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Posts Tagged ‘interpretation’

Book of Changes

I
Wind river
Ocean airs
Clouds race
Birds watch
From shelter
With anchor feet.
Sounds stretched thin.

“The Creative is heaven.
It is round, it is the prince,
The father, jade, metal, cold, ice;
It is deep red, a good horse, a lean horse,
A wild horse, tree fruit.”

II
News from far off
Sorrow and treachery.
Collecting radish seeds
As they ripen
Between the rains.

“The great prince issues commands
Founds estates, vests families with fiefs.
Inferior people should not be employed.”

III
Dawn already in the east.
Rain in the west.
We wait for news, and names.
The kettle bubbles.

“The well. The town may be changed,
But the well cannot be changed.
It neither increases nor decreases.
They come and go and draw from the well.
If one gets down almost to the water
And the rope does not go all the way,
Or the jug breaks, it brings misfortune.”

IV
Standing still,
All the flock, backs turned
To the wind.
When the storm is over
The grass shall taste sweeter.

“Innocence. Supreme success.
Perseverance furthers.
If someone is not as he should be,
He has misfortune,
And it does not further him
To undertake anything.”

I recently picked up a copy of Richard Wilhelm’s “I Ching or book of changes”. I had it many years ago, and though it is probably not the best translation, it carries a certain, stately grandeur in its language. This morning, in stormy weather, I decided to see what happened combining a few short verses I had written with random selections from the book. Meaningless and meaningful. Everything becomes oracular. Juxtaposition revealing the mysteries of the mundane.

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SUNSET 10 (This Some Summer Sunset)

This some summer sunset,
Not enough of it even to work out
Which what words and as to emotions, feelings, memories,
It is a splash, a fat man’s belly flop
Makes sense, makes no sense.
We dress up time so, we dress up space,
With word and cause and story so,
Do we not? Do we not, instead of
Instead of knitting it in, gobbling it,
Consuming it, we pick around the edges
What is this? Do I like this? Like kids.
Don’t like beans. Don’t like. Do I like?
What is it I wonder gets in the way.
Is it these words, this mind minded to disturb all things
By poking around what is it? What is it called? What do you do? What do you do?
What is it for? Better to ask what do you not do.
Where are you void. More likely , then, perhaps, perhaps.
Well then, well then this sunset, end of day, end of moment.
Everything left is squeezed out – warmth, light, colour
In one last something. Not a moment not a fraction. A slide,
A dance, a declining breath, an elemental, really an elemental thing
Pushing buttons, or maybe that is just a weak poetic nature, words over deeds
Thinking over doing, a subsidence, a changing.
As much an entity as a breathing heart-stopping being is.
As much a smiling, frowning, complaining
Finite living, dying, changing thing.
The words will not do, they dance around, they are neither photographic
Nor autobiographic, nor philosophic. Generated, self-generated, unreached,
A mystery, so to say.
A mystery and a vast thing bursting in, changing, erupting, leaving as if,
But not as if it had never been, changing everything.
It cannot, thus, be described. An ocean of infinite depth
Pouring through a door ajar. All ghosts, all thoughts, all breath, all all
Led westwards in a blaze and then gone to a different silence.
Is and is not is. How things are. What the sages know. What drives us mad.
What we forget. What we long for. To be taken up within it.
The chariot of the warm sun and carried under the earth,
bones trailing rainbow light ’til we all emerge
Tentative then radiant, but always utterly forgetful,
Into the dawn.

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THE ART OF POETRY

It is myself tumbling over words
God’s engine roaring a gobby throb
Through heart and nerves and up
To drowning tongue and out free
Into virtual sullen air.
Once solid rooted sense now willowherb whisp
And whatever-you-will, blown breezy and rain wetted.
A garden of weed unruly in bitter pale sunset.
More holy are the turning worms
Silent in their utter diligence to earth.
More holy the first few crisped furls of ash
Let go falling to ground melting for future loveliness.
Myrddin out of mind again and railing.
Everywhere the road turns are madmen
And reckless thieves.
Prophets tearing clothes wander footless into fields
And weeping eat the grasses there
For they can do little else.
Then later, carefully in glowing cursive,
Copy out their rantings for a future offspring.
Little despair misinterpreted once again,
An art of poetry, penultimate.

