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Posts Tagged ‘landscape’

FIRST LESSON

You will have been wandering, I suppose,

Through the sunny, vague landscapes of your life

Following the habitual hounds of thought

Weaving in and out your thoughts.

.

You will have come across these words,

Sucking them up, making them yours

Before even thinking, before even thinking,

To whom do they belong? Whose voice, now?

.

We believe ourselves sovereign here:

My mind, my territory, my dwelling place.

But is that really so? (is what I ask.)

You have wandered into other worlds

Oblivious of boundaries, so hungry for more,

So sure of what is.

In an instant, becoming something else

( a folded, entangled irony, to enjoy all the horror movie themes).

.

A skin not yours adheres,

So you become something you were not.

What we do, we become.

What we take in, becoming our responsibility.

.

Shimmering are the edges of the world.

Mirrors and doorways are everywhere.

Names are roles and speech

Sets about great tidal shifts.

.

You know what you know now

By becoming what you were not.

A communion of voices.

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WAR HAS CAST THEM

War has cast them off the mountain

And they have never yet returned

Except their tattered ghosts minding flocks

And the wind and the rain and the ravens.

The stone, green under soil.

The soil, black under sedge.

The distance sailing above cloud

Shaped by worlds beyond reach,

Reciting the names, reciting the names.

SOME GO

They weave these times of plague

with threads of brighter days.

Sharing the names of farms and families:

Nain, hen nain, hen hen nain,

and the tales of the tales she told.

The hearths swept and re-laid

for an eventual return

after the storms of the world blow by;

the family bible left open at Lamentations.

Some go into the hills,

finding the silent walls

moss green, wide strewn;

the signs all but lost,

like the songs of living and dying:

the songs of harvest, the songs of planting,

the songs of weaving, the songs of lamenting,

the songs of losing and of finding.

It is the songs of living

that we have lost forever;

the songs of simple doing

that told us we were not alone

in feeling the rhythms of breath

as muscles worked and tasks completed.

It is all silent in the hills now.

cloud and curlew,

raven and lark.

Memories fade

as the farmhouse walls

tumble under moss.

Hold on to the names,

the farms, the families,

the cherished dead.

Over their heads

the world changes.

Plague days,

words dying.

The Epynt is an area of high uplands between the Brecon Beacons and the Cambrian Mountains in Mid Wales. A strong, rural, Welsh speaking area, the Epynt was cleared of people at the start of the Second World War so that the land could become an artillery training area. Eighty farms were given a few months to pack up and leave, breaking and dispersing a robust culture to find their own way miles away from their homes. After eighty years the land is still possessed by the government and this year many descendents have got together to remember their families, where they lived, where they moved, who remembers tales of the old days.

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RAAG MEGH

find the

slow rituals

that absorb time and space.

.

there is

no hurry,

words vanish, yet

last forever, somehow.

.

the green, warm rains

as soothing as music, fill

the breathing valley.

.

one step

is all it takes

to start a dance

no-one has seen before.

.

we will, for sure,

be swept up in

sadness and joy.

.

we will, for sure,

be persuaded that beauty

is just not enough.

.

slow air pushes

the thin rope of smoke

to and fro by the window.

veils of rain hide the hills.

.

it is green and cool and lovely,

the trees say.

look at our slow dance,

they say.

.

and let go

their tired leaves.

Raag megh is a pentatonic raag (raga) played during the rainy season, but because of its cooling, calming influence is also played at any time and circumstance. i used it as the name of this poem as it seemed to fit its atmosphere and mood. Check out raag megh on youtube, especially those by ustad rashid khan, pandit jasraj and kushal dass.

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AN ARTIST DIES

There will be one this morning

who walks out on the hill untroubled

by the mist and the rain.

Watching with a new eye the bright lichen

on the slick rock, the bobbing wagtail

by the water’s edge.

.

Who will wonder only a little

At the acheless knees, the easy breath,

as he climbs the high ridge out of the oaks.

.

Who will never forget the beauty, nor the love,

but who is still drawn on by a certain brightness,

Like something long forgotten now returning.

.

There is a distant sea of weeping and emptiness,

A yearning somewhere far off beyond the day’s glint,

somewhere where everything is still the same,

though somehow veiled and trammelled.

.

And he shall walk among his sheep

without them lifting their heads, even.

And his dogs will wag their tails,

then look around bemused;

and the cat will stare and stare,

blinking once so very, very slowly.

.

And what was unfinished there

in the studio,

now seems utterly complete,

even so.

Good enough to leave untouched,

good enough to say what needs to be said.

The careful line, the hint of colours:

there is no end to this work.

A brand new sketchbook,

open and white,

is waiting.

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ALMOST JULY

Almost July now

The fragile weather moves through fragile time

Sways like flowering grasses, persistent as bindweed,

Sacred as the falling rose, fragile as breath,

Fragile as hearing the sweeping seas of green dip and rise,

The winds from the west bringing rain and no good news.

