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Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

THE TALIESIN SHADOWS

1

He comes forth by words,

out of darkness and brightness

(we, watching, blinded by both).

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Out from blood, out from skulls,

out from the groves and the mist.

.

They tumble, birds from nets,

these wild words seeking skies.

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The scent of oak and moss,

the scent of rust and iron blood.

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A thousand years,

and still no-one has fathomed its depths.

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The evening sky swept clear of life and death,

autumn clear with the tooth cold edge to it.

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He has learnt to weave the shadows.

Mystery is his cloak, a feathered cloak of wings,

wings of words.

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The meat of the past, the blood and muscle

of all forebears held in rhythm and sound.

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They have perfected their own shadow,

full of mystery and silent horror.

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Persistent dreaming encourages a certain familiarity

with dear monsters. “My awen is an ash spear”.

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We talk to the spirits of the dead,

recounting their stories, reviving their memories,

reincarnating the spirit.

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I will sing and sing and sing your words.

Your voice feeds my nerves

and I become, first, between, then other, then empty,

and you can walk in.

.

My shadow

becomes your shadow,

your words,

my words.

.

2

I open my mouth.

There is silence.

But now the wind

From the graves

Forms sound, the vowels,

The rivers of sound from the caves of wisdom,

From the mounds of remembrance.

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I will not sing to the lords, to the rich kings.

I sing to the free, who lack good weather,

Who seek rain in drought, seek sun in storm.

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The space of song.

They listen and travel through these words

To become closer to the divine.

This is my space. The protective weaving of poets’ words.

Enwrapped, entranced, protected within the poet’s rhythm.

3

Cauldron

This cauldron: iron hard consonants

Wrapped round and shaped by the curve of vowel.

What will it not encompass?

What shall never be encompassed by it?

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Awen is greater than this cauldron’s expanse,

Awen is deeper than its deep resounding belly.

Powerful is the echo of that fortress of truth,

Yet an echo in the hills of distant thunder is what it is.

The ocean roar of awen in the cursive chambers of shell and bone:

A whisper of voices, millions, there are millions, from the deep before.

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Deep as this cauldron is, and as ancient as its gigantic creators,

It cannot contain the horizons of Annwfn.

One part is understood and named,

Four-fifths remain eternally hidden.

A clear light blinds by its brightness

And the shadows deepen wherever it shines.

It cannot be named by names, it cannot be sung by songs,

It cannot be understood by philosophy,

It cannot be measured by maps.

Look up, look down, at the revolving stars:

It is there and not there.

Stir the bubbling verses in the honey cauldron:

It is there and not there.

In the breath and in the void

It escapes the understanding as the sun at sunset,

As the cuckoo in winter,

As the wren in the hedgerow.

There and not there,

A diminishing cry

Stirring the mind of poets.

.

He grows from his words – the seeds of sound

On the soil of listening silence.

Embodied, he is mystic light, a tricky one, iron hard steel.

An evolution of the world’s voice found in the dark tombs,

A clothing of golden brocade for liquid tongues.

They whisper in circles in their root-wrapped rooms.

The transcendence of death by the sages, by the brave,

By the wise, by the heroes who pass between, who pass on.

I have placed the words of the past in my body.

Golden, they rise up when my tongue bids it.

The mead flows, we drink and are drunk upon it.

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The deep speaks, and it stirs the deeper still.

We are echoes and can trawl

The life beneath the single

Small light of the soul.

This voice overtones infrasound.

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NIGHT RIVER

Hush, now, hush.

It is the night river rush

In the cool stumbling dark.

Echoes of dogs twist the silent wings of stars.

It is the thrum of moments being born

From the ground sighing upwards.

Orion and his prey:

Every night the same story

But we never tire of it.

The roads we follow to make it right.

The roads we tread to follow on behind.

Night river, going and staying still.

The night river lullaby in its blanket valley.

Tucked away and breathing dreams.

Tucked away as the heat evaporates,

As heads empty of thought,

As bodies drape and forget themselves,

As breath joins the river snd leaves, and leaves.

Night river, the cold as smooth and sharp as stalking cats.

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THEY ARE BEYOND

They are beyond reach, beyond the wall,

Beyond the chattering sparrows in the cool mist morning.

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The hill mutes its gold and silver.

In the valley, old men farm regret.

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It is beyond, but hinted, by the soft fall of rain,

By the slow southern breeze,

By the pale light and waiting.

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It is curled about the sleeping cat,

It’s breath a whisper in the room.

It goes out and comes back

Dressed in notions, disguised in feelings.

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It is inherent, yet escapes from

These eternal passing moments.

It becomes a word, moves air, shifts the sight,

Then disappears.

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GODDESS BOWL

I am the unknowable bliss at the moment of death and birth.

I am the shatterer of stars.

I am intimately enwrapped in every moment.

I am the passion of breath.

I am the fragile vessel of eternal light.

I am the bright moon burning.

I am the smell of molecules and the wetness of love.

I am every skin and every longing.

I am the drip of cave mouth and the yawn of lions.

I am the eternal tree of photons and its infinite song.

Beyond size and judgment, beyond care and carelessness,

Beyond mirrors and windows, every door speaks my name.

Every bowl acknowledges my precedence.

All vowels and consonants praise me.

All silence contemplates my forms.

All seas, all rivers, all days, all nights, all revolving,

All steadfastness, all remembering, all forgetting, all breath,

All consummation, all conceit, all dream, all thought, all name,

All essences, all senses, all waters, all featherlight caresses,

All thunder, all change, all disappearing, all sorrow, all tears,

All reasons, all homecomings, all roads.

