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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

A SUCCINCT PHILOSOPHY

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Language

Localises

Mind

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A small breath of wind lifts the mist ‘til more blows in.

Two days, three days frost, has melted

And the birds are in the leaf litter.

The mountain’s voice says

‘Winter is not over yet’

But here in the valleys there is a small respite.

A day or two, perhaps, of gentler thoughts.

The world revolves around us here.

There is lamentation and the groans of fools from afar.

The waves, perceptible and arcane,

Encroach on the plans of contented futures.

But here, for a day or two,

Will be blue calm and the hope

Of buds and roots.

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A lot of my writing this year has been towards an art/word project inspired by The Black Book of Carmarthen, a small, handwritten manuscript containing poems collected over a lifetime by one person. It is the oldest known manuscript written in the Welsh language. A mixture of ancient bardic poems and prayers, it is at once mundane and transcendent, simple and utterly baffling. The words that come to me are either reflecting some of the imagery or subjects of the fifty odd pieces, or dwell on the nature of the author and the continuity of language and writing. The art works I am making mainly combine parts of the manuscript pages overlain with my own woodblock prints from decades ago. There will, probably, be a book that combines text with image. It is in no way a translation of the original text. It is one artist’s reflections of the magical mirror and timelessness of ancient books.

MER KERTEV KEIN (Black Book)

(The marrow of fine songs)

It is a river

Uncurling in caves,

A white torrent on dark slick rocks.

It is a shoreline cave where mystery is born by echoes,

Far from comfort, where opposites couple in the roaring of it.

Spanning centuries each word tumbles combining elements.

Shadow worlds are dressed in time to shatter and rebuild the fragments.

Oh, speckle-breasted thrush,

Thrice the song to sing.

Morning rain.

Rain of morning.

Dawn storm.

Eternal song.

A river where meaning slips like fishes,

A flash, a flank, and gone.

The next ripple, the next wave, the scintillating light.

Umbral echoes.

It dances from sound to sound.

A juggler slipping from stone to stone

In the midstream rush. Where next? Where next?

And the foaming roar of it:

The world dancing elements and prophecy

And the arc of words cast up and caught, too fast for the eye.

A stream, a stream, of passion itself.

Sound clothed in the names of things,

The naked, naked sound.

A river of God’s being,

A bowstring caught and released,

The mouth’s harp

And its breath drum rhythm song.

There are spirits here

There are ghosts

Where I see these landscapes,

Familiar, sunlit, wild

I have never been.

I am haunted by the names

And by the meanings

Within the meanings I know.

Other pages in other hands:

Mirrored, pushing through.

I am become a palimpsest of prayer-

The angels with clawed feet

Offering golden torcs.

A language of waves,

Of echoing empty hills.

My eyes water the seeds of words,

Grow vast forests.

The dance of sounds:

Lost timeless for a while,

We dance and dance.

The memories are not ours

That lodge in our hearts.

My soul fragments to the four quarters

As though I am already buried.

There is a cold wind from the north.

A woman who is not a woman

Moves at the edges of my sight

Whispering rhymes with berry-stained fingertips.

One of Three and Three in One.

Before Eden we quake.

The Tower was too high,

The Tree was too bright.

The Flaming Sword

That drove us outwards

We stole for shovels and mattocks.

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GIVEN TIME

Given time

All the stones return.

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Companionship, the soft moss

That greens broken voices.

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We are accustomed to abandonment

Where roads turn back

Leaving the high hills to themselves.

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We are accustomed to the tides

Of disdain from those

Who cannot see our wealth.

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We breathe free in cloud and soft rains,

In the glance of sun,

In the silent press of snow.

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What we lack

Has been given away freely.

Nothing of worth

Has been lost.

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From the darkening skies

A single feather falls.

The stones are silent.

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THESE WORDS

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These words we feed around our firesides,

They are the seeds that feed us.

These words, the sustaining grain.

By them we will be filled,

By them, we reach out and touch others.

By them, we find songs and sing.

By them, we see visions.

By them, we feel edges and give names.

By them, the sudden scent of memories floods in,

The healing waters, the healing well.

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In these words are the songs of our forebears, their dances.

The words we use, they flavour our world.

They are our beer, our bread, our whisky, our offerings.

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These words mean more than they say,

Each filled with spirits, each a ghost coming home.

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We plant them here to grow, to become forest roots,

To become the patterns between stars.

They are the rivers in the oceans,

They are the paths our ancestors have always taken,

Moving on from land to shining land,

Hearth to hearth across the dancing skies.

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LOST 1

My white winged soul is over the sea,

Low over the silver waters,

Far from sight, for duty

And the hope of peace.

Gone from this world,

Gone from the next,

Spiralling down to earth

To scour the debris of other’s joy.

There is some small joy in loss,

But not this loss.

Settled and content were we,

As rocks on a sun-warmed hillside

( the popping of gorse, the dust of heather,

the impermanent river of skylarks).

Settled and content, rippled in sheltered shade

(the hum of bees, the dance of gnats).

But each change brings irrevocable change.

Worlds end at every whim,

The ruins dreaming in emptied desolation.

Time, a syncopated stutter

To relive or forget in themes.

The moment before death –

An unravelling of strategy and excuses.

Something pure there, something silent,

Something wrapped beneath the pain and sorrow,

Something unutterably sweet, something eternal flickers

Before the moment and the light dies.

Before the terrible glorious cauldron darkness,

The seething dice thrown before dawn

Where we have lost our voices

And must learn to sing again,

Sound by sound.

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CARN INGLI HAIKU

We are lost in its blue distance.

Carn Ingli praised by cuckoos.

A gathering of sunlight.

In the shadows of Carn Ingli

Even the near becomes distant.

Humming bees.

Some hills watch you for miles,

Knowing who you are, where you have been.

Carn Ingli, perched above the world.

A flock of blue stones:

Cracked open are their doors.

Crowned in heather and whin

Is silent Carn Ingli.

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CLOTHED

Clothing himself in these common borrowed words,

A certain style, a certain habit, turns it all around.

Anonymous ubiquity becomes an intimate paced voice,

The poet emerges from the rough hedge glowing in the darkening evening.

Everyone has seen the full moon a thousand times,

Yet still now sighs and stands still.

Clothing ourselves in another’s memory

Or dreaming a dream not even ours:

The profoundest philosophy here,

A truth of who we are, think we are,

Where our edges blur and meet,

Where our voices change key and tone,

And slip into accents unfamiliar,

Where we stop being who we think we are,

And for a moment, if only ever for a moment,

We leap from the endless river, glinting and free

Into unfamiliar harvests of air and evening

On the floating view of somewhere we can never stay,

Returning so rapidly to the noisy rush of time and space,

Swept downstream, singing tunes with a cadence now not ours,

Now not solely ours.

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AWEN

Awen in the deep floating night.

Awen in the river darkness

Awen in the drops of rain

and the wordless cool vessel of being.

Awen in the scent of wood smoke

and between the lights and between the shadows.

The seesaw of the world,

this fragile weight of balanced moments

haunted by what has gone and seeded by thought

not yet flowered, not yet fruited.

The seed within the cell,

within the roots of blood

and the roads of time.

We are within. We are within.

The awen, our eternal passing breath.

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GREEN ROCK

Green rock, black root

time is the river

that shapes this world.

Green rock, black root

sentience emerges

from realising relationship.

Green rock, black root

life is born from the seed

of sullen gods who found love.

Green rock, black root

this world, so full of sorrow,

this world, so full of bliss.

The familiar will fall away,

as leaves before the autumn wind,

as leaves before winter.

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