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Posts Tagged ‘printmaking’

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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BARDIC REPLY

Our art is not about sanity.
You, who have learned neither name nor edge,
Who insist there is one word, one view, one meaning.
You can know nothing of this glory, this defeat, this wonder.
Whose life must be pleasant above all things,
despite death and all its monsters, despite the shadows, the whispers.
Trained neither to remember nor forget, muddling through.
Oh the mirrors are sharp and they are fine, but they lie.
That is never your face that looks out -just a trick we
Have become accustomed to, knowing no better.
Staring into dark pools hypnotised, dissassociated, becoming
Numb, drained of decisions, drained of moments,
the buzzing of summer flies, the click of electrical circuits.

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Verse 13

Guenin igodo, oer agdo rid;
Reuid rev pan vo;
Ir nep goleith, lleith dyppo.

‘Bees in cover, a cold covering has the ford;
Freezing frost comes when it will;
Despite all evasion, death comes.’

1
All withdraws, thrall to frost, that covers all.
Fast it holds cold windings.
No one, no world, can wriggle free.
So we become still, a huddled, humming tribe
Unable to forage, to find food.
A cease of movement
Falling white frost covered, frozen.

2
Nothing can prevent a fall of freezing frost
Falling on all: the hive, the water, the hall, the blood.

3
Bees in their halls, drowsy and dreaming.
The tribe is huddled, hungry and silent.
The ford is wrapped in cold, a bleak vein,
Mist-chilled, brings no succour to the valley.
Ice teeth tears its edges.
Fogged with frost, water turns metal,
Metal turns ice, cold shrouds all flesh now,
Or when it may, or in the end.
Wriggle or writhe – no escape is there anywhere.
The white winding cloth awaits, none can avoid.
A fog, a mist, an icy frost, it descends on all.
It is as it is, a bleak thing maybe,
But sharp enough to wake a tongue to song
With honey words, a rippling stream of song,
A lullaby to the living, elegy to the dead.
We all await a Spring, a way across the water.
To be led homewards, the priest’s plainsong,
The warrior’s dance, the summer flowers blossoming.
The watchful wake, the blessing of silence.

4
Rimed, it will collapse
Regardless of wishes,
Of urgent wriggling.
All the living become silent
In the end.
The ease of winter:
Ice, frost, freezing when it will.
Effortless, it falls on all.
Bone white with cold teeth,
With sharp tongue
It sucks marrow
From a broken world.
Lord Winter commands
And stillness falls.
Rasp and murmur,
Our ice breath chatters,
Edged at darkness
A distance from the hearth.

5
A cold flow it is,
Draining warmth from blood.
Frost-hollowed, fog-bound,
The valley river, a tusk.
Sudden or slow,
Ice will eat us.
A falling frost freezes all,
Moving or still.
We tumble wordless
Earthwards,
From a bleak
Empty sky.

6
In the perfected chambers,
In the golden chambers,
Silent the queen,
Silent all the host
Drowsy and dreaming,
Hungry, huddled in their halls.
Through and within
Is an echo
With the single moment,
A cold breath,
A wandering , whispered ending.

7
The stars in their millions
The forest’s edge
The river’s roar
The cold darkness,
The ice air.
Muffled is the coming
And going of the ford.
Weighed, constrained,
A limitation of frost
Crust cold, heavy
Sliced iron moments.

8
It shall stalk all halls,
The stars, the cells,
The covering dreams of all
Whilst we sleep, whilst we walk.
Neither frost nor snow,
Not in anger, nor in carelessness.
Within the song.

9
From these strict geometries
Our dances express wriggled sweetness,
As if it were possible to dream away
The stillness behind it all,
The cold between breath and heartbeat,
The petal bloom of mist
Flowering on frozen air.

The way across is covered.
Lost perfection falls
And will not tolerate us.
So we must dream, be still
Or break and burn,
Then crystal clear, rimed, lost.

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SGRAFFITO

Eyelids turned translucent,
The walls of flesh dissolved.

In utter darkness a pool of mercury trembles.

He should place the day upon his forehead,
The moon’s taste upon his lips.
The music of crickets he should place
Upon his ears,
And the music of starlight
Upon his breast.

These veins: bright rivers that knit a certain landscape.
Blood red are the hills in sunlight,
Rust, the slopes, in rain.

Falling beyond breath and beyond sleep.

His two eyes should both behold
His best beloved.
In his left hand, his cares.
In his right, his passion.
Upon his feet
Strong wings of lust.

Small, dark, is the day.
Fevered and wan the sun.
The crow’s wing coughs.
Withered is the hill.

Swells the beginnings and endings, bright burning, dreaming names.

Let him be surrounded
By a great host of angels and demons.
Let him observe as they mutually engage,
Rise and lift, conjunct and consummate,
Until they fall apart slaked, becoming satisfied dust.

This scatter of farmsteads
Glistens white as quartz
Washed desolate,
The cold stream
Of winter’s winds.

In utter darkness an impossible music shapes words.

Light from a billion years
Pours from the sky,
Not casting one shadow.
It sinks to a core of iron and gold,
Filling silent caves to feed a petalled tongue.

In utter stillness everything waits and forgets to wait.

He should focus upon his own coming and going,
The last bright moment of his breath.
The sudden possession of valley roads,
The heralding wing-tips of hill hawks.

His wish is fervently to disappear
From the sight of all men,
So he shall contemplate
The paradox of rainbows.

He shall write his name forwards
And backwards
Until it become a single,
Unutterable line.

Diamond backed
The pines at dawn.
A burning roar,
A stormfront clamour.

