Posts Tagged ‘Gosen Chapel’


Scattering dark fingered roads

Across bright dazzled morning.


Jackdaws coming and going

like second thoughts.


Snow picks out the distant hills

As if they were unattainable heaven.


Cold clouds drift on slow sunlight.


The in-dwelling silence is a song

Stretched out to eternity.


It is what the red kites,

What the ravens, wheel and dance upon,

Uplifted by delight.


The pain of frozen air

Is how we know

we are alive.


A murmuration of starlings

A murder of crows

A ricochet of jackdaws

A damnation of preachers

A singing throne of oaks.


The bones of the snow

On a bitter wind.


March morning sky

Churning the bright butter of glory.


The hands of trees reach out,

Shaking in eternal prayer.

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There now, pay no more attention to the lilt,
that may or may not be a fine day to the minds of others.
For it is all an amalgamation, anyway, with slivered choice
except the slow or fevered narration of it.
A voice will step forward, a pen will slide across paper.
(Just make it legible, eh? There is no telling what will
weigh in memory and what float off – much like these hills
that so often vanish into white distance and the leaning rain.)

Start from this place. A certain particular. A landscape of betweens.
North march the Cambrians. South, Mynydd Epynt. Great uplands
that funnel light and wind, two hands cupping the buoyant air.
And between them, two rivers. One called ‘river’,
the other, ‘dark water’. Between them, a backbone of rock,
rising inclining, steady to the sky. A spine, a fold from which
green fields reach and splay. A high road, once named
St. David’s Precinct, now defrocked to only ‘ edge of the forest’.
And so closer now, to the middle of things, by here,
a stone grey hulk of chapel, a beached ark, a barn of piety,
hunkered and silent between dutiful houses
packed close against the wind, west walls shingled,
chimney stacks smoking.

Goshen, it is named by irony or accident: sheep fields
of the faithful, set aside from the urbane and city lights
to avoid any unpleasantness from the uncouth and nomadic blood.
The chancy drovers of old languages tumbling half-drunk with visions
down winding trodden paths,
the sophisticated manners of moneyed gentility,
seen through and through in a side-glanced moment.

A self-chosen people, herded Godly and righteous,
(at least on Sundays, and a sharp eye kept all the days in between).
Stranded, stretched between all kinds of dizzy heights
down the generations, down the piled up, counted up centuries,
Surviving the seasons until the last, sighed breath puts them
tented under the ground, wandering lost and happy as sheepdogs
Amongst summer flocks and the lowing, sleek flanked cattle of stars.
They drift, on this and that tide, but ever anchored-
The painter of faith knotted firm to the chapel door
And the names in stone ‘ar gof’, still clear enough
for trumpeting angels to read
when time comes round to end for one last time.

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