A Poem

When muscle, bone, and sinew can’t find heart

and listening and looking. Then, severed in time

from the wishing well of wonder, we wander

through rushes and slivers of time, bent

over mirrored water, haunted.

There is a wrinkle in the fabric of

our time when tender grows the minstrel’s

song. It rings across golden fields of

shimmering wheat – milled hopes of our time.

Bardic but breathless it sounds, reveling in tremors

of songs still sung to handmade candles.

They shine to our hopes, ablaze with just

a hint of what could be.

There is a certain moment, beholden to itself,

in which ghosts and gazes meet to discuss

their future. Still, birthed

from the ashes of forgottenness

an ember yet lurks, small but waiting, patient –

alert to any movement or sounds of humming.

Catch it if it sings.

Beautiful illusion

Beautiful illusion, this lantern-press-magician-pulling-roses-out-of-hat-poster.jpg

trying to juggle fire –

trading one ache for another.

Sun and moon withhold their light

and spend their time drinking instead.

Shoulders, steady and strong,

but cold, are small consolation

against the high-cliff dive

into welcome water.

When do heart and shadow 

walk together? Does one see

the other? Would they dance

if they met?

 

Centrifugal encounter, the quest

for the peace of another 

that renders only pieces

of another. No eye for eye,

tooth for tooth.

No. I and eye,

and tooth with tooth – grins

hiding smiles

hiding pain.

 

Beautiful encounter – when

our illusions become too illusory

even for themselves.

And shells crack.

And blood meets light.

_____________

Picture found here

No difference

What one sees is not always what one seeks.

And what one seeks is not always what one says.

And what one says is not always what one starts.

It’s okay, there’s no difference between what

I didn’t see yesterday and what landed itself full upright

in today’s path, muse-appointed.

 

There are the moments when, at a

full stride, forehead high and strong,

come words and stories, notes and beams,

high-stepping toes, pointed at heaven;

brushstrokes for love or anger, life or less –

those are the boldest strokes, the highest notes,

the brightest steps…

 

The sound of music is good wherever notes 

find you. Let it be your symphony.

A Pint and the Brooming Hillsides

pint of bitter.jpg

Not everyone who lifts a glass

can do so with hands made

for prayer to the new gods.

The stolen reserves

of forgotten men

and their women of renown

steep in basements and gutters,

and tenements with shuttered windows.

Still, the backward glances

help remind the waffling ones.

 

It was near ten o’clock before the fellas

found their way to the table

of friends,

of insiders,

of wagging tongues and nodding heads,

of tacit agreement on disagreeables;

of the ancestors.

 

That’s when the best stories were.

That’s when I saw the words

most intended for song and not

for crouching in little doorways.

 

What was it you said before

we sat down to drink the air?

Something about

not enough garbage cans in laybys

or those fucking American hamburger joints

stealing from the coffers of your grandfather’s

croft house memories.

 

One more then, to close the wounds.

Down in the throat of Wales

The view to end all views.jpgIn the throat of Wales,

where light is sparse, then it is best.

This land of green trousers with grey hat,

hair coiffed in bluebells, tulips,

and yellow daffodils.

She is held in frames of arbour, where bristle-faced hills

are bred for poetry – Coleridge, Thomas, Wordsworth.

Down in the throat of Wales.

 

In the throat of Wales,

we pass the standing stones, God’s elder brothers,

and their eyes follow us.

Rain falls like sweat from the coal miner’s brow

while praying hands of hedgerow herald peace on every side.

A bleating sheep choir beckons eyes up to the watching hills.

Down in the throat of Wales.

 

In the throat of Wales,

down, down the Brecon Beacons beckon, swallowed down

where the green things live – down in the throat of Wales.

At the Blue Boar Pub, regulars and weekend

intellectuals hold out town secrets.

Practiced tongues wag in dark corners, breathing out suds

and gossip and recycled stories with fresh laughter.

Down in the throat of Wales.

 

In the throat of Wales,

at Hay-on-Wye – these streets are full of pages,

ten thousand dog-eared voices

tucked away on shelves and tables,

under arms and coat pockets.

American streetlights bow to clock towers, cheery pubs,

and weary stones. Long-drawn lines of primogeniture sing

the songs everyone still knows. And, the many-throated

happy-hour jubilee of a thousand years gone by

still steeps in the glow of candles,

wine-bright eyes, and cell phones.

Down in the throat of Wales.

 

In the throat of Wales,

the hills stand guard, where stone and memory bleed

the colours of the ancestors,

drawing their long and bloody shadows over Beddgelert.

The River Colwyn, host to muddy boots and hooves and paws –

I pause to imprint her banks of sleep.

Down in the throat of Wales.

 

In the throat of Wales,

Harlech’s stiff-shouldered castle juts out a jarring face

into Cardigan Bay, catching salt kisses

blown from the cold, grey sea.

Oh, where to wander in this wild and brooding land,

where friend is stranger – stranger, friend –

and all that ever wrung true hangs tightly

to the soft skeleton of a land made

from the stoutest stone, the strongest sheep, the swollen stories

of hearts that glow brighter than the smiles of children?

Down in the throat of Wales.

 

In the throat of Wales,

I place my ear next to her breast

to hear the consonantal tongue

make love to songs as old and wise as she –

where still, of all sad souls,

the blind man is poorest.

 

Down in the throat of Wales.

Learning new songs

Don’t let the sadness of silent friends

become the muse of panicked pain.

Let, instead, a song of silent sadness

bedeck the mystery of patient place.

 

Don’t wait to hear the morning birds –

listen instead to the quiet humming

of trees whose secrets are theirs to share

with those, waiting, craning their necks.

 

Give what time is left in the weeks of minutes

in days of nowhere to wait –

 

wait

 

for what yet will come

in songs, freshly sung,

by voices, newly found.

 

God has not left you –

she only sings to others still waiting for

notes and what assurance is given

in the pin-pricks of light invading your dark.