Fragile is it all, should you try to hold it.

Fragile is the moment, should you name and label it.

Fragile is the horizon’s light, should you yearn to calibrate it.

Though it is only thus from certain angles.

It is not so in the way it dances,

The way it remembers different times,

The way it sways in eternity,

The way it will change its name in a moment,

Change the steps, open, close, open its eyes,

Pick flowers for incense, for poison,

For your graveside.

A bit late, but I have a bit of a backlog of unpublished words that keeps on growing, so before it slipped completely from sight, here it is. And I have many more mythological pieces coming up at the moment, so this gives a bit of a break from the hard stuff.

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A PERPETUAL DREAMING

.

far away, among the mountains

that uphold the sky,

.

there are those

who forever walk on tiptoe

.

and only whisper,

so as not to wake

.

the sleeping god

that dreams the universe is real.

.

the lullaby of cascading rivers,

the jade clear ice fields,

.

the resounding sapphire sky

with silent wheeling eagles

.

and murmuring chant

from the womb dark temples

.

to keep that sleeper wrapped

in the folds of wonder.

.

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THE HEALED SKY

The healed sky

Blue as the calm gaze

Of the Medicine Buddha.

May all beings find peace.

The healed sky.

Wherever we go

The chanting of honey bees.

The healed sky.

A deeper peace creeps in,

Silence no longer a threat.

The healed sky.

Eternal mind

Ever returning to life.

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SPRING FROST

take this tight

fist of frost

sky knifed

star edge cold.

all night growing

winter chime

whispered seed.

Certain is

fools for fools

while the world turns.

Life and death

a blade edge breath

that flips and loves either.

The in and the out of it

that we would hold fixed

and steady as a sure eye.

King ‘til the Spring sun

smiles over the hill

and dreams of summer

quiet upon the air.

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ORKNEY SEQUENCES

1

The wind sings between the grey walls of the town.

It sings of long seas turned to green fields.

Small birds scatter and reform in flowing air.

Islands turn to cloud and then dissolve in the driving rains.

2

Perhaps the first thing you notice is the soft lilt of the land:

The way the colours slip from brown greens to sapphire greys,

And the sound of the waves, a ceaseless singing (that is also in the quiet voice

Of the people who slip between worlds and grey streets

In and out of tinkling tea shops, the warm must of cosy bars,

Turned around through doors by the sharp wind and its slap of cold rain).

3

This wind is not to be escaped from..

It has come this far from a world away.

Though you may wait awhile in the warm quiet,

You must leave to face the remorseless thrust of it.

4

So many miles crossing the earth.

So many miles across the air.

So many miles over the seas,

To the first hearth, the sparking fires,

The strong stone vulvas of the rolling lands

Arching green, gentle green from the green seas

From which the dead do dream,

To which the living return like swallows,

Like swallows sifting their songs, the scything memories.

The dead own all the songs, the songs feed the dead

And keep the fires of the living warm and strong.

5

Deserted farmsteads scattered the slopes

Weathered grey skulls, window eyes dark and sightless

Broken jaw doorways toothless gaping

Slate pate roofs smashed open by war-hammer winds.

They mark the passage of years and the bite of seasons.

6

By whatever ways, whatever ways we come to them

Waiting diffident or with curious eyes to see what they have become.

Until we feed the fire, until we feed the warmth now the long memories,

Until then they are remote as stars whose names are not known,

Whose patterns are not picked out by pointing fingers.

We move towards them and they, waiting or not,

Wrapped up in their own watching.

There is nothing left here but scattered teeth

And broken skulls, voiceless gaping jaws

And the endless wind across the low green fields.

It was better than this, it was better.

Words piled up in cairns,

Words piled up and stones laid out.

7

The central hearth

Where stars burn

Where the gathered starlight burns.

The wind is in a minor key.

Ghosts of footsteps heading north.

This is the last feast

Before the world changes.

Before the old doors are sealed.

Before we throw away our names

And watch for new signs.

Bone by bone

We disassemble our gods

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NOT YET

If you go a little way from here,

Down to the valleys and towards the towns

You will see the surprise of green:

The hawthorn hedges already plump with budding,

Blackthorn blossom scattered and the slim beginnings of willow.

But not here.

The hill is waiting yet, as its people waits,

In no rush to lose the cold, clear skies.

Still breathing deep and slow the muddy mulch and bracken,

The silent puddled lanes that measure

The stretching days and spin of stars.

There, (here and there), even a cherry, young and impatient.

Even the black ash swells.

But not here,

Except the elder has begun to heal its emptiness.

One more bright day.

One more clear night

And we shall be full of lambs and birdsong.

But not yet.

Not here,

Not yet.

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