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Posts Tagged ‘distance’

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VERSE EIGHT

A flash of summer and the swallows are all gone,
Restless above the purple flowers of heather.
Everything that is hard work and driven deep into sorrow mountain
Looks heroic and sunlit from this serene, absent distance.
Held equally suspended before the slope,
fragmenting between memory and forgetting.

Last night’s rain has burst the river’s banks almost.
The leaves spin that have fallen, though the silent wood
remains there, green and dark,
Folded into the valley’s thigh.
Small things shelter, all there is a scurry
and birdsong and bright eye.
A dream language self-generated,
a precision of small hungers.

A moment flows and eddies
Reaching out for words to be clothed.
But now it is a roundness cold and naked,
Hollowed in leaden light, tumbled in cloud.
Hills drift bodiless, dew-ringed.
All the hearts that have ceased
And those that have begun again
Will fail to encompass the mystery.
A perfect river, inexhaustible.

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This is how it is

This is how it is, or maybe.
(memory is a dark poetry,
old as clouds and as fickle.)

a mountain remembered:
golden and easy
and green in the evening.

this mountain leans into rain:
a glossolalia
of rivers.

this mountain:
lost for days in mist,
and dreaming.

this mountain cloak
draped over horizons,
cloud-shadowed,
bruised purple.

this mountain:
a joy to the stranger,
a burden to the desolate.

this mountain:
benign and warm
and sprinkled with sheep.

this mountain:
cairn-topped,
Its dead long gone
Into small things.

this mountain:
leaning skywards,
always growing upwards
mouthing hymns,
forgetting nothing.

this is how it is, or may be.
(memory becoming landscape,
too vast and folded for one glance).
evaporating our vocabularies,
a rearrangement of whispers.

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Sunlight and whispers,
Bright rolling silence.
There is no confusion here:
All things fall fearless
Against the movement
And the stillness
Of hours and their dust.

Footsteps all forgotten
(Puddle, pool, stream, river)
Nothing but the distance of the past
And the distance of the future
(And the skylark remembering both).

The diagonal slide of sun and moon and stars,
Tides of light and shade,
The constant abrasion of the wind.

It hardly breathes, so still it is
In its rising and falling distances.
The silent rolling hills of heaven.

These uplands spread out
Like God’s own hands
On the first Sunday,
Sun-warmed skin stretched pale
Over rippled knuckles,
Bone resting quiet,
Muscle and tendon singing.

Sky-touched, the first moments,
Cloud thoughts, the pale waving grasses,
This click of warming rock.

—-
The Elenydd is the old name for the central uplands of Mid Wales, known as the Cambrian Mountains. The southern border is effectively the Irfon Valley, where I live, though in actual fact the valley is bordered on its other edge by the Mynnedd Epynt, a very similar landscape.
The Elenydd is a very ancient mountain range worn down to a high bog and grassland plateau cut deeply by streams and rivers

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Looking towards Carn Wen at evening.

To watch the pass
of light and dark
and how they each
shape these hills, this way and that,
is all I wish now to do.
we live, we die
as the distances reveal themselves
then vanish with the pass of a cloud.

if not to fill our time with beauty,
if not to see the world as it becomes us,
then what?
a flicker of pain, a flight upwards of joy
and the rolling of light in the valleys.
what other instruction
for a being of discernment?
what other lesson but this?
and to count the days
’til cuckoos and swallows.
and to keep to the constellations
of sheep and the openness
of lambs.

we shall end again soon enough.
peace is here
and it is sufficient for a whole universe.
and to watch the clouds pile
and drift at the setting sun.
and the smell of dew
on grass.

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GLORY PASSES

All the mountains have walked away.
The hills, stirred themselves and flown.
Nothing remains but clouds and mist.

Rivers fall straight from heaven.
Forests, hushed and silent now, listen.
Distance is the well of Time.

I sit without words, empty,
(Though words themselves
Are hollow flocks).
They graze and move on,
Ineluctable patterns,
A partial view of constellations:
Midnight cloud.

It is a virtue to forget,
To remember and to forget oneself.
A virtue to see what is without compare.

Unremarked, glory passes
As sun and storm on a Spring day.
Jewelled with light the bare branches,
Silver and dark the upland roads.

The sky laughs at the invention of morning,
Rises up as mountains return
Refeshed and glistening,
World without end.

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THE ROAD TO LLYN BRIANNE

There are,
There upon the turning road,
Great stones that watch
Without eyes,
Deep gullies with secrets
But no guilt,
A green, lined knotting,
A measurement of altitudes,
A satisfaction of soughing,
Where the treetops pin cloud
And the loud, round thin
Cry of hawks
And the surprising gorse
And the dusty heather.

At this height
The still, silent, drowning waters
Are steel half polished,
The vowels of ice and aeons
Carved into old valleys
And the grey, cracked rocks
Peer out shaping wind and runnel,
A shelter for moss
And little things hardly cared for.

They are persistently hopeful:
These lone fishers for gold,
Generators purring
Sifting the blood of old mountains,
The dust of suns.

And the sheep
Nonchalent as philosophers,
And the swoop of druid crows
On the diving road,
Where distance is down.
The world curved
And marvellous.

Crisp, cusped,
Drunk on vast views,
Descending at last,
A road less laboured
Between blanketed green,
Behedged, somewhat planned,
The roll into town,
A reassertion of time
Into space.

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Spera iovis, Jupiter

An ineffable thunder.
A benevolent sky untouchable,
Bewashed with holy white.
His eye, from that smoky height,
Benevolent, or careless.
Sucking up breath, bellows,
A bull in heat, a vast progenitor
Bestowing fast waters, furious light.

A plunger, a pummeller, a fondler
Of breasted mountains, a piercer
Of earth’s deep, warm valleys.

The biology of deity: what is fecund
Evolves to the remote ineffable.
The lusty roarer, to righteous, wrathful judgment.

Template to transcendence, he dabbles yet
And dribbles his pleasures in little lives
Spread-legged, surprised by glory.
Panting and flattered by the fierce blast
Of his rumbled, lascivious breath,
His weight borne down and admitted.

So it is a face of infinity,
A voice vague with distance,
A beam breaking clouds,
A covenant, a breaking into and out of,
Grandiose lusts and transfiguring flesh,
A feast of flesh for formless air, a cold, clear possession.

No other face but a storm of thunder and a sudden cloud,
An animal roar, a shower of gold.
All encompassing as air, as mountain squall, a rush of cold water,
As clay turned incense, as sacrificial fire on beacon top.

The placation and violence of an unseen height. From there is sought
Return of revolutions, approving victories, an evolution
Of sorts and measures.
An eagle’s wing, a single feather, a sharp beak, a clutching claw.
A rosary of names heroic, a prayer of appeasement and summoning.

Above all, and through it all,
A mystery of heaving curtains,
A spotlit stage with screaming plot,
A certain, definitive gravity, the thunderer.

A strange evolution it is from dark cloud and downpour
To remote, inviolable vastness.
But they all do shuffle and elbow eternally,
These interferers, these hungry, unconcerned
Bickering departmental managers,
Jealous and lusty,
Breeding prophets and demigods in casual catastrophe.
They run off with themselves, whooping and roaring,
Eternal adolescents, hormonally sparkling, unrestrained
In all their sudden, bright passions.
Free from opprobrium, earthy,celestial gardens of delight.

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