the buzzing of summer flies, the click of electrical circuits.

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THE WONDERS BETWEEN

The words of the golden-browed gobby boy,
Next to madness, filter down to aquafers dark and fertile.
Sublime its nonsense, sentient and spinning as golden suns
On the fenceposts of oblivion.
Meaning hangs from barbed wire, black rags breathing their last.
A hundred forests there are growing from the root of his tongue,
And each tree branches bells and shouts and battle cries of intelligence.
These fermenting druid visions ever guarded from nightmare by monsters.
There can be no place for a soul to find peace who sees the knot and rivers of becoming,
No place but at the very edge of things and at the very heart of things,
Where none think to look or go, on the folded lands of jet and fresh waters,
The bowl carved with care nibbled by prayers and the slow songs of sheep.

These words just mists transfused with light,
Threaded translucent edges shadowing other landscapes.
Bubbles wrapping spiraling air, compassing a skin of life.
An edge around itself, composed of itself, born before shape.
Perfect its round reflection, itself its own surroundings
The world its skin, invisible but for rainbows and radiance.
A glide of light on a perfect arc.
It is by what it reflects that is not is.
Ungraspable, a perfect world of brightness.

Mydwyf taliesin dery:
Gwawt godolaf vedyd:
Bedyd rwyd rifedau eidolyd
Kyfrwnc allt a hallt ac echwyd.

I am ardent taliesin:
I present song to the world:
Praises of the world’s bounteous wonders
Between the high place and the sea water
And the fresh water.


2018/03/mushroom-frenzy2.jpg

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ALL THAT GLORY

All that glory, bred from blood and rot.
Ground bones to feed the noble good.
The Myrddin in us turns away.
Our Taliesin mocks the solicitous bards.
The histories of truth shall never be written.
The honest shall be driven mad
And disappear, unknown, unnamed,
Fuel for the mysteries of the deeps within.
This is the fabled cloth that suffocates us,
Memories rich, embroidered, gold-threaded,
Dreaming of heroes and just cause.

There was one who refused to give reasons,
And won by losing everything.
Who refused to be wise, refused to be violent
Who turned the wheel of matter
To become the spiral of eternity.
A simple seed buried and buried again.
Though cut each time it arises, given names and deeds,
Smothered again, tutored and redacted.

The first, the oldest gods, were not heroes.
They were farmers and dreamers, dexterous handed.
They were mothers and weavers, nursemaids, cooks.
Manawydan, king of Britain, best of cobblers.
He knew the loud ones take the power, write the stories.
He knew the land would grow empty, as always,
Drained by strife and pride, good and bad all cut down.
He kept his eye on the corners of things, on the smallest,
On the fine tendrils of futures, on the goodness
Of quiet satisfactions. There is no precedence
As we drift towards the doors of death.
Only goodness or bitterness will remain.
And the smallest of things, the smallest that sustain the rest,
Will do what they must, unwatched, unnamed, unknown
Woven through ephemeral eternities,
The inevitable victory of the insignificant.

2018/01/img_3371.jpg

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When they speak it is rivers.
It is pines roaring in the wind.
It is sparrows at daybreak,
Swallows in blue open skies.
It is the rain in old gutters.
Vague as mist-hugged valleys.
Harsh as ravens and the keening
Of spread-winged kites.

And yet it fades and falters
Year by year pushed to a further edge,
The language of grass and trees,
An anachronism.
As if it had not tumbled down
From the highest empty uplands.
As if it had not been passed along
The careful tales and whispered spells.
As if it were not that simple coagulated dust
Brushed from God’s own hands.

Jealous of its rainbowed fluctuations,
A by-passed parish, a redundant economy.
It is a sad craft that kills the past.
It is a miserly mind that accepts
No drop of mystery to remain.

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2016/10/img_2309.jpg

connla’s well

to bend and break the smallest thing.
to lust for endless yes and no,
an absolute reckoning, soul shredded,
monotheistic, the lie of ultimate truth.
bright and rainbow bright
are the poisoned slicks of connla’s well.
persistent petrochemical degeneration,
a vitriol squirming to return to peace,
to a simple organic hush,
the breathless pall of surcease.
dark and bodiless in perfection,
a simple voice unquestioned,
a greasy fire emitted,
the burning of all things
superstitious or holy.

and deeper yet: a spark not found in stars
acidic and relentless, demonically proud,
an unholy perfection eternal.
anathema, contrary to all things,
a mistake unretrievable,
adhering to all beauty
with a most perfect destroying jealousy.

these things do the foolish wise bring forth.
these days and nights of eloquence do they refuse.
these they will rue, though still persue the poison of power.
they will become the unnamed, the cursed, the wretched,
though yet will they delve and dive deeper into death
and deeper yet, lost and seething, dissolving, rotting,
ruining all, ruining all.

Though ‘irretrievable’ is correct, i prefer ‘unretrievable’, seeming to sound more final.

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