Posts Tagged ‘value’


LLANWRTYD EISTEDDFOD 2018 – waste gwastraff
This was my submission for this year’s local eisteddfod, that happened just yesterday night. Good to take part in a celebration of art that has its origins so long ago in the 11th century, even though I am not (yet) able to submit pieces in the Welsh language. There are so many pressures these days distracting people from coming together as communities to appreciate each others’ talents. The Eistedddfodau are truly the jewel of Welsh cultural community. Categories range from set pieces in music, recitation, poetry and song to personal choices and works on given themes, as this was. Llanwrtyd Eisteddfod lasts all day, with children performing in the morning, youngsters in the afternoon and adults in the evening. We left about half eleven at night and it was still going! Each local eisteddfod is an opportunity for those who are aiming to enter the prestigious National Welsh Eisteddfod, to get sufficient adjudication and placements to go forward into the finals – so even in the smallest eisteddfods one can see really top quality performances, as well as locals having a go. Getting well respected adjudicators is a key element in attracting the best performers to a local eistedddfod. At all the eisteddfoddau I have seen, the adjudicators are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful in their comments – a true encouragement to creativity.

I have pared away the warm, waiting wood.
The ring of it: the blade pulled,
The curling lucent layers dropped, shuddered to floor.
The shape changing, the deep cut,
The curving line, the scent within the grain
And the borrowed light upon its smoothness.

To make a bowl slowly by hand
Is to contemplate emptiness
And the arc and sorrow and gravity of it all
As the thin curls scatter.

Not much of anything is needed, after all,
If all and all moves toward a single, singular point.
The rest, remains, resting pointless,
Discarded, unfulfilled, as debris.
Becoming something else, but not a worthy thing.
A means to an end, chaff and dross, lees and leftovers,
Swept and piled to make a kindling for a winter’s fire.

On the seventh day
Was there a pile of junk,
The unmade becoming unmanageable,
The chosen and the unchosen,
The first inkling of heaven and hell?

Where went the scraps?
The unwanted edges, the unfinished lines,
The swirling, sanded away interstellar dust?
Perfection is nothing but a stubborn tyranny,
A piling up of discarded beauty, disregarded,
For a dream, the hope of something that is not yet, not yet.

And this life now, whittled away,
Hollowed out a little more by each breath:
Less remains now, for certain, than what has gone by.
If there is an end, not just a turn in the road,
What shall remain of this slow work, day to day?
What of the careful polished surface, the tidy edge,
The slow shaping, the muscles’ rhythmic ache?

Careful or careless, we blind ourselves with dutiful goals,
Discard what seems unnecessary, untimely, unhelpful.
To make something to hold us safe in eternity
We scrape away the real, carve away the grain,
Slicing through the beating heart of things
To find the food that will feed our deepest hunger.

As a vessel for your grace, or as a begging bowl,
We are slowly emptied out, as a waning moon
Over a restless ocean.
Three drops were all that was required,
All else became poison.

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All language
Is a commentary on the
Nature of silence.

All movement,
A desire
To return to stillness.

(In the still, clear cold of almost dawn, the phurba of a cock pheasant’s call melts divisions, ripples out air to the small, bright horizon.)

Time is dead,
Slain by measurement
And subdivision.
Stutters directionless.

Holding too close to sense, we have turned senseless.
Grasping the meaning too fast, we make mockery of Mind.
We have huddled and gathered in
By enslaving and subduing.
We run from paradox, who are maintained
By its pretty dance.

( upon the water a million suns corruscate. They are not there. There is no movement, except the edge of one, and the edge of other.)

Let me say this in another way, let me translate, let me interpret. I shall press out, express, and it shall all run: the juice of, the wine of, the seed of, flow out gushing to water still roots.

The stupid, placid ones
( those who uphold all motion),
The silent, remaining ones
( they who found and maintain),
The unentertaining, unremarkable ones
( they who tie the fabric of everything),

The ones who do not require victory,
Who do not mock the broken,
Who do not sweep away unmitigated failure,
Who do not defile the future,
Who do not despise the past,
Who appear to be voiceless,
Lacking argument, with blank, bright stares: the green, the feathered, the soft-pawed, the disinherited, the awkward, the displaced. All these, all these: eloquent, an ornament and a recompense.

(On the blank tree
This crow
Mouths a call
The wind disguises.
A scattering of runes from Odin’s spear. No fuss in this universe as the sun flips over, turns to face jaded prophecy, a certain arrogant science, a philosophy of endings.)

Now it settles and fades,
Now it whispers subdued,
Explaining nothing.
It has found its place,
Existing, flung together,
Til its release
In deeper silence.


“The Sunlight Sutras” are a collection of aphorisms and mnemonics I published recently as a little, as it were, unilluminated manuscript. Things fed to me by the world, regurgitated, a green vision blurred. ( if interested head to the Blurb bookshop ( http://blurb.com ) and check out the first 15 pages….). This dream stream inspired by one or two sutras, versions and elaborations of which begin the piece off.




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