Wednesday 26 April 2017

Home Ground


Wild gorse and
the wind wails threats
Brambles and hedges and stone walls
Farmers’ lives and
the quiet long years of sheep
Trees submit to air
Leaves waver,
sultry and wild
A different kind of landscape
another flavour, another time
A piece of flint stuck in a giant’s tooth
Whispering myths
and loud self-righteous ones


Birthday, 24

And so the story goes -
    A midwife walks up a muddy dirt-track at four in the morning
    It’s dark and windy - she uses a torch to clamber up, making sure she doesn’t slip. She can see orange stains of windows in the distance - the treehouse on the mountainside
    I am born in the loft upstairs, wailing as rain patters down on the skylight - my father the first person to hold me, he feels my wet head as it pokes out - edging out of the precipice - gasping the strange air of this new world
    Born under a Scorpio storm, year of the Water Monkey, born under tumultuous clouds, under a couple never meant to be, and yet -
    I forage for connections, gather them like acorns,
    I spin my yarn daily, tighten the strings, colour the gaps,
    I flick back the pages to roots and beginnings, arrange the shards to form a mosaic,
    Dreaming in my own personal theatre.


Winter Solstice

Old man looks like he could be from Lapland - floppy-eared hat, long beard like a ram’s coat - says to me -
    Hey miss, do you like the truth?
    I say, Yes, always, fixing him with my most sincere gaze
    Read this
    He shows me a few inches of article in the ‘i’ paper underlined with black biro, and lights the strip up for me with a torch against the cold dark (this being five p.m. waiting for the bus)
    The article is about a member of the KKK who was arrested trying to kill Muslims through an ‘X-Ray device’ that can kill from far away without any trace. The old man says -
    This is very frightening because who are they going to shoot next? The Queen? The President? You? Me? It’s going to make it very hard for the police to prove who’s murdered
     - he says -
    Some people think I’m a bad man (his face lights up all wild and googly) Someone came to my house to tell me that - but I know things about him - I know he was a supporter of Lord Harlech - and you know that Lord Harlech sells drugs. It says he’s dead in the local paper, but it’s only a short column. It could be a way for the IRA to get off his case.
    And then the bus comes and he says -
    Take care now, and Merry Christmas
    and I wonder what bus he’ll catch, and in his accent, so thickly Welsh that it’s foreign, he says to me -
    Mankind is sick
Lonely cold winters. The earth smells harsh on the shortest day of the year.


Boxing Day Walk

Concrete things
    like the rose-gold light on trees choked with ivy
    the misty-clear expanse of the estuary
    the gradients of silhouettes
    hills fading and coming into the fore
    this old seabed
    - and all the pine trees lined up like skittles -
    perched on a slope in the distance

Sat there, my sister by my side, I let myself be silent
just feeling and letting it wash -
    the eucalyptus trees sparkling with
    the glitter of dew-soaked leaves
    patches of water across the landscape,
    pools of gold,
    pockets of sunshine
I walk and feel nauseous and that’s OK
because I’m alive and here to witness -
    the pain in my body, shame prickling skin, the need for retreat.

Purpose eludes me like a shrinking horizon.


Morning Prayer

Rain, rain, I love you as you dance the tinkly dance above my head
blessing me eternally, blessing me through the glass
I light a candle in the morning before I meditate
to cleanse a little
to let the light move the dust in the heat, the small flame,
I am whole again
and I wonder what world I’ll wake up in when I’m thirty, forty,
what will become of my average day
what will I use and refuse and who will share my bed
and who will I read stories to
and what will I have for dinner
who does my shopping, are my nails tidy
will I care for my lungs and - Oh God - please grant me this -
will I still have time to listen to the tap of the rain above my head
on a Saturday morning fresh from sleep?
I begin in the same way as ever -
with no real clue of the end point
with flutterings of doubt, ginormous expectations
and canyon-deep hopes.


Dydd Dewi Sant

Tangled in sheep’s hair
dancing on the beer-breath
of the indigenous, oppressed
centuries ago - but no matter -
with no outlet for expression, poetic tragic masters
wear an ill-fitting urban image of the dispossessed

but the mountains surround us
we are cradled and trapped in a countryside bowl

what industries? - drinking and cheating -
fates inscribed like a crime writer’s six o’clock slump:
he slashed her face then drove off a cliff
we are all actors but we forget the stage

sour pancake mix on the sideboard
heaven cleans it all, why waste your time with the hoover
we are all one, and since when did that become an anthem

ants laugh and scurry and call us unaware
while we stamp on livelihoods
farmers pack up and call this the end
thousands of civilisations and we are at the tail-end
we are - we are -
we are the ghosts of violent barbaric tribes, and of those who were curious and fair,
all of them and us
seeped and frozen into rocks

older than memory
we live in houses built on hills
with rounded windows and winding stairs
and the sea echoes each morning