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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

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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LAMINATION

These words have gathered themselves together

Like swallows in a cooling sky.

Dark news from the cities

Where fools hold sway.

The stone at Llanlleonfel hardly speaks,

Stuttered in silence, its lines unread.

The stone of Llanynis taken to safety,

A kind replica gathers moss in an empty field.

The stones of Llanddewi Cwm, the woven stones,

Broken and holy, no one sees any more.

Words there are dying, eagle cries scratched and fading.

The stones of Gelynos subside into their own graves,

Locked in roots, bound by promises, muttering names.

The stone at Llanwrtyd, the old view subverted,

The road to world’s roof pitted, empty.

Is it still there in the darkness?

A mystery looking out, an old palm resting in an old lap,

As if after despair.

The stones of Llanafanfawr, huddled safe from storm,

Root words that mean their opposites, that savour contradiction.

The stone of Llangamarch, bestowing its blessing on jackdaws,

By the river’s edge in the water’s roar.

A storm of awen stripping away discourse.

A scroll rolled and unrolled a galaxy away.

The stone of Cilmeri, where hope died,

Where hope is offered flowers continually fading.

A place to lose heads, to find a well of eventual peace.

All these stones cold, hard, mute.

They can not tell of our futures here,

Though they remember the past,

And that, they all know, is the same thing.

The stone of Llanlleonfel is an Early Dark Age memorial to two fallen Welsh warriors inside the small church at Lllanlleonfel. The script is hardly readable now, the exploits forgotten.

The stone at Llanynis is a deftly carved pillar cross, removed to a local museum, but replaced with a fair reproduction, leaning isolated in a cleared graveyard.

The stones of Llanddewi Cwm, are no longer in situ. They consisted of deeply carved interlace patterns, once part of a free-standing cross stone.

Gelynos is an early Non-Comformist chapel site on a hillside road. Its walls long gone, its gravestones tipped and sinking into the earth.

Llanwrtyd stone is a memorial stone with abstracted Celtic-style head, lost within the depths of an old church nave.

The stones of Llanafanfawr are enigmatic geometrical carvings now placed into the porch wall.

The Llangamarch carving is above the church porch. It has a representation of a figure holding a spiral below a sun wheel cross.

The stone at Cilmeri was placed last century in memory of the death of the last great Llewelyn, Prince of Wales, ambushed and slain here.

All these stones are in, or look over, the Irfon Valley in mid-Wales, where I live. The title ‘Lamination’, which is name given to the weathering deterioration of these old carvings, is also a play on ‘lamentation’, particularly the Biblical Lamentations of Jeremiah, so popular in the Reformation for its relentless descriptions of ungodliness and destruction of nations.

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PROPHECY IN THE MORNING

Tra mor, tra Brython,

Haf ny byd hinon;

Bythawt breu breyryon

Ae deubyd o gwanfret,

Vch o vor, vch o vynyd,

Vch o vor, ynyal ebryn,

Coet, maes, tyno a bryn.

Small gods consume lesser gods

To become great gods.

Simple ideas coalesce

To plot the downfall of worlds.

Ye prophetic poets who starve in corners.

Ye warrior kings who walk on mothers’ sons.

Ye ocean depths. Ye wild autumn skies.

Ye ultimate icy silences. Ye forests singing.

Words that lack mouths fall impotent.

Memories that lack accuracy

Become stories for the bored and enervated.

Today, like every day,

Is the last day of this bright world.

Today, like every day,

Will become ashes glowing in the cooling evening.

What will you do to sustain?

What will you do to glorify?

What will you do, O foolish ones,

To mimic eternity, and fail?

I am Taliesin and I am bitter dust.

Bright browed and grown from circumstance.

A seed swallowed by a great mother, hatched and thrown adrift.

If my words bite hard, they are to waken you.

Your footsteps are poison

Wherever you tread.

How shall reparation be made?

Pop arawt heb erglywaw – nebawt

O vynawe pop mehyn.

Yt vi brithret a lliaws – gyniret

A gofut amwehyn:

Dialeu trwy hoyw gredeu bresswyl.

The words in Welsh are from The Prophecies of Taliesin:

At the beginning:

As long as there is sea, as long as there are Britons,

There will be no fine weather in the summer;

Feeble will be the lords who come to them

Through deceiving the weak.

An attack from the sea, an attack from the mountain,

An attack from the sea, the uninhabited region in tumult,

The wood, the field, the hollow and the hill.

and at the end:

Every supplication going completely unheeded

By the lord of every place.

There shall be turmoil and tumult in the host,

And spreading tribulation:

Acts of vengeance mixed with constancy of fair promises.

Prophecies accumulate their own veracity.

They become the origin and end point of themselves.

Boulders thrown into a stream,

Turbulence upstream and down.

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The Doors of Midsummer

A breath of cloud moves east across Y Garn’s face.

Words are as scarce as swallows in a cold summer.

Anyway, anyway, they only grow from dream to tangled lie,

flowering like the bindweed covering all beneath,

Weighing down, weighing down until nothing else remains.

The doors have opened in every hill,

An invitation to join the dance and summer’s feast.

But we are taught to doubt generosity,

To look for the trap in openness and goodness

(nothing is true that comes so free and easy).

River and clouds are the rulers of this world

and they move on in their own time, unbidden.

Tune to a key that sings of endlessness, even though

no one here knows anything of that song.

For emotion is born from time and loss:

In timeless halls is no such thing.

