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DHRUPAD 18 ( war song)

A RE NE

It is
it is not words we need
not words but the song of words
the music of words
the cry and lilt and torn cry of words
howled out and yearned loud and quietly sobbed
in the silence of the listening hearts.

A RE NE NA

It is not words but the rain of words
the storm of words keening the keening
the wind whipping the eaves of desolation
and the sedges sharp and the sedges grim and the wild paths long
and the bitter air and the lost horizons.
A peal of words a crack of words a silence of words
naming each name lost
each heart lost
each breath stopped
each eye dimmed
each each each and every small beauty
each small memory lost
each small dream destroyed
each each each day gone and never never never sung of again.

A RE NE NA TE

Oh the songs they are all the same
from the bleak hills of the old north
from the brave fools
from the fast journey south to stand on a hill sleepless and doomed
from the quick soft slick betrayal in winter woods
the diminishing the diminishing of life.
From the long night trains into endless smoke stained dawn.
From the massing on the edges of death
and the bare skulls’ teeth with the crawl of yellow gas between between
and the loud death
and the silent death
and the long death
and the death of colours
and the death of goodness
and the peals of ripped hot metal ripped from earth ripped from earth.

A RE NE NA TE TE RE NE NA

It is the madness of song
the madness of words
the mad remembrance of each moment
endlessly unforgotten endlessly cherished endlessly endlessly.

A RE NE NA TE TE RE NE NA RI RE RE NE NA

This salt wound flowing
these withering withered hours that will not let go.
Wordless are the words of the song that we sing
a summing up of the sound of the world
of all time that was and is and will be
cast aside in a moment in a movement
in a drowned moment.

RI RE RE NE NA

Relaxed and airless free now of pain and forgetting forgetting
the drum of endless names lost
endless names endless names endless
this wordless song singing mourning all all
all lost held cast put away put away
deep deep deep in the bones
of the bones of the stone memory
of things named named named.

TE NE TOOM NE

I have included the mantra used in dhrupad singing: it derives from the sacred Sama Veda texts that primordially combine sound with meaning that goes beyond meaning. Any words we use to clothe the unseen depths of human emotion and experience only gain significance when they somehow fold within themselves the wordless music of the world. Poetry only rises above prose when it too folds itself into wordless song, when words become haunted with song that goes beyond and yet perfectly expresses, meaning.

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By Breath

Awen, awel, gwen, gwyn.
By sound they collect, though not by derivation:
A poet’s excuse.
Biological etymology, a bloom of lichen,
Mutually supporting, intergrown,
What is not the same becoming
What is not different.
Inspiration, breeze, white, so white.
The mist effloresces, it becomes name.

The hunched woman, the crooked woman,
Behind it all, birth and death mother.
Ceridwen, overflowing awen, bright river racing.
Energy of remarkable stimulation, disperser of the seeds of wisdom
(The soot black severed-head seeds of alder,
The fine feather floating of willow and poplar, careless Gwion Bach).

Fresh water mixed with jet.
We shall reflect upon it, upon its depths,
Upon the mirrored world it shows,
The membrane, the drum skin,
The roof of the sky.

By breath from Ceridwen,
Hunched over, tight focus, mind sharp,
The cauldron within Annwfn.
The place where things are true and of themselves.
In the world
It is not the world it is, the most of the world.
The inner world, the deep, the profound.

Perception of patterns
(all that perception is, after all)
Ogrfen in awen, a phase of awen, a part,
Patterns of the world in the breath.
Witnessing the deepening of things as they are.
The Ideal peeking through the ordinary.
In a chant, in a repeating, in a breath in and out
And the sound between. Again and again.

I sing awen.
I bring it forth from the depth.
Awen in annwfn weighs and judges the worth.
Awen brings forth annwfn

Deep awen – ddofn awen
Deep awen of deep memory,

The deep, deep within the breath.
And what will it turn out to be, after all,
Except this: annwfn is the memory
Of all things, unreleased, unchanged, unforgotten,
Piled up, sunk down, absorbed, soaked through.
A saturation of patterns, a pathway etched,
A river chiselled, a dance dreamed in the heart
Of all matter, what matters, what holds together.
Between the two cataracts of the wind, between the
Song of the lungs, the heart fortress and its salt tides.

Not the words, not the tale.
The weaving of sounds, the way to go beyond
And beneath the meaning,
Lost in the music, the meanings trail behind.

Eiliad – the composition of poetry,
one second, one woven moment,
A weaving in time.
Rhythm defining time
Moving through time
Harmony created to memorise, remember.
The thrush singing the world away
Revealing the underlying presence of sacredness.

This high throne, this chair, this rock: a place of song.
Worlds reflected in the sound and rhythm,
Mirroring, transformed, switched.
A seething mist, a sunlit hillside,
Sound of distant traffic.
When time has run,
it gathers itself up
And remembers
And by this
Becomes free
From itself.
Eternal,
Golden.

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TRILITHON
(Three great stones upturned, strange, wriggling things beneath them)

Bright Browed

The truth is a severed head
telling tales to the mesmerised
survivors of a world disappearing.
As simple as it is, it cannot be circumscribed
by any answer.
The bright sun rises on a land, still with frost.
Over the horizon night falls and the
white winged soul of owls hunt glimmering,
and the children whimper in their swaddled sleep,
the dogs by the fireside and the dancing shadows.
Dawn is a spark that burns what went before.
The river is a crooked woman dancing on shivering hips.
We become bright-browed and ancient,
shunned and out of step, the harmony misunderstood.

Ssh! Pass it on!

The wise, as ever, steal their wisdom from the lips of others.
Too smart, they exult in escape from the banal.
Too fast, they run from the slow lurch of time.
Too full, they shrink and burst leaving nothing to itself.
The mouth is a cauldron cooking the unsayable,
bringing to life the exposed silent ones,
the cloaked, watching, single-eyed ones.
It does not say and need not say:
the seed we have become will die for the tree to live.
For the tree to live the seed is forgotten.
Turn around, this is not yours ( nor ever was).
Perfect, you must dissolve into one thought.
the one never before, the one pillar that upholds the sky,
the silver-headed beast, the clutch and shudder of love,
and know its name, and know when it was born, and for what purpose.
And never, ever, ever, say.

Cauldron

The bard’s mouth is a cauldron that cooks the food of heroes,
That will not suffer the fame of fools.
It will bring the dead to life, though they can never speak for themselves.
It will feed all, no matter how great the host.
It will wriggle endlessly through time
But will never escape the timeless, spiral woman who turns into herself.
It will come out of the sea. It is the way to within and without.
What is not yours , you will come to love,
If you are wise.
A war of words clothing naked souls.

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