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Posts Tagged ‘Cambrian Mountains’

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GHOST POETS OF THE T’ANG

These exiled poets
Lost in cloud
Nothing to do now
Except compose
Haunted verses.
A wash of ink
Smudged with mist
And tears.
The real
And the unreal
Melting away

On their way
To the fields
The peasants glance
Sideways
Through open windows.
The threadbare
Silks, the padded robes,
The soft hands
Of government men.
Gazing out
Painting and poetry
And wistful regret,
Awaiting the whisper
Of city assassins.

Here now, between
the pleasant mountains
Green and deserted,
Viewing the long mists
From picture windows.
Centrally heated,
Supplies by van
From city stores
Who satnav the lanes
And slur the
Names they dare not
Learn to pronounce
( the old language of
Rain and rock and poetry).
Somewhere beautiful
To die
If die we must.
Deserted by children
Who promised to visit
Often, who came once
A long time ago
But prefer somewhere
Where there are shops
And ready entertainments
And motorways
To speed through
Undistracted.
To be kept busy,
To not notice time
Drifting away.
We shall coffee morning,
We shall do our weekly tai chi
Our monthly bingo;
Attempt gardening
Between the showers;
Seek and find some
Contentment,
Like Manawyddan
And Pryderi,
Hunting through derelict lands,
Until that thunderous roar,
That small, relentless whisper
Changes everything
And we slip
Slip from memory,
An ink drawing
Washed away
In the endless
Rains.

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I thought I had posted this late last year, but cannot find it anywhere, so maybe I didn’t, after all. The winter skies of the Cambrian Mountains and whispers from Taliesin and the Ordovices, Iron Age tribe of the uplands.

THE HIGH PASTURES OF HEAVEN

About its turrets are the wellsprings of the sea.
Clouds wrap the mountaintops,
Rivers run full with meltwater.
The dear horizon is our fortress,
Saviour from the revolving sky,
Pinned back to harmony.
One voice that is not one voice
That is one voice, the mind
Of the poet on wandering roads.
How is the poet like a hedgerow?
A tangle of blackthorn inpenetrable,
Interwoven, sharp with sorrows,
It bursts into pure blossom,
Its fruits are bitter truth that sustains
Through deep frosts.
How is it that poets and flowers are alike?
None knows when the sweetest
Shall spring up, though the seeds
Are everywhere.

The centre of the land here is a silent fortress, ageless.
Held motionless, it remains
Whilst the seasons roll their seas
Across the valleys.
Such emptiness in a heart, so
One can hear the tumbling flows of feeling
Before they cloak themselves in sound,
The sound before the language,
The language before the meaning,
The meaning before the comprehension.

The ravens knit the valley airs.
The weight of beauty, near unbearable.
So in the centre is silence untamed,
Rolled psalms of poignant distance..
Each path, each road, only now here
Because of the thousand weary feet trudged before
With stick and dog following the fluttering,
Oblivious flocks to and from the high pastures
Of heaven, the summer pastures of delight.

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THE THRUSH’S SONG

“I was a droplet in the air.
I was the radiance of starlight.”

I was a morning in late February,
Fresh with moments of green
And a wealth of birdsong.

I was a gradient of light
Sliding on the hillsides;
A calibration of sorrows
On the mountains;
A word somewhere between
Joy and sorrow.

A maker of firelight warmth
And a cup of hot tea,
A conveyance of small wonder
And a hunter of consideration.

The wind is light
And the clouds dissolving in colour.
The ground is waterlogged
And the trees become thirsty.
It is still silent on the road,
The paths still empty.
Their shadows hold winter,
Puddled, ice-blind eyes.

There is nothing that is not ordinary,
Nothing that is not wonderful.
The triple song of the thrush
Sings it all, again and again.
Praise for praise’s sake,
Word on word.

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THE CORNERS OF SPACE

Follow the sun beyond the horizon
And there will never be a sunset,
Never a horizon.

The old poets knew this – that their voice
(River and root of it) runs through distance
And no ends are there to those meanings.
Each sound, a door to deeper dimensions.

