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Posts Tagged ‘landscape photography’

CERIDWEN AT THE ECLIPSE (25/10/22)

Crooked as the moon, as the moonlit river.

Silver to the horizon and daylight’s tempered glow.

Above our heads, a cauldron full of seething stars.

We are dipped head-first, dyed blue and golden,

White as bone and new again.

.

A still pool of light that waves lap.

Connected, the moments coagulate,

Combine under wisdom’s gravity.

One drop contains all, and all that is needed,

Not perfection, but the headlong dance of life,

Falling into itself, lost and rebounding.

.

I have forgotten everything but my name,

And now that, too, is slipping away.

What remains is not matter but memory,

Sly, sliding dreams, seeds stirring.

.

My song all things sing.

My cooking pot bubbles gently.

You run by my rules, my rhythms.

Child, you are as dark and you are light,

And raucous as starlings, as flippant as seagulls.

Hawk hunting, hare racing, Time devouring,

So you can grow your own wings.

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THE COMPETITION

( 2. The Prophecy of Flood)

Tell me, then, that there are no gods of weather

Now everything is measured, everything explained.

That we can go about our business safe and sane,

Not wondering what shall befall us if we anger or stray.

That knowing vanquishes fear.

That naming disarms the fact.

.

I would not pit the gods of cities against the gods of the world.

Though the god of money enchains us to its tumbling promises,

Though we are comforted here by the law and order

Laid out in concrete streets.

.

The breath of time we measure, but the god of Time is not of us.

The god of storm, the god of light, the god of life, the god of death,

The god of twilight, the god of decay.

They are all no smaller now than they were before.

Tame the weather, and there is a greater weather.

Cage Time, and there is a greater Time.

The gods are those against whom we dare not compete.

The sky towers we have built of swaying, rickety philosophies are no match.

The chiselled, honed words, all the equations, mean nothing

But a murmur dream.

.

Is there anything more poisonous to the soul than competition?

The battle for worth, the war for best?

Listen! I am the best at sorrow, the best at melancholy.

I am forty days of rain. My bitterness, a pointing finger

That wipes the slate clean. Above all. Below all. Separate. Distinct.

In the flood I am the spark that burns down the one remaining boat.

Sneering at lesser things is my entitlement.

First among the angels. Too great to fall.

The Elders lined up there on their thrones, counting points, counting scores.

Chosen by the chosen to join the ranks of the chosen.

Offer up your pious praise to God and deftly gather up the gold.

We honour the first, the second, the third (with a shrug)

Wave through the beautiful, wave through the best.

Wave off the rest. Judge and separate.

Gwion was a pauper, grabbed by the ear and told to watch.

Afagddu, the soot black sullen shadow, was the chosen one,

Born for greatness, a certain destiny.

Taliesin: best at bragging –

I was. I am. No one better than I.

The stunned poets casting up their eyes to

The heaven he says he comes from,

Packing their bags, looking to find less glamour-filled halls.

He knew a thing or two:

Please the crowds and praise the kings.

A bawdy innuendo, a prayer, a vision of glorious death,

And for the quietly watching intellectuals, ambiguity in spades.

A foundling of dubious parentage, brought up by rivers and seas.

A certain affinity to water, like Moses: cool fountains and dowsing

The springs in burning deserts, slaking thirst with words and glory.

How many streams are there? How many rivers?

Following the frightful pillars of smoke, the pillars of flame,

The burning bushes, the falling star.

There is a green land, and a green hill far away,

And the best of the best shall find peace there.

Across the river to the green lands for your sorrows.

A green hill of suffering for all your good works.

You shall become forever now, a constellation

Of the revolving fortress of glorious night.

I, not I, the river that is your awen,

The best, displayed in shining light,

A rainbow promise.

A slight and glorious

compensation

for past and future horror.

This is the second poem that was written with Llanwrtyd Eisteddfod in mind. Not one of the finals I chose to submit: too long a rant and not so obviously following the theme, though it continues and develops some of the threads found in the other seven parts.

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THE COMPETITION

(1. Prophecy of Fire)

I, not I, cannot lean against this luscious, deadly heat.

We are not roses, to drop our heads, to scatter petals,

To grow again as rain again splashes the dusty leaves.

Our grief all adds up, all weighs down.

These winds, these fires, these bitter, clever bombs, we cannot fight.

There are no winners, just braggers who will fall as well, soon enough,

Choked on the unguent of their profit, the poisons they excused.

Our shades shall not even cool us,

not as the forest shade does at Crychan, at Cwm Henog.

There shall be no violets in that twilight we surrender to at last.

There shall be no streams of delight, no wells of peace.

No tumbling nant at Nant yr Onnen nor crouching Ceirios.

The mists at Cwm Dyfnant:

they will be a smouldering of bracken and barbed wire.

Shadows, shadows.

A weather of shadows. A cloud of shame,

Claws of rock clambering from sunless cleft to cheer the last demise,

The victory of heat and blood,

The will to win, whatever.

The old, the ever, the same.

The truth of prophecy, the dregs, the well-worn path.

There shall be no competition then.

No mastery. No tenderness.

No tongue to sing the rhythms of praise, (the eloquent lies),

not to man, not to God, not to the primroses, not to the speckled thrush.

There shall be no golden chair on the hillside, then.

No crown. No applause.

No reply when the question is asked.

No one left to call for peace.

The sword unsheathed, the petals falling, the kites spiralling,

The fields bare and thistle-browed.

In the end, we shall see that there was nothing,

After all, to chase after, nothing to win.

The great blue skies,

piercing blue once more, over all,

And the cuckoos returned to Garn Wen,

the curlews to Cefn Gast.

