Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘history’

LLANLLEONFEL STONE ( our geography)

There is a stone there, fixed there
(though only stubborn fools would try to move it),
that speaks when the light falls right from the small aisle windows.
Not yet worn smooth but mute enough to be overlooked by most,
as the owls were in the rafters.
As old as the crows in the yew grove dark and silent.
As old as the bitter spring that bubbles from the hillside
As old as the view perched high, a respite from season’s battles.
Hidden is Llanlleonfel, hidden in trees, hidden its path,
forgotten its signs, next to the farmyard,
a barn storing memories and lowing souls.
The words slope down, they fall down, bow down.
Sorrowful words in proud stone, like the world itself, like the world.
Hanging on by a thread to meaning and remembering,
a small rippling on the glass hard surface of winter light
long shadows cast between sunlit hills.
Two names named, so well known, now forgotten,
Waiting waiting tight in their shrouds for the day to waken,
To be judged and born again as heroes that they were.
Left here stranded as the roar of history passes by,
Nothing here now but sheep tugging at the hillside grasses.

Here lies Iorwerth and Rhiwallon,
(Yet they are all dissolved now to earth and water, breath and light),
Tightly wrapped in the world’s dreaming shroud,
As they ever have been, as we ever have been,
Swaddled between sunset and sunrise,
Growing and diminishing with shadow fall.
Worn down and away to whispers
to ripples, to silence.

2019/04/img_5547.jpg

Read Full Post »

BITTER , EVEN

Am nyt vo nyt vyd
Nyt vid am nyt vo

Since it may not be , it shall not be;
It shall not be since it may not be.

A bard would waste no time, waste no words.
(A flaying knife of quick tongue
to buck up the drowsing drunken lords.)

Forty years thrown away for one curious look
Beyond a dusty door.

The balm of forgetting ( the long war over)
The balm of art and of companionship
Shattered in cold salt winds.

The little island storm-wracked,
No pilgrims given shelter.

Proud Arthur unearthed the protecting head –
He thought the land needed nothing
But force and brave bluster
To keep it sound and sovereign.

Manawyddan turned cobbler
Who should have been king.
He chose a small, good life
Rather than justifiable strife.

And the bard knows,
The bard knows
That the future is a waste land, forever unmade.
And the present, only the hiss of foam spray
At the very edge of an eternal ocean,
The roaring, ever-flowering, accumulating past.

Boet gwir venhyt
Dragwynawl byt

Let there be true joy
In the sorrowful world.

Read Full Post »

2018/09/img_3908.jpg

Our Geography (1)

Our geography is mellow and tear-washed,
meandering and mud-stained.
It dreams through mist and slanting rains,
bites its lip and grasps the rooted valley sides.
It sends out messengers and bards
on posts and cries their hovered song.
It wears its history against a fickle, fast future;
views as unbecoming the speed of our own descent.
Though welcomes us back always
to its folded silences.

Read Full Post »

ALL THAT GLORY

All that glory, bred from blood and rot.
Ground bones to feed the noble good.
The Myrddin in us turns away.
Our Taliesin mocks the solicitous bards.
The histories of truth shall never be written.
The honest shall be driven mad
And disappear, unknown, unnamed,
Fuel for the mysteries of the deeps within.
This is the fabled cloth that suffocates us,
Memories rich, embroidered, gold-threaded,
Dreaming of heroes and just cause.

There was one who refused to give reasons,
And won by losing everything.
Who refused to be wise, refused to be violent
Who turned the wheel of matter
To become the spiral of eternity.
A simple seed buried and buried again.
Though cut each time it arises, given names and deeds,
Smothered again, tutored and redacted.

The first, the oldest gods, were not heroes.
They were farmers and dreamers, dexterous handed.
They were mothers and weavers, nursemaids, cooks.
Manawydan, king of Britain, best of cobblers.
He knew the loud ones take the power, write the stories.
He knew the land would grow empty, as always,
Drained by strife and pride, good and bad all cut down.
He kept his eye on the corners of things, on the smallest,
On the fine tendrils of futures, on the goodness
Of quiet satisfactions. There is no precedence
As we drift towards the doors of death.
Only goodness or bitterness will remain.
And the smallest of things, the smallest that sustain the rest,
Will do what they must, unwatched, unnamed, unknown
Woven through ephemeral eternities,
The inevitable victory of the insignificant.

2018/01/img_3371.jpg

Read Full Post »

AIRSTRIKE

i am man become tree become sky.
travelling north, grey bridges
vaulting green deep scars,
stitches across the stern uplands of heaven.
roaring waters rush thin and white night and day,
they pay no mind to their lifelong fall.

this winter comes thick and fast
with clear days and deep frost.
i sleep always now upon a bed of stars
dreaming of blank-eyed heroes
mouthing stumbled anthems.

our only hope for glory-
to pretend we have more than this.
though the gardens become wild and ragged,
our minds untended, left to doggedly roam
moss-covered, grass-cloaked ruins,
the words left us, handed down,
untranslateable sorrow.

for this do we make our art:
for the fluorescent eggs of time
hatching diaphanous things
in hopes of worthy, unreasonably beneficent gods,
who have already fed and will not slay us so quickly
but watch, drunken-eyed, indulgent.

histories scab over, but so itch we must scratch
and things will never heal as we would wish.
a bitter cold between dawn.
valley ghosts, the sweep of headlights
heading to cities.
one by one, things shall awake from sleep.

