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Posts Tagged ‘silence’

THERE, THE STILLNESS SINGS

sink down a little, beneath these surfaces.

the same world, a different view.

a cool wind is blowing, though the mists stay still.

the deep hills in the north, the uplands of the south

are nowhere to be seen.

in the garden scented rose petals drop like rain.

sink down and find the earth,

a rich soil of dreaming.

my souls have coalesced

but drift apart as stars do,

As wandering flocks do.

without even trying

the hills begin to emerge.

it will be a hot day

and we shall be grateful for shade.

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WAR HAS CAST THEM

War has cast them off the mountain

And they have never yet returned

Except their tattered ghosts minding flocks

And the wind and the rain and the ravens.

The stone, green under soil.

The soil, black under sedge.

The distance sailing above cloud

Shaped by worlds beyond reach,

Reciting the names, reciting the names.

SOME GO

They weave these times of plague

with threads of brighter days.

Sharing the names of farms and families:

Nain, hen nain, hen hen nain,

and the tales of the tales she told.

The hearths swept and re-laid

for an eventual return

after the storms of the world blow by;

the family bible left open at Lamentations.

Some go into the hills,

finding the silent walls

moss green, wide strewn;

the signs all but lost,

like the songs of living and dying:

the songs of harvest, the songs of planting,

the songs of weaving, the songs of lamenting,

the songs of losing and of finding.

It is the songs of living

that we have lost forever;

the songs of simple doing

that told us we were not alone

in feeling the rhythms of breath

as muscles worked and tasks completed.

It is all silent in the hills now.

cloud and curlew,

raven and lark.

Memories fade

as the farmhouse walls

tumble under moss.

Hold on to the names,

the farms, the families,

the cherished dead.

Over their heads

the world changes.

Plague days,

words dying.

The Epynt is an area of high uplands between the Brecon Beacons and the Cambrian Mountains in Mid Wales. A strong, rural, Welsh speaking area, the Epynt was cleared of people at the start of the Second World War so that the land could become an artillery training area. Eighty farms were given a few months to pack up and leave, breaking and dispersing a robust culture to find their own way miles away from their homes. After eighty years the land is still possessed by the government and this year many descendents have got together to remember their families, where they lived, where they moved, who remembers tales of the old days.

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RAAG MEGH

find the

slow rituals

that absorb time and space.

.

there is

no hurry,

words vanish, yet

last forever, somehow.

.

the green, warm rains

as soothing as music, fill

the breathing valley.

.

one step

is all it takes

to start a dance

no-one has seen before.

.

we will, for sure,

be swept up in

sadness and joy.

.

we will, for sure,

be persuaded that beauty

is just not enough.

.

slow air pushes

the thin rope of smoke

to and fro by the window.

veils of rain hide the hills.

.

it is green and cool and lovely,

the trees say.

look at our slow dance,

they say.

.

and let go

their tired leaves.

Raag megh is a pentatonic raag (raga) played during the rainy season, but because of its cooling, calming influence is also played at any time and circumstance. i used it as the name of this poem as it seemed to fit its atmosphere and mood. Check out raag megh on youtube, especially those by ustad rashid khan, pandit jasraj and kushal dass.

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PLAGUE DAYS

The silence grows with the lengthening days.

We may yet learn how to breath in

And how to breath out with simple joy.

We may yet sit still and listen to birdsong,

Settling into the world we almost lost,

And now have the chance to find within us,

As it has always been, as it has always been.

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THE CLOUD

The cloud is on the hill.

Words will come.

What the stark trees say.

What the rivers say.

A wood pigeon

welcomes the warm rain.

I have been away,

but returned to this silence

where the words are old

and make themselves.

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SING OUT

Singing hymns to emptiness
Sound disappears with meaning
The instant it leaves the mouth

We need gods to sing to,
Something of the familiar,
But made more important,

As if worms and weeds
Had not silently shaped
All we are and will be.

