Posts Tagged ‘River Irfon’


Our Geography – Pwll Bo

Pwll Bo

It has a new name now.
Only to those who know
is there a hint of something more than this.
Not even in the old language.
Fit for tourists and a simple direction:
Go on and on the winding road past,
straight past Pwllgolchi where the sheep were washed
And the waters slow and tame.
Go on and on and it is the White Bridge now.
Over the roar and tussle of rock and foam,
the screaming rocks, their bare, penitental heads.
The neat, safe bridge, white balustered and grey concrete,
Where the dogwalkers park to wander through
alder column and larch cathedral and birch,
and back again the higher bracken path
with view of slope and arcing hill,
diving into waves of oak and shadow.
No longer a haunt of ghosts and the lost,
no white shift nor silent scream, the bruised skin
and the lead of loss and madness.
No longer the world baring its teeth
And testing your religion.
No longer the long years haunting the impossible crossing,
but a small, white bridge that leads bone still
between here and there.
Not quite have they been banished, the drifting dead,
but swept from sight into the undergrowth
and up the hillside, their voices lost in the water roar.
White Bridge to the Pool of the Ghosts.

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Esgair Bellaf
( The remote ridge)

A rock snout sniffs the air,
a sleek flank shivers from the peeling waters.
By the crumbling heather bank it once leaped
and remains where the Irfon lopes
from its own grey teeth
and spiral spital marks the tight gullets
of feathered stone that sing and sing
of tumbling downward from a midden sky.
It would slake its thirst,
wary on the fine silver sand,
hungry for the lost and forgotten,
hungry for the oak-shaded gullies,
homeward through the humming sedge,
roofed in curlew, roofed in skylark lustre.

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PWLL Y BO (continued)


There are streams and there are pools,
Gradients of speed, time and temperature,
A swelling and a cascade of moments.
Phenomena to clothe attention,
Voids to place memories within.

The paths of scent and heartbeat
Wander through landscapes,
Unseen but persistent:
They mould the seasons of emotion,
The tides of joy and despair
We think we seem to own.

How came the spirit to Pwll y Bo?
Born was it from scoured stone,
Water tongues speaking water language?
Inchoate become cadent rhythm,
Song become meaning become message,
Whispers mirrored, hollows filled.
There before, or only after, the wept
And lost wondering?

There is a quicksilver veil,
A something shimmer that,
Once touched, ripples forever.

So restless a wanderer,
The dew of his holiness on every meadow,
Churches sprang up in Dewi’s footprints.

This dream so unlike that dream,
Remembered backwards, becoming familiar:
His prayers, her tears, wellsprings,
Mouths of howling and hymns, stones with mouths.

Just so and more
The glow of set suns on warm earth,
A day begun and gone,
A day to come through long night.

We become our own pool, haunted,
Becoming vague, portenteous,
Oracular as thunderstorms.

Flowered feet, rooted stillness,
A mouth full of blossom.
His feet, our feet,
Her tears, our tears.
Owls in the valley,
Blackbirds amid cloud mists.

As every river knows,
We are not what we seem to be,
Not so steady, not so constant.
A permiable impermanence,
A vessel unable to choose its content.

To taste, shape and let go,
A flow of song, a chorus,
Cascades of little moments,
But enough to shape mountains,
Enough to flood oceans,
A silver rippled pool dissolving time and space,
A breathing landscape generating names.

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