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Posts Tagged ‘remembering’

NAMES WILL BURST THROUGH

How long will it be before the words form?
And the names, how long til they congregate?
How long until they accumulate weight enough
To press down and hold still and never ever be forgot again?
On lips, on paper, on stone, into the bark of trees.
These names are fragile, finite, unknowable as rivers are.
In their passing we believe we have known them.
A familiar dream. So familiar. So much of a summoning,
A stirring up, a fold and an ache in the hearts,
A fold and an ache in the valleys and on the hills.
The wind will blow them away and the rains shall erase them.
As a long day in sun, the language changes.
What is smooth grows harsh. What is bitter turns to poignance.
(The sobs of the dying, lost in mud- one more ridge, lads, one more.
We shall be remembered in stained glass,
On stained grass, on mud among the poppies of remembering
And poppies of forgetfulness, my love.)
They stretch out and pierce through the noise.
Given any chance they shall strain to matter.
Our dear dead ones and our forgotten ones.
Beneath the skin, beneath the soil, beneath the silence.
Their names echo around our lips as we sleep.
Under lids the eyeballs roll and flutter.
Is it for this, only for this, just for this,
And one more, one more kiss, lip to lip,
Breath to breath, sigh to sigh.
The river sweeping it all away.

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WHERE SHALL THESE GHOSTS

Where shall these
Ghosts, oblivious, remain?

Down by the shore
Counting dead-man’s-fingers,
Peeking in mermaid’s purses,
Teasing the mouths of anemones.
A ghost amongst ghosts,
Toes wet and dancing,
Sand-wriggled.
An audience of waves,
A laughter of gulls.

Enchanted
By hedgerow robins
And blackbirds after rain.
A cooling skein of late summer cloud.
Showered and drifting,
The pale washed sky.
Home, then, to warm silence,
A collected, amiable
Gathered-in darkness.

We are scattered, all,
Sown to seed the soil.
Strewn in time and place,
Nourished in small, bright things:
A voice, a scent, a feeling.
Reflected morning on a dew wet web,
As delicate as that, even.
Nothing to be proud of,
Nothing to disdain.
Held together by forgetting
And remembering, bursting
In and out of existence.

By the midgy lochside,
Mountains hidden,
A smudge of cloud.
The lap lap of waters,
The pooling dip of oars
On bright grey water,
The long islands rising
Anchored galleons of rock and green.
Crushed heather, rain wet grass,
The smell of woodsmoke and broth.

—-

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RETURNING SONG

Before daybreak,
In quieter airs,
A smaller dawn.

As a blackbird sings,
Before the hint of light,
An old man settles,
Rises,
Releases,
Returns.

Leaving the complexity, leaving the overlay of moments,
We are a simple tune, one or two notes,
A nursery rhyme, guileless,
Needing no elaboration.

Leaving the moments, leaving the overlay of complexity,
We are, always have been, a little dance, a gesture,
A ripple, delighted perturbation,
Needing no justification.

Yesterday on a distant coast,
Storm waters uncovered footprints
Left and right, made by wanderers
Nine hundred thousand years ago.
Traces return, unexpected,
Vanish, unexpected.
These roaring tides, these sands,
These comings and goings,
Noticed, unnoticed.

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FIGURATIVELY

Such as it is,

(All immanent),

It fades, fades, flies, falls.

Our art,

The only way

To catch the present moment,

Reflected, mirrored

On this moving, rippled

Lake of memory.

—-

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jade beach1

ON JADE BEACH

On Jade Beach,
Looking out west,
Indigo and white, the sea.
Ripples, woven ikat patterns
By the cold wind.

We could not tell
What was precious,
Nor what bestowed
Immortality:
Pockets weighed down
With smoothed fragments
Of beauty.

Dark pine leans out.
An arc of dark sand.
White, cold wind from the mountains.

These pebbles were mountains,
This sea, spring rains.
Looking for signs of heaven,
Dreaming of jade rivers.

Six foot of snow
Deep in the hills.
Inside the grass-roofed houses,
Warm and dark:
Silk-drying racks,
Rice-harvest regalia.

The big drum is silent
But its roundness
Fills up the valleys
All around.

Our footprints along the ice paths
Melted, flowed into the bay.
The cedars redden again with pollen,
Rust-red in the sharp sunlight.

On smooth black sand
The tide rolls a pebble
To and fro.

Your fingertips
Impressed on clay tea-bowl rim.
The fragrance of memory
Bitter and bright.

These roads we take
So winding,
It is difficult to recall
The last views of the sea,
The last of the sunset.
Go on,
We shall not be far behind.

Down to the sea
Looking for immortality.

*****

jade beach8

BLEAK WIND

(no reason why
It should come up.
No reason why
It should not.
Remembering
The last time we saw you
Burdened but smiling
Far over the mountain passes
Down by the sea
Laughter along the shore
Dark pines listening
A bleak wind
Mountain still deep in snow)

****

THE WAY IT IS

no need to wait
no need to look back.
we are all following,
one by one.
the winding path
into deep mountain
stillness.