It is what rivers and stars do,
It is what sheep and birds do,
Sing out to each other
That thin, frail line between
Life and death and life again.

Greedy gods and good gods
One by one supplanted
Though their lives are aeons.

Fed by song, happy in their given shapes
Until the singing stops
Where they forget their names,
Hatch as butterflies hungry for nectar.

There are the great and there are the small
While the song is sound and silence.
The void: a pause between movements
Where the audience wonders if it should clap
But remains in stillness, held within
A lovely diminishing resonance.

2018/03/p1190431.jpg

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MIDSUMMER LIGHT

The woods are settled now and full.
Their heavy green skirts spread cool
And pleated in each valley’s green lap.
Nest and nested, crowned with shade,
They glow of a midsummer evening
Into a slow, white bow of twilight
Patterned with bats and owls,
A stretched and quiet expanse,
The tropic and declination of invisible motion,
A singular silvered attendance upon silence.

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SOMETHING TO BE SAID (MAYDAY)

Pauses grow longer, a melancholy may soon creep in.
We cannot escape our own voices.
( “We rarely go out these days and visitors, though longed for,
are a great discomfort”).
It is a wild guilt that wants our words in other’s heads.
Always a nuisance and a pleasure
to be infected with poetry,
to admit the familiar voices, to see which one leads, this time, the hunt.
Gwyn ap Nydd collecting souls, the ghosts of words,
The white words, the vapoured words,
the haunted words – as poetry is.
‘White, Son of Mist’ – like the morning,
the first attempt at May, after a night of rain,
new in stillness and birdsong, mist on green land,
the ash trees still thinking about their coming fountains of flowers,
roots wriggled so deep in the past, and aching old.
The dunnock’s sweet descent.
It filters down as if spider webs
And gold dust – the flecks
Of memory and forgetting.
A city with loud inhabitants, unkind and strange.
A darkness punctuated with doors and reasons.
As if it didn’t matter, everything collapses.
The moment passes, the tongue gives up.
It cannot make the chords that the brain sings in,
Just one note at a time, syllable by.
There is something to be said for silence.
The way the mist in its own dreaming gravity
Slides along the slopes
And settles in the cwms.
The way it shifts space.
The way it delineates what is not itself.
With what would we fill these silences
Should all the voices stop?

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Sunlight and whispers,
Bright rolling silence.
There is no confusion here:
All things fall fearless
Against the movement
And the stillness
Of hours and their dust.

Footsteps all forgotten
(Puddle, pool, stream, river)
Nothing but the distance of the past
And the distance of the future
(And the skylark remembering both).

The diagonal slide of sun and moon and stars,
Tides of light and shade,
The constant abrasion of the wind.

It hardly breathes, so still it is
In its rising and falling distances.
The silent rolling hills of heaven.

These uplands spread out
Like God’s own hands
On the first Sunday,
Sun-warmed skin stretched pale
Over rippled knuckles,
Bone resting quiet,
Muscle and tendon singing.

Sky-touched, the first moments,
Cloud thoughts, the pale waving grasses,
This click of warming rock.

—-
The Elenydd is the old name for the central uplands of Mid Wales, known as the Cambrian Mountains. The southern border is effectively the Irfon Valley, where I live, though in actual fact the valley is bordered on its other edge by the Mynnedd Epynt, a very similar landscape.
The Elenydd is a very ancient mountain range worn down to a high bog and grassland plateau cut deeply by streams and rivers

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THE ART OF SILENCE

folded breath
a volume of murmurs
that is all

an understanding
discarding options
so as to mimic peace

to sleep, dream or wake.
to turn away from friction –
a wishful free flow

to harmonise, to disappear.
the River of Milk,
our mother’s beneficence

for this dream
the old man, the prince,
the returning journeyman,
rise quietly in the night
to gaze at the moon

2016/01/img_1777.jpg

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