Poem: Skeletons In The Chapel

skeletons

Sipping wine in the back of the chapel,
The organ booms with apocalyptic rattle,
Blistering stained glass into people’s limbs,
And infecting our hearts with the strangest of whims

The clergy now are skeletons all,
Caught up in the organ’s thrall,
Raising hands, they jump up higher
To ascend the murky spire

And from this pulpit – seat of sky,
They embrace one other – say goodbye,
For theirs is not the time or place
To be anywhere but outer space

With Bach or stranger tunes undemurred,
They assault the galaxy as a herd,
Cattle grazing on the stars,
Filching lost moons in milkshake bars

Oh, Lord of Skeletons – Skeletons behold!
It is time for you to break the mould –
I have no use for bomb or abysm-
No impending earthly cataclysm

My name is tattooed inside a flower,
There is no antidote to love’s power,
Kiss me, hold me, sing out my praise,
Help me to live out the rest of my days

For in your blue eyes I can see,
A happiness locked inside of me,
And when in Bristol Harbour we’ll be found,
I will sleep without a sound

 

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Poem: Holy Land

Harry+Sutton+Palmer-Wye+Valley+From+Symonds+Yat

Scatter my ashes in the woods,
No holier land conceiveth I,
No Jerusalem or Palestine,
Tibetan Lhasa or Himalayan sublime,

But the soil and water of the River Wye,
Are quite holy enough for me,
No desire for The Ganges nigh,
When I could have these valleys green,

And lose myself in Lady’s Park Wood,
The Little Doward’s limestone cliffs,
Or from Yat Rock espy the terrain,
Of Herefordshire rolling quick

And who will join me on these walks,
A pilgrim in this palace of trees,
Will give me love to keep me warm
In this everchange of nature’s confederacy?

I hope it will be you, my darling,
Who will be right foot to my left,
Who will be the inhale to my exhale
When I am struggling for more breath

But you enfold me, calm me, open me,
As a key unlocking latch of door,
Unto your glass, I will pour me,
Drain me, always search for more

In this quiet infinitude of man,
In this library of secrets, by crows surveyed,
You have the power to be my making,
And to be there when I am unmade

Unmade, yet never lost, not quite,
For there is a light under everything,
There is a song of whispering might,
That never loses its voice to sing

So, tree me, darling, branch me, leaf me,
Be the bark that ne’er will unsheathe me,
Be the Venus to my Mars,
Be the space between the stars

Be the rainfall on my lake,
Be the wine, my thirst to slake,
Be the building – be the stone –
Be the mansion I call my home

But most of all, my dear, be mine,
Be the needle on the pine,
Be the mountain, be the rills,
Be the hollows my mistiness fills

And, mysteriously, I’ll come down,
To be the thorn upon your crown,
To be the cells within your blood
Scattering my ashes in the wood

Sonnet: Love In The Making

Shelling by Night 1941 by Eric Ravilious 1903-1942

Pulling back the sable curtain of shade,
Unfolding happiness in the shadow of sorrow,
The theatre of light the mountains displays,
As I climb through the thickets of thorny tomorrows,
Searching the escarpments, the ridges, the plains,
Along river and canal bank, by raven’s call beckoned,
Wishing to surrender all the luxuries of pain,
Endured for years, days, minutes, and seconds,
I want to learn about you by kissing you,
To map out the seasons of your emotions and needs,
Desire puts the cartographer back into the blue,
To root out the affection on which our happiness feeds,
My heart is open – in your chosen room,
Waits love in the making – a kiss in the womb

 

Diary: Llangorse Lake & The Wyche Of The Reservoir

crannog-llangorse-lake-in-the-brecon-beacons-wales-uk-pamela-jones

King Kieron generously takes us on a short tour through The Brecon Beacons so my girlfriend can get a better impression of Wales’s scenery. First stop – Llangorse Lake. Mallards interspersed with barnyard ducks, Black Indian Runners, and a rare sighting of a mandarin. It looks too beautiful to live – the markings on its chest like an oriental bib. A reconstructed Iron Age Hut on stilts looks out onto The Crannog – an ancient, man-made island.
I pluck a wild mint leaf and feed it to Stebba. Purple-haired reeds conceal the motions of miniscule creatures. Chevron pathways are momentarily etched in the lake by water fleas. Mayflies, with eccentric curved antennae like arched eyebrows, mill about us. Their presence betokens the cleanliness of South Wales’ most ancient lake.
Rain comes without warning. The previously motionless water becomes a harvest of ripples, the visual equivalent of criss-crossing telegrams. How I would’ve loved to live here as an ancient prince, fish-fed, time unsped, living in verse to the languor of The Llyn, my nose a bedchamber for algae scents, forget-me-nots quilting me to sleep. Too soon we leave behind its willow pollards, and pied wagtail conspiracies at noon.
Back now, past conical mounts, hills that grows into witch’s breasts, over Llangynidr’s one-cart bridge, for tea at The Walnut Tree, to taste my first cup of green tea for months. Stebba samples her first Welsh Cake, yet happily, remains Swiss. She can leave the Celtic Melancholy to me! We ferry on past non-conformist chapels of corrugated tin to the tune of lovers jumping naked out of windows.
Talybont-On-Usk Reservoir. A chaffinch perches undaunted on the railing. The Reservoir reflects the sky and outlines of the valley that encircle it. Kieron reflects on the military exercises he used to do here, caustic runs through conifer plantations. A railway once ran over these hills, peopled with forts, Celtic and Roman.
While looking at tree-stump disguised as a standing stone through my binoculars, we are interrupted by The Wyche of The Reservoir – (abetted by her little dog) – who taps us on our collective shoulder, to relay us messages from the spirit world:
“The Poles are reversing – the seasons are out of order – the imprisonment of the enlightened is imminent – two-thirds of The World’s population will be slaughtered in a cataclysmic disaster – redwood roots sink as deep as their boughs – red kites are the sky’s implosion.”
She hands us all vivid blue stones, donations from the hills, and invites us all to receive her healing. Predictably, I am singled out as the one with the most latent spiritual power. We part ways, bundle back into the car, to sink into an evening of soup.

Poem: Beaulieu Wood

WoodlandStream

Scampering away from silent sunlight unseen,
Through pathways of darkness, holloways of green,
Where starved, straggly birches, and wind-whipped beeches,
Conceal mysterious nothings in bird-broken niches,
In this orchestra of silence, playthings of the weather,
All the seeds of life are concealed in a crow’s feather,
Relaxed, alert, hearing raven’s call in soft, muted tones,
Bells of uncertainty hung on the wind’s gravid groans

Poem: Limestone Dreams

limestone

The limestone here seeps into your dreams,
Pebbles embedded in quartz-stricken seams,
You can fall into empty air where the peregrine flies,
And coppice your own thoughts until a new forest does rise

Then out of the enchantment of swarming gloom,
A bat creeps out of the netting and circles your room,
With omens and prophecies, relinquishing strange jewels,
Singing to you, oneirically, in inaudible mewls

But to her, you are as a thousand shards of a mirror,
A rookery of sounds – the netherest of nevers –
There is no spite – only a refreshment of feeling,
The parishioner plants kisses that are ripe for the stealing

These flowerbeds are not earthly, their colours betray
Tones that are not possible to see in the day,
Creeping slowly through them disguised as shimmering petals,
Green fingers of bracken – teeth of precious metals

With sapphire smiles, turquoise, magenta, and gold,
The most luxurious things to be so wretchedly old,
But the soil is their pardon, the only Bible they read
Is written in the language of wildflowers and weeds

With Green Men in pews, thoughts eroding to silver,
Nothing is as enigmatic as The Wye River,
And with weepers of autumn bringing their evensong chants,
I will reap of the kisses The Parishioner plants

Nature Notes 17/9/2017

fumitory

A new tangle of fumitory lacing itself around wooden fence-posts; mostly just leaves and stem, with a few, pink, fantasy flowers curving out here and there. Pink cones of amphibious bistort poke up through the rain-moistened grasses. Spidered gossamer rests in brambles – its chaotic, yet fine silk strands reminds me of the tangled neurofibrils in the brains of dementia patients. A crow eating chips from the sidewalk – food festival flotsam.
Grey wagtail, yellow-bottomed, leaping from twig to twig on The River Gavenny. Maple leaves sporadically scattered – the pioneer species of decay. A moorhen creeps through a floating island of herbage on a rain-glutted river. Call of long-tailed tits so ubiquitous as to go unnoticed. A robin lands on a molehill and then flies away.
The forlorn hope of a dog waiting at a back door. Three magpies in a row search the mown grass for grubs. The way-marking ash tree between the 2nd and 3rd field is suffering from ash flower galls. They look like clusters of rotten cereal glued to the branches. The clouds are solid bodies of rock, infused with seams of gold.