Posts Tagged ‘traditions’


On the edge of the Brecon Beacons in mid Wales, Myddfai has long been associated with traditional herbal medicines. The story goes that a young farmer in the 13th c. was passing by small lake in the mountains above the village and fell in love with a fairy girl, the Lady of the Lake. Their descendents were renowned for centuries as herbalists. The line died out in the 18th century and are buried in Myddfai churchyard.


Walking amongst the dead,
With the yews of Myddfai,
(And are we not always with them?
The left and the lost,
As they are with us always,
Whispers breathing cool).
Ground ivy sweet underfoot,
Plantain fragrant above their heads,
The soft, springing grasses.

Taken up, become trees,
Corded limb and leaf.
Holly, cherry, elder all
And the certain hope of yew,
Candle eternal, resurrected
On cross-beams of utter time.

Trees of blood, names forgot
Yet the throb of heart and cell
Pushing out from one likeness
Into a congregation of small sacraments,
(A blessing of toes and fingers
And round, pursed mouths,
An O, a cup, a small, red, sweet seed).

Trees of name and trees of memory.
A date of birth and a date of decease,
Only a short, curved line between
To measure each coming and going.
A start and an end,
A retrieval of mythology,
A reinterpretation of dreaming.
Thin lines of light,
Delicate mycelial wanderings,
Sole nutrient of futures
In sunless soil and sinless light.

A tangled commonwealth,
A last, shared supper.
The weeds of healing
Melting and rising upwards.
In late sun, (October now),
The wood is warm to touch.
Take time,
We say,
But they leave time alone
And live beyond our means.
We, with borrowed flesh and borrowed light,
Who give it all back
(Willing or unwilling),
To be born again,
To be built into another time,
Another place.
Vessels pouring into vessels,
A fall into grace.


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Is a language
That is not spoken?

Silent as the empty cottages,
As the deserted fields,
The grass-grown tumps,
The heaped-up midden.

Good men, great men and brave,
One by one, or leading others.
Seeming a wash of tides,
Motions of change,
Revolution of planets.
So they may be,
Or ripples on a pond,
A perturbation,
A breeze upon the forest tops:
Here, a noise, then gone.

Where are the great waves
As the tides recede?
Their roar growls less.
Sorrow and joy only.
Now a tale,
A whisper,
An epitaph,
A place for ivy fingers
To cleave to,
Slurring every mark,
Knife and chisel.

To end the silence,
Or to restore the silence?
To weave it.
Become substance,
Become word,
Become rhythm.

When does habit
Turn tradition?
When, pleas and moans,

Sunlight on
The distant mountain.
A wren seeks grubs
Among broken


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The small fires
Must sustain us still.

Cold flows,
A cloudless wind
From the North.

Hope is our scarf.
Hope warms our hunger,
A thinly stretched continuance.

One small spark
At dawn
And the long,
Slow fuse
Of Spring
Is lit.

The beck and rill
Of Time.

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