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Posts Tagged ‘mortality’

A LULLABY AGAINST FEARS

Do you not see the doors swinging open, swinging shut?

With each breath in and out, the breeze of their coming and going.

.

Cold is the mountain and the white snow will wake you, will wake you.

There is only a moment to know more,

Only a moment to remember and forget.

Until we know what it is to dream it,

We shall never waken.

.

We thought we had removed from ourselves

The scent of death that followed us down

Through all the long centuries.

.

We thought the posy of politeness had done more

Than mask the fear.

As always, it is the smallest of things

Breaks open the delusion

Of genteel comfort.

.

Every room, every landscape, every moment,

Has a door that, should we walk through,

Would take us into other places, never to return.

They swing to and fro with our in and out of breath.

.

A door of leaves, a door of grasses,

A door of breezes, a door of riverbanks,

A door of whispers, a door of praise,

A door of sorrow, a door of breath.

These doors coming and going

Between the world you know

And the worlds you do not yet know.

How many have changed you beyond recognition,

Forgetting the song you were singing

To get lost in a tune unfamiliar,

That better becomes you?

So many doors, remembering and forgetting.

A door of small things, a slight imperceptible door,

And you have gone to be elsewhere,

In sunlight unsullied, in radiance of starlight.

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LEAVING LLANGAMMARCH

Who would choose to leave this Llangammarch

Wrapped in birdsong on a warm and sunny morning?

Who would lift their eyes from the glistening waters

Draped with alder shade and grasses?

Throughout the houses it has now the soft hush of loss.

The hollowness of a hollowed name, a rehearsal of memories.

Llangammarch threaded between wood and waters;

An easy confluence neat folded against the green grey heights

of Epynt and its sighing skies, its distances tasting of blue.

Except those who tend the dead ( the small things singing), no one lives on Epynt now.

It is a roofless, empty house, shadowless, and singing winds.

Perhaps it is there our departed go, congregating to watch the unfolding world,

At ease and in peace, soothed by a longer perspective on sorrow and joy.

Who would leave Llangammarch, warm and dreaming?

Those with dreams urgent and golden;

Following the light upstream,

the open skies, the warm winds,

the curlew berating heaven.

A floating world, a breath away.

One breath away.

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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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ARTEFACT

We come and go one by one,
or in twos and threes,
waking, sleeping from dream to dream,
handfuls of dust cast heavenwards, taking shape,
then falling back to settled earth. Bubbles, thoughts, whispers.

Birdsong in a pearl-still dawn.
All day in this small green field,
in its tangled bare hedges,
in its edge of trees,
in its deep grasses, the birds
flit and feed, pause and fly off.
All day the sunlight picks out the distant slopes,
the forests, the valleys.
And they, too, come and go with mists
and clouds
and drifts of rain.

For months now I have been working the canvases,
(for people do so like a view to hold on to,
one so dear to them, one they do not have,
a way through the mute walls,
to remember an opening out, a beyond,
a distant something).
Against its nature to drip, against its habit to mix and merge,
against my own fingers’ wish to sweep and gesture.
A discipline,
the tying down of an illusion,
confection for tongue and eye.
A sweet minded moment, an ache of forgetting.
The life of itself, a liquid thing,
to be constrained so, to process
as a stately, well-dressed thing.
Not just a swirled, delightful, mute moment.
A meaning. A purpose identified. The monitoring of the familiar.
As if. As if.

As if there were a story.
As if there were a careful, structured tale.
A small beginning, a once, a long-ago.
Through wild, thorned paths and fog and frost
to a final end so careful balanced.
A just so.
An as it is.

Something to leave behind.
Something to say.
More than a rise and fall.
More than a raven’s cry across the valley.
More than a blackbird in the cool dawn air.
More than a drift of mist above a hidden river.
More than a rise of trout as the gnats dance on light.

The fire is lit
and it must be fed ’til nightfall.
Then, untended, it will die down,
become silent.