No such thing but endless dance and bliss.

If the summer never ends

It will be a hard winter, here.

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How the cuckoos sing sweetly
Of treachery and loss.

In the dewy morning
The rivers run low,
The hills to themselves,
Quietly weeping.

Ravens are joking on their way
To the slaughter-fields.

They do not need
The permission of gods
To be satisfied and at peace.

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ELECTION

Cloud is low, a light rain.
The rivers will rise, and the cuckoo’s voice.
These is no road to happiness.
Sit still a while. It is here.

In cities sprout the sudden
Intricacies of deceit:
New plans of action;
Words dressed, eloborate dances.
Fear cultivated as if it were virtue.
Hypnotic screens drip poison:
Connla’s Well on every tongue.
We rear the monsters of others.
The monsters of our own,
We have not recognised.

Shucked out and flailing,
Naked goodness pecked by crows,
Growing cold as the summer
Warms the wooded hills.

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SCURRY

The dull slurs of the fooled seep slurry on good.
Oil waves curious and more black than rainbow’s slime
Away from any mirror face. We are wan:
Sucked in, fleshed out and blown dusty.
Of no consequence the numbers,
Of no weight the true sorrow.
The push through will be fool courageous,
A more destroying certainty.
No weight, no way beyond a crippled moment
Sluiced and slopped down,
History wiped clean regardless.
Robotic minions clichė.
The house is burning,
The demons above in the sky.
A blind archangel shall slay all who move, insouciant,
Temperance scoffed at.
The feast of too much and too late.

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WINTER SONG

This distant raven
Smudges the fields,
A rise and spin and fall
Into waves of rain.

Storm winds sweep away
The last of daylight.
Broken sun skitters the hillsides.

It is a rage, a downing tumble.
The world aches
For good governance.
We, an evil race
If we can sing neither
Praise nor beauty.

The heather has broken,
Black is the wild rock.
Unkept are the fields,
Unkempt the hedges.

The cold phlegm lies deep,
A ghost not to be forgotten.
The neat roads are a lie:
They go nowhere
But another stone womb
Devoid and hollowed of life.

Arrogance barking
Through the night,
A papered-over civility
That masks
The purple bruises
Of pampered bullies.

The lambs of peace
Will bring down wrath,
The ravens know.
There is only hunger,
Food and eater.

Marrow,
The heart of things.
We gnaw the shattered bones
To find the fire.
Peck the eyes
To see tomorrow.

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A HARD RAIN

The one ring roars in the mountains
Cracking worlds in idle curiosity.
Nonchalent, malevolent, intelligent cities
Breed hungry ghosts who howl and tear and are never satisfied,
Though everything holy is in their grasp.
Silence floats naked and alone
As the dice shifts this way then that.
Helpless are those
Who have been taught right from wrong,
Helpless the nights in the face of relentless light.
For sixty years now the screen
Has flickered from prescience,
Restless souls doubting the wit of the future.
By increments the images breath and take life,
Jumping dreams, shadowing into being,
Sparks from each fire, windblown,
Begin to eat their own existence.

In this year
All mirrors became broken
Or smudged to smoke.
So enchanted, we could see
No longer what we had become.

In this year
A growl of wind
Scattered the minds of many,
Leaving them empty singing hymns
And rhymes from childhood.

In this year
The very bricks and stones
Of our homes became soaked in sorrow,
So it seeped into each shadow
And downcast each ray of light with dust.
Laden heavy, we shuffled about,
Having lost all will to sing
And all skill to speak eloquence.

In this year
A great plague of demons political
Infested the homes of the nation.
Whatever was tried, failed to oust them,
Until despair weighed heavy on the weak and helpless.
Cities rang hollow with empty eyes.
Rapacious beasts lived in the high windowed buildings,
Though few noticed the slowing of time
And the long shadowed echoes,
So dismayed were we by our long ignorances
And taken up with dreams of bright illusion.

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Echo and Decay.The concept of the overlay of events and times, the repetition of events, same old stuff, images of decaying vegetation superimposed on extracts from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, which recorded each year’s major events in England from the sixth to the twelfth centuries, and Anglo-Saxon poetry. Not complete pieces but trials and try-outs.

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A DEMON’S ADVICE

But trust not your sighs to angels, ever.
They shall take each warming gust of breath,
Snatch and sew them swiftly to their own leaden wings.
So booted with heavy lustre and drunk on praise,
They hardly rise, flapping fiercely,
Singing golden geometries, scattering fiery alphabets.
Phosphorescent spinning flies,
Web-caught in luscious word.
Spider He bejewels them, soft and silk wrapped.
Dumb and fearless, a multitude of choiring gnats.

Only one thing the gods themselves fear, and that is disbelief.
And laughter, maybe, certainly, laughter.
And a free vote.
Not big on democracy are these deity.
No countenance for suggested alternatives.

If it’s a viewpoint you want, a demon’s your man:
All the angles, all the catch, all the numberless ins and outs.
Tried them all, tested, weighed, annotated, risks assessed.
Goat footed and fleet, we nibble nimbly across the cliff-faces
Of most portentious Glory, around the storm-flared nostrils,
The beetled brow, the forest eyebrows.
Ignoring the ineffable, we lick the salt of the particular,
The delicious and peculiar answer.
Down to earth, most rational, mathematical.
Solomon knew a thing or two, and that he got from us,
Smart man. You could do worse than converse.
Here’s a taste. A word or two in your ear….

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