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Posts Tagged ‘landscape photography’

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AFTER A LONG DROUGHT

The log lorries roaring hungry to the forests,
their bare ribbed skeletons longing for another heavy load.

Such a waste of words this poetry is,
scattered in the warm wind unable to withstand
the returning silence that covers with cloud the hills
turned heather purple
and the curling first thoughts of autumn
and the spit of rain.

The path to Fannog was damp
and the woods smelled of blackberries.
The steel still waters sullen and drained,
the old farm’s walls, out in the shallows,
Surfaced again, thirty years, more, since the last time,
haunting the view,
the craggy rocks impossible in sunshine
after so many years dark under murky waters.

They have receded
pulled back from the tops of their drowned valleys
like lips curled back from a corpse’s teeth,
the bare stumps of black trees, the slope of field and fence post.

We are measured by what remains –
these scars and careless piled debris swept from sight.
“Swimming forbidden. No diving allowed. Submerged objects”,
the bones and worse, the dreams,
the miscalculated grandeur, the voiceless dispossessed,
(as if we belonged ever, as if we stayed).

I have been dreaming of the flooded lands again:
the rivers rising to drown the roads,
all the fields turned sweeping water,
all the hills left desolate, no way out.
As if they were memories,
as if these places had names,
as if these trackways had purpose.

Sinking down, the cracks between dream and memory.
Flash floods, the sudden storm,
turbid waters, long drought,
a draining of the steep slopes,
drying mud on smoothed contours, the feeder streams silent.

A habitation deserted.
Roofless silence.
Low cloud shifting down long valleys.
Looking like rain.

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DHRUPAD 11 (august night)

The hollow hills resounding.
The resounding hollow hills,
Knee-deep in starlight,
Knee-deep in patient oaks,
And the white cries of the fox
And the stretched white cries of owls
And our sleeping souls rising like smoke
Through open windows on this warm night,
Weightless, free of thought now,
Flicking through centuries
As the ashes’ fingers fall and drift
And the berries ripen, sun-polished.
And the dead (who are always with us)
Watch and ripen, remembering old hymns
In an old language, and the music of quiet gossip
And the food of woodsmoke and pipe tobacco
And the too short, long evenings
And the too short, oblivious nights.
Carded and spun these days of commotion,
Made a single yarn end to end,
A story with familiar patterns,
With certain purpose, worthwhile
And righteous, worthy of some eternal reward,
Surely, surely.

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DHRUPAD 5 (bluebells)

Shimmers so
there,
unlikely unsky
sky,
woven down by green air
in the water washed wood
and the cherry sound
of chiffchaff chiffchaff,
chaffinch, twig twitter song.
Glory, glory, the deepest blue but not,
but violet but not,
but smudged heaven taste beyond eyes,
cell washed deep sound,
a sound even lying on it all,
lying across it all.
A sky blanket sun dipped.
Kingfisher blue, as if,
sudden flash blue, as if,
floating violet pink haze blue.
There
not there.
In passing flicker flicker from
a deep seen somewhere else,
from a silent safe mind springing up
with smiles.
Language unwrapped,
unfolded, spread open,
smoothed
there now, there now,
sun at last
sun at last,
sun, at last!
we shall push on push up
take colour become
come ring sound
and swing down singing
down the slopes,
a tumble bells sighing sound,
swaying dance a deeper dance,
down down the deeper sky,
sunless starless moonless,
a sea sky
footsteps
footsteps
the wooded
wooded
bluebell
way.

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DHRUPAD 1 (mountain air)

slow now, slow the grey cool,

slow
the
way
down.

The gods love this – space free of souls,

no
weight
of prayer.

Small thought light as wings, light on light,

shimmer stacking cloud.

The journey is one breath belonging to horizons
all ours.

They hover here,
hover here,

endless attractors
the cascading distant waters,
the air breezed
from
high
ice
centuries abiding in white.

Slow now, the in and out

suffering little from its movement,

revolving an axis honeyed.

If there are words, they become smudged distance. If there is

sound,

it drifts cloud and misty vapour,

sand, grained and free,

slipping
sift
away,

slow, now, slow.

I have been listening to a lot of Classical Indian music lately, especially rudra veena and surbahar that are instruments ideal to interpret the ancient style of dhrupad. Dhrupad is a vocal devotional music that slowly and thoroughly uncovers the notes and patterns of each piece. There is a lot of repetition and sequences, and although words are sung, it is the emotion within the notes of the raga that creates its profound effect. These poems take some of the rotational effects of dhrupad and its exploration of motifs and rhythm. Originally written as a continuous text, they will best be presented in an open arrangement so that the eye intuits the timing of its narration/reading by the various groupings of words and phrases. (I do not think I will be able to accomplish it very well here within this page structure, but hopefully there will be some of the flavour I intended). There may be something of e. e. cummings, and something of Harold Budd, something of the word patterns of George Macbeth and something of the helter-skelter pace of Dylan Thomas. But most of all, I hope, the slow savouring of sound and image suggested by the alap and jhor of dhrupad.

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GHOST POETS OF THE T’ANG

These exiled poets
Lost in cloud
Nothing to do now
Except compose
Haunted verses.
A wash of ink
Smudged with mist
And tears.
The real
And the unreal
Melting away

On their way
To the fields
The peasants glance
Sideways
Through open windows.
The threadbare
Silks, the padded robes,
The soft hands
Of government men.
Gazing out
Painting and poetry
And wistful regret,
Awaiting the whisper
Of city assassins.

Here now, between
the pleasant mountains
Green and deserted,
Viewing the long mists
From picture windows.
Centrally heated,
Supplies by van
From city stores
Who satnav the lanes
And slur the
Names they dare not
Learn to pronounce
( the old language of
Rain and rock and poetry).
Somewhere beautiful
To die
If die we must.
Deserted by children
Who promised to visit
Often, who came once
A long time ago
But prefer somewhere
Where there are shops
And ready entertainments
And motorways
To speed through
Undistracted.
To be kept busy,
To not notice time
Drifting away.
We shall coffee morning,
We shall do our weekly tai chi
Our monthly bingo;
Attempt gardening
Between the showers;
Seek and find some
Contentment,
Like Manawyddan
And Pryderi,
Hunting through derelict lands,
Until that thunderous roar,
That small, relentless whisper
Changes everything
And we slip
Slip from memory,
An ink drawing
Washed away
In the endless
Rains.

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GYLFINIR

(The Curlew)

cool morning.
clouds rise.
the curlew calls.
sunlit
is the new horizon.

damp grasses –
fresh green.
sheep in the fields
curlew on the hill.

inner light.
sun slips through
before the rain.
a distant curlew calls.

melancholy joy.
a pause in the rain.
the curlew’s descending call.

perhaps we shall
be forgiven
perhaps, forgotten:
cuckoo and
curlew
in the empty wood,
the flowering field.
sunlight and
shade
on the distant
mountain.

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GOOD FRIDAY

from the mist: the hills.
clouds attempt the memories of things,
but fail and find instead broad brightnesses.

there is birdsong in the valley (may there ever be),
and ravens in the cascading sky.
a wash of calling sheep, heading for food.

we feel the older weaving, thread-worn, familiar,
a whisper of what it was, (though still greater than us).
it is in the blood: this dying and longing and silence,
an intimation of the beyond coming closer,
the hidden web knotted together.

the sure, gnarled fingers of compassion,
patient Mother Spring
and the story of the son.

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