The curve of the path
The light on the hillside
The pines upon the ridge against the sky
The rush of wind & the sound that they make
The breath in his body as he climbs.
His song in the air
His hope, his fear
His muscles working hard at the hill
His memory of having been here before
Childhood like a flavour.
Sunlight, early in the morning,
Daily miracle of millenia
Blesses his passing
To the wide open hilltop
With moor scent sweet upon the wind
The view is as vast as his intention
To recognise that ancient mind
To reveal that world of adventure
& if you're open to the mystery
You never know what you'll find
Hills that are gathered like shadows
Laid hard & grey against the sky
Rounded by unthinkable time
Speak of a depth which we do not remember
Hills are Relatives.
Ruin of ancient mountains
Bare flat platforms of stone
& back there in the prehistoric solar mangrove
Someone's playing a trumpet on the river bank.
So he comes all the way up from there
Through a thousand forests
Some revisited underground
Over fossilized ripples in the sand
Revealed by a later generation of waves.
Up through the old pine woods
That lead from the seacliffs to the hills
On paths beneath gorse & buckthorn
& winter bird swarms coiling
Like smoke in the sky.
He can hear the ancestors sing the songs of life
Living presence within the land
We dream of them
& they dream of us, we say:
They have their ways, live closer to the Root.
They are leaving ghostly finger marks
Visionary ripples, rings & cups
They slowly pecked out the forms
Of the mystery
Waiting to be revealed.
Circles & spirals of song
Like fruit on the branches of a tree
Constellations of pits
Covered by lichens & leaves
Messages from so long ago.
His own fingers have found them
& his wonder is a deep stone well
He need no explanation
Of their art, for it is art:
Maybe the highest of all.
Perfection in a moment of knowing
The oneness of the ancient & the young,
The immanence of the wave that carries us all along
Patterns: a stone, a hill, a tree, a human hand.
A version of this poem can be found in my book, The Art of Conversation with the Genius Loci .
Capall Bann Publications tell me that the new revised edition will be ready by next week.
Other news! You may also be interested to know that my long poem Buddha of the Carboniferous, has been sent to the printers this week.