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Posts Tagged ‘eistedddfod’

Sunset (Last Light)

The road will come to an end in fire.
Struck dumb in light, a blaze of shadows punching through.

The bluff fingers of Wolf’s Ridge:
Its bared teeth stained red for a moment,
Picked bones and the impossible low laugh of ravens.

Gossip is still gossip though it rhymes.
Arwyn calling his sheep has more of Taliesin in him
Than all that cool dicing of sentences and city-slick say-so.
More of Aneirin in his mutterings: the fickleness of hounds,
The blast of grey rain scouring the slopes
Above neat, labelled towns in two warring languages.

No ceremony at the end of the day,
No fanfare sunset, no golden road, no moments reflection.
Day’s end, like a casual death, a fast artic blasting hot and close
Along narrow lanes, tick clocking, tachometer disabled.
We war Time and, hopeless, hope to win.
The map, a chessboard, a magical gwyddbwyll board
Littered with small victories and imminent defeat.

The sun will set whether we watch or not.
In the parlour tea is laid out.
One bar on the electric to keep off damp and rheumatics.
The sun, a slow thief, has taken colour from the mantelpiece portraits
And given it back to a thin blue sky,
A blush of pink, a heartbeat or two stolen from memories.

The heather will be shouting purple on the hillside now,
Smelling the end of summer and the crisping of bracken
And the tiny push of fungi fingering up through centuries of dust and gravel,
Delicate as the word of God on a Monday morning.
But not yet, not yet. Wait for twilight and dank darkness and the sweat of dew fall,
And fox and owl marking out their own fields of killing and loving.
From deep in her set the vixen suckles the dawn and dusty sun.
From their rickety, woven heights the hooting owls can see
And see again another and another sunset, further and further west,
Each hilly horizon making it anew ’til the end of time.
They know somewhere it is always sunset, somewhere always dawn.
The fungi feel it too – the sun’s path below the ground,
The path of electrons, the spin of stars,
The mutterings of shepherds and the slow counting of the dead and buried,
(Ears open for the Last Trump in case they, day-dreaming, miss it,
And losing the last vestige of decency, become fields and woods
And the sheen of light on puddled lanes).

The chapel roof, high as a barn, catches the last light
And rings to itself a psalm of glory.
It will all fade to a dull ache and a cough of cloud.
A thing of beauty does not last forever, lest we forget the truth of it.
A map of words and hope can carry much,
but not so much as this eternal river.
The whisky-dark, blue-throated Irfon wanders through its valley’s dreams,
News of another day’s sunset carried eastwards towards another dawn.


This is the last of the batch of sunset poems, except maybe a few fragments that may be sewn together sometime. Tied to personal memory of the senses and of times and places, it is very difficult for the writer, I find, to evaluate the effectiveness of the words that for other readers do not have the same connection. We are left with the shaping of the music of the sound of the words, and the hope that it will find some resonance in sympathetic minds. Endless fiddling with a creative moment may be a diverting occupation, but there is no promise that the end result will be appreciated any more. It comes down to the moment, its life energy and the taste or distaste of the reader. Second guessing the reader is stultifying and fruitless. I think I did find some useful concept/images in working on this theme, but they seem still rather scattered throughout the different voices that emerged in the various poems. There is quite a debris of purple, romantic and metaphysical gush that did not find a home. To be expected with the topic, I suppose. That’ll do for now, though.

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