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Posts Tagged ‘death’

Llangammarch Blaze

There now, lay it all down,
The soft memory and the memory of hard bone.
After the year’s first true frost
A dead sheep lies in the field becoming a dance of hawks and ravens.
And on a lonely hillside unremarked
A blaze has born the babies away.
A smudge of smoke and the light of morning
Is no prayer of peace to ones who wait
Empty-hearted for better news.
The village, warm now in sun, silent.
Thoughts unthought of before – friends vanished,
Those known, now unplaced, a hollowness
Around memory clung to.
It is an uncertain anchor to hold on to –
This world that blinks apart from day to day.
Should we rise and flow like the oak leaves
On the cold dark currents of the Irfon?
Or wrap around like ivy, cling like lichen bloom
To this weathered stone.
We are a thin soil that the wind will blow and the waters leach.
The babies are gone who should be dancing.
The mothers silent, slowly dissappearing.
Pick it back to the bare bones.
Feed the world with our ripped out sorrow.
We are nothing. But we were loved.
Once named, now melted back to everything.
A thin soil on scarred stone.
Golden are the tree tops, a palest blue sky.
The ravens dance in their ring, in and out,
While the sun still shines,
While the sun still shines.

written as the news was emerging about the great and tragic loss in our small village. A family house destroyed by fire in the night, a few children escaping, but many more lost. Llangammarch now besieiged by hordes of prying press and film crews.

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This life now gone:
A storm of rainbows,
A bowl of fragrance,
An utter song of views.

How to hold the fullness of it?
How to honour the living of it?
How to conceive the lap and swell
Of that one full ocean of sensation?

One eternal unfolding memory,
A tumble of heartbeats.
These every jewelled moments
Are seeds flung back into universal soil.

Never lost, always cherished,
A fuel for dear futures.
They are collected: each breath, each moment.
Valued, priceless passion,
Tears in the bright eye of being,
Tears in the flow of all beings.

Mother, mother, a soft delight,
All burdens borne away,
All pains a cauldron,
A chrysalis swirled
Awaiting new dream
On a new day.

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A Season’s End
(Epitaph for Vicky)

we become more uncertain
and waver by the day,
our past melting behind us.
a change of season, inevitable.

where now that warm pulse?
that voice? that presence?
altered a little into sunlight,
into a vast, bright landscape,
into a bigger heart.

for there will always be beauty,
though no one promised joy
without sorrow.

we have melted into summer
wrapped in cooling green shade.
and some of us have not returned.

here then, the blossom heart of hawthorn,
here, a cowslip sky and creamy elder.
in the forest still are one or two violets
and the sound of running water,
and the droop and sudden flash of bluebells.
the sigh of swallows and the cuckoo misted valley.

where she walks now is all beauty,
and calm, and easy forgetting.
a summer that shall come upon us all.
and a long day, and a warm evening,
and a long, silent, singing night.

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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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ARTIST DEPARTS

1
Snow falls down, the dead begin a new dream.
Their words, sweet and bittered breath
Beneath roots of moistest tongue, a tree of old passions,
Cross-tied upon new cardinals
And drooping with melancholy.
The forest shifts gracefully in rumour.
One has left, they say, who chose his own way
And chose his way of passing.
No greater gift than this: to bequeath us his good death
And a long, slow, fading song.
Every language, a mysterious stream.

2
Rain turns snow in darkness.
Across the valley, farmhouse lights prick emptiness.
In the deep below, the ever-river tumbles.
There is news of an old man leaving,
Turning to dream another dream.
His quickening smile, (the birds of dawn
Forgetful of darkness), now the singing sun.
Up the hill the moon sinks backwards, thin and white.
It will linger a while with his words,
Longer than most, will not be forgot so soon
Sunk in knotted bones of generations,
A certain look, smooth-gestured.
Carried on, carried down, the river’s song is the same.
The farmhouse lights one by one blink out,
The stars darkened, the dreamers shift
And turn onto their sides, facing the change.
As the rain becomes snow,
And the river in darkness,
And the song becomes somewhere else to go.

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I have left a soft, small light
So as not to wake the ones I love.
Rising in the long and cold
Of frosts and dark morning..

Gone to kindle a new hearth,
To catch with tinder
The last left light,
To warm the space distant as holy.
A bloom, a bud pushed through,
A green something from soily ground.

I have left a soft small light,
Like all those others who have,
In their tumbling watching heavens,
So as to never lose place,
So as to one day, quietly slip back home,
Or at least, at very least, know for once
From whence we, longing, drifted,
Wandered, a dream untrenched,
Not dimmed by mornings.

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Spera saturni, saturn

The old grumbler has seen it all.
Knowledge no one wants.
Stiff bones and stubborn in his ways,
For soft bread and warm tea
He will tell such tales, names strange,
and names ancient, as eyes unfocus
To stir the past.

Old time, stuttered, halted,
Father of years, creaking progenitor.
His scythe notched, blunted
Only his tongue a grating whetstone,
Licking lips and air, his hooded, heavy lids.

Things will become dust
And he shall watch
The narrow glass, the sifting moment,
Until all falls silent.
A slow rasping exhalation,
A rest of sorts.

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