Thursday, 28 April 2016

Black Rook in Rainy Weather




Black Rook in Rainy Weather - Sylvia Plath

On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

To set the site on fire
In my eye, nor seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.

Although I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can't honestly complain:
A certain mirror light may still
Lean incandescent

Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then - 
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent

By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love.  At any rate, I now walk
Wary  (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical,
Yet politic; ignorant

Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow.  I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear
Of neutrality.  With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts.  Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles.  The wait's begun again,
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent.


Sylvia Plath Collected Poems, Faber & Faber 1981

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Banished Gods


















Near the headwaters of the longest river
There is a forest clearing.
A dank, misty place,
Where light stands in columns
And birds sing with a noise like paper tearing.

Far from land, from the trade routes,
In an unbroken dreamtime
Of penguin and whale,
The seas sigh to themselves,
Re-living the days before the days of sail.

Where the wires end and the moor seethes in silence,
Scattered with scree, primroses,
Feathers and humus,
It shelters the hawk and hears
In dreams the forlorn cries of lost species.

It is here that the banished gods are in hiding.
Here they sit out the centuries,
In stone, water
And the hearts of trees,
Lost in a reverie of their own natures.

Of zero growth, economics and seasonal change,
In a world without cars, computers,
Or chemical skies.
Where thought is a fondling of stones,
And wisdom a five minute silence at moonrise.

by Benjamin Grafton 2007
For Ben, 1948-2015,  from Claudia



We'll catch our fish and watch the birds,
And hunt for mushrooms in the earth,
And if there's a name you haven't yet heard,
It'll be story after story and our souls, they won't get old.

We'll joke around and start up fights,
And tell long tales into long bright nights,
And if theres's a wrong you set to rights,
There'll be story after story, and ours souls, they won't get old.

We'll wear out our bodies and we'll use all our heart,
We'll take in every moment, the bright ones and the dark,
We'll cash in every chip, and we'll play every card,
And it'll be story after story, and on our souls you leave your mark.



Friday, 24 October 2014

A Winter Walk with Polyhymnia (second version - a bit more posy)

Merryvale January 2009


Let us go then you and I
Down these many 
Corridors of stone,
List'ning to the roaring silence,
A thaw in motion, 
In somnambulant mood,   
And I have seen all things, 
And all men that dwell, 
And in the Hall of Royal Dûn
At Tara, under the shadow 
Of the drifting leaf,
The rocks and trees 
Share our vision.
And like a world caught in 
Breath we wait to exhale,
At the height of exhilaration
There is sweet release.

And I have heard you calling, 
Dalua, Dalua!
Arise from your dreams on 
Mount Amara,
Polyhymnia, come and 
Walk with me.
Come tripping down 
The nights and days, 
Mind and muse moving 
together, intoxicating 
One another, drinking from 
That conjugal cup  - In silent communion,

In the eternal landscape, 
Forever casting shadow 
On the past and beyond. 

And it must be
This present ibetween
 Our past and futures,
 - Shall we walk - ?  
Shall we be amidst
 The feast of stones, 
The gift of pebbles, 
The dust of grit, 
Between the quivering 
Branches, the vibrant mosses, 
The glistening webs.
What vaster dream can we inhabit and be amidst? 
This love of earth.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Between Which We Walk

Merrivale January 2009

Let us go then, you and I
Down these many corridors of stone,
Open to the winter stillness,
A thaw in motion, somnambulant in mood.
I have seen all things pass and all men go
Under the shadow of Tara's Halls,
Misting on the drifting leaf.

Listen! The rocks and trees are whispering,
And slowly, very slowly,
Like a world caught in breath we wait to exhale.
Caught between the present and future,
At the height of expectation,
Exhilaration is the moment
Of sweet release.

I have heard you calling, Dalua, Dalua!
Arise from your dreams on Mount Amara
And walk with me, tripping down the nights and days,
Mind and muse, moving together,
A marriage of true minds
Intoxicating one another,
Drinking from that conjugal cup.

And in the eternal landscape of the here and now,
In the post-glacial history,
Lies an archive in the granite schist.
Layer upon layer of stored fable and fact,
Between which we walk, between the stones,
Over the pebbles, over the grit,
Touching the quivering branches, the soft luxuriant mosses.

Come, let us navigate through this inner landscape Polyhymnia,
You are my guide,
Tread carefully across the boulders,
Across the skeletal track,
Across the Earth's sweet cleavages.
And we, who are each of us upon the last and sharpest height,
Feel the air is thin and oblivion not far away.

VH 2009

In search of Zeus



Greece 2013

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Welsh Buzzards



Welsh Buzzards
October 2009

I am sick of being old
And I pang for the ridges of Eyri
Bellowing down to the crag and cwm
Under a grey sky
Where buzzards fly.
And I long for Beudy Mawr,
With it Welshness trickle of a stream,
Staring out into a wild and barren cwm
Where buzzards ply.
I am sick of being old,
And I long for the Welsh peaks,
With their crags and cwms,
Under a grey sky
Where buzzards cry.
Keith Treacher 1923-2012