"Ponderynge together yestardayes promise, and two-dayes doyng"
(Hall's Chronicle - 1548)


"Goronigl gwyr yr Ynys" (Lewis Glyn Cothi - 1450)

Friday, 12 December 2008

IN ARDEN

"This is the forest of Arden ..."

Arden is not Eden, but Eden's rhyme
Time spent in Arden is time at risk
And place, also: for Arden lies under threat:
Ownership will get what it can for Arden's trees:
No acreage of green-belt complacencies
Can keep Macadam out: Eden lies guarded:
Pardonable Adam, denied its gate,
Walks the grass in a less-than-Eden light
And whiteness that shines from a stone burns with his fate:
Sun is tautening the field's edge shadowline
Along the woods beyond: but the contraries
Of this place are contrarily unclear:
A haze beats back the summer sheen
Into a chiaroscuro of the heat:
The down on the seeded grass that beards
Each rise where it meets with sky,
Ripples a gentle fume: a fine
Incense, smelling of hay smokes by:
Adam in Arden tastes its replenishings:
Through its dense heats the depths of Arden's springs
Convey echoic waters - voices
Of the place that rises through this place
Overflowing, as it brims its surfaces
In runes and hidden rhymes, in chords and keys
Where Adam, Eden, Arden run together
And time itself must beat to the cadence of this river.

Charles Tomlinson

I love the interplay of 'contraries' and echoes of otherness (Arden as Eden's rhyme) the assonantal edginess of not-quite chiming words (consider 'Adam ... macadam'). The sheer density of description achieved here while also holding the sensuousness of it at arms length ('In runes and hidden rhymes ...'). Tomlinson looks at Eden and realises he is not there. And yet ...

1 comment:

Bo said...

Yes, VW is hugely neglected. Thanks for this eloquent piece: it inpired me to buy the volume on him in the 'Writers of Wales; series. Kathleen Raine also has a good essay on him and the Bardic Tradition in her 'Defending ancient Springs' )right up your alley, if you haven't got it!).

Nadolig Llawen a blwyddyn newydd dda!