Posts Tagged ‘England’


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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Days ornamented with cloud,
Days dressed and wrapped in skirts of wind,
(The silk, shot silk green, the rippled fields of barley).
June bordered with honeysuckle, with dog rose,
Woven with the flitter of chaffinch, of bullfinch.
Woven into the choir of blackbirds
These hours, these stretching days,
Reaching skywards with the steepling grasses
Well towards solstice, well towards standstill,
The uppermost sun, the huge curving moon,
The silver singing stars of summer.
And us here, all of us here, within, without,
The commonest of senses, simple, watching
A gathering of friends, a multitude murmuring,
A cellular symphonic, rippled, waving, skywards.

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Raag Bhairavi
Alap of blackbirds
Rain cooling breeze.

Liquid air
Alap of blackbirds
Wind tampura.

Cloud blooms blackbird’s song
New green sways dances
Welcome rains welcome breezes
Mind tongue tastes cool day
Touch settled on clear moments.

(Classical Indian music is arranged in developmental sections. First, is a slow alap where the notes of the scale (raga, raag) are explored in relation to the pakad or thematic melody of the piece. Next comes a jor alap, which is slightly more structured with a rhythmic percussive accompaniment on the chikari strings ( akin to strumming on the guitar combined with a lead melody picked out).
Raag Bhairavi is one of my favorites. I believe it is a morning raag, but has a rather haunting and melancholy pakad with a lovely descent of notes.)

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ARCHED (part 6)

Echoed whispers.

Slow light

Fading slowly.



A thin, cool shell.
A golden cup
For space.

Earth wells up,
Slow bubbled bliss
Under flags and brass.

Remnant, skull.

Outline echoing
Slain god outstretched
(still dreaming),
Vines growing
Through splayed fingers,
Fingers growing into mountains.

Eyes full of light
Coruscating, kaleidoscoping,
A replaying of memory
And sound.

Illumination of dark corners,
Interface and intersection,

Of song.

quattrefoil screen

Stone’s song:
We, eloquent in edge,
Tumbling meaning,
Disguised as the living,
Guiding, naming,
Numbering the dead.

A condensation of merit
And tears, and beating blood.
A lithophone, an organ
For reverberation.
A song for endless sleep,
A cradle for dream.
An approximate eternity,
Outwearing centuries.

roof bosses1

wormwood and bay2

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west window

ARCHED (Exeter Cathedral)

I was drifting through, sifting through, drowning in, the looking for some particular misplaced images and came across some photographs of Exeter Cathedral from a few years back. As our local town, we are familiar with the studied, silent bulk of the building and can, easily enough forget the utter splendour of the architecture and the dedication and effort that went into its creation. Exeter is not the biggest, but it is a very pleasing interior. It has an impressive West Front even though many of the carvings are replacements for those damaged by bombings in the Blitz. Over the last twenty or so years the interior carvings have been repainted to show their original gilding and bright colours. The roof bosses in Exeter are amongst the best and most varied in England, with a startling creative effusion of the Green Man image.

It squats
Muted, beached.
A honeycombed carapace,
Scoured crab
On drift shoreline.
A cry of gulls,
At evensong.

cathedral front

There is a steadying presence in these old buildings, like ancient trees they set roots and hold time steady, somewhere between then and soon. Continuity. Continuance. A maintenance of faith. A measurement in bells and lessons. An axis, both long and tall. An anchor, a haven.

A weight of years,
Halted, encapsulated.
The green lawns
Where tourists flop
And locals watch
Or lie back.
Below that green turf
Roil and scrape the
White, white bones,
Skull and lolly jaw,
Thigh and hip
pressing upwards.
Like worms by rain
The dead are raised up.
The warm flesh weight
Subtly pushing down upon them,
Disturbed, alerted by the murmur of the living,
The chatter of the breathing,
The careless touch, the laughter.
They turn and stretch and unbend
The need to leave the holy must,
The flow of air, the scurry of gulls,
The shadows coming and going,
Hiding and revealing
The saints’ patient faces
Always looking west.

cathedral yard

Always a little ironic to see the living lying on those careful, green cut lawns. The Cathedral Green quiet, serene, sedate, overlooked by tearooms, by tweed-draped windows. Hardly an inch below the surface, the centuries of the fortunate wealthy piled up closer to God, buried in the wake of His rock ship, harboured in the long hours, waiting resurrection, to join the sunny picnickers, the gossiping long-legged girls, the running children, who all unthinking, brush and pick at the grassblades, the stubble of the dead…..

North Tower1

I will be posting more from this treasure-trove soon. Grainy, dark, inexpert pictures emerging from the shadows. a writhe of words and stone. my tongue is dust and forests frozen, illuminated, transfigured, made mythic…..