Rests within these moments of choice, the fall of dust.

This heart a bowl, a harp, a bird.
Weightless, filled with hope,
An open sky is all it lacks
And courage to give it all away.


Sgraffito – a process of scratching through different layers (clay, paint etc.) to reveal what is beneath.

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So fragile
Is beauty.
That
Is what
Every song
Says.
Fragile as a single breath
On a winter morning:
A mist flowering out
On settled air.
The slightest murmur,
Whisper without word,
A readjustment of time
And space,
A coordination atomic.
A new chord
Tasting the intervals between.

A settlement of sound:
Snow on the ridge edges.
Colour flees through the sky at dawn.
So, then, it grows colder.

There is sound.
There is silence.
There is
The dance of light
Between them.
Some time,
In the small hours,
The fire will die down
And we will dream.

Beauty is our food.
We hunt it out
For sweet sustenance.
Gathered, it is
The honey
Of our memories.
Clear and golden,
A long summer evening,
Just before the stars appear.

The moths,
The small things
That delight in edge
And shadow,
Where softness
Calmly billows,
Inviolable.

The way
That words fail
Upon sudden,
Harsh beauty.

Hardly moving
This slow, congealing
Blood of dawn.
Congregated, coagulated,
The most slight timbral vibrating,
This metallic air will disengage,
Withdraw to its smirked edge.

Unsupported,
Things fall motionless
To frozen earth,
A whitened mist,
A cloud of ice,
A stutter.

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LLYM AWEL verse 12 Improvisations
(Part One)

Gvenin igogaur, guan gaur adar;
Dit diulith….
Kassulwin kewin brin, coch gwaur.

“Bees shelter in winter quarters, the weak noise of birds;
A bitter day….
The ridge hill cloaked in white, a red dawn.”

The hives silent.
Bees shut up in winter.
So too, the thin voice
Of birds.
A bitter day of it,
So, too, words fail.
Gagged, gaunt,
All declines to murmur.
The hill ridge
Is cloaked in white.
A red dawn.

The hunters for gold
In their hollow halls
Gather murmured dreaming.
Summer is far away.
The dawn flowers red,
But still the birds are silent.

The beauty of it:
A silent red dawn.
River murmurs under ice.

Their laboured breath:
A cold wind sighing
Through bare branches.
The gold of victory
Keeps not cold
From the heart.
They will dream of
Summer and a summer sky,
And the dance of victory
And the boasts of heroes.

This verse has the second half of the second line missing. Rather ironic, as one of its main themes is silence, or comparative silence. The inactivity of the hive I have taken to be a metaphor or parallelism for the host of warriors, inactive, in their lord’s hall. Hence, the imagery of hunting for gold, the warrior’s prize, and bees in summer hunting for pollen.

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LLYM AWEL verse 11(part2)

So we pass it round and drink
It round, drink the short day,
Block out the storm, the raging heart,
The dying, trembling roads.

All narrowed, tunnelled in,
The golden liquid cools the breath.
Tunnelled in, proud thunder,
A slap of light, a daybreak.

The circle of the fire:
A harbour, a warm twilight.
We turn inward, away from the wall.
The wild fields of weather
The clatter of cold, the fall of night.

It runs in circles
It runs between dark and light
It runs, unacknowledged, between the company.
Cold are the dark paths to night.
Cold are the long, twisting ways.
No peace in the restless bending treetops.
No rest in the sparkling sky worlds.
Time runs screaming, piercing the light.
All dawns, a false dawn.
A cup never refilled,
Bright the days
That drip and scatter.
The fires gutter and chill.
Senseless and forgetful we sleep,
The few hours of dulled grey,
The storm that is coming.

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LLYM AWEL verse 10 (part2)

3
Snow falls.
Mountains:
A white edge to the world.
Cold, immaculate heaven
Against clouds,
Storm dark.

4
Their distant gradient dusted,
Every dip delineated,
Each crest remarked.
Imperious white they rise,
Impervious to height,
Clearly distant.
Lines of light icing horizons.
Bright as cloud, accumulated,
Tumbled upwards, whip-walled,
A cold sigh, a sharp hawk
In diving dip: the cowering valley.

5
These slim masters of earth,
Pines roar as ocean waves
Unrigged, sail-stowed,
Or broken-topped.
Rolls, the folded swell of soil,
Solid, wind-rocked.
Wet, desert reaches unwalkable,
Unpathed lost fragments.
Summer days torn away.

6
They stand
Against storm
To no good purpose
But stubborn will.
These teetering mast-trees,
Tied to their harbour,
Unfit to roam.
Spearmen huddled in a forest,
Shorn of reason to stand firm,
Yet standing together still.

7
Ghosted flesh gnawed by cold to bone.
We stand tall not from choice- our bitter fate.
Sore is the storm: it seeps within without surcease.
Sliver, shard, we shiver still.
Holding fast – a downward slide.

—-

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And is it not true,
Waiting a while in darkness
There blooms a sky
Once blank
Now full more and
More of stars?

And so, too,
in silence waiting
We see thoughts roar and multiply,
Emotions self-arise, endlessly,
and, fecund, roll
To oblivion.

It happens without effort,
This stretching, purring cat close by,
These hillsides echoing
With wild cries of foxes.
This air, motionless, cool,
A taste wrapped in grass and woodsmoke.

Without edge,
Without distinction,
Mind fills up all space.

The world, a cup
Half empty of sorrow,
Is half full of joy.
Yet we thirst
And must drink
Regardless.

Gulping life,
A taste to keep us,
A withstanding
of emptiness.

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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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