That smooth black,
silk-dark soot:
a hand-print,
a fingerprint on a cave wall:
we are here,
dreaming.
And we found a way through.

—-

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In Winter Hills

A shallow
cold stream
of inconvenient air
Is winter in the shaped and cocksure city.
It fills only the void between buildings
And the thin, guttering bones of the homeless.
But a raw six months is winter
In the hills of the northern world.
It builds itself a dance of long-knived layers,
Sucking heat through the ice-spangled drills of starlight,
Peels back and back the year’s green thrust,
Draws out a most echoing hollow certainty
That just one wrong turn, one unlucky day
And this thin, frayed thread shall splay,
Split red and run itself to mud, to ice,
To empty earth, to earth a carcass chord,
A final cold bed,
concluded iron,
sighed
silent
mulch.

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STOKER AT AILSA CRAIG
(For G.B)

A soul windswept stares out to sea
The last time, maybe the last time.
Holding fast the eye on the wind isle
Buffeted and free, the brine woven air,
The taste of it, the taste of ships, eternal engines,
The past, freedom, a roaring coming in, a roaring going out.
Once and forever there is leaving and return,
Debris on the tideline, broken, poignant rubbish.
Voices far and near stolen from mouths,
Winged and drifted, gritted with sand,
The ground-down centuries of the dead.
Let the soul free, winged and drifted, wild voiced,
An exultation, a long howl of why, a longing cry.
The wind shall whip it away – all the warm familair,
The flesh, the dream, the reason, the plan.
Burnt up in wonder of the vast sky,
Turned bird, turned cloud, turned salt spray,
Turned, returned, wheeling away on white wings.
Lovelorn, love borne, alone to let go and stretch out,
The illusion of that sure, bound horizon.
Stretch, stretch out, thin the pain, dissolve in view.
So many, so many gone on before,
So many to follow.
It will not be so hard to leave the heart,
Once the hawsers are cast off,
Once the eyes have turned from firm land,
Once the rocking of eternal waves takes over,
We shall find sea legs, a new spirit, a new way
Without footprints, without shadow.

sunset, kerswell.jpg

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Subliminal words for “Death and the Maiden”

1
I will remember the smell of lilac
The white lilac, the purple lilac
And your voice
Dark and velvet
Rich with desire….

2
in starlit gardens
Light, fast steps.
The whispers
Are not from warm lips,
Shadows lean closer….

3
Folded memories,
Tracked, haunted,
Silent wings
Hungry….

4
Here she is
A budding, a blossoming,
A spring dawn, a summer dawn
Perfumed with sunlight
Alone, unconcerned, self-radiant.

5
A point, a pause,
A reason to slow time,
Slow space,
To cease pointlessness,
To hold still
Orbiting her gentle
Graceful gravity.

6
The clattering mists congeal.
I gather to myself
A memory of flesh,
An ache of bone,
A throb of sinew.
Reclothed and sublimated,
My fingertips yearn
( the push of, swirl of,
Flesh, a feast of remembering and forgetting).
Forgetting myself
Utter a sound of life,
Silk whisper, birdsong,
A thrush or blackbird
Sated on cloud and green rain,
A bundled heart,
Redeemed,
Understood.

7
A swan’s bones
Are as light as air,
As hollow as her sky-stretched voice.

8
It is the porcelain skull
Of winter, translucent
With hunger, decorated
With ice feathers.
Faultless, perfect ruthless frost.
All remorse stripped of flesh,
All bitterness spent.
All waters hollowed,
All sound rested.
A linearity, a sped arrow,
Targeted, released,
Quivering at its mark.

9
Stipule and stamen
We are petelled fragrant,
Purely, demurely lascivious.
Our love is perfumed,
Botanical. Wrapped
And layered, lipped
And tattered edge,
We protrude demurely
Into the world,
An impossible biology.

20140423-223111.jpg

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