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Posts Tagged ‘February’

THE THRUSH’S SONG

“I was a droplet in the air.
I was the radiance of starlight.”

I was a morning in late February,
Fresh with moments of green
And a wealth of birdsong.

I was a gradient of light
Sliding on the hillsides;
A calibration of sorrows
On the mountains;
A word somewhere between
Joy and sorrow.

A maker of firelight warmth
And a cup of hot tea,
A conveyance of small wonder
And a hunter of consideration.

The wind is light
And the clouds dissolving in colour.
The ground is waterlogged
And the trees become thirsty.
It is still silent on the road,
The paths still empty.
Their shadows hold winter,
Puddled, ice-blind eyes.

There is nothing that is not ordinary,
Nothing that is not wonderful.
The triple song of the thrush
Sings it all, again and again.
Praise for praise’s sake,
Word on word.

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UNFOLDED
(Out of Taliesin)

I have been in many forms
But come back to this one:
Floating wingspread one,
Weightless and watchful,
A feathered arc, a bowl,
A cup of air brushed in
sunlight, wary, joyful.
(The wind has left a dust
Of snow on the far valley
Side, slate the dark sky
And the hills vanish
Like the living do, into
clouds of drifting whisper).
So easy it is to forget – a wonder
We do not learn it earlier.
And remembering: a dream
Patched from here and there,
The glue of emotion
The glue of regret.
A world unfolded from sound
And holding firm, fast spinning.
A potter’s wheel, potter’s hands.
Hollowed is blessed and so
I am hollowed and void.
Blood and breath, clod and clay –
A holy work to keep it
And let go of it.
(The trees bend and roar,
Their thoughts this droning chord.
A chant to the maker, blameless
Of suffering.)
These poets, suspended, becoming saints,
Hanging from the four directions.
Their parts scattered to make new worlds,
Their words taken literally, or buried,
A bed of seeds for Spring days
To play with.

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DOWN THE VALLEY AND BACK

The Towey practices its slow, bright curves.
From a distance watch indulgent, guiding hills.
Coaxed to soft mudded shore, the quilted morning
And a pearly sea, we are a downward drift, and aimless.
Caught up in salt breeze, its notions taught by brick cliffed roads,
The red deserted, bleak-eyed, stuttered cities,
Crouched and stripped of worth and hard work,
Neutered by bigger plans, a thrombosis of roadworks.
Unformed, uniformed, scrubbed up, led away
To an anaesthetised future, one size fits all, a shabby lie.

The world is bone and snowdrops
A sketched slope of towsled brown.
Fields pressed down and drowned in pools,
Mired and marred.
Scribed by hawk the white grey sky,
A scatter for crows.

The Towey dives back
To its deep, delved loins,
An upper silence reconstituted
And holy, disembodied,
Become mist and dew,
An older language,
Petalled lilt,
A catalogue of sighing valleys,
Wooded oak and ash,
Forgiving and lean,
Slowly choired and gathering voice.
Skywards ( the distant sunlit views),
Scrubbed of green, a whiter shade,
The rain-washed road.

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Imbolc Eve

The barking of dogs.
Hills white as sheep, as arched, as silent.
God’s simple smile is the morning sun.

A full moon pregnant with light, last night,
And always the river and a promise of birdsong.

The red dogwood, the orange willow
All blameless and bright.

We shall see, it seems, another Spring
Lean by the fireside, thin in the frosted mornings.
Shivered water, vacant sky.

Day begins with dusk, a folding in of light.
Sheltered in byre and sleep.
A new breath in before a sigh and singing white.

Dry old pine cracks and roars.
We must wait a while for bones to warm.
Faces searched for, no longer seen,
Lost along the long stretched roads.

Thin is the light, pale as primrose.

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STORM DAYS

This hollow, unrevealed sky.
Dipping, a magpie attempts a new meridian,
A straight flight to food or shelter.

The dead elms’ reaching fingers quiver;
Power chords, the cables roar.

We each and all must huddle and endure,
With the sparrows, with the ever joyous,
Garrulous sparrows – delicate and subtle
In their design, a clutch of heartbeats,
Warm, communal.

No malevolence in the weather.
No malfeasance in the storm.
Another day to sing about.

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Four pieces from early this morning, ancestral mutters: sky crowns and words from the Anglo-Saxon.

SIGNIFICATOR

The whispers of the stars of dawn,
Rooted in deep paths, seated mind.
Mind that seeks names only,
Seeks genealogies, plumbs down fathoms,
The pitch of rightness.
To themselves they whisper,
Remembering the weave and twist of gold,
The movers in the shadows,
The movers of twilight,
The flickering torchlight,
The muffled, shuffled feet of steady procession,
Of circular dance taking up positions,
Constellations of mirrored geometries
Winding up time before babes yawn,
Before the aches of morning stretch and sigh.
Before the biting cold, the stirring of embered dawn.
Before has passed.
Before has misted away.
The whispered eloquence of now,
A tranquil moment turned and knotted,
A place remembered on a silent road:
Signpost, crossed paths, significator.

—-

FIRE PRAYER

I kneel, cold water,
Before the fire to kindle,
A prayer for light and warmth:
Cold water, flying cloud.
For spark and roaring:
Cold wave, cold tide.
For return of belonging,
For reason to remain.