***
jade beach2

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THE GREAT ONES

We make our own monsters,
Feed them and sustain.
Dark mirrors
That crush, embitter,
Defining right,
Ripping nerve from muscle
Leaving insensate force
To rule and chain.
Their names
Will live forever
While the quietly good
Dissolve back
As if never.

Their rise is ever
Our failure.
A choice,
A strong dream
Promulgated, given,
Over-ruling a more
Delicate path.

(The willows with their wicks of flame,
The hollow, tumbling call of the owl,
The sky’s gentle rain, fingertip chrism.
The hearth cracks as it cools).

The demons we have cast out,
Those we despised and disowned,
They rage free now, running the world.
Exultant, sure, unconstrained,
They know the fertile, dark earth,
They taste the mellow, crumbled humus,
The undigested decay of hopes,
The ephemeral, hesitant prayers
Laced through with doubts.
Wherever they step,
There is the cooling shadow
Of their triumph, the withering
Of breath, the tunnelling of sight.

(On the still air of morning, dew and mist,
A wood pigeon sails, glides, broad-keeled,
Down to its new nest, its new mate.)

Fire of mind spits and blusters,
Fire fanned and racing, consuming
To continue, eating itself, moving on.
Ashes, dust, smoulder, we eat all, move on.
A bitter combustion lacking all restraint,
Lost in itself, howling, ever hungry.

(The six lokas gently dance,
A play of blossoms, syncopated motion.
Gentle rattle, the bone ornaments,
As rainbow dakinis sway cloudwards.)

The rebels refuse to see any ineffable now.
Enough, they think: a trick that breeds complacency.
The will of Heaven: a slave chain.
Deceit they know: deceit they expect in all.
Their flowers that flourish are the bloom of pain,
The mistaken identity, the immortal secret.
Inchoate, needing all, it grows in secret,
Displacing order with hierarchy,
Growing its own executioner.

These are the Great Ones,
The Immortals, draped in gore.
Do not turn away nor shudder.
Only a clear morning gaze will cool them.
Only a tear-fall of bright dew will wash.
Refuse the spark to fury and fight.
Refuse the glory, refuse the judgement.

Our medicine. What shall be our medicine?
Measured poisons, a taste of death,
A return, a clearing of spaces,
An emptying, an unwinding,
A gesture of removing fear,
A small laughter, a shrug.

What shall be our medicine,
What our poison?
Stillness is an action.
Silence an answer.
No choice, still a choice.

Still the choice.
Remain,
Unhindered.
The roaring fires extinguish themselves,
A transmigration of souls.

**

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I promised 47whitebuffalo that I would write something on the names of ancient Celtic tribes. This is not exactly what I originally had in mind, but it is how things seem to be arriving in these early grey deserts of pre-dawn!

petersfield cernunnos3

THE GIVING OF NAMES (a beginning)
1
The day alights wrapped in cloud,
A gift given to memory.
Trees wait, their eyes lidded,
Savouring those names rich and round –
The roots and seeds so swallowed,
Buried, taken up, changed.

Hollow sweet, the pierced song:
The puffed, cold-breasted birds
Chant, waiting for warmth.

Huddled all, by the crackled fickle flames,
Memory feeds
( shapes and faces, laughter, even).

The light is hungry for names.
It reaches behind ice-stiffened grasses,
Bitter ivy and brown yarrow.

Lost in fog and short horizons are we,
Diminished at each forgetting.

Remote, aimless paths are the paths we move
Without their remembrance.

Small-minded, shadowless,
Pinched and petty,
Fogged and mired do we proudly become:
Stretched ghosts without root or reason,
Withered, starless, slack-handed.

I shall sit, mind naked, pool eyed
Drinking rippled waters.
Stirring, stirring the surface patterns
Resolving, returning, resonant syllable.

A speckled, dull dunnock, unexpected sweet song.
A circling crow, mist moving, lifting a world,
Stumbling between doors of dream.

2
PRETANI
The first are the shaping ones,
The givers of form, far-famed,
Makers and singers.
Gold of sunlight, silver of moon, movement of stars,
Hammered, forged, chased into meaning.
The returning spirals,
A path in and out of time.

A clatter of magpies
Searching root, rock, wood, chill clear water.
A house for the invisible, clothing mystery.
The laughter of ravens,
The warm agreement of cattle.

These islands, named from them,
Whom no-one has superseded.
Their knots and philosophy
Sewn into the landscape,
The manifestors of story,
Witnesses of return.

3
REGINI
The upright ones, the proud ones,
The stiff ones, the tumescent ones.
Upholders, unbending.
A fountaining tree from our loins
Showering gold bowls of grain,
The seed of fat lands, high lands.
The tree of our lord, a king of horizons,
A shelter to all, a song of breezes,
A tumult of battle hymns.

snake rider

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