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Posts Tagged ‘Wales’

The minutes crack open and bleed cold.

Breath is chapped and hesitant in semi-quavers, a minor key.

The hawk is ice that hunts unrepentant the mountain heights.

Slay complacent warmth, the fickle needs of small hearts.

The flutter of joy, cackle of crow.

A silent field: whiteness extends to the very mists of deep mind.

Carved walls at the edges of space, words written there:

We are extinguished and free.

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ALDER FOLD

Singing severed head

Folds and puts away

The blanket of space,

Rolls away time.

A comfort against poisons,

A comfort against memory.

Sunlit is the hall,

Spacious with birdsong.

The sound of the sea

In the sound of the words.

And there is no greater magic than this.

By the shore, by the river,

By the evening light,

By the dividing of the roads.

One gasp and it will be gone.

Floating down stream,

Lodged in the mud

Of a new world.

The root of the tongue.

The cotyledon of sight.

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RIVER WORDS

They do not say

What they sing

For your listening

But for their own joy.

No will of their own

But to find the deepest

And return.

Where streams meet:

A birth of spirals.

By the bridge

The patterns hold steady.

Acquiescence to the way.

We think we know them

By their names we know them.

We know them by their names.

You name the river

‘Destroyer of the children of men’.

I name this river

‘Gentle mother of fields’

The river calls itself:

‘Longing for stillness

In the deep’.

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BHAIRAV (THE WEIGHTLESS WEIGHT OF AIR)

Air.

Flowing river from mountains cooled,

And the passion of stars

Piercing the bow of Time.

Air.

Layering droop and singing yet

On the long slope of dawn.

Air.

Tinted blue yet.

Twisted warm and wan.

Twisted slow, rolling.

Air.

Dreaming pulses

As reasons’ reflection

But vague yet.

Vague and languid,

At edges stalled.

Moistened in sleep,

But not.

But not.

Air.

Piled deep

Down to the stars.

Life sways hanging, drifting.

Trees with their hair

Loose and swaying

Singing, singing,

Down to the starlit voids

Hanging the tidal edges

The endless full innocent darkness.

Air.

The trees shape

Single syllables

Howled whisps of vowels

Finding froth from feeling.

Air

Patterned, pressured, punctured

Parcelled.

Air

Twisted and released,

Spread out and stretching,

Tidal current

The vapours caress

Their gradient glacial moments.

Air

Sun bright now

Shifting shimmering.

It suffers all thought.

Turning about

Returning it to silence.

Air.

Sun-bright now,

Spirit-filled

Song-filled

The tongue of gods

Hungry for this and that.

It will not

It will not.

It will

It will.

Invisible lover of every surface.

Air.

It stretches, it pulses.

Gods are born from air.

They flow in and out,

Grow fists of nothing.

They flow in and out.

Gods born from

The turbulent throbs of air.

Movement shiver shafts.

Silence

Silence.

Bhairav is a well-known Indian raag of the early morning. I have only recently grown to love it and its variations. Perhaps the tense sharps and flats put me off. It has the energy of cool space, of heights, of growing light, of distance, of precise wing-tips, of soaring wings, of the dip and soar of red kites. This is a sort of verbal alap – a slow exploration of the moods and directions of morning air, here in the mountains.

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THE ROSES

The roses

They have been in bud

For months

Through sun and rain.

Now they open,

Bloom for a day or two

Giving joy to all,

Then fade and

Fall apart.

The roses.

The roses.

They throw off their beauty

Like dancers.

They value more

Their roots

And their thorns.

The blood red hips,

The hard won strength

To go on.

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A SUCCINCT PHILOSOPHY

.

Language

Localises

Mind

.

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A small breath of wind lifts the mist ‘til more blows in.

Two days, three days frost, has melted

And the birds are in the leaf litter.

The mountain’s voice says

‘Winter is not over yet’

But here in the valleys there is a small respite.

A day or two, perhaps, of gentler thoughts.

The world revolves around us here.

There is lamentation and the groans of fools from afar.

The waves, perceptible and arcane,

Encroach on the plans of contented futures.

But here, for a day or two,

Will be blue calm and the hope

Of buds and roots.

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MOTIF – FIRST BRANCH

There is the sound of it:

The distant clip-clop of blossoming time,

A dream whisper, a faint scent,

A breeze, a wish.

.

Still we have not learned much

And rush to question

And rush to hold.

In full armour,

Pierced, weighed down,

Heart-broken.

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NEW YEAR’S DAY

When there is nothing good to say

Then silence is better.

It is a calm day today,

Small rain in a dark sky.

Above the quiet valleys,

A high wind from the west is roaring.

The last day on Earth will be like this:

Resting in its own beauty,

All known, nothing named.

All reasons self-extinguished.

Watched over, cherished, belonging.

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A lot of my writing this year has been towards an art/word project inspired by The Black Book of Carmarthen, a small, handwritten manuscript containing poems collected over a lifetime by one person. It is the oldest known manuscript written in the Welsh language. A mixture of ancient bardic poems and prayers, it is at once mundane and transcendent, simple and utterly baffling. The words that come to me are either reflecting some of the imagery or subjects of the fifty odd pieces, or dwell on the nature of the author and the continuity of language and writing. The art works I am making mainly combine parts of the manuscript pages overlain with my own woodblock prints from decades ago. There will, probably, be a book that combines text with image. It is in no way a translation of the original text. It is one artist’s reflections of the magical mirror and timelessness of ancient books.

MER KERTEV KEIN (Black Book)

(The marrow of fine songs)

It is a river

Uncurling in caves,

A white torrent on dark slick rocks.

It is a shoreline cave where mystery is born by echoes,

Far from comfort, where opposites couple in the roaring of it.

Spanning centuries each word tumbles combining elements.

Shadow worlds are dressed in time to shatter and rebuild the fragments.

Oh, speckle-breasted thrush,

Thrice the song to sing.

Morning rain.

Rain of morning.

Dawn storm.

Eternal song.

A river where meaning slips like fishes,

A flash, a flank, and gone.

The next ripple, the next wave, the scintillating light.

Umbral echoes.

It dances from sound to sound.

A juggler slipping from stone to stone

In the midstream rush. Where next? Where next?

And the foaming roar of it:

The world dancing elements and prophecy

And the arc of words cast up and caught, too fast for the eye.

A stream, a stream, of passion itself.

Sound clothed in the names of things,

The naked, naked sound.

A river of God’s being,

A bowstring caught and released,

The mouth’s harp

And its breath drum rhythm song.

There are spirits here

There are ghosts

Where I see these landscapes,

Familiar, sunlit, wild

I have never been.

I am haunted by the names

And by the meanings

Within the meanings I know.

Other pages in other hands:

Mirrored, pushing through.

I am become a palimpsest of prayer-

The angels with clawed feet

Offering golden torcs.

A language of waves,

Of echoing empty hills.

My eyes water the seeds of words,

Grow vast forests.

The dance of sounds:

Lost timeless for a while,

We dance and dance.

The memories are not ours

That lodge in our hearts.

My soul fragments to the four quarters

As though I am already buried.

There is a cold wind from the north.

A woman who is not a woman

Moves at the edges of my sight

Whispering rhymes with berry-stained fingertips.

One of Three and Three in One.

Before Eden we quake.

The Tower was too high,

The Tree was too bright.

The Flaming Sword

That drove us outwards

We stole for shovels and mattocks.

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