Posts Tagged ‘crows’

Early morning frost
Wind beneath the raven’s wings
A nice cup of tea.

The first drops of rain
Three kites skim the valley floor
Their cries long and thin.

In the tall oak
by the chapel door
A gang of jackdaws
telling smutty jokes.
They have no care
for the slow sermons
of crows,
Nor the ponderous theology
of glint-eyed

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Away into the high hills shrouded.
Away to the high, scoured lands laid with lines of stone.
Where the wind crows cedilla the sky
Giving their own reasons for silence and for speech,
And the unknown calls across fields in trills and ghosts of rain.

We are smudged and drawn thin through tangles of time,
Halting to grasp slim volumes, locate a name or place.
A footfall, a scumble of gravel, a whisp of evening moth,
A rag, a window outlooking, a scurry of moments.

But always, cloud-hugged and green,
The valley air pricked with cool distance,
Fluent with miles of silence and the sky.
The depths below and the depths above,
A certain thinness, a certain wild lateness to the season,
A short uncertain summer, clouded, piled up fragrant.

A near forgotten tune, a debris of careless architecture,
A mapping of overgrown scars, a huddling of sorts.
Under the dark maples, under the covens of elder,
Under the long light, the distant shining land crowned with evening sun.
The long roads, the long roads from hill to hill,
A nonchalent scattering of sheep, stone kept.

This long breath, a cool drink, a meeting of streams
Down by the rose, purple rose-dropped park
Where jackdaws bob in and out those stately walks
Where the walnut tree and the yews kneel and pray.
And always the happy, straining dogs, the flurry of ducks
And the slow, heavy drops fall bending the grasses,
Blue geranium and honeysuckle, and a drift of elm seed,
A patient confetti, swirled away down drain and culvert.

The high town and the low town
A history of names, a relaxed concentric dream,
Gathered, pooled, walled by silent woods,
By silent caves and the sound of running waters,
A scribbled note from heaven.

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My Place


Skilled in nothing
Except a drift of words
Trawled from the bleak waves
Of day and night –
Remorseless time
Measuring failed silences.

A scouring dawn wind
Polishes the cold moon’s disc.

A clan of crows, purposeful,
Flies westwards.

If I knew it,
Would be my place,

Rooted and sustained,
Full of small wonders,
By slow breath.


Last post of 2012. May everyone have a great 2013!



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Rook-haunted woods.
Still skies
Raven time,
Starling time,
Fog-drenched, silent.

A million leaves conjure
A beautiful demise,
Then fall into mud,
Crushed and grateful
For sleep:

Escaping from the growing cold,
This pinching of the candle of light,
The slip of degrees.

Skeleton time,
Unfleshed, sparse.
Silhouettes and shadows
Lost in dream:
The taste of loam
And marl.


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Balance Point ( songs for an equinox)

Fading words on fragile pages.
Autumn winds blew old, very old words into my mind again.
I think some of these pieces, which I wrote over thirty years ago, stand up well. But it is hard for me to tell.
They are like long-forgotten, well-thumbed photographs – difficult to look at objectively through the associated memories and emotions they evoke.

Still it is a nice thing to press them, like fallen leaves, between fresh white pages, letting them float across other’s sight for a moment or two……


Corner of the Year.

(its voice is the essence of the crow – its name is its sound, it can be heard even when it cannot be seen….)

The crow’s call
Across the golden morning.

In my mind
Summer ends.

The fire
The leaf’s fall.
The fire
The world’s edge.
The fire.

It was the crow’s cry
Turned the sky
To autumn.

On the bridge
The corner of the year.
On the bridge
The salmon are leaping.
On the bridge
The fire has fallen.

The crow leans
Into distant blue.

I stand at my high place:
The battle of dawn.
Banner-black cloud pinion
Where cold light falters.

The old fire sinks
To the deeps beneath.

But deep
in the call
Of the dove
on my window

Is where summer
Has hidden.



Mind. Moon. Circle.

(An offering for zen poet, Ryokan)

Deep blue.
The deepest of blues.

That lightens
And darkens
To shape and shadow.

From out of the woods
He steps in silence.
Standing still
With no thought.
Breathing the earth
Through his heels.

There is a closeness behind,
As of dreaming trees,
But it is the past
With no memory.

I was going to meet
Old man Ryokan,
Gazing together,
The glimmering cup of sake…..

One robe is the sky.
One bowl is the moon.

And perhaps
A word or two:
A haiku with the first line
“though we must part..”
Never finished out loud.

A white dancer,
A blue stage.

There is music
But no one watches.

Having forgotten themselves
Which is the moon?
Which is the lake?

Pale lips
The moment
Before speech.

No words.

There is silver.
There is deep blue,
And the deepest
Of blues.

There are no words
And no end.



Corvus corone corone

( for those who love the freedom-loving crow)

Across blue ether’s egg,
This black winged voice.

A rag of will
That pits the wind.
Bone and barb
To carry hunger’s beak,
On the gibbett air.
Moulded sharp
Upon the squall.

Cinder of night
Strewn upon
Day’s garden.
Fall of ash
From star’s devouring.
With a cursing tongue.

What god is his
Whose bright eye hallows?
That marks the quick-drift,
Cross-tide of seasons?

What fist
That clenched the flux
Of elements,
Drove the spring
Tight bound
Around this heart?

Praise Him
Whose passion
Light exalts.
Him whose thought
In shadow.



The Silent Centre, or: The Night’s Road

( this was written when I was working in a studio in rural Lincolnshire for a year. I was working a lot with stars, star names and patterns, the evocative stratigraphy of history and folklore…….)

The silent centre where the slow Pole turns
Winds and ravels in the breath of minutes.

From the root of the spine
To the branching sight
It pulls upwards an arc of thought
Spanning clear into the glimmerimg dark.

Long are the miles of Time.
Long the carts wheel that studded road.
Heel and toe the tongue considers
To mark each stepping place.

Mirae, Arcturus, Menkar, Rigel
Deneb, Vega, Scheat, Enif.

We need and must go
To the edge of the wind’s roaring.
We need and must go
To the shore where all seas still.
We need and must meet
The house at the road’s crossing,
And rest not but pass on.

Long is the road,
The road that the stars look upon.
And it is a fragile holding:
The hold of name and number.
If ever we should forget, oh
If ever we should forget the stepping place,
And careless let slip the line of sight,
Careless let fall the weight of thought
And the heart’s salt tide
Not rule the night.

Then whence and where would lose the circuit’s end.
Lost one by one, the wheels should cease,
And lost, the lights would dim and shiver.
The names of Man, the Spirit measure
Would curl and grey
Forbidding dawn forever.

But where eyes turn
The name shall find them,
And footsteps trace
And tracks recover.
Where edge meets edge
The hope discloses
The constant spark
Forbidding night forever.

We need and must go
To the edge of the wind’s roaring.
We need and must go
To the shore where all seas still.
We need and must meet
The house at the road’s crossing
And rest not but pass on.

Mirae, Arcturus, Menkar, Rigel
Deneb, Vega, Scheat, Enif.



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