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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

LUMINOUS

Luminous ghosts
in translucent
birdsong mornings.

Old friends
invisible
and dancing.

We will have forgotten everything,
( memory
being the engine
of eternal
destruction).

Magnanimous
in all things,
Utterly laughing,
missing nothing.

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LESSON

That little owls
Smell like
Old tea towels.
That barn owls’ wings
Smell of the pages
Of old books.
The weight
Of the night
And the folded green
Of light.
The balance
Of hunger,
And the return
To earth.
Pinion and
Orange eye.
A changing wind,
And the heft
Of an eagle’s claw.
Eight miles
Of sight
In a few ounces,
And a life
Of floating
Between.

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Those distant hillsides,
They are not velvet, not green,
But bog and rock, sweat steep
For all but ravens
(Whose feathers we might wish for,
For straight as an arrow, for
Wind carried swift joy,
For the soar of it, for the wide,
Open cry of it, for exultance,
For freedom from sins).
But down here, wind-sheltered,
Small, feasting on cold hopes,
Yearning for mist smoked valleys.

Did they watch from alder carrs
The washer girls, raw red hands
And tearful eyes, arching backs
And mournful, moaning songs?
Did they feel the Lord swell within them,
Those saints forbidden their fruits,
Wilderness dazed, sharp chinned,
Spear-eyed witnesses?

So many brave boys borne away,
Cudgeled and shivered in blood.
So many unborn, covered in autumn leaves,
And wept over.
So many promises split, broken open
(Nothing but spit and spite remaining).
So many reasons to slide into silence
Hoping for a glorious trumpet
And ’til then, peace.

Of the earth.
They are all of the earth
And know it not,
Or birch their blessings
For want of wit and a little love.

The pines roar
But bear no anger.
The pines cry
But have no sadness.
The rain sweeps down across the valley.
Leaves fall, air becomes sweetly bitter.
There is no blame, should you stay,
Should you watch.
Everything will seem as it is:
Sun through mist, a mellow round passing.

We shall melt as we are gathered together.
Melt and become another again.
One or two words (only) to pass through
The narrow straits of a few years,
Before they too will become singing silence.

This melancholy is a cloak for deeper joy.
This deeper joy, a cloak for melancholy.
All notes sung before the throne,
Chords of major and minor,
Diminished, augmented.

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blue green1

KEY NINE
(Undines)

“Your science of rigidities
Are lies of the fearful.

We, here, are void and free.
Infinite, immortal flow.

Limitless, deathless
Tuned, turning tides,
Roaring silence.

Impossible song
None can forget.

Escape you frozen fears,
Melt,
Meander.

You are, anyway,
Made vessels for our fierce bliss.
Flow,
Willing.

Let go.
Find us,
Void and free.”

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Finally, I have got round to putting “The House of Trees” into format for e-publishing on Smashwords. Please go and have a look. You can download the first 20% for free, and the whole darn thing is only $2.99 in whatever format you would like.

House of Trees cover3a

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Simonhlilly
Book page to sample or purchase The House of Trees: http://smashwords.com/b/302318

Here is the foreword to that book:

