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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

2017/06/p1160844.jpg

JUNE DRIFT

I am as blurred as the cleft of Cwm Dwfnant shrugged with cloud,
shunned in its darkness, up hanging from the heights, silent as a hawk.

like ladders the thistles grow, straight and high, and the sedges hustle
the grasses, cropped short, and rain-laden.

the woods, a hushed audience, wait for rain
that is as welcome as the sun, as welcome as the long, pale dawns,
as welcome as the naked starlit evenings.

sallow seed slides and drifts, amnesiac angels, bounced on warm air,
and shallow cool down by the gurgling river’s bank.

and the globeflowers at Nant Y Bran bursting and butter-bright as suns
on their long green necks. and yet they still cannot look into tomorrow.

where shall be ever planted the sweet heads of valerian
and the meadowsweet foaming up through the coming of another summer.

light drizzle rains down, slowly drifting east. a cuckoo mist, a cuckoo silence.
I am blurred as the sources of all rivers are, nominal, approximate.

this white drift is a moment that now dissolves the hills
and clarifies by shimmer and shade the valley’s deep and every fold.

the unknown and the known are not new dreams to us.
they clothe us and wrap us round, swaddled and held still, a long lullaby,
sometimes with words, sometimes with sounds,
sometimes with a warm breath
that is itself no different than love.

2017/06/p1160854.jpg

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2017/04/img_2649.jpg

1
Go down, come down
Through the hollow heart,
The yew of Llanfechan
Peeled away, the long
Sunlight moment
Mesmeric, the voice
Of voices whispered
On green tongues, long
And longing, and full
Of tragedy.

Enclosed, but
Wearing thin,
Boundary still between
Worlds, the boundary
Between times,
Given up to earth,
Food for the
Little things.

That is what the mighty
Always are.
The upright fading away.

Let me bow down,
Bow down to earth
And mulch,
Forgotten in lost
Corners, lost
On a tangent,
The slant of
Trajectories
Towards
The same
Centre.

2
This heart,
A bowl of dust.
These hollowed hills
Scooped out, abraded
By flocked moments,
Voracious, universal.
This pulse, this canopy, this swan,
Arced and spread-winged,
Reflected, shattering rainbows,
A quiver-full of light
And a mumble of story.
We no longer swing the verses,
Though the chorus is our breath itself,
Self-generated, a blueprint, a prayer.

Curtained in cloud and light, the valley floor,
Unfamiliar at this height, all becomes
Mysterious and fading.

The old tree, clasped in itself
Knotted with hymns it knew
Before brick and stone.
Its own Last Trump, its own
Resurrection, the woman in the sun,
Seven bowls and seven seals,
A thundering voice ‘How much longer
Shall we suffer in hunger? How much
Longer shall we suffer in thirst?’

To change shape and, invisible,
To infiltrate the insignificant.
A sermon on patience
And darkness.

2017/04/img_2639.jpg

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2017/03/p1150766.jpg

TRANSIENT 5

A day of slow skies
Testing new brightnesses.

Cwm Dwfnant is lost
In dreams of cloud once more.

In the green centre
The river whispers

And the crows feel that
Spring is near now, over the hills,

And sunlight, too,
In the slate and stately rise and exhale.

A sleeping world,
Dreaming of waking,

Dreaming of a small unfolding.

TRANSIENT 6

Tinder, the horizon.
Laid just so
With blue on blue
To catch spark and roar
Come sunrise.

2017/03/img_2632.jpg

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MARI LWYD 3

We follow sightless bones
Through the narrow door into a New Year
Because white bones and sightless eyes
Are the only things ever to pass through
From now to the future.
The wise will wander aimlessly,
Lost, discussing the dark paths, the short cuts,
The less muddy way.
We will stumble drunk and aimless
And find the warm door
And ask the right question
And fall to sleep
As the voices laugh
And roar
And the light
Slowly rises and fades.

2017/01/img_2555.jpg

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2017/01/img_2552.jpg

MARI LWYD 2

Sparks spin into night.
Through darkness a white ghost moves.
We follow, laughing.

Landscape remains.
Mind stays the same.
It is only the light
That changes,
Only thoughts
That come and go.
The music of it all
Remains,
Though the notes
Are constantly rearranged.

This dream so real
We fear there is no other.