I have been attempting to get a poem together for the local Llanwrtyd Eisteddfod, but I really do not like working to given subject matter. I have, over the course of the last few weeks created bundles of words that are strewn around the subject matter, but none, (or maybe just one), carries the spontaneity and flow of energy I would like. After reading and making slight adjustments to what may be the best of the bunch, this tumbled out by itself ( as it were). I will likely post the Eisteddfod submission later in the month, and maybe a few fragments of the rejected pieces around the same matter before that….or maybe forget the whole thing for a bit.

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talking tree silver2

GAYATRI

They are there again-
Whispering voices
Measuring word against feeling,
Shaping edges, building coastlines,
Collecting drift for rafts,
A vehicle for mind,
A conveyance to elsewhere.

In the grey flow,
The river before dawn,
(Accompanying the purposeful padding
Of cats seeking a perfect
Place to curl or watch),
There they stand midstream,
Upright, silent upon silent,
Chant snaking over the water’s lap.

I shall go to that ocean’s edge:
Hiss of sand grains stinging
The dry marram grasses.
Listen to the wide waves roll in,
Their deep rumble of the miles
Through the soles of my feet.
Watch the cloud build and fade,
The cry of gulls, tasting salt.

In cold dawn
For whom does the blackbird find
Its mellifluous river?
For whom does the raven call
Across the wild moors?
And for whom,
On his columned tower of air,
Nearly beyond sight,
Does the eagle send out
His long, descending cry?

To reveal the truth:
Nothing but the interior,
Masked by, revealed by.
A prison of the recognised,
Of memory, of habit
And well-trod pathways
Reinforcing a clutch of clues.
To reveal the truth:
Nothing but an exterior,
A view devoid of viewer,
A shaped, echoing chamber
Of what is not elsewhere.

Emissaries of the void,
Mediators of re-orientation,
Skilled in gematria,
Consulting tables of correspondences,
The magical hours of day and night,
Sigils of the planetary spirits,
The magic squares, tablets
Of the Thrice Great.
Translators and interpreters,
Riding the words spluttered
By the depths, by the flocks
Of wild thought scattered
By an eye upon a lituus.
Measurers of geomantic force –
The will of the interior dragons
Of elemental necessity.
This they are.

(Or so the child, over-tired, set to sleep on chairs,
Believes, mishearing the backroom boys at their
Smoky, affable, night-long poker game:
A wash of rising, falling stories, subdued bluff
And laughter, silence and staccato curse.)

Through that long, slow flow,
The grey river, never ceasing.
The memory of ice-fields, ancestral shrines,
Ghosts of prayer flags, squalls of chant.
Bone thin fingers, urgent, prising apart
To get one more view, to reveal
A fall of trigrams, a cipher, or
A terma, space-hidden.

My own dear companions:
Weather-wizards,
Shepherds of storm and lightning,
Weavers of reeds and grasses,
Compounders of root and petal.
If it is you, then blessings and apologies.
Out of step, out of time,
The world waits no more
For eloquence or art
That weaves mind and matter
By the fireside.

We are blackbirds
In the cold dawn;
Ravens crying out fierce joy
And ineffable sorrow to empty hills;
Eagles beyond sight,
Forgotten by the grass-eaters,
Turning upon an exhalation of air,
A gesture of word,
An alchemy of heart and breath.

A pinch of insignificance,
A deja vu,
A rusted key
To a forgotten door
Within a buried ivy cave
In a twilit,
Twilit world.

For no-one but ourselves,
Ourselves to ourselves,
We raise cupped hands,
Let the clear water fall sparkling
In sunlight,
Let the hymns rise and fall
To the sun, the world,
The watcher within,
Purified, cleaned, emptied,
Made silent once more.
Silent in mid-stream.
The lapping waters.

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