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Posts Tagged ‘myth’

FAINT BREEZES

Faint eternal breezes between stars

Where the gods have walked.

.

The door-hinge between worlds screams

And time is changed. Your names are of no value here,

Nor your skills.

.

Your future has been stolen

Because the past was not understood.

.

All roads dissolve at the misty edges.

This forest is your accuser.

This forest is your river.

.

The dance between two and three,

The vanishing one eclipsed.

Umbra, penumbra, chorus, echo.

.

The table of utter silence.

The taste of grey iron chain,

Grey as morning, neither this nor that.

.

Four stories long the seamstress works,

Head bowed in patterns, the needles

Darting in and out.

.

Blake and Burne-Jones naked on the shore,

Collecting the teeth of dragons,

Barefoot in embers and sea wrack.

.

The sky boat reflected in the moving waters,

The stallions hobbled, too wild, even, for war.

.

It is the gentle who are moulded

For vengeance and bleak reply.

.

And still the future is mute but growing.

It will be bright with accident,

Possessed with skills of no use whatsoever –

The arts of distraction and decay,

The sowing of grief and duty.

.

Do not look for any meaning in the words ( they say)

The key is not the door.

There is no lie in winter.

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RAINBOW WINGS

When the cloud is not down on the hill

there is no magic.

When everything is so clear,

nothing is seen.

The sound of the river,

what voices does it carry?

How can it be unravelled?

I shall tell you a truth

that is mine alone,

a truth of gold and silver

as pure as dream

and as radiantly unscathed.

A truth of rainbow-sheened wings,

roofing a golden palace,

dispersed by a breath,

by a doubt, by a breeze.

The truth no one believes –

that is the way to touch the Real.

The truth that cannot possibly be true,

that is laughed out of every hall,

that truth is the truth that can change the universe.

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SOLSTICE LIGHT

Listen, listen, the slow light of solstice morning.

Time shuddering, time standing still.

A word wind muttering indistinct, its rhythms and intent

As steady as oars would be, as steady as oar strokes across a glassy sea.

Listen, listen. We were all in one band, a magnificent number.

Heading west ( always heading west into darkness there, into the mists).

One raised his voice – the song we all knew.

One of those songs whose words would be ridiculous, banal,

Without the tune. Whose chorus impossibly united the living and the lost.

The glass sea slid by. Time ran out.

Some said it was a hard coming of it that year, but it was not.

It was not. It was as easy as breathing.

The reasons, so reasonable. The logic, implacable.

The rhetoric, bombastic and irrefutable.

.

The watchmen were silent, uncommunicative.

Impossible it was to know the minds of the doorkeepers.

We were there to free the imprisoned,

There to reclaim what had been lost,

There to carry home what had been taken.

Voiceless one by one we fell into silence there.

Burning bright as phosphor bombs falling from the air.

Bright as sparks hammered from the anvil.

The prize was claimed, as it always is,

The light released, the cave broken upon,

The tomb unsealed, the spell broken, the curse trod down.

But the world now, irrevocably changed.

Seven with breath, seven with tears still falling,

Seven tired and justified. Seven wan and clustered stars

Backward looking, racing on.

In a world, in a morning, not ours.

.

The slim waning moon floating into the stormy dawn,

Losing its light minute by minute. No longer noticed.

Fading into day.

I have cast out on the grass, seeds for the small brown birds,

For the hungry and the cold.

The eagles and the hawks have gone. The songsters silent,

The stately waterbirds, the watching herons forgotten in the fluttering rush.

I shall sing the names, uphold the excuse,

a psalmist counting off lines in a cold cell: the cajoling verses of warrior kings

For fickle vengeful gods, the rosary of blood red beads, the genealogies,

Until the shivering silver-edged awen fails, tumbling into mute silence,

Voiceless watching an unextraordinary morning.

.

If we had not been so strident, so golden,

Could we have passed the doors unscathed?

Had we understood what was asked of us,

Has we not mistaken guileless honesty as elaborate deception,

A trick to catch us out,

Could we be in those halls still feasting?

There with no needs to forget,

no weight of dust and falling radiant starlight upon us.

