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Posts Tagged ‘storytelling’

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UPSTREAM

As the tides flow in and out,
the voices, withering and young, flow around.

We ride the oldest of things against the flow,
back up to a source where the stolen thing
is hidden unknown to any, unknown to all.
Forgotten forgotten, unnamed even,
taken before three days seen, even.

All these places are places and more than places,
more than time, more than ciphers, more than mystery.
Follow one thread of meaning and you will, for sure, tangle the cloth,
lose the weave, the weft and pattern.

To hold in your hand such a bright wriggling thing
and stop yourself from any grasping, from holding it steady,
from pressing the life and scintillation from it.
Mud and leaves it will turn to, where now it is dancing gold and laughing.

A pattern pressed into mud: perfect impression.
But breathe too hard, even, and it will smudge and dissolve.
That is how fine our truth is, how the names and places and tales wriggle.
Take one road but do not forget the others.
Take one small thread end and tease it out, like smoke, like water,
like the music of gnats.

Neither too big, nor too small, you must dissolve everything you are
and quietly wait, memorising the names and their genealogies.
How snow falls; how fire and promises are one;
how darkness carries its weight;
how the gods mould themselves and learn new dances;
make promises that will never break –
singing bones and feather dust in dark halls.

As soon as you are sure of something, let it go.
Do not hold on to what is not yours ( and nothing is yours).

To know what is, you must know what is not.
To know what it is not, you must know what it is.
Lose sight of this and you will fall down long centuries wondering why.

As soon as it was named, it became lost.
As soon as it became separate, it was no longer known.
Moon tides swing to the bright prison where the river bends,
the crooked one, the turning wheel, the water road.

Say the words, say the words, until the words grow wings and fly away.
The sound of their whistling pinions will diminish, diminish, diminish,
and now the wind will rise and bear you up into oceanic moonlight.
If you call me by my name, you do not know me.
If you call me by my name, how can I answer?
If you call me by my name, you have learned nothing.

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ARTEFACT

We come and go one by one,
or in twos and threes,
waking, sleeping from dream to dream,
handfuls of dust cast heavenwards, taking shape,
then falling back to settled earth. Bubbles, thoughts, whispers.

Birdsong in a pearl-still dawn.
All day in this small green field,
in its tangled bare hedges,
in its edge of trees,
in its deep grasses, the birds
flit and feed, pause and fly off.
All day the sunlight picks out the distant slopes,
the forests, the valleys.
And they, too, come and go with mists
and clouds
and drifts of rain.

For months now I have been working the canvases,
(for people do so like a view to hold on to,
one so dear to them, one they do not have,
a way through the mute walls,
to remember an opening out, a beyond,
a distant something).
Against its nature to drip, against its habit to mix and merge,
against my own fingers’ wish to sweep and gesture.
A discipline,
the tying down of an illusion,
confection for tongue and eye.
A sweet minded moment, an ache of forgetting.
The life of itself, a liquid thing,
to be constrained so, to process
as a stately, well-dressed thing.
Not just a swirled, delightful, mute moment.
A meaning. A purpose identified. The monitoring of the familiar.
As if. As if.

As if there were a story.
As if there were a careful, structured tale.
A small beginning, a once, a long-ago.
Through wild, thorned paths and fog and frost
to a final end so careful balanced.
A just so.
An as it is.

Something to leave behind.
Something to say.
More than a rise and fall.
More than a raven’s cry across the valley.
More than a blackbird in the cool dawn air.
More than a drift of mist above a hidden river.
More than a rise of trout as the gnats dance on light.

The fire is lit
and it must be fed ’til nightfall.
Then, untended, it will die down,
become silent.

That smooth black,
silk-dark soot:
a hand-print,
a fingerprint on a cave wall:
we are here,
dreaming.
And we found a way through.

—-

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CHRISTMAS CAROL SERVICE

What we refuse to see, we dream.
What we refuse to dream, grows strong.
The roots and stones we rest on, groan.
By day and night our laborious weight increases.
Mass and energy, the great fall, the future rise.
Reconstructed are our histories, our reasons.

It is the bones that remain.
It is the bones we clothe
With fragments of colour,
Rouge and tinsel.
They mock us who
Do not delight in story
(Failing to see they, too, live enfictioned).

The essentials of life are child-like.
Delightful is the minute and the hour of silence.
Sustaining is the simple breath, the still gaze.
Listen, not even the stars, not even they, shuffle nor stir:
The middle of the night coagulating cold.

No thing can be blamed for this,
No thing blessed.
No distinction, no judgement.
An infinite web of choosing there is,
An eternity of outcomes.
Each path, unsigned, is sought out,
Followed.
No goal but a calling home.

We have lost elegance.
We have lost the subtle shades.
Our cochlear spirals numbed
In loud foolishness, indocrinated false memories.
Sleight of hand – the key always was and will be, distraction.
Watch the bright light, the movement of the shiny.
The doctrine of no ghosts, neither holy nor profane.

The bones.
It is the bones that shape us.
The bones of the ancestors,
The bones of the children,
The hidden, red-marrowed, singing bones
Inside us.
Mortice and tennon, ball, socket,
Vessel, rope, sinew, glistening cartilage.
The slide and pull of grace.
The dance of staying in one place,
( an interchange of coming and going, being and forgetting to be).

What stirs us,
(I mean to say),
Is the equation of balance.
Number clothed in colour,
Colour clothed in light,
Light clothed in philosophy,
A weighing and positioning of fulcra.
Forgetting that stillness
Is not absence
But presence.

Holographic ideogram,
Mala, a string of meaning,
Where things slip between names,
Where a blink sees more than.
Circumstantial, peripheral,
Ephemeral shall I be.
Beams and motes –
A matter of simple perspective.
The opposite must also be true to itself.

The grinding down of bones,
A fertilising dust.
Tears frozen and thawed,
The watering of life.
Turn out the light, dear,
The stars shall be enough.

—–

There is little logic in the arts of Christmas, nor is there any one cultural imprint. It is a mish-mash of archetypes and long-loved mysterious imagery. Thus this wandering of thought and layering of idea that flowed from finger to page this morning…… Reaching and goodness and redemption though, must surely be worthy ideals to construct neural pathways around. Seasons greetings to all and all.

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