—-

WANDERER

The lament of the dispossessed –
The long diminishing curlew.
The urgent, soft cries of lovers –
Wild geese, wild geese.
The road is a way but not a home.
The footsteps of others, small consolation
When they have vanished to the horizon,
Gone on before, singing the old song.
Cloud-cloaked wanderer tasting salt.
His children, weighed metre,
The lilt of left and right.

ACHE

Raked by claws
(This wolf cold).
Blood stain tumbling
Clear watered pools:
These clouds of squall
In dawn skies.
World’s ribs sigh
And shiver –
The ache
Of onwards.

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VALLEY SPIRIT

Over the last hill
Our prize is the view

Where the village nests,
Wood wreathed, woodsmoke.

Gathered fields almost,
Almost ready for spring

But patient, cautious,
Unhurried.

As unhurried as the morning.
Its grey lambswool clouds,
A blanket for Imbolc.

CROSS-HATCH

Imbolc morning:
Clouds like wolves,
And sheep.
Sun on all.

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FILLED WITH BIRDS

Dawn glides in silence,
Settles
Crystallising
around purring cats,
(quiet watching eyes
filling each room).

This house:
A pebble set against
A river of wind.

Two days ago
The sun splashed spring,
A bright relaxing,
Filled with birds.
Now,
Winter has returned
To gnaw our bones.

Still, light is growing
At either end of day,
Stretched, though, and pale,
But welcome.

I am become an interweaving
Of days and moments,
A halting song
Made poignant
By strange harmony,
An old song
With new words
And a new tune.

Days
Filled with birds.
Nights,
Dream-filled,
Word-filled.
A pebble set
Against
A river of time.

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SKY RIVER

Three days now the sky
Has been a rushing river of airs.
Caught in its roar
The bright moon day by day dissolves.
Now a thin cold lip,
An edge of ice fast melting.

Here’s a line, here’s an image,
Bold and clear, easy to recall,
Easy to frame.
But gone and shattered,
A leaping fish, up and shining;
A crystal hung in the sun
Never the same patterns of spinning colour;
A stream, a burble of tumbling,
One melody caught but then lost,
A fugue of endless forgettings.

So, the points, the main points,
Quickly before they slide, again, away.
What and where is the wind when it is not blowing?
What and how is a river when it is not flowing?
What and why is the mind when it is not full of words?
How can we say anything is certain
When we fail even to remember
Our passionate dreams from the fading dark of dawn?

Nothing seems fixed in the buffeting swirl of mind’s river.
I am the possessor of the sight
Of a juggler with knives and doves
Enraptured, disbelieving, horrified.
But I is an eye
In a peacock’s tail,
A ripple and splash
Over a river’s wide shore.
My certainty, no more than that cloud,
Breathing and gone as it races southwards,
Seawards, forgotten on the horizon, no longer itself,
Melted, merged, a long sigh.

Hold here, hold here, anchored.
That is, perhaps,
To miss the point.
Consider this elegant and judicious thought!
Consider this cloud, this sparkle of light,
This aeolian harp. This sound
That comes and that goes
( in the forest is there even a roaring
With no ear to hear it?).
There is something,
But it seems nothing when held.
There seems something,
But it is only a dreaming of numbers and probabilities.
The wise having spoken,
The rabble clamour and grab those chiselled phrases
(lacking any memories of their own).

The wisdom of mankind:
A moon melting away into shade,
A wind rocking the rafters,
Shaking the valleyed woods,
Inchoate, a chord.
Hold, and it is lost, dismembered, forgotten.

The colours of the dawn: a sequence of shifts, no moments,
No savoured fragments. Only as the blink
Of an eye, an inability to keep
Attention,
A distraction of impressions.
Mind, a movement of itself
Outward into itself,
A brash Mozart
Of improvised narcissism.
If you are not now looking at me
Then what am I?
Give me worth
Or I am less
Than dust
On the tongue.

Dissect and sever
Dream from sleep,
Sleep from waking,
Sense from feeling,
Real from fantasy.
Dam the air, dam the stream,
Divide the slow curves,
Tree shaded,
From the racing weir,
Rock shouting and white.

This moment of perfect sky,
Three woodpigeons buoyed and floating
Down to the small green field.
A rip of blue.
Two gulls distantly weaving.
Cloud shifting from grey to pink,
Teased out,
Carded fine and white
Through the teeth of the fast cold.

Recording moments:
A needle stuck
Repeating the same few bars, the
Same few, the same.
Or a rabble of squabbling voices,
A heckling audience,
Swaying faces in the dark.
A consensus of insanity
Taken to be, of course, sanity.

The sky is pearl and golden.
Three day’s wind
Has smoothed out the light,
Has rubbed the hills green and smooth,
Has dissolved the moon.
That is all.

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IMBOLC

The small fires
Must sustain us still.

Cold flows,
A cloudless wind
From the North.

Hope is our scarf.
Hope warms our hunger,
A thinly stretched continuance.

One small spark
At dawn
And the long,
Slow fuse
Of Spring
Is lit.

The beck and rill
Of Time.

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