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Posts Tagged ‘landscape photography’

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AUTUMN SQUALL

There are few words here.
Bleak hill, cool breeze.
Iron hard is the ground
Of the present –
It will not give way.
Seeing is the stark choice
Of poets,
Dreaming of what was and is
And feeling the bones push
Through the thin skin
Of the day,
Sky-bright and bitter-edged.
We will grab what we can
And always wish for more.
Certain hunger there.
Sharp breeze, bleak hill.


A short reprise on ‘llym awel”. As days grow shorter it may be that I will continue my explorations of this oldest of British poetry, so akin to the nuances of T’ang poetry and the haiku of Japan. I am about half way through. After a year’s break it will be interesting to see how the verses get assimilated.

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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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INK WASH

open window.
now and then:
sighing cars
roll by.

gutters muttering
in light summer
rain.

time caught
on cobwebs,
lost in cloud.

sedge grasses flower,
green trees
statue-still.

Li Po hums
and sketches
silence.

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Wandering over miles of sky;
The song of the height of the day;
Thoughts graze on distance.

There are many paths here, many views.
One can but choose this single moment
Where the next step may fall.

The old sages would place their huts
In quiet groves next to some riverbank,
Letting the world sing them to sleep.
Idly doing the will of heaven,
Showing the way by staying still.
Breathing as forests and mountains,
Babies full and swaddled in beauty.

Restless we wander, honking like geese,
Like sparrows in the eaves,
squabbling over straw.
Tears for the moon –
waxing and waning.

The best we can ever do:
To care for small things
And to learn
a deeper kindness.

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A Summer Lament

Summer, the dream we so soon forget.
Feeling the bones of winter beneath,
Its bleak branches bleached
Upon a cold, dark sky.

Green folds the small roads here
And the rain is warm.
But in the heart of the cities,
In the hearts of the powerful
Burns always a welded light
Wedded to words of war.

The cold is never far
And simple goodness
Too easy to be proud of,
As simple as breathing in and out.

So on the long days of a short summer
They will still wish for the clear pain of winter,
Something to rail against.

For they cannot let go of being more,
Though they are nothing
That the world will not allow
For a moment or two
In the brief shadowed sun.

To be a cause of pain is not power.
It is a road that promises,
But falls to void and oblivion.
Hedged with narrowing views
When the marrow melts
And blood burns free
To its coagulation
And the bitterness of hollow words
And the leaves curl
And an end that is not peace,
A bitter question, a hollowing answer.

We so float upon this thin skin of summer,
Longing it eternally, and as vague as holiness.
A glorious relaxation of edge and purpose.
The dive and long sighing arc of swallows,
The endless warm rivers of lark’s song,
The murmured chanting of a million bees,
Forgetting ourselves for a while,
Melting into being, nested in spirit,
Lazy in directionless, dreaming light.

Til the bite of the cold night
Returns us blinking
Wondering and hungry
And small in the face of almighty things.

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BEYOND SPITE INN (haiku)

Cuckoo echoes cuckoo
Beyond Spite Inn
The road rises into cloud

This valley folds the green road
Rain drips from the copper beech
Grass bends over tumbled walls.

On Brynffo the spirits drift
Light as thistledown between the firs.
The sound of running water is their voice.

On Esgair Fwyog the sheep graze new grass.
The rain has melted distance.
A line of hills rest in sunlight

A sunlit hill.
Clouds shift.
It melts in rain.
Sound of running water

The steep slopes of Brynffo
Pine needles and the smell of bracken
Moving waters whispering

Lost in the dark forest
Whisps of mist drift aimless
Enjoying cool silence.

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THE THISTLES

Cloud is down over the hills again.
It drifts and rolls between field and forest.
The valley is lain out soft and still green;
It does not mind the warm rain.
There is not silence, but it feels like silence.
Sheep shorn and the hay is in.
The thistles have a royal flower:
In deserted places, proud,
Like ancient tribes before the Romans came,
They gather and stand still.

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