Posts Tagged ‘churchyards’


There now, pay no more attention to the lilt,
that may or may not be a fine day to the minds of others.
For it is all an amalgamation, anyway, with slivered choice
except the slow or fevered narration of it.
A voice will step forward, a pen will slide across paper.
(Just make it legible, eh? There is no telling what will
weigh in memory and what float off – much like these hills
that so often vanish into white distance and the leaning rain.)

Start from this place. A certain particular. A landscape of betweens.
North march the Cambrians. South, Mynydd Epynt. Great uplands
that funnel light and wind, two hands cupping the buoyant air.
And between them, two rivers. One called ‘river’,
the other, ‘dark water’. Between them, a backbone of rock,
rising inclining, steady to the sky. A spine, a fold from which
green fields reach and splay. A high road, once named
St. David’s Precinct, now defrocked to only ‘ edge of the forest’.
And so closer now, to the middle of things, by here,
a stone grey hulk of chapel, a beached ark, a barn of piety,
hunkered and silent between dutiful houses
packed close against the wind, west walls shingled,
chimney stacks smoking.

Goshen, it is named by irony or accident: sheep fields
of the faithful, set aside from the urbane and city lights
to avoid any unpleasantness from the uncouth and nomadic blood.
The chancy drovers of old languages tumbling half-drunk with visions
down winding trodden paths,
the sophisticated manners of moneyed gentility,
seen through and through in a side-glanced moment.

A self-chosen people, herded Godly and righteous,
(at least on Sundays, and a sharp eye kept all the days in between).
Stranded, stretched between all kinds of dizzy heights
down the generations, down the piled up, counted up centuries,
Surviving the seasons until the last, sighed breath puts them
tented under the ground, wandering lost and happy as sheepdogs
Amongst summer flocks and the lowing, sleek flanked cattle of stars.
They drift, on this and that tide, but ever anchored-
The painter of faith knotted firm to the chapel door
And the names in stone ‘ar gof’, still clear enough
for trumpeting angels to read
when time comes round to end for one last time.

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I am a fire banked up.
No loud voice
No chanted, righteous psalms,
No holy threats.
Quietly I suck the dead,
Draw from what they no longer need.
Green leaves and slow, dark sap.
A skein of green dressed in veils of ivy.

Not large, not small,
I go on regarding, regardless.
My hymns are quiet,
A gravity for time and space
To dance around.

Disregard me.
I am as undistinguished
As you shall be
As you fall forgotten
Mixed with mud and misty memories.
But I shall see days you shall never know.

A stone’s throw from eternity’s grey walls.
Lived in by wrens, lived in by blackbirds,
Priest and brown sexton.
Banked up against the long hill,
The green valley cowled and shaded,
A cave for meditations.


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Heather, royally purple, clothing the hillsides above.
Around the circles of Llanhifangel Abergwesyn,
The silver, sanding shores of Irfon, curved and rippled.

Sheltered from sheep, this round silent shield
Is where they are gathered, where they are splintered,
Where they are woven.

United, divided, leaning into the storms of Time.
Hausers swinging between centuries
Binding sun and earth, to heaven, even.

Knitted light revolved and spun,
Wheels in wheels, a thousand eyes
Open and closing, a blink of orbital rhythm.

These trees, these towers, these castles roaring upwards.
Ladders of chant and silence,
Spilt shade.

Bow ye down,
Bow ye graceful between the gravestones,
Flaked and moss green.

Bone and mind incorporate,
Reawoke, voiceless and benign
In speckled sunlight, sublime.


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