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Posts Tagged ‘language’

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THE WORDS WE COLLECT

It is the whispers in the walls,
The ghosts that breath upon our lips.
We dissolve, lost in sounds from elsewhere,
From rooms, from halls.
Left, empty enough, losing attention,
We step out of ourselves
And for a moment become monstrous,
Glorious shadows in the winds
Of strange, bright mornings.

Though none of it speaks for us:
The silent, swirling mists, nor
The resounding, thundrous deep,
Nor the wells without light,
Nor the stars without memory,
Nor the movement of seconds,
Nor anything of the vastness.
For all these are constrained
By our sound, and uttered unbeknownst
By those guilty of innocence.

Left dancing on air, breathless,
Pierced, spun to a fine point, examined,
Cast out, then disregarded.
Swimming in an ocean of shadows
It is hard to know what is of value.

I shall put my ear to the door of the earth,
And listen to the ones never dead,
A music not of our blood though equally holy.
Even its echoes dissolve flesh and name
In the round chambers, skull-domed,
Grass-topped and nibbled by sheep.

For the extraordinary rests upon the ordinary,
As sound rests upon its own silence,
The known is upon the unknown
As birds rest upon tall oaks in evening.

We live above the noise, dipped in cloud.
Hearing rumours of the dreams of others,
And building what we can out of that.
Once given a name, believing that makes us real,
Practicing a story sewn from fables.

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TALIESIN SUTRAS
A collection of rambles through hilly literature with strange, unexpected viewpoints. Could be developed or expanded, elucidated, made easier to understand, be given commentary. But the nature of the Taliesin poems themselves have a similar terse sutric layering, a self-absorbed witnessing of their own creation, a multi-depth layering of references, religious and mythic. So I have left it as it is. Unfolded process. A voice coded. Serpent sounds. (The conscious mind drowns without understanding. Let it sink down, breathless. There are tides too deep for breath. Yet they are the ones that sustain, perhaps.)

1
(Dyfalu)
Riddling technique

There are three here
The dark deep
The sun of life
The son of man.

The cross of matter
The spiral of time
The balance between.

Light nailed upon the directions.
Light spinning about its heart.
Annwfn become flesh.

It is of stone and cast in light.
Hoisted above the archway
A dial for eternity, serious instruction.
Like these others, bound in skin, given harbour,
Kept safe for meaning, an older language, still revered,
Just in case secrets remain that will point the way out.

2
(Trioedd)
Triads

Snakes from a point,
Tongues from their mouths.

Development over time.
Enclosure of three fields
Fluidity of emanation

Geometric expectations.

The hooded spirits
(Genii cucullati)

Three cloaks, winter water,
Hidden eyes, secret owls.
This otherness stands forth.

The body is being hidden – unrevealed.
Three things the oracle says:
I shall be silent
I shall be moved
I shall form words.

I shall be still.
I shall be disappearing.
I shall re-emerge.

Magical sustenance:
Three lines is all I need.
A beginning, a middle, an end.

Something will dissolve
Something with coalesce
There will be song and eyes
There will be a return, though
An index of the dead
Is all that remains here.
How much has been forgotten!
We were reborn to remember
But might as well be crows and beetles.
Three is a continuity
Three is a rebirth
Three is the source
Three is where the origin is.
Bard as source.
Bard as river.
Bard as ocean before silence.

3
The Wild Calling

In the presence of the ancestors
Who whisper animal words in our ears.
Wrapped in leaves, these horns are mine,
(I, the son of the conversing stag),
I will speak from out the wood,
From out the cracked stone,
Wild-eyed, wild-tongued, wild in song,
Shouting storm with truth.

The wild informs the world.
It brings news of roundness.
I will speak to you the truth
From the deep shade of the tree.
Cocidius – the red one, the tree one.

4
Transforms

Whatever he moves through
He is followed and caught.
Wherever he goes
He can’t escape the chaser.
Regardless of inspiration
And enlightenment,
He is eaten.
Because he has become inspired,
He is chased.
Three drops:
One pattern.
Food and eater,
Hunter and hunted.
Inanimate tool,
I am wielded.
These changes, these forgettings,
Fermentation.
The wanted whole remains
And continues on.