No need to elaborate the litany of the dead,

Compose harmonious laments, gather together the names,

as if they meant anything any more, as if we remembered

Their bright eyes, their smiles, their warm strong hands,

Their words around the fires.

.

The ashes are cold and must be cleared now.

Reset the hearth. Begin again.

The splash of sweeping oars and the crack of canvas receding.

Our bright futures looking westwards: the new approaching night.

It is not what it could be,

Not what was promised.

But it is what it is.

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CWM DWFNANT (2)
(Our geography)

It does not dwell here
It does not stay.
Coming and going in mists
Dissolved to spirit
Absently haunting
The green valley quiet.

Its wings are white shadows
Milk dropped in pools
A cleft, a demure device,
Dark and luscious mystery
Hovered near madness
Far too far from reasonable reasons.

It dwells otherwise, a dark language
Spoken backwards.
Returning time to itself,
A rotating quern of years and miles.
A mighty sign at the corner of the eye.

Blessings to the world-weary
That strip the meat back to bone,
Break the bone to feed on sweet hidden marrow.

The lick of mist, the lick of its still wrist,
Far-flung, a throat of words
Pushed back deep into the hills.

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PSYCHE/BIOLOGY/GEOGRAPHY

Bone words articulate me.
I clothe myself with wonders,
taking to myself the wrappings
of delight. There are strange beings
with familiar names folded
into memories, the voices from
drowsy Sunday afternoons.
We have cast off from mystery
searching deeper cauldrons
to feed us and make us whole.
There was never one moment
when our insistent shadows
did not mimic us. Starlight,
moonlight and the silence
of hills, our rills and rivers
cannot abide, but must tumble
and roar like warriors into conflict.
The finest webs that have caught us,
giving us names and constraining us
we have overlooked. The whispered voice
upon our skin, a breath we abide within,
a quiver of light, a curl of
reflected brightness, the jingle
of harnesses
in an old
story.

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GOOD FRIDAY

from the mist: the hills.
clouds attempt the memories of things,
but fail and find instead broad brightnesses.

there is birdsong in the valley (may there ever be),
and ravens in the cascading sky.
a wash of calling sheep, heading for food.

we feel the older weaving, thread-worn, familiar,
a whisper of what it was, (though still greater than us).
it is in the blood: this dying and longing and silence,
an intimation of the beyond coming closer,
the hidden web knotted together.

the sure, gnarled fingers of compassion,
patient Mother Spring
and the story of the son.

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A Cloak of Words
(The head of Bran whispering poet’s ears)

A whole long life he muttered dream charms
In the warm safe hall, in golden birdsong.
This life is a metaphor for living, but is not quite,
Is what he said, till curious, one looked beyond the doors.

The cold sea winds, the mist-white cry of gulls,
The memory stripped, fact bones, dream blubber,
Food for drowned thought, shivered clear,
Born again.

The snow creeps down to the valley floor.
A bullfinch in a flash of sunlight.

The Good Raven is cloaked beneath,
hidden and always in our blood.
And he will whisper, good-hearted,
as bright brows burst with illumined fire,
a convocation of the one, the only, bard in many voices.

A sea of hills, and one mighty one striding through.
It is a downward spiral from there, no good came of it,
Except a good tale dusting sunsets with fools’ gold.
Perhaps that is, after all, enough. As much as
Can be hoped for where women are unheard
And men so willing to go to war for pride.

So senseless is this suffering as to drive them raving, about the forests,
To perch muttering in bare branches, to shun the comfort,
To converse with blackbirds, to remember in aeons,
To weigh the heavy genealogies, to befriend stars.
Brave enough to see and to speak in true riddles;
To confound the self-righteous mind, to spit out the grit;
To fire the dark night with lightning, to sweeten bitterness.

And to go unheard, to go misunderstood, to go mocked,
As the world itself is, as the son of the world is,
To be turned into ghosts to frighten children with,
Unfashionable prophets, an annoyance of thorn woven crowns.

Bright-eyed, the blessed carrion-eaters return
Making the most of the already lost.
Wishing them well with a natural grace.
The beautiful bones pecked clean,
A lean, mysterious perfection
Is all that ever remains.

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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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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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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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