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Posts Tagged ‘perspective’

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LONG DREAM

This desolation is ours
Allowing no other song.

Our history of misery, threadbare and golden
Would not keep a family of mice
Alive on a winter’s evening.

Such honour we give poison
And the acid tongues that spit it out.

One by one we snip our roots
To free us from this sullen holy soil.

Cool mountain air and the rain
washes distance away.
It says:
You are not important enough to be hated.
Even a long dream will still be woken from.

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They build up in snake and scented layers, an incense of doubt and subtle weaponry.
There is nothing they do not know ( for they are the most convincing liars).
Few converse with them, and fewer still stay sane if they do.

Shadows that fear to move lest they become something more substantial.
Shadows that flicker and dance, content with no form but imitation of countless forms.
They are shadows of things unheard of, yet nonetheless feared.

A writing automatic. A blur on the stairs.
A soft padding where there should be nothing but silence.
A dark bloom folded up in its own destiny, beyond the tricks of time and space –
a honeyed tongue delighting in other’s poisons
and perfectly, perfectly reasonable.

Ink that slurs and smudges the mind with indelible insult.
Truth that cannot be born again, but must.
All this in the deepest pools of your deepest eyes,
And behind those, too, the deepest engines
Of rot and renewal.

Impossible to weigh, impossible to judge,
Beyond behaviour, beyond rule and law.
Bones congregating, skittering, amalgamating.
A contagion of consciousness.
Ancestral murmur, a tidal surge.
Warped away from our superficial dreams of goodness,
They shall have their way because of our unknowing.

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LAND MASS

It goes deeper, deeper than the flowering Cymru
Fighting like cockerels, fighting like stallions,
Shaping its gold, sharpening its iron,
Burying their wise in wells and living for eternity.

It goes deeper, deeper than the careful hunters
Moulding bone and wood, sure- handed, closed-lipped,
With measuring eyes, with sparkling eyes,
Fire- gathered and moving on, moving on.

It goes deeper, deeper than the bear-must caves
And the guardian watchers over the far plains,
Dried and herd-filled and spun with the sky-filled mysteries,
The wheeling light, the earth, the sky, the roads between.

It goes deeper, deeper than this. Delved, rooted out,
Held firm, a fountain of birdsong, an endless forest
And the glimmer of scents woven, woven.
Warm blood and racing hearts offered, shared, changing shape.

It goes deeper, deeper than sound to those silences of aquamarine,
Not rock nor liquid but the grinding of time on time
Scraping the bowl of the land by slow scraped degrees,
A return to the simplest and the sheltered nests of first things
Miles below groaning ice, dreaming of procreation
The passing on of breath to breath, an exhalation of word.

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Illustration is ” bone white hollows”, a sketch for a piece of silver darkness.

A DEEPENING LOW

It shall return to silence soon enough,
So let the railing vent and blow.

They fall into nothingness:
Grains of irritation
That might turn to pearl
But instead accumulate
And smother for no good purpose
But decay.

And decay is within
That treasured storehouse,
That defining hall of measurement
Where all apparent becomes fixed
And sure.

All, all, fairy gold- dust and sticks.
No ell, no cubit, but all chains,
All a measure of inappropriate approximation,
Misreadings, misjudgments,
Missed, missing persons,
Never identified, lost;
Posted posters “Gone Missing”,
Abraded, disfigured by time
And unkind passings.

The subtle arc of self-destruction
So like flying, not falling.
But there it is:
A matter of perspective,
Parallax and doppler.
Red shift
As one by one
Certainties flicker out
Beyond reach.

I am, after all, it seems,
Defined by the shape
Of emptiness,
And maybe only that, too,
Is borrowed.

“And we scatter,
The many millions of us
In different directions,
Self-absorbed,
Constantly muttering
Our own names
Lest we forget ourselves……”

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Illustration is “bone claw moon”, a sketch for a silver design that may one day emerge from the mirk

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Ash, my tall and graceful one!
My sky-sweeping, rooted one!
Pillar of the upland airs,
Feather-leaved and blowsy one!
May you live forever
On the green meadow,
The cliff-side wood.

May you not decline
With the eastern wind
That blows unwitting death.
It is not hateful, nor malicious,
That small spored thing.
It is itself, longing to live,
Breathing when given space to breathe.
Happy to flourish free.

But all eat the other.
Each food delightful,
A means to be maintained,
And who can dare say
This one form has more need,
More right, than that other?

These hills, sighing open,
Green-pillared with ash and maple.
Sky-open, crow and jackdaw,
Hare and hawk,
Were once oak deep
’til cropped for pit and forge.
We ourselves so keen to scrape
And burrow, scratch and gather up.
Those stone walls now, too,
Broke and deserted, wooded once more.

Our curse in time, our measurement,
Our expectation.
Climbing into the hill country, (warm air,
Cool breeze), time clicks backwards
In increments,
By hours, by days, by weeks,
By months, by years.

Midsummer here
And the hawthorn still heavy,
Chestnut red and proud.
And the stone, the building,
The road, they slip back
To a century, two centuries, ago.
Time slowed in the hills,
Time holding on.
Like the ash, time growing tall
And bending – green time, leaved, roofed.
Time cherished, built up.

Our habitual curse:
A narrow view on time,
A time of coming and going,
A fragment of patterns
Made larger than horizons by life.
A horizon invisible, but for you,
Towering ash, standing
So fair and tall.

Today is enough.
Today is forever.
Weep not for what will be,
What will never be.

The green shadow cools
Down by the Derwent,
A haven for the silk sheen of ducks,
Their quiet chuckling graze in grass.
The goatsbeard turning to sleep at noon.

——


This collected around a journey up north into the Peak District of Derbyshire, the beginning of the Pennine uplands that run up the centre of England to the Borders of Scotland. The highest lands are sparse fields, stone walled, crow-haunted, with windbreaks of sycamore and beech. In the high valleys, steep and narrow, magnificent ash trees grow tall and broad. Here ash and maple (sycamore, great maple) take over from oak as the main woodland species.

Chalara fraxinea is the rather delightful name of the ash dieback fungus, first appearing in the forests of Poland quite a few years back. Since then it has made its way westwards devastating ninety-nine percent of Europe’s native ash trees. Now it has finally reached Britain. There is a slight hope that natural genetic diversity will allow five percent of trees to be resistant. It is very difficult to know what to do in the face of such changes. Life is a delicate, though robust, balance. The rise of one species and the decline of another is due to so many factors, and is part of the way things work here. We may favour the presence of one species over another, but our human view is always prejudiced by our habits and preferences. In the longer view of time, ninety-nine percent of all species that have ever existed here are extinct, and yet it all goes on. Who can say what life-form has more validity than another?

All we can offer is our appreciation for what is around us. Wishing all well. That may be all we can do. It may be the best we can ever do. It may be our sole purpose. To care for. To wish well. To cherish. Each day as it is.

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