And is it then the words and their meanings that chase and consume?
Having uttered, a world is set in motion. It will ferment and rot.
One will become another, even if memory still is.
The fixation of a form, its nomenclature, its declension.
It remains, inadequately clothing silence. Coagulating dream.

Having loosed and lost a thought,
The mind is tied, dragged as a shoal on a tide, wave on wave.
The wise one will ask questions that have no answer.
That is the door to the Otherworld, a door ajar, guarded in silence.

5
The world is of words, the words are pictures.
One beneath the other, layer on layer.
The poet fades as his voice grows.
The music of the heartbeat.
The heart that tells the tongue,
The fire that lights the eye,
The wind that carries the soul.

The snow is on the dawn hills,
Rose pink the slow clouds.

Of course, of course, there are golden chains,
Well-wrought from tongue tip to ear to mind.
We are servants of words, slaves of words,
Drowning in their dreams
As the sun and moon drown in each horizon,
Drawn up by the light, by the deep unfathomables.
Rocked and swept away, the unceasing waves of language,
Other worlds, shepherded, piloted to see more than this,
That is still this.

6
These words, not to be understood by fools,
Nor to be understood by the wise:
The utterance of poets beyond the foundations of the world,
Between the sea and the shore; as deep as mountain roots;
As weightless as a hawk’s wind, as tragic as rainbows, as grim as midnight.
Haunted words, ghosted, translucent. Fermented words, boiled, reduced.
Sublimated they become something else,
Though none can say exactly what.
Edge and dream and paradox.
Genealogies of rivers, cataracts of winds, piled up
As centuries and places, never abandoned, always within the heart’s round cauldron
And in the pearl-edged heart within the earth.
A mystery of fabulous questions, an army of silent trees,
Self-created progenitors, whispered on.

Where are the bones of the mist
And the two cataracts of the wind?

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SOMETHING TO BE SAID (MAYDAY)

Pauses grow longer, a melancholy may soon creep in.
We cannot escape our own voices.
( “We rarely go out these days and visitors, though longed for,
are a great discomfort”).
It is a wild guilt that wants our words in other’s heads.
Always a nuisance and a pleasure
to be infected with poetry,
to admit the familiar voices, to see which one leads, this time, the hunt.
Gwyn ap Nydd collecting souls, the ghosts of words,
The white words, the vapoured words,
the haunted words – as poetry is.
‘White, Son of Mist’ – like the morning,
the first attempt at May, after a night of rain,
new in stillness and birdsong, mist on green land,
the ash trees still thinking about their coming fountains of flowers,
roots wriggled so deep in the past, and aching old.
The dunnock’s sweet descent.
It filters down as if spider webs
And gold dust – the flecks
Of memory and forgetting.
A city with loud inhabitants, unkind and strange.
A darkness punctuated with doors and reasons.
As if it didn’t matter, everything collapses.
The moment passes, the tongue gives up.
It cannot make the chords that the brain sings in,
Just one note at a time, syllable by.
There is something to be said for silence.
The way the mist in its own dreaming gravity
Slides along the slopes
And settles in the cwms.
The way it shifts space.
The way it delineates what is not itself.
With what would we fill these silences
Should all the voices stop?

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When they speak it is rivers.
It is pines roaring in the wind.
It is sparrows at daybreak,
Swallows in blue open skies.
It is the rain in old gutters.
Vague as mist-hugged valleys.
Harsh as ravens and the keening
Of spread-winged kites.

And yet it fades and falters
Year by year pushed to a further edge,
The language of grass and trees,
An anachronism.
As if it had not tumbled down
From the highest empty uplands.
As if it had not been passed along
The careful tales and whispered spells.
As if it were not that simple coagulated dust
Brushed from God’s own hands.

Jealous of its rainbowed fluctuations,
A by-passed parish, a redundant economy.
It is a sad craft that kills the past.
It is a miserly mind that accepts
No drop of mystery to remain.

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LAMENT

The ones who cared for these graves
Are in their own now, or gone
To the churning, restless cities,
Sick of rain and creeping moss
And the lament of the kite
And lamb and buzzard.
Empty on the hillsides,
No small fires, even,
Amongst the tumbled walls
And broken doorways.
In its own green centuries the ivy creeps
And swells to cover all disgrace
And tragedy.
It clings well like nothing else can,
On the flat, grey slabs of day
And the gouged, dark ruts of night.

