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Posts Tagged ‘cold’

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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TO WAKE IN WINTER

To wake in the long darkness
And feel the slow cold seep in.

To love, and to war against those
We do not love, is not enough.

Drained and wan, the ache of it.
The decay of worn roads and reasons.

The ravens are silent as they push
Against the folds of cloud.
The hills ripple but they do not rise.

We miss the touch of sudden sunlight
And a simple purpose to go on.

Is patience a curse or a virtue?

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Solstice stars.

Stand still.
Take stock.
Light is short,
The cold is long.
No matter how secure
We are only ever one breath
Away from death.
From becoming fallow earth,
From falling frozen onto ice.
Take heed
Stand still.
The small time.
The long night.
In darkness
The slow drips slow,
Then stop completely.
Stars watch
And sing
Though offer little warmth,
But the way home,
The way home.

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Raven Wind

Eight from the cliffs,
In groups of two and three,
Flowing into the light,
Into mist and mazy weather
Buoyed on distant sight
Sharp as ice,
Bright as water,
Wing-tips singing,
A smudge
Of unbegrudged blessing.

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Verse 13

Guenin igodo, oer agdo rid;
Reuid rev pan vo;
Ir nep goleith, lleith dyppo.

‘Bees in cover, a cold covering has the ford;
Freezing frost comes when it will;
Despite all evasion, death comes.’

1
All withdraws, thrall to frost, that covers all.
Fast it holds cold windings.
No one, no world, can wriggle free.
So we become still, a huddled, humming tribe
Unable to forage, to find food.
A cease of movement
Falling white frost covered, frozen.

2
Nothing can prevent a fall of freezing frost
Falling on all: the hive, the water, the hall, the blood.

3
Bees in their halls, drowsy and dreaming.
The tribe is huddled, hungry and silent.
The ford is wrapped in cold, a bleak vein,
Mist-chilled, brings no succour to the valley.
Ice teeth tears its edges.
Fogged with frost, water turns metal,
Metal turns ice, cold shrouds all flesh now,
Or when it may, or in the end.
Wriggle or writhe – no escape is there anywhere.
The white winding cloth awaits, none can avoid.
A fog, a mist, an icy frost, it descends on all.
It is as it is, a bleak thing maybe,
But sharp enough to wake a tongue to song
With honey words, a rippling stream of song,
A lullaby to the living, elegy to the dead.
We all await a Spring, a way across the water.
To be led homewards, the priest’s plainsong,
The warrior’s dance, the summer flowers blossoming.
The watchful wake, the blessing of silence.

4
Rimed, it will collapse
Regardless of wishes,
Of urgent wriggling.
All the living become silent
In the end.
The ease of winter:
Ice, frost, freezing when it will.
Effortless, it falls on all.
Bone white with cold teeth,
With sharp tongue
It sucks marrow
From a broken world.
Lord Winter commands
And stillness falls.
Rasp and murmur,
Our ice breath chatters,
Edged at darkness
A distance from the hearth.

5
A cold flow it is,
Draining warmth from blood.
Frost-hollowed, fog-bound,
The valley river, a tusk.
Sudden or slow,
Ice will eat us.
A falling frost freezes all,
Moving or still.
We tumble wordless
Earthwards,
From a bleak
Empty sky.

6
In the perfected chambers,
In the golden chambers,
Silent the queen,
Silent all the host
Drowsy and dreaming,
Hungry, huddled in their halls.
Through and within
Is an echo
With the single moment,
A cold breath,
A wandering , whispered ending.

7
The stars in their millions
The forest’s edge
The river’s roar
The cold darkness,
The ice air.
Muffled is the coming
And going of the ford.
Weighed, constrained,
A limitation of frost
Crust cold, heavy
Sliced iron moments.

8
It shall stalk all halls,
The stars, the cells,
The covering dreams of all
Whilst we sleep, whilst we walk.
Neither frost nor snow,
Not in anger, nor in carelessness.
Within the song.

9
From these strict geometries
Our dances express wriggled sweetness,
As if it were possible to dream away
The stillness behind it all,
The cold between breath and heartbeat,
The petal bloom of mist
Flowering on frozen air.

The way across is covered.
Lost perfection falls
And will not tolerate us.
So we must dream, be still
Or break and burn,
Then crystal clear, rimed, lost.

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So fragile
Is beauty.
That
Is what
Every song
Says.
Fragile as a single breath
On a winter morning:
A mist flowering out
On settled air.
The slightest murmur,
Whisper without word,
A readjustment of time
And space,
A coordination atomic.
A new chord
Tasting the intervals between.

A settlement of sound:
Snow on the ridge edges.
Colour flees through the sky at dawn.
So, then, it grows colder.

There is sound.
There is silence.
There is
The dance of light
Between them.
Some time,
In the small hours,
The fire will die down
And we will dream.

Beauty is our food.
We hunt it out
For sweet sustenance.
Gathered, it is
The honey
Of our memories.
Clear and golden,
A long summer evening,
Just before the stars appear.

The moths,
The small things
That delight in edge
And shadow,
Where softness
Calmly billows,
Inviolable.

The way
That words fail
Upon sudden,
Harsh beauty.

Hardly moving
This slow, congealing
Blood of dawn.
Congregated, coagulated,
The most slight timbral vibrating,
This metallic air will disengage,
Withdraw to its smirked edge.

Unsupported,
Things fall motionless
To frozen earth,
A whitened mist,
A cloud of ice,
A stutter.

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6

Ottid eiry, guin aren;
Segur yscuid ar iscuit hen;
Ryauar guint, reuhid dien.

This verse has a beautiful rhythm and some clearly visible rhymes. The last word on each line rhymes ( aren, hen, dien), bringing a clear finality to the clipped imagery. The second line emphasises internal ‘s’ sounds and a sonic and semantic similarity between ‘yscuid’ (shield) and ‘iscuit’ ( shoulder). The third line rolls with repeated ‘r’s. ( ryauar, reuhid).

A fairly literal translation is:

‘Falling snow, white hoar-frost;
An idle shield on an old man’s shoulder;
Very great wind, grass freezes.’

The second line may have been a well-known epithet regarding uselessness, appropriateness, wasted effort or similar. Whatever it is alluding to, there is a clear contrast and comparison between the external conditions of winter and the frailty or limitations of humans.

A shield on
An old man’s
Shoulder is a
Useless weight.
This battle lost:
Blood freezes,
Hair whitens.
A rattling breath,
Needle cold in
The lungs.
Cold wind scythes
The land, all falls
Cold and motionless.

A shroud of memory shields the real.
A heavy weight is its covering.
A welcome numbness dulls each sharp edge.
White is the weight of snow,
White the beard of frost.
White the hair, white the vision.
White the mountain shield above the mist.

Heavy and lame the old man’s hand.
Dead weight the shouldered shield.
Neither weapon nor defence,
No comfort, but an accretion of habit,
Laden down, a bitter burden.
A cloak, a blanket would better serve.

The only blanket is snow.
The only battle, against cold.
The one breath, a wild wind
Turning grass to steel.
A bitter blade of winter
On bitter blades of grass.

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