Sunday, 31 January 2016
Finding the source, where streams come from
that's a thing to be sought. So I went up on the path
through the wood, following the tumble of water
down the furrow it had ploughed for itself through trees
and paused on the narrow footbridge where one stream
falls steeply into another. Two sources then?
But I followed the main stream up to the top of the wood
where again two streams joined and fell together
into the ravine between the trees. One ran from beneath
a hedge out of a rushy field; the main flow from under the lane
by the edge of the wood. I crossed the tarmac, stared through a drain
listening to the roar of water into a pipe under the lane rushing
through to the woodland stream. There was a stream by the lane once
in a deep trough over the grass verge so cars passing on the narrow road
would sometimes go in, tyres stuck in the stream's ditch. So they filled it
with hardcore to flatten the verge and the stream now runs even deeper
below the old ditch bottom. Nothing stops its flow. But above, where
meadowsweet grew in the damp edges of the ditch, only grass grows.
True, soon other hedgebank herbs will come creeping in, like dandelion
and celandine. But meadowsweet is lost to this quiet lane above the wood.
And the streams? Their sources remain mysterious, each one fed
by streamlets trickling out of wet ground in field and wood, too many
to say which is the source, too various to trace the intermittent pulses,
evasive as the absent scent of meadowsweet in the summer lane.
Thursday, 17 December 2015
I love a fair fort on the side of a hill,
where seagulls glide : there stands a shy girl.
I yearn to be with her but she would not have me
Though I came on a white horse for her sweet mirth
To tell of the love that has overcome me
To lighten my darkness out of the gloom,
To see her whiteness like the foam on the wave
Flowing towards us out of her realm,
Gleaming like snow on the highest hill.
To cool my vexation in Ogrvan’s Hall
Unwilling to leave her (it would be my death)
My life-force is with her, my vitality ebbs
Like a legendary lover my desire undoes me
For a girl I can’t reach in Ogrvan’s Hall.
After the Welsh of Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd (died 1170).
Orgrvan’s Hall was identified by Sir John RhŶs as a place in the Otherworld, occupied by the god that ruled over it. But an ogyrvan is also one of the divisions of the Awen (poetic inspiration) according to a poem in The Book of Taliesin.
Saturday, 28 November 2015
Taliesin Pen Beirdd
Said to the dragon-lord
Here are the things
That can make your life
Complete: the flow
Of Gwion's River, the scent
Of fragrant mead, the genius
Of your druids and fair weather.
Did he listen, or was the call
Of the dragon field of battle
More than a bard could discourage,
Greater than a druid's counsel?
Adapted from the final lines of Mygwyd Merweryd in The Book of Taliesin
Gwion's River -: inspired poetry
Tuesday, 3 November 2015
Thursday, 22 October 2015
Thursday, 20 August 2015
As for those who leave
everything we know
to walk the paths of forgetting,
what do they leave
behind them when they go?
Memories, certainly, for those of us
who stay - their presence
in our sense of who we are,
what we did with them and they with us;
Their deeds that continue in the world
they left, that chain of cause and effect
that death can never break;
Their presence in a universe where they
will always dwell, though identity
shifts and re-assigns cell by cell
because, though lives are lost,
Life always finds the way.
Sunday, 9 August 2015
Out on the bog the heron's wingbeat
Fractures the waters below disturbing
It's mirror image so that I know
That life transcends death, though
The reflection is no longer there
As the bird lifts away from water
Into air, its other element but one
Where its soul life is clouded
As the sky is as if empty unlike
The otherness of water which contains
An other self and depths that swirl
Beneath the glitter of sunlight, soul light
Within the pond's absorption of the
Spectrum of the rainbow so that
Only a clear greyness shimmers
In the wind's fanning of quiescent fire.