Read Full Post »

2016/09/p1140871.jpg

YSTRAD FFLUR (Variations)

1
Flower valley, quietness complete.
To count the short years of the living,
To count the longer years of the dead.
2
Stones warmed by long late summer sun,
Dew still wet past midday, tears for the lost,
Prayers for them.
3
One arch, one door opening onto blue sky.
A strong door it must be
To have lasted the closing
of so many centuries.
4
Billowed on Deheubarth
Dreamed green weight.
An illuminated landscape
A foliate scroll, inhabited-
The whispers of history.
5
One stone archway,
aisles dew carpeted,
nave ribbed in cloud.
The constant choir is this little stream,
and sheep distant on grazed hills.
One yew of many remains
where the poet robin nests.
Pine and dark beech the only roofs now,
the wheeling kite the only call to vespers.
6
A vessel worn smooth with prayer heals yet and shall forever,
Blessed by its past and the dreaming dead.
A valley wide with flowers, a road ended in tranquillity.
7
Flower valley.
Nothing but peace.
Emptied of longing.
Rested under heaven.

—-

2016/09/p1140882.jpg



Ystrad Fflur ( pronounced ust rad fleer) is the Welsh name of Strata Florida Abbey in Mid Wales, north-east of Tregaron. It means ‘valley plain of the river Fflur’, but in Latin has become ‘Flower Valley’. Little remains here except an archway and foundations, but the site and location are memorable in their tranquillity and history. Strata Florida held the official records of the Welsh Kingdoms and actd as the religious heart of the country. A well-known poet Dafydd ap Gwilym (14th century) is said to be buried under the yew in the churchyard. Deheubarth was the name of the Kingdom here. The Nanteos Cup, believed by some to be a contender for the true Holy Grail, was kept at Strata Florida before the dissolution of the monasteries. It was famed for its miraculous healing powers. We visited on a misty, sunny day in late summer. It has a similar atmosphere and sanctified silence to Iona in Scotland, the same intangible presence of history and vigilance.

Read Full Post »

CONFLICT (The Old Fight)

The green grasses heaped and peaceful,
as they always are,
Steeped and shaped by nibbling sheep,
bowing, pausing, moving on
Like writers, like painters, considering the sound,
Chewing over the bitter and the sweet,
The limp sorrow, the tight-wound grief,
The bound and binding pain not forgot:
Not forgot though buried deep in heaps across the hills.

The buzzard cries and red kite wheels for the recklessness of princes.
Ancient trees so uprooted, excised, their long shadows lost
And peasant weeds happy for short moments in sunlight once more,
Before the whining scythe of war steals life and land
That cannot ever be owned.

This sorry foreign tongue wanders uncertain paths
Around lost sound and buried names.
Those gone before now hood their eyes to listen by the warm hearth of God.
I await, as always, their sure narration, its flow and lilt as if my own:
A habit of work and weather, of sewing in twilight,
In beer that eases ache of long labour
And puts by for a while the winds of winter
And the haunt-eyed want that loiters,
Hanging its dark shade by every byre and door.

I know where I myself would be
To soothe and polish the grain-edged slate of sorrow.
Down with the world’s roar at Pwll Bo,
Its throat of rock slaked and scoured.
I would be rain-cooled, too, in the smoke cloud of Cwm Dwfnant,
Forever under the big hills staring bare into God’s blank blue face.

I would crouch, nostrils spiced with fern and fir
And the damp drip from the birch, itself turning silver and gold
From each and every early frost.
Below where the hidden boys are ever hunting their courage,
Learning to kill for bitter whim of distant government,
Watched by raven eye and silent nested hare.

All beaten down, we have flocked to the cities to be sold for pennies.
Huddled there believing safety is numbers from the wilds and curves of the world.
All winnings, though, are desolate or requisitioned,
Elbowed out, of course, by the mighty.
Rephrased, remapped, remade,
The hills are worn down by the measuring,
(Though they clutch still their gold, their own cheese and milk,
Their own paths downward to certain golden summer
Where the hounds, red-eared, hunt the dreams of heroes.)

Crouched like God’s old hound, the church of Llangammarch,
Perched on its very own hill, push-toed between streams,
A confluence of dark and light, washed in gravels, the quick dippers and lowing cattle.
There above the porch, cut deep in fragmented stone is carved
The old fight between the four corners of the world and the spiral twist of eternity.

And we look on, tangled in, amazed,
Forever wanting what is neither this nor that.
But listen:
There is no more to fight for
Where we have found our home,
Where we breathe in and out all weathers,
The hills of rolling meaning
And the churchtops of exaltation,
Asleep in sunlit valleys,
Companions with the living and the dead,
A ripened mulch,
A song worth singing.

Forgive the reposting, for some reason some of the like and share buttons did not show on the original post, and I don’t believe it reached many people. I hope this one works….

2015/09/p1120608.jpg

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »