Saturday, 10 November 2018

Ghosts

for Wroth Silver 2018 after Gary Snyder

Listen, I saw ghosts:
The ghost of an elephant, a lion, a hyena
A wolf, a crane, a bear & a boar
& herds as far as the eye can see.
I saw the ghost of Liopleurodon ferox
Swimming in a sunlit sea of coiled
Jurassic shell; reptile with a head
As big as I am, beneath our feet, just now.

Listen, I saw the ghost
Of the wild, white Aurochs of the red nose & ears
Bellow on a winter’s morning
Her breath steam, her shaggy ochre head
Raised to the dawn; no mad dun cow she!
Queen of the land.

Listen.
I saw the ghosts of strong earth people
The great old ones, laughing around their fire
Feasting, dancing, hunting, fighting
Ritually raise their spears to the moon
& stars in celebration & defiance.

Listen, I saw ghosts!
I saw, I heard them! The singing people
Guiding their herds along a ridgeway
Track over the land of yearly journeys
To spring pastures & winter slaughter
Alert to their horizon, to signs on the road ahead
& I saw the ghosts of the first carts & wagons.

Listen!
I saw men coming home from war;
Weary, many wounded in body & in mind,
Finally achieve their journey’s end;
I saw their loved ones wait to greet them,
To welcome them home to the life of the land
& I saw the families of those who could not return
Bound together in grief, worry & pain.

Listen.
I saw folk here, beneath the trees in a ceremony:
Folk from The Hill of the Bird People,
The Longtown of the Itchings, the Prince’s Hamlet,
The Upland Where They Grow Rye,
Wulfric’s Town, Eagle Field, The Eastern Field,
Bubba’s Hill, Broom Cottage, Har’s Hill;
Gathered on the Warrior’s Tump
Before dawn, remembering it all.

Look, they do remember, even if they do not see us,
& if only for a moment,
We are one, the living & the dead,
Standing together beneath winter sky trees.
Someone recites the old names in the dark,
They make an offering
& then they celebrate a feast in the morning.




Ghosts from Wroth Silver 1899 are looking at you.
To find out more about Wroth Silver, go here: http://www.wrothsilver.org.uk/

To read my previous Wroth silver poems follow these links:
2014: Martinmas
2015: The Road of Time
2016: Wheel of the Year, Wheel of the Land

2017: Eight Decades

Sound recordings of all the poems should be available soon!

All the animals referenced have lived here at some point over the last half a million years apart from Liopleurodon ferox; a pliosaur; a giant marine reptile from the Jurassic period, the remains of which have been discovered in the midlands. “The most awesome animal that ever lived” according to rankopedia.com

Thursday, 4 October 2018

With Us, There is No Such Thing as Goodbye.

He said:
   “With us, there is no such thing as goodbye.”
        I found myself on the shore
           Of grey wind & wave break
             Before me, a rocky headland,
                To my right dunes, hissed
                  With wisps of grass.
                     Only the sound of wind & water could be heard,
                        No bird called or appeared.
                           I walked the strand,
                              Alone but not alone,
                                 Alone but never Alone.
                              Above my head
                          A plain of strato-cumulus
                        Blanketed the scene with more silvery grey
                     But beyond it,
                 Way out,
             The energetic origin of our atmosphere
          The sun
        Still shone
     Unseen.
   I made my way upon the shore.
 He said:
“With us, there is no such thing as goodbye.”


For National Poetry Day 2018

Monday, 3 September 2018

My Heart Knows Where I Really Am


My heart knows where I really am,
Here with you
Beloved Ancients


It is a smooth sculpted hollow in stone.


I know that you are never far from me,
But I honour you here, today
In this place


Hard & dark as slate or river red & scallop sculpted


Mother Earth!
You are not what we think you are,
You are deeper than we can know


I do not need to pretend to understand this universe.


The age of the rocks that are the bones of this our land
Leads me to the timeless
Unborn place


My own deepest nature unites me with this jagged shore.

This poem written on the Isle of Man, August 2018. Photos by Barry.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Depleted Uranium




I haven't been very active on this blog this year, but I have been having adventures & writing a bit. I have a poem, Depleted Uranium in the recent Tomorrow Issue of Here Comes Everyone, an excellent magazine containing lots of original poetry, prose & artwork.

From the poem:
If it rhymes it must be lying because it's history
Written by our future rulers, not future Buddhas
Too late for the nucleus or the neutron
Barium, caesium, planet Krypton chain mail
Heavier than heavy earth; mind-metal
The drum solo on side two of the live album
Percussion capture cannot lie but the percussionist can.

Buy it here!