(No owls tonight, though a slivered, smiling moon.
Between the song of the pines and the river:
Restless tumbling dreams.)

Here is the vertiginous well of the sky
And its steps, and its chambers.
The view of horizons and their echoes.

(Confusion arises with questions:
Clouds billow and change shape;
Gravity has little hold in dream states
Except by habit.)

Circumference, the vastness of mind,
The corners of space, encompassed
By a single breath,
Dissolves on exhalation.
A rainbow disease brought to a stunning collapse –
Endless blue.

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the year sweeps seasons
like a passionate cloud
from these soft hills.

and the bitter cold is here
and the turbulent waters
and the fire that talks loud and soft,
singing of snakes and angels in the grate.

and the hush-now, hush-now of cars
speeding past to work in the draughty town.

the trees dark and bare
sliced in thin moonlit night.

yesterday, the deep, blue-shadowed snow.
now, a knifing wind, a fast melt
and word of valley floods.

bless the bones of things,
though they may ache and ache.
on bitter slope the memories slide.
it is a thin sinew
holds everything together.

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NOTES FOR A PAINTING

Sunlit meadow
Hidden river singing
Road winding into the mountains.

This road with the colour of itself roams and dips from pink to purple to the brown of a hunting dog. Laid as a wish upon bucking stone, a river of hope for dry feet.

River song
Singing heart
Road into the mountains.

Hidden river
Singing heart
Road into the mountains

Each footstep song, a rhythm of itself repeating with breath and sight, the same view, the slightly changing view, the folding and unfolding view.

Sunlit meadow
Somewhere the river
Singing to itself

This meadow slope lighted with its own green, radiant aura, hovers between dark wood and bright water. A vacant illumined shimmer.

Empty mountain road
Winding beside a river
The sound of sheep

Sheep on the hillsides
Sunshine on the meadow
Empty road.

The mountain faces are copper and lead. They yearn, as mountains do, to fade to mysteries invisible, and clamber towards unreachable towering midnights.

The road and I
Following the sound of the river
Into the northern hills.

This narrow road
Wanders into the hills.
The sound of the river.

The river, a sound of laughing sunlight, uncatchable as eels. We know it by what it is not. The colour of sky and leaves and earth and rock.

Aimless we both wander,
The narrow road and I,
Into the northern hills.

Narrow road –
I do not mind where it leads
Following the river’s song.

These bare branched trees, hazel and alder and oak down there with the birches. Lines drawn across time. A language of balance and holding still. They float more certain than the solid ground.

It will be autumn soon.
The narrow road lost in leaves,
Winding beside the river.

Narrow road and I,
Forgetting where we are
Following the river into the hills.

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REMEMBERING OF A SOMETHING

I shall not remember this,
Nor shall be remembered for this.
And yet for a moment I am here,
Settled between grey hills in slow rain.
My love, still sleeping, her dreaming breath
A slow mist down by the river.

Where did it begin?
Moving on, just so,
As a shifting sunset.

Stone stretched thin until it admits hollowed light.
Dark cliffs wane, and here we are:
Saints as numberless as sheep,
Sheep as numerous as clouds.
Clouds piling to heaven then whispering to nothing,
Pushed by hills older than themselves.
The river runs thick and dark, naming each stone.
It is as easy to forget, sometimes, as to remember.
(Bitter ashes, black soot, husks huddled that once had faces).
How fast the grass covers it all, takes away cause and reason.

Here we are:
A silted green valley down to the sea at Llantwit,
Where the giants watch a slow eternal game of gwyllbwydd,
Playing out to itself between the ruled lines of cliff and ocean.
In the sunny town, eating pizza, we watched the wheezy trucks
Squeeze between the kissing buildings.
And the church bedded there, clutching the old stones removed
From rain and birdsong, mute and sullen awaiting uncertain resurrection.

Palaces of remembering are the storehouses of forgetfulness.
Dust and regret and time running on empty.
Familiar roads have become strange,
For we have wandered too far, and run out of words.
Nor have we yet forgiven the fools that led us here,
Nor the fools that followed.

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