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Posts Tagged ‘snow’

LONGEST NIGHTS

the smoke of owls
and the sparks of their prey.

the howl of darkness
and the howl of the dawn.

mist tumbles off the snowline,
jaundiced is the air.

fields lie fallow,
their farmers large as hills
and dark, watching for good time.

tumbled clouds tangled
in the sallow valley.

Scarce enough warmth
to go around the village,
scarce enough words.

a golden light within
everything, though.
pooled translucent light.

a river story blessing.
a famous birth
and a death that disguises glory.

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the year sweeps seasons
like a passionate cloud
from these soft hills.

and the bitter cold is here
and the turbulent waters
and the fire that talks loud and soft,
singing of snakes and angels in the grate.

and the hush-now, hush-now of cars
speeding past to work in the draughty town.

the trees dark and bare
sliced in thin moonlit night.

yesterday, the deep, blue-shadowed snow.
now, a knifing wind, a fast melt
and word of valley floods.

bless the bones of things,
though they may ache and ache.
on bitter slope the memories slide.
it is a thin sinew
holds everything together.

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So fragile
Is beauty.
That
Is what
Every song
Says.
Fragile as a single breath
On a winter morning:
A mist flowering out
On settled air.
The slightest murmur,
Whisper without word,
A readjustment of time
And space,
A coordination atomic.
A new chord
Tasting the intervals between.

A settlement of sound:
Snow on the ridge edges.
Colour flees through the sky at dawn.
So, then, it grows colder.

There is sound.
There is silence.
There is
The dance of light
Between them.
Some time,
In the small hours,
The fire will die down
And we will dream.

Beauty is our food.
We hunt it out
For sweet sustenance.
Gathered, it is
The honey
Of our memories.
Clear and golden,
A long summer evening,
Just before the stars appear.

The moths,
The small things
That delight in edge
And shadow,
Where softness
Calmly billows,
Inviolable.

The way
That words fail
Upon sudden,
Harsh beauty.

Hardly moving
This slow, congealing
Blood of dawn.
Congregated, coagulated,
The most slight timbral vibrating,
This metallic air will disengage,
Withdraw to its smirked edge.

Unsupported,
Things fall motionless
To frozen earth,
A whitened mist,
A cloud of ice,
A stutter.

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LLYM AWEL verse 5 Improvisations.

Ottid eiry, guin y cnes;
Nid a kedwir oè neges;
Oer llinneu, eu llyu heb tes.

“Falls the snow, a white covering;
Warriors shun their tasks.
Cold are the lakes, their colour without warmth.”

Each line ends with a long hissing sibilance, the fall of snow, the melt as cold hits warm. The slightly longer last line elaborates the terse imagery and is a lack, draining motion and warmth from the reader’s mind.
The description of ‘warriors’ could be ironic. How strong and brave are they really, who refuse to go out in the snow? Or, in another view, the snow can vanquish even the bold warrior with its implacable purpose.

So falls and falls the snow.
White covers all, all senses white.
No colour for the sight,
No sound nor note to the ear,
All feeling numbed, no warmth here for heart.

The stalwart shrink, the warriors shirk,
The brave turn away, tasks undone.
Huddled small to the fire, faces inward.

For the lakes stretch vast and cold.
Their colour is death and grey pallor,
A wan weight the white drift sinks to.
Extirpated, extinguished, cold on cold.

Drained is the heat of war,
We are rendered aimless,
Lost to thoughtless staring peace.
We fall to not doing,
A sin for man whose fuse
Runs short and hot.

Severed, spun back, reeled in.
Conquered by an easy drift
And silent fall –
A world unbudged,
Resolute in is.
A cold refusal.
A cold covering.

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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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First few notes and ideas from a trip to Iceland last December. Another piece disappeared soon after writing – joys of instant technology – perhaps the giants of the aurora prefer to remain hidden, together with the dragons of the ice….

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I

A slight
Misinterpretation…
It was not
“Nevermore”
The raven cried
But
“endless”
Or “forever”…..
That timeless view
only one who sees
The whole horizon
Can utter.

II

The weight of white, cutting wind
Relentless,
Borne over the miles of ice,
Raising ghosts that smoke and snake
Across the black remnant of ice-free ground….

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III

At first,
Day on day of snowfields
Aches eye and brain.
Tired of colourless, outstretched miles,
We long for a taste of colour,
A clash of the familiar….
But with the continuing cold
Comes acquiescence:
No longer is this a world you know,
No longer parameters judiciously to be weighed.

IV

The weight of gravity,
Settling white,
remorseless accumulations
Of slow curves.

“We do not care
For your insistent heartbeat.
A fist
Thrown against forever,
A line of footprints smoothed and vanishing…..”

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V

“Nevermore”
Was not the raven’s cry-
That
Was a mistranslation.

Understandable, though,
The tones of black
Require a certain bleak vision
Mixed with cold humour:

A perspective of wan horizons,
Endless fields of snow
Punctuated by moments
Of death….

The word
On every raven’s call
Is
“Forever”.

Maybe
It was a gloomy
New England Protestantism,
(Baldur dead forever),
Maybe
A seer’s view….

Try as you like,
Small human,
Whatever weavings and turnings,
Clever, fast, considered,
All shall return to forever,
The dust in my voice,
The iris of this instant.
My name is Horizon.

“Nevermore”
Is the cry of one
Who can never look over the world’s edge,
Never see the sun under the earth,
Night fuse,
Egg of light……

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