The Rocky Beach

beneath the tide
the mussels sway
in ranks of black and antique grey
in time their shells
become fine grains
to mingle in the rolling sands
while ancient bones
that marched from Rome
fall into silence and decay
merged into land, clad in stone
all things swiftly pass away
whether bird or fish or man

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Hiraeth

is it where i am going ?
or the place from which i came?
a place i knew so long ago
but a mirage to me now
and life is not the same
it’s a dream that pulls me
i don’t know why or where
or how to reach my hand to it
or which path to take
no path can take me there
i don’t know what to do
it’s an island out to sea,
a lake of deep reflections,
a far horizon, faded blue,
twisting at my memory
its fingers stroke my soul
with the echo of an ache,
a phantom of a sigh
held deep inside my chest.
i am not where i belong,
an exile from a land
that hides behind a shadow
in the wistfulness of song
when it turns to minor key
and melts so far away
in mournful, tender harmony.
without it i am homesick
for something i cant name
its at the heart of me
wistful, so, so, wistful
i think my heart will break
if i don’t close my eyes
and slowly turn away

****************
Hiraeth is a Welsh word with no direct translation
Sometimes defined vaguely as nostalgia, wistfulness, longing, “a homesickness for a home you cannot return to, or that never was”. But nothing can quite sum it up. I know exactly how it feels but naming it is something else.

Hiraeth bears similarities with the Portuguese concept of saudade (a key theme in Fado music), Brazilian Portuguese “banzo” (more related to homesickness), Turkish gurbet, Galician morriña, Romanian dor.

The Choice is Pyramids or Circles

the pyramids of greed and power
became our masters long ago
they took the land away from us
and fenced the common pastures
while we were tired and sleeping

are we sleeping still?
we walk on ice above the fires
we hover on a precipice
bind-folded by the wrong desires
our better hopes defeated

how did we come to this?
the storm brings rain to fill the rivers
we complain of changing weathers
we take for granted natures gifts
making wanton use of treasures

every creature great and small
brings blessings to the earth
while we destroy and poison all
how can we be so foolish?
we are earth’s most useless creatures

we will come to understand, too late,
the damage we have done ourselves
in breaking natures circle
we will recognise our awful fate
when we reap the final harvest

join the circle, strong, complete
to guard and bless the garden
there is no greater purpose
the only promised land we have
is here beneath our feet

Through the Nets

if dreams were liquid we’d all be oceans
notions of fish would swim in our depths

the tides are tirelessly churning the sand
the weeds below sway in the flow
in time the ocean will swallow the land

our silvered skins flicker and shine
I feel your slick side stroke against mine
circling back I seek you again
we swim through life escaping the nets

 

 

The Bones They Talk (a terzanelle)

in whispering voices, the bones, they talk
through the rolling curving lines of the land
they lead me gently, unconscious I walk

on the moss covered stones I rest my hand
to feel their quiet presence lingering there
through the rolling curving lines of the land

in the haunt of the fox, home of the hare,
where all is as it was before, I come
to feel their quiet presence lingering there

guided by moonlight, stones, spiral and sun
I walk the path of the ancestors bones
where all is as it was before, I come

to the place of the barrow, long dark homes,
with lasting respect for all that they knew
I walk the path of the ancestors bones

the stones they placed and the ancient ditches
where the blackthorn at dawn sparkles with dew
inform me still of their deepest wishes
with lasting respect for all that they knew

Beyond the Loss

from high above looking down on the land
there are signs of all that is gone
churches sit on old sacred sites
scattered across the earth
the motorway swallowed the village pond
the sea eats away at the shore
the old forests all gone to ships
gone to ashes and war

i see the ramparts of Rome
Legions lost in the earth
Saxon barrows and Norman walls
Celtic graves, the breaking of stones,
gone, in a battle for power
all for nothing

the land and the word lives on
the rhyme, the history, the song
deeper than dust
deeper than bone
finer, truer, strong

The Soul is King

As large as the universe,

as small as our individual hearts,

joined as one,

manifest in many parts,

the blood of every woman and man

rises in the trees sap

and on the birds wing,

held in the throne of water and air

we live and die,

the flames of a fire.

The Soul is King.

 

We in our tiny lives,

brush against each other in passing.

I know my brothers and sisters

by their smiles,

by the light that shines in their eyes

and their glances,

by the stories they pause to tell when we meet.

 

There is an older wisdom

that stir in our dreams,

unnameable,

unbreakable,

that which binds us,

passed as a torch,

hand to hand,

written in stars

and the shape of the land,

the land where the Soul is King.

 

Becoming a Seagull

Deep in my heart the sun is shining.

The day clear blue and stretched sounds.

I can almost see, here from the ground,

my heart flying, swooping in air,

as high as a kite and gleaming.

Vertical take off to light,

a downward push of my hand

takes me up, into luminous flight.

 

I must be a bird, to reach up here.

The mountains spread out beneath me,

the revolving, rotating greens of the land.

I bank on a cloud, rolling, reaching,

tumbling, gliding, looping, I turn

on a breeze, diving deep to the sea,

slicing the spray and screeching.

I knew this would happen one day.

 

A seagull.

All I wanted to be.