“FOREWORD

This long poem was composed in the late autumn of 2012 and through that winter into January 2013. It was conceived on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, during a short visit there. The main themes emerged from elements within that spectacular landscape, and became woven together into an exploration of the nature of freedom. At this time Scotland was again considering whether it would be better off as an independent nation, planning for a referendum in 1214. The history of Scotland, as with most small countries, is full of external pressures and influences. The yearning for freedom is palpable, as much as its strong sense of identity, but seems to be tightly knotted together with nostalgia, pain, suffering, the past and the mythic presence of its Celtic inheritance. My heart opens and relaxes whenever I return to Scotland. Although I was not born there, (and my traceable ancestry is largely rural English and Welsh), I lived and studied in Edinburgh for six years during the 1970’s and 80s, and always look forward to breathing its air again.
Everything we know, every place we cherish, is mythologised and overlain by countless personal coincidences. Significance and resonance colours all our perceptions and memories, often without our conscious knowledge. Poetry is maybe the most precise and accurate means to explore and record these deeper tides of the mind. When we make judgments, when we are asked to decide, it is not the rational mind that pulls the strings. That sensible voice of justification is merely the storyteller that weaves more stubbornly held beliefs and preconceptions into a political statement of policy. The past is not just a record of events. The past maintains itself and evolves through the present. The present, it might be said, is merely the visible tip of the submerged iceberg that is the past. It is in the same way that, amongst traditional cultures, the visible world is conceived as being a reflection, or an elaborate set of clues, to an underlying and much more powerful realm of spiritual beings.
“The House of Trees” is a weaving of these levels of mind: my mind, the mind of the land, the mind of its peoples and the powerful dreams that haunt every pool and rock. The outer always mirrors the inner. To attempt to differentiate the subjective from the objective may be thought by some as the noblest goal of science, a compassionate climb out of foggy ignorance into the clarity of certain knowledge. Indeed, the failure to make the distinction between inner (imagined constructs) and outer (perceived objects) is regarded by some as a sure sign of mental illness in this civilised world. The paradox, the mighty joke, is that both in our most detailed examination of the nature of matter and in our more hesitant exploration of the functioning of the mind the deeper we delve, the less substance we can find. Certainty evaporates like an ice cube in the sun. Each horizon is a dream illusion can never be attained. We yearn, reach for and remember stories that placate or vindicate us, that tell us how we got to where we are, that tell us the roads by which we can go on a little farther.
Simon Hughes Lilly
Exminster, Devon, England. Spring 2013″

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moss cave

11

The tasting of edges

Here is how it is,
How it was:
From the vastness of sleep
A coagulation, a gravitation
Towards the poignant edge.
The bliss of voiceless silence
Shaped and constrained:
Electrical motion, remembering, defining
The surge of emotion, the
Tumble of language, the assertion
Of primacy, constraint, neural nets
To catch and take hold, own,
Possess, reject, disown, demean.

The walls of this house,
Our house,
Sure against the gale,
Black and warmed.

Here’s the truth of it:
This language is not my own,
Not my words, not my syntax,
Not my thoughts, nothing new.
History: the reiteration
Of the forgotten blood
Still roaring changeless
Down the rivers of the years.

Here we are:
Rooted, belonging,
Our right,
A place to return to,
Warm in the soot-blackened darkness
(The winds screaming, battering, squeezing
Sound from tumbling dust).

A silver flash on the black waters,
Leaping fish way beyond the heron’s gaze.
The tawny glen, its tawny sides
Closing in as day’s end darkens.
Where are the fires?
Where are the voices?
The footsteps of those returning home,
The yawns of babes
Turning in belly-filled sleep?

The roaring tide has left.
Its sound diminishes.
The white, wheeling gulls
Are silent specks, the dark horizon.

We are left at a peace
We do not want,
Wordless sorrow for the misplaced.

I’ll tell you of the purest emotion,
Feeling that is free of judging,
Free of qualification.
It is the only language of the heart.
Music, the language without definition,
The summoning of tears and smiles,
Our greatest blessing to the universe.
A song, wordless and unequivocal,
A language universal, sublime,
Fearful, shaking the roots of things,
A net for the Almighty’s scatterings.

(I would barely trust one
Who could not find a tune
With nimble fingers,
Who could not speak verse
As if it were his own heart talking,
Whose words stay cowled behind
Heavy drapes of seemly logic,
Whilst inward, seethes and rails
Against opinion not his own.)

It is not here
In the dream of standing alone.
It is not here
In the upright light of independence.
Uprooted, it is not possible to find a place,
Poor and worthless, it is not possible
To find gold or glory.
It is the same voice
As it ever was:
The clever words well-weighted,
Reasonable.

The rain on the roof,
The wind at the door.
We huddle
Holding the weaving of stories,
The paths telling how we got here,
The choices, the turns, the betrayals.
Cold draughts sweep abandoned corners.