The ones here now – what stupid clumsy tongues
That cannot speak, cannot mould the sounds
To poetry if they tried, if ever they would.
Escaping their own shipwrecked lives
And cast up breathless and lost in beauty.
Who would think such inundation
So complete, so far from any shore.
These seething, roaring tides,
This wrack and seagull tattered debris.

In the hills small pools unexpectedly
Catch and hold blue patched skies.
The streams fist their names down into rock,
Enunciate the mad gush of seasons,
Lost and found and wrapped within
The dark and shining horizon.
If it can be nowhere else, then rest here.
Dust thou art, and the only food
For any futures there may still be.
The cold wind wraps itself around
And will not let go.
Soon will come the rain.

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SUNSET 10 (This Some Summer Sunset)

This some summer sunset,
Not enough of it even to work out
Which what words and as to emotions, feelings, memories,
It is a splash, a fat man’s belly flop
Makes sense, makes no sense.
We dress up time so, we dress up space,
With word and cause and story so,
Do we not? Do we not, instead of
Instead of knitting it in, gobbling it,
Consuming it, we pick around the edges
What is this? Do I like this? Like kids.
Don’t like beans. Don’t like. Do I like?
What is it I wonder gets in the way.
Is it these words, this mind minded to disturb all things
By poking around what is it? What is it called? What do you do? What do you do?
What is it for? Better to ask what do you not do.
Where are you void. More likely , then, perhaps, perhaps.
Well then, well then this sunset, end of day, end of moment.
Everything left is squeezed out – warmth, light, colour
In one last something. Not a moment not a fraction. A slide,
A dance, a declining breath, an elemental, really an elemental thing
Pushing buttons, or maybe that is just a weak poetic nature, words over deeds
Thinking over doing, a subsidence, a changing.
As much an entity as a breathing heart-stopping being is.
As much a smiling, frowning, complaining
Finite living, dying, changing thing.
The words will not do, they dance around, they are neither photographic
Nor autobiographic, nor philosophic. Generated, self-generated, unreached,
A mystery, so to say.
A mystery and a vast thing bursting in, changing, erupting, leaving as if,
But not as if it had never been, changing everything.
It cannot, thus, be described. An ocean of infinite depth
Pouring through a door ajar. All ghosts, all thoughts, all breath, all all
Led westwards in a blaze and then gone to a different silence.
Is and is not is. How things are. What the sages know. What drives us mad.
What we forget. What we long for. To be taken up within it.
The chariot of the warm sun and carried under the earth,
bones trailing rainbow light ’til we all emerge
Tentative then radiant, but always utterly forgetful,
Into the dawn.

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SUNSET 6 ( only one, and not even that)

There is only one moment, and not even that
As it slides between words spluttering the certain.
There is only one breath, and that has left us as we find another
Between noticing and forgetting the wondering of it.
This is the only sunset, and not even that as it rises and fails
Sudden with colour brash and tender.
One moment gone, one breath, all changed,
One colour impossible to name.
Life becomes fragments if it is held still, perfection palls
And is deemed a failure by universal canon.
The word, a particular curse of our natures,
An intelligence of demons. Too clever by far.
All nouns are lies, all adjectives suspect.
All thoughts – an endless twittered birdsong
In a forest of neurons.
All dreams – a continuing rumble of juxtaposition,
A sunrise and sunset, of edge and horizon,
A slipping through gaps.
Avoidance of the void is the creation of pain and of beauty.
Race westwards: eternal sunset.
Race eastwards: eternal dawn.
Each view only as true as its edges.
Each poem, a breath to be neither accepted or rejected,
Not certified nor censored.
A sign of something passing by, that is all.
Cloud banks over a setting sun,
Hills caught golden, pricked out and pounced.
Delineation of the immeasurable.
A noble picture, or perhaps an articulation of foolishness.
A fragment of eternity rushes by.
The emperor sits on his throne and does nothing,
Yet all revolves about him.
The old sage leaves by the western gate.
No one see his ox cart winding down the road.
He whistles to himself between his teeth
A folk song of the river and the moon.
The sun has set now.
The lights of the distant city begin to show.

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