Perfect, unsullied, naked, unadorned.

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THE TREES

.

the trees have

become skeletons now,

.

this year’s flesh

stripped off by storms.

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we are becoming the dead

And breathe

that spice perfume

Of cold and

mulch and sleep.

.

the wind lifts the skirts

of the morning.

.

we see nothing there

except clattering bones.

.

all our neat

and sensible power

evaporates.

.

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Nos Calan Gaeaf

NOS CALAN GAEAF

What power we have is transitory –

the lights flicker off and on.

helpless we watch the waters rise.

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The wind too high for owls.

the ground too wet for sparrows and mice.

only the sheep, patient as the moon,

illuminating their fields-

the ghosts of Nos Calan Gaeaf.

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A day of broken promises.

showers slice through rainbows.

small roads disappear under leaves.

beneath the storm wind roar

there is a new silence.

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The veils between worlds wear thin.

the living and the dead stumble into each other.

A spirit murmuration, a dance before the setting sun.

those whose short lives were bright with pain,

killed by war and childbirth,

look on amazed at the docile listless hordes,

their over-saturated visions flickering,

addicts of mechanical dreams.

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WHOSE EYE

Whose eye now rests unblinking?

These sorrowful scattered things.

Whose perfect recollection

Recites names and causes?

Who knows and can name

The wide, free roads to destruction?

Is it that there is only ever one timeless voice,

Bright-browed and sharply bitter,

A wormwood for awakening?

Slew the game and shift the form,

It can never break from the following cloud.

The storm crow cries,

Carrion falls to feed new flocks.

Day and night is his mouth.

Dawn and sunset, dusk and midnight.

They are dreaming

Who listen to that song

Dreaming it is their dream alone.

There is peace beneath

The storm of words.

One world anchoring

The roaring others.

Gather back your souls, lost and scattered.

From this forest undergrowth.

From the peeling skies.

From the long dust roads.

Gather them in the heart of a song

That will not brook nor break.

One season returning with bright fruit.

One prayer reaching the throne of the Creator.

All this is the debris of glory.

The gold that feeds the gods-

These autumn grasses are brighter,

These few days, more precious.

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RISING, RETURNING

Rising through mist and rust and gold.

The rain coming and going and the oaks holding on.

History repeating itself, as it always does,

And the eternal poets weeping and laughing

In their sunlit words.

We shall reach home soon, as we always do,

Until the very last time when time shall slow and stop,

And the oaks, only, will be holding on then

In rust and gold and sunlit drifts.

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BOOK OF RIVER

A thousand page book

On ‘What the Rivers Say’

Illustrated by hand with all

The ripples and such.

Equivalents of sound in line

And what the mind says.

And what the wind says

And where it leads

And where it leads back to

Again and again.

A work folded from

One sheet of paper.

A work transparent, translucent,

Opaque.

Where pages and words

Appear above and below each other.

A multitude of one view, an explanation,

A demonstration of the inexplicable.

And all the voices there,

All the voices from along its length,

Rumbled and whispered

And sung and roared.

Tiny sparkled voices, great voices,

Minnow voices, tree root voices,

Drowned minds of poets

And their pale ghosts.

Voices of tributaries, voices of puddles,

Voices of pools, voices of dribbles,

Of moss dripping, of sodden earth,

Of scoured stone, of squiggling,

Worming things.

Reflections still and stately,

Pride that confuses and leads nowhere,

But the doubt that up may be down.

And the river bed, ah! the river bed:

A history of shatterings, of droughts,

Of flood race, of lost footings, of twisted ankles,

Of sobs, of precious things lost

Forever, forever, forever.

Down to the sea with them,

With the gold and the glistening

And the feathers and fluff of life.

The leaves spun to colour

And down away, away.

Stretched from there to here to there,

Beyond distances and the taste of soil

And the taste of heather and the taste

Of ice and of wind in the sparkling hills.

Self-created words, worm words,

Caddis larvae words, fast, flitting,

Slow floating words.

Half sung, half spoken, half heard,

Half, half, some other,

Some other meaning completely.

Completely star-worn and moon-urged.

Life moving downwards towards itself.

A book of river.

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THE HEATHER NOW

The heather now clouds the hills:

in sunlight, a drift of heaven,

In low, slow rains it is

the colour of sunset storm clouds.

When does solitude turn to loneliness?

.

Fifteen years the eagle flew here.

From Tregaron to Llanwrtyd her hidden throne.

Seeing more than most,

the season’s swift tides blanching the bracken,

green then gold, copper then rust.

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More than meets the eye,

these growing voids, these lost things, named,

forgotten, decayed, consumed.

A worm eye’s view is the beginning and end

of each transformative engine.

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New names and a new breath.

A scattering of syllables,

a cry long and fading,

high in the cloudless sky.

A land of stoic disappointment

lies below.

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The yews of Abergwesyn,

the yew of Llanfechan,

the chapel yew at Cefn Gorwydd

all holding on, deserted.

Folding history into themselves

and holding on.

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The eldest springs here

are all purging and bitter.

They will keep the long death away

but they too are long forgotten.

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The hay is in despite the rains,

and the sheep down from the hill.

Good governance is as far away as ever.

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The eagle free in its vast prison.

Solitude and vision

and the slow rains

washing it all clean away.

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For the last fifteen years a golden eagle has lived in our area, escaped from captivity somewhere, it has lived alone for sll this time. Just recently found dead -probably of old age.

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