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Posts Tagged ‘Mabinogion’

For want of anything better
We climbed the hill at Narberth,
Bellies full, awaiting wonders.

But as we looked abroad
The land was empty and bare:
Void and desolate.

The clouds race unremarked,
The fields empty, no drift of chimney smoke,
No children’s laughter.

Because you have forgot the turnings in the road;
Forgot the choices, slipped down the easy paths
And left the future to evaporate,
All this has happened.

Once and again,
The tide of light recedes,
The storm winds roar.
There will be no shelter
But the future we fashion for ourselves.

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MABINOGION HAIKU

This golden river.
Words bob down the long ages-
Mysterious truths

Moon well, sun cauldron.
Who would not become transfixed?
Their utter beauty.

There is not one thing
That is not another thing.
Pay attention, Pwyll!

Green mound lost in fog.
What dream does the world dream here?
breath weaves life and death.

How could she be true?
Oak and broom and meadowsweet,
Made of season’s change.

Do not take possession
Of what is not yours.
(And nothing is yours).



Sort of a hybrid between haiku form and gnomic verse. Apologies for all those who do not know the allusions, but those who know the Four Branches might take some little pleasure in these fragmentary nods…

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BRANWEN SINKS DOWN

Peeling away from this world
No longer glued by its bold certainties.

On a bare, high rock, above the sea,
The voices of wheeling gulls
Make more sense and better songs.
All the gods shrunk again
To caracature and silhouette.

Bawds and predators in golden ships
Sail across the shining sea
Offering friendship and support.
Business opportunities, so they say.
But there is nothing in their pipelines
But death and drought and bones.

A multitude, dreaming dreary dreams
Not their own,
A calcifying inculcation calculated
And considered,
A drip-feed of paralysis and boredom.
Our men of skill are liars
And gloaters over trashy baubles
Transfixed by the mutilation of time.

And so she will sink again
Into the green mounded ground
(White wings folded over her head),
Not wishing more desolation to be hers,
Not wishing to remember anything
But the oldest songs still drumming deep,
A heartbeat under everything,
Hidden roads, perhaps forever safe.

And so she will dream on wide wings,
Back and forth over wide seas, breathing,
Breathing, whispering messages,
Carrying messages, a quivering web.
Pushing down deeper,
The dreams will always, always,
become more real.

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Samhain in Annwfn

Transgression by assumption.
You have taken what does not belong
By assuming everything you see here
Is yours by right.
Taking what is mine
You shall take my role and duty.
You shall by this become completely me
(And yet not), and I you.
Enter the deep and see perfection
And its flows.
Twilight woven through with gold.
A brocade worn thin and transparent,
Sky-patched, redolent.
A more perfect dream
Sunk into the depths.

As if eyes had been staring at the sun:
Now everything veined red-gold,
Too dark and too bright to see,
An inner burning light that dims the world,
Makes sense of flickers and ghosts,
And tongues of fiery liquid language
Scarce understood but lascivious.
Skin turned fallen leaf, crunched,
Made liquid, sucked up,
A new wine burning with blushed passion
Or so it may seem.

The skill here
Is not to weigh nor judge
But to lick the lightest air and breeze
And swim undisturbed, unseen
According to most fluid laws.
Dreamed but not dreaming,
A metaphor eternal, echoing.
There is, and never was, a thing made single,
Nor one made so especial
It could not be reflected endlessly
In midnight pools.

And all this
Only a beginning.
A recalibration.
A falling leaf
Slowly spinning.
A kiss.
A message.
It will be dust in the morning.
But the ache of memory:
That will be the always hidden gold.

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Rhiannon’s Riddle

These my bare branches,
These the days of moonlit silence.
Seven are the ones lost to sleep
That should have been watchful
That should have been truthful.
A claw of cloud has stolen
my golden light, my golden sun.
I am sunk down by it and sullied,
Weighed by each retelling.
Bound again by careless generosity,
Bound by those not blameless.
An open honesty shall allay my worry,
And watchful bravery and a clear discrimination.
The hunter has risen and taken my firstborn light.
I am become wolf tied to stone,
Wandering the same road
Weighed down by it.
At night, the high table of the feast.
Neither here, neither there,
This road of travail, this cloak of flesh.
Golden is the harvest moon,
Birdsong of the morning.
All is fog
And my bright boy is gone.
The son eaten by the mother,
The mother deceived by her sisters
The hunter and his prey, taken, restored.
Pay attention Pwyll!
What is yours, is illusion.
Deeper by far is the world you walk.
My heartache is in this coming and going,
Half the time here, half the time
In a somewhere else,
more, or less, reflected perfect.
I will wait for you though.
Wait another year on year.
You shall only need to ask,
Only listen.
The footsteps beneath the ground,
The silver paths.
It shall all find return.

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these old poets:
smoke blue hills,
smoke blue clouds.
they rise up so,
they reveal themselves
and are curiously hidden,
conversing with vapour
between worlds
unmeasured, unfathomable.
they loom, nonetheless,
and shape the world.
it is from there
the clear waters fall,
from fell and moor
to feed, to wash clear our eyes,
to fill with song untranslateable,
echoing down the spine,
deeper than eye and brain,
deeper than soul,
into the bowels,
into annwfn,
the dark mysterious,
fecund deep.
rolling, these storm fast vowels,
ancestral to the blood.
this they prove:
there are no new songs.
just old songs
with new words,
old songs
with new tunes.

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A6concentric2d

SPEAKING IN TONGUES (dream stream)

Drag it through, wiped, stained, dyed, a sop.
This brush awkward,
the hand suffers from doubt,
stutters laden with gold black signs.

The words to use, the words not to use, the ordering of words, the letters of the law.
Stumbling into gaps, minding the gaps, the howling winds, the imminent rain. It changes everything and nothing. A shaman’s song summoning, departing on the wind. Three worlds by far is not enough, is too much. The twelve halls of the Aesir, joy and feasting in each one, even Ullr’s dark vale.

This script unlocks avenues,
makes actors vapours,
vapours actors.

Howling time, death-watch seconds. Do we care which demons are summoned, so long as they stream in and tell us: now it is real, now those wishes will become ripe and fall, now there will become meaning to all the suffering.
Who is it who sings, no sirens, no silkies, no fatuus igni? The chimes, the bells across the fields mingling with the blackbirds. In the cooling evening so silently the apple blossom peels seconds apart, minute by minute, statuesque, the light holds back, turns solid.

The song is not and is,
Each word offering gifts of meaning
Obscuring invention
Reducing points to lines
The gap, the space,
The disenchanted exquisiteness of it
Enough to breed madness
Or eloquence
Or a flutter of coincidence
The coming together of likes.
The burning of division.
A drum of words, rhythm and shock, imitation of emotion, the ruin of time.
Belonging to, not belonging to, lists, listen to the names,
Each name
a thousand new names,

Each placed here and here in the dark body ’til it glistens, quickens, revives, re-dreams those vast cascades. Smallest shattering of lives, fragmenting to combine into consonant and vowel, the thousand names of every god, every hall, every realm, every storm over the enchanted forest where the golden boys play, the golden boys with golden hair, who watch but take no part in each inevitable slaughter.

A dream only,
a day of dream,
a feast of dream,
an amusement of titans,
a hypothesis of worlds.
The heart singing alone.
The soul’s shape as song.
An ululation.
A speaking in tongues.

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