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Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

ORKNEY SEQUENCES

1

The wind sings between the grey walls of the town.

It sings of long seas turned to green fields.

Small birds scatter and reform in flowing air.

Islands turn to cloud and then dissolve in the driving rains.

2

Perhaps the first thing you notice is the soft lilt of the land:

The way the colours slip from brown greens to sapphire greys,

And the sound of the waves, a ceaseless singing (that is also in the quiet voice

Of the people who slip between worlds and grey streets

In and out of tinkling tea shops, the warm must of cosy bars,

Turned around through doors by the sharp wind and its slap of cold rain).

3

This wind is not to be escaped from..

It has come this far from a world away.

Though you may wait awhile in the warm quiet,

You must leave to face the remorseless thrust of it.

4

So many miles crossing the earth.

So many miles across the air.

So many miles over the seas,

To the first hearth, the sparking fires,

The strong stone vulvas of the rolling lands

Arching green, gentle green from the green seas

From which the dead do dream,

To which the living return like swallows,

Like swallows sifting their songs, the scything memories.

The dead own all the songs, the songs feed the dead

And keep the fires of the living warm and strong.

5

Deserted farmsteads scattered the slopes

Weathered grey skulls, window eyes dark and sightless

Broken jaw doorways toothless gaping

Slate pate roofs smashed open by war-hammer winds.

They mark the passage of years and the bite of seasons.

6

By whatever ways, whatever ways we come to them

Waiting diffident or with curious eyes to see what they have become.

Until we feed the fire, until we feed the warmth now the long memories,

Until then they are remote as stars whose names are not known,

Whose patterns are not picked out by pointing fingers.

We move towards them and they, waiting or not,

Wrapped up in their own watching.

There is nothing left here but scattered teeth

And broken skulls, voiceless gaping jaws

And the endless wind across the low green fields.

It was better than this, it was better.

Words piled up in cairns,

Words piled up and stones laid out.

7

The central hearth

Where stars burn

Where the gathered starlight burns.

The wind is in a minor key.

Ghosts of footsteps heading north.

This is the last feast

Before the world changes.

Before the old doors are sealed.

Before we throw away our names

And watch for new signs.

Bone by bone

We disassemble our gods

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Sure of this Sorley has spoken
His sweet scouring gravel words
Pure paced, precise grey grinding stones
Pouring splendid golden grain,
Eloquence of earth.

Though few have heard
Or paid him heed.
Old, tweeded, sharp-eyed scholar
Wandered, windblown on
Steep lined western shores
Between deserted croft
And sand-scoured macha.

His mountains named
One by one,
His steadings remarked,
His memories buried safe,
All buried under stone,
The language of remaining
Despite scorn and spittle.

A path half-made
Through hillside rocks,
The prints of deer,
Silence is the heather.
These winds whistle
Through an empty heart.
These words, a whisky
For the tongue that is parched,
A decent medicine
Against the clean sin
Of city streets,
Their promise to forget
Cold and weather,
An unceased consumption
Of time and art and loveliness.

Without the cry of curlew
Without the wheeling hoodie
Without the slap of salt wind
We think ourselves gods
Who are short, soft animals
One moment from bleached oblivion.

2015/07/img_1603.jpg

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STOKER AT AILSA CRAIG
(For G.B)

A soul windswept stares out to sea
The last time, maybe the last time.
Holding fast the eye on the wind isle
Buffeted and free, the brine woven air,
The taste of it, the taste of ships, eternal engines,
The past, freedom, a roaring coming in, a roaring going out.
Once and forever there is leaving and return,
Debris on the tideline, broken, poignant rubbish.
Voices far and near stolen from mouths,
Winged and drifted, gritted with sand,
The ground-down centuries of the dead.
Let the soul free, winged and drifted, wild voiced,
An exultation, a long howl of why, a longing cry.
The wind shall whip it away – all the warm familair,
The flesh, the dream, the reason, the plan.
Burnt up in wonder of the vast sky,
Turned bird, turned cloud, turned salt spray,
Turned, returned, wheeling away on white wings.
Lovelorn, love borne, alone to let go and stretch out,
The illusion of that sure, bound horizon.
Stretch, stretch out, thin the pain, dissolve in view.
So many, so many gone on before,
So many to follow.
It will not be so hard to leave the heart,
Once the hawsers are cast off,
Once the eyes have turned from firm land,
Once the rocking of eternal waves takes over,
We shall find sea legs, a new spirit, a new way
Without footprints, without shadow.

sunset, kerswell.jpg

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magenta blue orange1

KEY TEN
(Glen Mor and the Ard Ri n’a Sidhe, Mull)

“We shall give to you here
The skill of the Song of the Land.

Words of silver,
Words of gold.

Sweet gale and honey
On the tongue tip.

The melancholy of the curlew
And the lapwing.

The smooth stream of the blackbird;
The harsh heart of the eagle.

For you are only human –

Life as sweet as the scent of violets
And then gone.”

—-

Here, then, is the last of the Ten Keys to the Green Kingdoms and the words that discover their essence. Collecting environmental and subtle energy essences can be an uncertain thing. One can doubt the veracity of what is perceived, of what images and thoughts pass in front of consciousness. We knew the island of Mull still retained a sentient link to the Fairy Kingdoms, once felt throughout Britain, now rarely encountered or paid attention to. These words formed and seemed to me to emanate from high in the hierarchy of the Secret Commonwealth, the Otherworld realms. Delusion is easy for humans, however. I wished that I could be shown some veracity of the intent and content of the words. Immediately thereafter, as I was gazing out from the coach window, a grey heron flew close alongside us, keeping pace with the vehicle. Those who know, know the heron as a significant messenger of the Hidden Kingdoms. These things happen, likely or not. The Green Kingdoms underlie all levels of landscape, history, myth, psyche. They are the dreaming of the world. Those who might have been touched somehow by one or more Key may like to look at using the essence as a spiritual nutrient. Please go to http://greenmanshop.co.uk

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blue green1

KEY NINE
(Undines)

“Your science of rigidities
Are lies of the fearful.

We, here, are void and free.
Infinite, immortal flow.

Limitless, deathless
Tuned, turning tides,
Roaring silence.

Impossible song
None can forget.

Escape you frozen fears,
Melt,
Meander.

You are, anyway,
Made vessels for our fierce bliss.
Flow,
Willing.

Let go.
Find us,
Void and free.”

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magenta orange turquoise

KEY EIGHT
(Iona)

The heart beats
Then it stops
Then it starts again.

How strange!
The eye that is
The organ of understanding
Is the well
From which fall tears.

Storm clouds rush in,
Salt on the air.
Amongst the leaves
A thrush singing:
Listen, listen, listen to me.
Beauty, beauty, beauty.

No heart can overtake
The long passages of time.
Beauty dissolves.
Kings, saints, seasons, tides
All vanish, vanish
Into the hollow hills.

The hollow hills
Will vanish into the sea
And sunset.

The eye
Forever bathed in tears,
The heart that starts
And stops –
The thrushes song.

The clouds
Pass over:
Sunlight
On the mounds of the dead,
Dancing with the eternal dancers.

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red yellow blue6

KEY SEVEN
(Faerie Travellers)

Cap of invisibility,
Cap of indivisibility.

From whence do the elements separate?
From the instant of central balance.

From what flows the certainty of form?
From the heartbeat between what was
And what will be.

At the corner of sight:
Eyeblink or distant lightning?

What you know will blind you.
The oldest foundations are no longer in sight.
The ancestors watch this world,
All have names, sing their genealogy,
Have woven you.

Sink into the weave,
The world wears you.

Wear yourself lightly
Leaving no footprints.

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