We follow the grey empty void
For which we have made sparkling eyes
And a name and a thunderous roar;
And filled it with questions and answers,
Sustaining itself in darkness,
Intruding into our hearth.
Skull empty judge,
Bent bone and curved empty,
A void of time.

Lacerating tattered hearts
The wind that scars the hills
And incrementally erodes
Once warm moments
Wearing down words to screams,
Wisdom to leaden clubs.

A white sky.
Snow cold are the hills.
The rain freezes.
Beauty is not for you to survive,
But to savour
And then to long for forever.

2017/01/img_2558.jpg

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A sequence of connected works, or variations, to do with Time, New Year, tradition and mysteries. The Mari Lwyd, (‘Grey Mare’) is a horse’s skull decorated and carried on a long pole that goes round houses on New Year’s Eve exchanging banter for food and drink. It seems like a really ancient tradition and has the edgy, initiatory, feel of the oldest of memories.

Part One

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MARI LWYD

A fluid darkness, a slow river wind.
Wild torches taste change, sparks tumbling into tomorrow.
We follow laughing, the Mari Lwyd with the wild futures
As all before have done this New Year’s Eve in the old valleys
Lost in the darkness, these hills watching, loomed.

Following the Grey Mare who tests the wit and want,
And begs for food and the oblivious warmth of drink,
To remember and forget the fading paths, the slender chance,
The fatal message.

A laconic nightmare stirred up for a vigilance and a testing,
Slick and breathed upon with frost death, breath white sheet cloud,
An ectoplasmic emission, the dancing myth of earth,
A decay and return of Time to its rightful round.

Not a horse of this world, patient in the paddock.
A night horse, all will ride willy-nilly,
And a rough ride or a wild drunk banter.

We ride the words, we ride the stories, into the night.
The torches are well made, but will still gutter and die in dawn’s drizzle.
Mari Lwyd is mute this year – no wit left amongst these sundered tribes,
No one can recite the triads, utter the names of things, the innuendo beneath the sheet.
We rake over ashes, but for want of fuel the fires will die
(And perhaps they should, perhaps they should).

A new fire, the valley snaking north, caught glorious in a winter dawn.
The light slides deep, across pale oaks and forest boughs,
Slides with shifting cloud across the tops, across the fields.
The bones of things dressed in warmth,
But it is only the bones of things that will ever pass
Through and along and between the long nights,
And into the death and birth of years.

2017/01/img_2547.jpg

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2016/09/p1140871.jpg

YSTRAD FFLUR (Variations)

1
Flower valley, quietness complete.
To count the short years of the living,
To count the longer years of the dead.
2
Stones warmed by long late summer sun,
Dew still wet past midday, tears for the lost,
Prayers for them.
3
One arch, one door opening onto blue sky.
A strong door it must be
To have lasted the closing
of so many centuries.
4
Billowed on Deheubarth
Dreamed green weight.
An illuminated landscape
A foliate scroll, inhabited-
The whispers of history.
5
One stone archway,
aisles dew carpeted,
nave ribbed in cloud.
The constant choir is this little stream,
and sheep distant on grazed hills.
One yew of many remains
where the poet robin nests.
Pine and dark beech the only roofs now,
the wheeling kite the only call to vespers.
6
A vessel worn smooth with prayer heals yet and shall forever,
Blessed by its past and the dreaming dead.
A valley wide with flowers, a road ended in tranquillity.
7
Flower valley.
Nothing but peace.
Emptied of longing.
Rested under heaven.

—-

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Ystrad Fflur ( pronounced ust rad fleer) is the Welsh name of Strata Florida Abbey in Mid Wales, north-east of Tregaron. It means ‘valley plain of the river Fflur’, but in Latin has become ‘Flower Valley’. Little remains here except an archway and foundations, but the site and location are memorable in their tranquillity and history. Strata Florida held the official records of the Welsh Kingdoms and actd as the religious heart of the country. A well-known poet Dafydd ap Gwilym (14th century) is said to be buried under the yew in the churchyard. Deheubarth was the name of the Kingdom here. The Nanteos Cup, believed by some to be a contender for the true Holy Grail, was kept at Strata Florida before the dissolution of the monasteries. It was famed for its miraculous healing powers. We visited on a misty, sunny day in late summer. It has a similar atmosphere and sanctified silence to Iona in Scotland, the same intangible presence of history and vigilance.

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