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Posts Tagged ‘landscape’

SOAR Y MYNYDD

Where we rest
Deep in the mountains:
Soar y Mynydd

Hung in autumn air
Its white walls glowing:
Riverside chapel

Neat as it may be:
A congregation of leaves
Patiently waiting.

Soar y Mynydd.
Even when people have drifted away
The river sings hymns.

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It is the changing light
That is making the distant hills dance.

It is the falling voice of crows
That weds autumn to the stilling air.

It is the accumulated weight of days
That pales the valley oaks to gold.

It is the forgetting of our own dreams
That fills us so with pathless grey dawn.

It is only hour by hour in the garden’s work
That we learn a steady, silent patience.

Bending down to earth between a hum of flowers
Doing only what can be done,
Doing only what is timely.

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THREE FOR ANOTHER WINTER

There is a short time
When beauty and bravery seem enough –
Before the bracken browns
And curls like a snarled lip,
Before the grass withers
And the flocks grow thin,
Before the wise have nothing more to say,
And the boasting grows more foolhardy.

Windless green valley
Golden in low cloud.
Leaves let go.
The year ripples
Dark and light,
Its slow thoughts
Swimming then falling
Into deeper silence.
Upon a lake
That is not a lake
Rests a boat
That is not a boat.

Mountains fall
Forests fall
Before the cold of it
And the roar
Of its whiteness.

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Llewelyn’s Last Morning
(Mass at Llanynis)

A bright morning
for Llewelyn.
Sun through cloud,
The white trees
in waiting.

River is hushed
And the hymns
urgent and quiet.

Before you and after you,
these stones:
Ship of God,
anchored in meadowland.

Before you and after you:
This carved stone pillar,
Woven knot
and lichen bright.

In memory,
to lay them at peace who fell,
Their names are
grass’s whisper only.

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The last native Prince of Wales, Llewelyn ap Gruffudd, is said to have had communion at this small church on the morning of 11th December 1282 before he and his troops were betrayed and ambushed a few miles away on their way to capture Builth castle. It is a small church, not now easy to find, and lies in the middle of a field with only one or two farms nearby. Across the River Irfon at Cilmeri is the well where Llewellyn’s severed head was washed. His troops were scattered and the cause of a Wales ruled by their own nasty, Welsh, nobility ( as opposed to nasty Anglo-Norman nobility), lost. The carved cross-stone looks to be an old grave slab, carved on three sides, but I have found no information about it. In general, these stones were carved between the 9th and 13th centuries – so it would probably have been in the church or churchyard in Llewelyn’s time.

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NOTES FOR A PAINTING

Sunlit meadow
Hidden river singing
Road winding into the mountains.

This road with the colour of itself roams and dips from pink to purple to the brown of a hunting dog. Laid as a wish upon bucking stone, a river of hope for dry feet.

River song
Singing heart
Road into the mountains.

Hidden river
Singing heart
Road into the mountains

Each footstep song, a rhythm of itself repeating with breath and sight, the same view, the slightly changing view, the folding and unfolding view.

Sunlit meadow
Somewhere the river
Singing to itself

This meadow slope lighted with its own green, radiant aura, hovers between dark wood and bright water. A vacant illumined shimmer.

Empty mountain road
Winding beside a river
The sound of sheep

Sheep on the hillsides
Sunshine on the meadow
Empty road.

The mountain faces are copper and lead. They yearn, as mountains do, to fade to mysteries invisible, and clamber towards unreachable towering midnights.

The road and I
Following the sound of the river
Into the northern hills.

This narrow road
Wanders into the hills.
The sound of the river.

The river, a sound of laughing sunlight, uncatchable as eels. We know it by what it is not. The colour of sky and leaves and earth and rock.

Aimless we both wander,
The narrow road and I,
Into the northern hills.

Narrow road –
I do not mind where it leads
Following the river’s song.

These bare branched trees, hazel and alder and oak down there with the birches. Lines drawn across time. A language of balance and holding still. They float more certain than the solid ground.

It will be autumn soon.
The narrow road lost in leaves,
Winding beside the river.

Narrow road and I,
Forgetting where we are
Following the river into the hills.

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Into the slow heron lift of it
This stormy morning roar,
Like a city train, rattles roof and windows.

Druid trees with one eye shut
Stand on one leg and let go of nearly everything –
That is what their roots, deep as choirs, allow.

On green meadow and crashing hill
We push against a sting of rain.
Lost, but not lost as the ones by the sea,
Watching the waves eat the shore and the harbours drown
And all the long, safe years melted away
In a wall of water and sound.

It is a patient world, willing always to start again.
A reformulation of parameters, season by season.
What is gone is gone, the autumn trees say.
What is gone is gone, says the storm of grey morning.

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VERSE EIGHT

A flash of summer and the swallows are all gone,
Restless above the purple flowers of heather.
Everything that is hard work and driven deep into sorrow mountain
Looks heroic and sunlit from this serene, absent distance.
Held equally suspended before the slope,
fragmenting between memory and forgetting.

Last night’s rain has burst the river’s banks almost.
The leaves spin that have fallen, though the silent wood
remains there, green and dark,
Folded into the valley’s thigh.
Small things shelter, all there is a scurry
and birdsong and bright eye.
A dream language self-generated,
a precision of small hungers.

A moment flows and eddies
Reaching out for words to be clothed.
But now it is a roundness cold and naked,
Hollowed in leaden light, tumbled in cloud.
Hills drift bodiless, dew-ringed.
All the hearts that have ceased
And those that have begun again
Will fail to encompass the mystery.
A perfect river, inexhaustible.

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