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Posts Tagged ‘rivers’

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The long song

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Pwll Bo, where the waters swirl the colour of trout,
As brown as deep sunlight and the taste of peat.
Shadowed is the heathered hue ( whose voice
White as lightning sings to the oldest of things,
Though few may know it except the ghosts
Of wanderers lost and found by starlight,
And the fastness of owl-bright silence
And the stillness of hills in their watchfulness.)

Pwll Bo and then the Washpool and then on,
Down to the church and then the town.
Everything murmurs in its own language.
The river’s accent rushes from wild to soothing
To wild again.

Clouded, the eye of this precinct night
Lost in dream that seems to be remembrance, but is not.
A doppler drift of slow, utterly endless forgetting.

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Singing the long song
Pwll Bo roars white and whispers.
Water turning hills to soil.

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Pwll Bo
Spirit song
Mountains to soil
Sunlight to trees
Water to life.

Weaving sound
A throat of rock.
White, roaring water.

Hollowed rock
A mouth of song.
Thunder whispers.
Sunlight and shade.
A rivered voice.

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We are living now in a taller silence.
Settled down to a rhythm of hymnals,
Level with the swallow’s breast.
On the edge of long valleys winding northwards
Where the skies divide and clouds battalion,
(The sheep-cleared highlands where ghosted soldiers thunder).

Grey walled are the lichened churches, hunched and hummocked,
Grey walled the farms, grey walled the cwms,
Silver and green the streams under grey spanned arches.

Time turning back to itself, not a straight but a winding road.
Time, as patient as a ripening sloe, taking hues from each twilight.
Time measured in the names of saints, in their prayers and footsteps.

We are living now in subtler skies, rhymed, alliterate, nuanced.
Between threaded rivers: alder-toed Dulas among the sedge grass;
Oak-vaulted Irfon where Llewellyn stumbled never to rise again;
The Bran, the Gwyddon, the Cledan, the Cammarch,
All matched by the paths of stars in the tall, silent night.

The rain sweeps colour from the distance now,
The sun blesses this and then that field with light.
Hills melt and reappear, the ashes sway in a westerly wind.
We settle deeper yet and become still, edged with moments,
Wrapped and whispered, between the syncopated grazings of sheep.

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STREAMS, RIPPLED MORNING.

Words rolled smooth with time,
A singing pebble bed rippling this stream.

King and queen of fishers flash and dive,
(would I were so sure finding silver
Below sparkling surface,
Sun-bright in the morning).
Bright-bibbed, the dipper stalks dark waters,
The warbler hidden in the wood.

Heron statues,
Tree of patience,
Colour of a rainy dawn.

The world is eyes and voices,
A welter of revealing.

Chambered and vaulted is my heart:
The green, templed valleys of Dyfed.
Deep echoing, oak-shaded,
Falling by hour, by day, down
To the slow slopes of sand,
The crumbling cliffs,
The roaring seas from elsewhere
(the fall of distance, horizon’s gleam).

That deep terrain, the stark geology
Of tale and history,
Directs the tumble downwards,
The notes, even, of the song,
Outliving lives,
Covered and uncovered,
Season by season
Prescribing the curve and flow.

I would not be at Connla’s Well
Out in the far West
Where black poison drips
To that bitter pool below.
I would be here beside the purple alders,
Their grave hanging heads
Companionable as bright Bran,
His honey laughter
Healing the horror of interminable loss.
Both true, though, those streams,
So intermingling, roped, woven,
A salmon’s view bent to a circle,
The world of edges and endings.

I have found a small pebble,
Cool and perfect in itself,
A remnant of sky-reaching mountains,
Child of avalanche and ice grinding centuries.
And have let it drop
Watching ripples dance outwards.
It is nothing,
But it is something.
A small pool easing thirst,
A little rest from bleak winds,
A moment reflected,
A place to start from.

——

( the first line ‘words rolled smooth with time’ popped unbidden into my thoughts this morning, setting off ripples of imagery, memory and reflection. Dyfed is the old name for Pembrokeshire in the south west of Wales. Many of the tales of the Mabinogion are set there – though the bones of this piece are more to do with the nature of language than with location in time and space).

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