This was one of my entries for this year’s Llanwrtyd Eisteddfod. In the end I submitted two poems from a series of seven on the same title. I shall be posting them all here soon enough.

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The minutes crack open and bleed cold.

Breath is chapped and hesitant in semi-quavers, a minor key.

The hawk is ice that hunts unrepentant the mountain heights.

Slay complacent warmth, the fickle needs of small hearts.

The flutter of joy, cackle of crow.

A silent field: whiteness extends to the very mists of deep mind.

Carved walls at the edges of space, words written there:

We are extinguished and free.

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THE ROSES

The roses

They have been in bud

For months

Through sun and rain.

Now they open,

Bloom for a day or two

Giving joy to all,

Then fade and

Fall apart.

The roses.

The roses.

They throw off their beauty

Like dancers.

They value more

Their roots

And their thorns.

The blood red hips,

The hard won strength

To go on.

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THEIR NAMES

Their names are the doors they wait behind.

Dreaming, dreaming, they thus dream us.

A silver moon scythes the snow fruit that admits us.

Timeless is the round dance of breath.

There is constant war in heaven, and hunting,

And fast, hot seduction.

How else, otherwise, could it be here?

The stars pour themselves into the hills.

There will be ice upon the marshes.

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A small breath of wind lifts the mist ‘til more blows in.

Two days, three days frost, has melted

And the birds are in the leaf litter.

The mountain’s voice says

‘Winter is not over yet’

But here in the valleys there is a small respite.

A day or two, perhaps, of gentler thoughts.

The world revolves around us here.

There is lamentation and the groans of fools from afar.

The waves, perceptible and arcane,

Encroach on the plans of contented futures.

But here, for a day or two,

Will be blue calm and the hope

Of buds and roots.

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CHRISTMAS NIGHT, CHRISTMAS MORNING

The moon strides through mist.

He is one: half-dead, half-reborn.

The garden is all jet and water –

The black shadow that is time and space.

There is no truth here but stories,

Is what we learn if we live long enough.

The river in its shroud, past the silent graveyard.

Nothing for you to do but weep and sing,

Says the sighing pines.

Nothing but to find beauty here and sing it,

Says the sighing pines.

And the stars look down in envy.

They would fold their wings and walk

These muddy, leaf-strewn paths.

They would feel the cold air of morning,

Let go of hope and fear,

Sing with sun and sparrows.

Would build their small fires,

Feast on emptiness and fullness.

Eternity weaving clothes for itself.

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HARD RAIN

Hard rain washing the world away.

Leaves fall through cooling air.

The gutters are singing an autumn song.

Rivers wake from summer’s sleep.

I was dreaming of eagles and their turquoise voice

In the days where darkness drums down more suddenly

And the cold cannot any longer be shrugged off.

I was dreaming of a path that was a spiral

And a spiral that was a mirror.

I stand before a silent oak.

Its name is eternal song,

Retribution, its door.

Its mouth is darkness.

In the end we do not know what matters.

This curl of sound, this exhalation of breath

Might be enough for a universe to be complete.

I study the taste of this turquoise,

Turn it between cold fingers

Then walk into the hill ( for all hills are doorways).

If you follow the hare, the path shall lie

Flat as grass before a strong wind.

If you follow the deer, the path shall be

Dappled and filled with birdsong.

If you follow the otter, the path will be

Silver and smooth as moonlight.

If you follow the dead,

Returning to their places,

You shall find your path

To womb and fireside

And questions: why and whereto.

All the warm singing halls

Lost in mist and blood.

All the familiar is a lie.

The world is utter strangeness

And the stars, known but unnamed.

I have been a trowel, an eagle, a pen.

What has been put together, falls apart.

These dreams you do not own.

Each is borrowed to keep you warm.

The path is a name you do not know.

This world is all the clue you will get.

Wrapped and unwrapped, each day a reminder.

There is no greater fool than a poet,

No greater truth than the lie of poetry.

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THE LEDGERS

I have been collecting the names

of demons from dusty ledgers,

Each a fossilised passion or despair.

Every one a poet and a diva,

Conceited, numerous as neurons

In the brains of man.

Some starved, some sated.

It is the nameless ones

We should be fearing most,

Whose attributes and legions are unlisted.

It is they that twist the fibres of time and space,

That lead us down reasonable paths

To utter foolishness.

They bear the bitterness of millennia being ignored,

Sidelined by brassy, golden heroes.

Volcanic, metamorphic, sedimentary –

They constitute, certain, a slow wearing bedrock.

They know too well the mountains and horizons we long for

Are all relentless and prone to murder.

Dressed in orifices of delight and disgust,

The greatest demon is the one that teaches

That there are no such things as demons,

Denying all history, mocking the laboured divisions

Of day and night, and reasons why,

Filleting the intellect from all shining breath.

They are well-beloved now in sharp suits,

Eloquent in Greek and Latin, they dream in Sanskrit,

Swear in Aramaic, count in Japanese.

They name and number every combination

Of moral gymnastics.

They are masters of the callisthenics of judgement,

Ballroom dancers of complete seduction.

They are the best of us, who best us.

We, the sly self-harmers of evolution,

Ingenious inventors of delusional druggery.

They are dressed in war and holiness

( as we could tell the difference).

All they need is a little time, a little understanding.

‘Sit you down, take us through your thinking.

We will listen.’

Non-judgmental, professional, just taking

One or two salient notes.

Paring off slices of soul for real estate

At bargain rates, a place to retire to,

With excellent views.

‘But look’, they say,

‘We are nothing

But patterns of thought.

Born, nurtured, clothed,

Given names.

Exercise us,

we will become domesticated,

The new normal.

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