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Posts Tagged ‘Mabinogion’

COFIO 5 (mabinogi lesson)
(Mandala of Forgetfulness, Third Branch)

Who would have thought it?
In the empty deserted fortress
Not a sound nor a flicker.
Those thin chains of gold reaching up forever,
The fountain’s cup suspended.
We can not fail to drink its clear, cold waters.
We can not fail to become entranced
And held, perfect and still, out of time, insensible.
The fortress of memory revolves about itself.
The thin gold from hand to lip to tongue to eye
All locked up, the mind silenced:
A boat that is not a boat
Upon a still sea that is not a sea.
Let the leaves fall. Let the petals fall.
Let the poppies and the roses fall.
Let the rain fall, and the sunset and the stars.
Let a dawn come free from pain
Where memories are not chains nor burden,
Nor hold us immovable.
Just one sip now, though, just one more.
And the earth axis will shift under us
And the crack of thunder from the cloudless sky.
We are born to become lost,
Born to forget
Adrift in summer
Remembering spring.

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THIRD BRANCH

In brown light, thick as honey,
A book of instruction lies open that is a door.
Listen now, listen to these pictures.

How the reckless, (and even those we once thought wise),
Rush after what has been lost.
Into the fortress of emptiness,
Into deserted palaces and courtyards calling, calling.
And how they, we, I, reach for a clear golden perfect thing
And in that moment become immovable, entranced,
The fountain of all life bubbling inches out of reach.
The golden chains, (each link a true remembering
Of the one before), disappearing up into eternal blue
That holds the perfect vessel, that is equally curse and blessing.

If it has but one clear meaning, then it is not our poetry.
(A vessel chased and engraved with hypnotic flow,
Imperfect symmetry of ripples on a summer stream.)
If we are not led astray, it is not our poetry.
If we do not forget ourselves, wondering how we came here,
What it may all mean, then it is not our poetry.
We shall become poisoned by it and purged by it,
Blessed by it and made full with it. Stripped of skin,
Made shining and given new names, the names of ghosts long gone.
For the truth is: it shall revive the dead, made perfect again but speechless.
Only through our own voices now can they wander this world,
And we haunt them as they inhabit us.
Memory and forgetfulness.

A patch of sunlight sweeps the hills
And is gone.
These clouds, these hymns, these voices.
For a moment we shall fly upward, then remembering,
Fall down once more below the soil.

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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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