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So it is settled:
Cupped, hammocked
In golden hay fields,

The sun
Of this northern land
Free, for a week or two,
To proudly swell
In still, blue skies.

To warm brick and path
Long past sunset.
To pull trees starwards
In deep green shade,
Sheened with dust.

Nestled, the violet mallow
In golden grasses.
Nestled, the purple knapweed
Along the pasture edge.

The hedgerow elm,
Two years dead,
Swathed lush in ivy,
Crowned, adorned
In arcs of wild rose.

Life rushes in
Dressing old wounds:
White yarrow, pink yarrow.
Sudden sweet drift-
Overwhelmed by honeysuckle.
The fingers, white fingers
Of bindweed count the days.
Swallows sigh happy
Swinging high in evening.

It is a time of tasting,
Of breathing.

There is music,
There is silence,
I can find no difference.

There is one second,
There is the next,
Tell me, if you can,
Which is more perfect?


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ST. GEORGE’S DAY ( April 23) (dream stream)

A green field.
Light rampant,

Last night’s stars, last night’s meteors, showers of light as we plummet dark towards the spin of centre, the galactic hum.

Last night’s shooting stars
see them scattered sparkling
on the green grass of morning.

St. George’s Day bright with a sword edge in the wind. Little lambs sleeping warm in the sun. Guardian’s day, the land’s day. We who are, who are we, a part and portion, a flock hovering, gliding down to feed. Our field, bordered and named, bred of us, born and bearing us, dirt and soil grasped, the smell of it, the smell of bone and memory, the deepest smell. The redolent sound reverberates from in to out. Sound beyond, sound within. Nothing that does not vibrate and sing hymns to itself and its innocent exuberant expansion.

Awoken with sounds taking form,
star whispers filling echoing corners.
Placing sounds and syllables.
Taking time and running it
still to watch.

Lanced, vanquished, absorbed, armour to armour, name to name, sound to sound, the neigh of horse, jingle of rein, rasp of scaled iron claw on rock, hiss of expelled flame. The conflict of vowel and consonent. Pinned, wings upraised, the word is formed, dragon-mind gives up and yields to sword-tongue, shield palette. They are not two nor many, those actions, these seconds, these words. They are the stretched thin ever-now, the elongated serpentine, elementally configured, evolution of instance.
He rears up, he severs skin, subdues, subjugates, becomes monster. Not two but one. Bound together as icon, sound and form. Primal hunter hunted, eater eaten, seer seen. Send out from each eye a spear of mind, ineluctably, inevitably hooked, united, absorbed, absolved of difference, a flow of electrons. Eye to eye, saint and demon, exchange sky and earth, fire and tears. One, redundant without the other. Standing waves, crest and trough, a rippled ecstatic hum, white noise of endlessness, gong of falling away.

I shall sink into sound now,
sink into sound, name the names,
place the branched syllables,
string myself naked for nine days,
sacrifice, sacred act,
forget and recall the way the tongue
touches tooth exploding instruction,
an exhalation of daylight,
sparks, stars, a spittle of,
a shaft of,
a spear of.

Purring back and becoming the wriggle of the living heart, forged and cast, caparisoned in echoes. Sound shelled within sound. An eggshell heaven tumbling with birdsong. It savours the roundness of the day. Exhales cloud, tumbling, scudding. A roar that might be sea, might be forest, might be time itself, enfolding shield, vanquished and glorious, golden and slain in the morning.
The giant from whom the world is formed. The jester has slain the king. He takes a golden bow, winks, farts and dissappears. High minded flatulence of patriotism, set to against demons and heretics, the giants of the wilderness. The old names abide, whispered.

A little right
and a wealth of wrong.
To image is to fix.
To fix is to miss the point.
The heart of itself is severed and expires.

A parable of all things, as well as a description, as well as a poem, as well as a mimicked riddle. High on his horse, self-appointed and righteous, the knight rides out to do good. He will go native before nightfall. Seduced by the rainbow sinews of maidens. Then we shall see pierced flanks in the spring, hilltops yearning for a splice of passionate light. We shall see a might entering in and an entering out, a trouncing, a gasping pant of travail. It shall scatter the roosts, it shall raise the heads of deer in the trees. A mighty union there shall be. No battle but a dance, a molecular dance, strings knotted, syllables severed from dictated meaning, wrapped only into its own involution.

Saint and dragon lover,
each echoing sighs,
the fire of tangled nerve
shooting out to the horizon’s edge.
A green shield lies the field.
A sparrowhawk hesitates,
turns and dives.
Silence inside silence.
Sound itself,
a swallow in new skies,



(the images are from a series of sketches I have been making to turn into silver pendants. Dragon energies are a fascinatingly robust archetype of earth/solar/cosmic sentience and as such are a fertlie ground for internal explorations in matters of consciousness and deep ecology)

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