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Posts Tagged ‘memory’

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CONJURATION

He sits by the window letting the landscape go.
A little incense will stretch and curl in the moving airs.
There is welcome rain on pale, misted hills:
The meadows and their trees will green.

The shoals will flicker beneath thin surfaces,
And there is skill in waiting and skill in catching up the glimmer.
Sometimes it is enough to hold one wriggling thing.
Sometimes a light touch will tease a line,
A bright twist into this world, a hopeful humming reel.

There is the holding and the letting go.
A whisper wish to Gwyn ap Nydd
Who hunts these lost ghosts and churns them upwards.

To mark a path only, or to push down into it,
Or to be pulled willynilly in mad rush and see,
See where it leads, traipsing forgetful, curious.
Or but to float above serene and light as hawk bones,
To not become distracted by maybes,
To contain all, to exclude nothing, to lose track of no slither,
To allow a subtle sedimentation – to be that patient,
To become equanimity, geological.

It will be the touch of madness that marks it out,
The touch of madness they shall not forget.
The discomfort of impossible resurrection:
Light that is not there, a bubbling up of echoed sounds,
A mystery of conjured voices, a song of ghosts.

This, the slow and certain engraving of our vanishing lives
Upon your smoothed and cooling brows; etched, hatched and nested within
Your twigged and tumbledown minds.
A thimble of the past to dull each ache of uncertain stitch.
That impossible race to reach each sunsetting horizon.

Between the moment and the madness
Is where the bright shoals swim.

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Ystrad FFlur 2

one door in an empty field.
a pattern of stone,
the chantry coves.

clouds are sheep and cattle
drifting slowly out of sight.

but for the peace you would not know
poets and kings were buried here.

we cannot stay
but maybe never leave,
like the pilgrim stream
whispering prayers
on cool, light feet.

like the tinted copper beech
and the hollowed yew.

like the faith of thousands
and the recitation of the birds.

the green edict of grass
has covered all dissent.

a spiral stair ascends
into empty air.

the old names adhere somehow,
the slow erosion of autumn rains.

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This life now gone:
A storm of rainbows,
A bowl of fragrance,
An utter song of views.

How to hold the fullness of it?
How to honour the living of it?
How to conceive the lap and swell
Of that one full ocean of sensation?

One eternal unfolding memory,
A tumble of heartbeats.
These every jewelled moments
Are seeds flung back into universal soil.

Never lost, always cherished,
A fuel for dear futures.
They are collected: each breath, each moment.
Valued, priceless passion,
Tears in the bright eye of being,
Tears in the flow of all beings.

Mother, mother, a soft delight,
All burdens borne away,
All pains a cauldron,
A chrysalis swirled
Awaiting new dream
On a new day.

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A Season’s End
(Epitaph for Vicky)

we become more uncertain
and waver by the day,
our past melting behind us.
a change of season, inevitable.

where now that warm pulse?
that voice? that presence?
altered a little into sunlight,
into a vast, bright landscape,
into a bigger heart.

for there will always be beauty,
though no one promised joy
without sorrow.

we have melted into summer
wrapped in cooling green shade.
and some of us have not returned.

here then, the blossom heart of hawthorn,
here, a cowslip sky and creamy elder.
in the forest still are one or two violets
and the sound of running water,
and the droop and sudden flash of bluebells.
the sigh of swallows and the cuckoo misted valley.

where she walks now is all beauty,
and calm, and easy forgetting.
a summer that shall come upon us all.
and a long day, and a warm evening,
and a long, silent, singing night.

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Sure of this Sorley has spoken
His sweet scouring gravel words
Pure paced, precise grey grinding stones
Pouring splendid golden grain,
Eloquence of earth.

Though few have heard
Or paid him heed.
Old, tweeded, sharp-eyed scholar
Wandered, windblown on
Steep lined western shores
Between deserted croft
And sand-scoured macha.

His mountains named
One by one,
His steadings remarked,
His memories buried safe,
All buried under stone,
The language of remaining
Despite scorn and spittle.

A path half-made
Through hillside rocks,
The prints of deer,
Silence is the heather.
These winds whistle
Through an empty heart.
These words, a whisky
For the tongue that is parched,
A decent medicine
Against the clean sin
Of city streets,
Their promise to forget
Cold and weather,
An unceased consumption
Of time and art and loveliness.

Without the cry of curlew
Without the wheeling hoodie
Without the slap of salt wind
We think ourselves gods
Who are short, soft animals
One moment from bleached oblivion.

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Hours slow and stutter,
Stretch and scatter on the summer hills.
This lent breath pauses.

A sun enthroned throws flame
Against a wide horizon
But melts to mist, cools to blue distant hum.

A flicker swallow dives low.
We barely skim the surface –
A month or two before forgetting
What we came for.

In glistering dark
We become our own ghosts.
In sharp-edged day
Weighed down we are
With longer shadows.

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Pwll y Bo, “Pool of the wraith”, is a wooded, rocky cascade of the River Irfon on the road up the Abergwesyn valley, a few miles from where I live. Downstream, stranded now in silence, but once the heart of Llanwrtyd, the old church site of St. David’s on a small spur of hillside around which the ascending road curls. Saint and spirit, a confluence of notions.

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PWLL Y BO (1)

Mountain air threads mist in valley sleep.
We dreamless lie, cherishing weight.
Up at Pwyll Bo, I suppose, the lean, green larches
Will stand roaring down the dawn winds.
The oaks, staid grey and still on their slanted hill.
The otter shall sink and roll, melting to water.
Mossed rock wet, endless white the tumble.
Ever hollow spans the spirit’s song, a haunted bridge.

The winding path to delight is to be walked not run.
Time given to sliding slow eyes, side on side,
To stop and to forget.
This breath the church of all gods,
The heart’s Holy Ghost light woven.
Time enough for long blue days
And the dead slowly revolving
On the hillside church
Wriggling back to earth and seed.
Their heads now risen green, unfurled,
A dappled Trump each last and every day.

Unknown things travelling down
Are woven, whirled and worded.
Skein thin spirit clothed and given sight.
A voice, even, from rock and worried water.
Grasped and clothed its essence sings,
The illusory cling of names forgot,
The savoured winding sheet of waves
And pillowed, folded rocks.
It says, it says:
The confluence of all rivers is the ocean.
The confluence of all words is the heart.

Shall it cleave to the warmth of sunlight,
Wood avens and violets on the bank?
Or shall it bend into moonlight,
Emptying all in cool rest, the starlit air?
Or long longing, wait for drifting careless breath
Warm bodies dabbled, absent stares,
To speak heard and unheard,
Noticed yet unrecognised?

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