The water does not fight the rock,
It tunes its song and flows around.
It is neither this nor that.
The stepping stones in the flood –
Not the only way to cross.

This house of trees –
It is a house of despair,
A house of howling winds.

This house of trees –
It is a bounty of bright life,
A re-population of delight.

This house of trees –
It is a signal to all
The tyranny of the past has fled.

This house of trees –
It is a plight of bitterness,
An empty, starved gesture of despair.

Delight and despair –
Sunlight and shadows on the hills.
Holding firm is not the way of life.
Freedom and independence, not
A way to understand life.
The making of edges
Is the sound and silence of the tune,
A convolution of anticipation.

Each edge, though,
Neither this, neither that.
We define too closely,
Barter truth for surety
Miss the paradox,
Hold too tightly.

The bright edge is a sword
That severs as the sunlight is a sword
That blinds the sight.

Coming over the hill –
The sharp curtain of the Cuillins,
The still waters of Ord.

Belonging or not belonging:
I borrow my breath
From the exhalation of sparrows
I borrow my sight
From the sparkle of waterfalls
I borrow my heart
From the song of dust and worm
I borrow my words
From the whispers of the dead,
From MacLeod under the sky,
From the white bones, the bleached bones.

I am nothing
But a continuance
Nothing but a path
Made by those gone on before
A house of trees
A house of birdsong
A house of utterance
A forever
Dreaming of a walled instant
Of peace.

BlackCuillins Ord

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kyleakin sky

9

Seven Tears: Lamentations

I would see them all gone:
The small black rags of malice
The small black rags of nightmare
A poison of harsh cold iron will.
Forbidding beauty, disdaining.
Who turns the flame of hope
To worms of despair.
A curse of faith despising life.

I would wish the gentle ones
Back in the deep glens,
By the loch-side:
The long chant, the ordered hours,
Prayers for all, care for all.
Chant in the cold night,
Praise in the dawn,
A haven, a refuge,
A fire of openness.

I would not leave the hills silent,
Nor barren, nor unsung.
I would not have them feared,
Nor mocked, nor misunderstood.

At very least, a common prayer:
The song of gathering in,
The song of weaving,
The song of sinew and patience,
The rock and sway of fruitful hours,
A song of peaceful construction.

This silent, bitter solace of hearts
This leaden, sullen lock-jaw –
A walled, guarded desolation
In the midst of shining presence.

We would not know freedom, even,
Were we feeding at its warm breast,
So torn and twisted our hearts
Have become.
So cursed by the darkness
Left to breed inside so bitter,
Bitter, wormwood would be sweet.

This long rent severance,
This decree of exile,
This proclamation of abandonment,
This churning mistrust peeling
Mind from heart, half from half,
Mothers mocked, sons burst open,
Daughters broken.

It was not the cry of a fox
At the cold centre of the night,
Nor gull ghosting on the water
That woke me into darkness.
It was the despair of a woman
Echoing hills and empty streets.
In the certain dark, ill-lit,
Wordlessly crying out,
Summoning the flicker of pain.
The endless distraught
Eternal wringings of sorrow,
Bloody clouts reddening
Water-lapped stone,
Consonants of spite,
Howling, sobbing vowels
Down the long years.
When shall it cease?

I, too, should leave by that bridge,
(would I could),
Leave the sullen solidity of pain,
The unforgotten sin, remorseless blame,
Not wasting one more word
On the forlorn rigidity of final hope
They cling to who have not already
Released clawing fingers and drowned.

I, too, would return to the twilight dance,
A weaving with purpose and poise,
An upholding, a reimbursing,
A constant, belonging chord.
Chant and chanter, strings of song,
No need, ever, to remember or forget.

Free from those who would sever the root
To free the tree, who would wash the soil
From each endeavour, strip the river
From its valley, would feed their children
To a red mouth of destruction

Dawn Kyleakin2

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