Posts tagged wales

Fallen Arrow

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A view from Nantlle Ridge, Snowdonia, Wales

As a fallen arrow I am embedded
Lacking the force to pierce the sky whole;
Plumage all frayed and plucked,
The worm tangles the mind knot.

Greatest being the obstacle of not seeing
The night in the day, universally shifting
In unimagined shapes, afraid to engage my true potential;
Ignite my power, my wick is dampened by
The steam lies in my breath, panting cold against
School windows.

Thoughts heavy like breeze-blocks, too heavy to carry around
This room, body weak to endure much more
Youth and foolishness; skeleton still
Soft at the core.
Listless mass cloaked in stardust and
The ambiguity of potential and weak ankles lifting.

Terrible blizzards; I am the veil that filters the light white,
Unlimited; I must initiate emptiness,
Progress quelled by bickering flames,
Both rise together to fork in tree houses
Counting leaves turning and summer skirts.

Twilights wine; inescapably you return to my arms,
Drink me in whole, wine runs red rum cold;
Each step taken, a contradiction comes rising.
The trees grow fiercely and I am too quickly aging,
Too fast to see them fall into dust.
The mountains mellow in the shade, the cats are sleeping
Beneath chairs and waves break freely.
There is mould in this old house,
Mould in the drawn airs.

Sitting in the throne of infinite freedom,
Speak in the chest for truth, ribs dangling wind chimes
And seams of rare minerals expose my flesh;
Look in my eyes for love and watch them dance to you.

Take skipping steps in time towards a truth sublime
By letting go of the lie,
Trusting nature sublime and the rutting deers.
Eyes open to invisible nature, to you mystical, serene
And too familiar to bare,
The shadows in life that scent my dreams
With suggestions of other;
That mimic my simplicity,
In writing these words.

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Looking towards Snowdon, Nantlle Valley, Snowdonia

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Bryn Teg (Fair Hill)

Reflections

Upon a stained window,

In yellow

The girls are dancing

For spring,

For love,

For sherbert

Lustrous in spins.

Above and beyond,

A homespun wisp

That casts a clue to azure.

Over thick soot chimney,

Illumined

White clouds daubed

In blue;

Ever moving,

Ever true.

Leaves gathered

By the emerald winds,

Dirty rags of hopeless yarns

Cleanse this mottled soul.

Dumbfounded

With hope

And empty-hearted brush strokes.

On slopes

Much heeded,

The fields they pass my eyes,

Blurred

In the shifting light.

Swaying wheat heads catch the tune,

Sweet sounds

Of golden reed flute,

And joy fills

The roots of our warm earth,

And the hills are steady drumming

And patterned with

Old harmonies.

Cool ponds hold

Pictures so clear,

Frosted water colours

Stained by tears,

Of the born and birth;

Living alone

To dance by fires,

Kicking dust to the forlorn,

And high;

Too high,

For the brightest of stars

And the deepest of night skies.

Shade

Leaping shadows,

A broadside,

A crook,

A stone juts

Stood out

On the land,

There are circles

on the crosses here.

Beneath the wings of a coal-black raven,

To a finely etched scene

Made of fleeting memories,

Of crows climbing in pairs

Suspended in mind shapes

Defined by the light

And the bloodshed,

There edges they glow

Above stone-walled station.

In flight;

Buzzards circle this splendour,

Perfect circles carved in empty skies,

Only they may soar

Ascending to make ladders

Where no ladders reached before.

Up to the springs of sacrifice,

On the borderline,

Closer to the sun.

Their hunted eyes mark

A greener gaze

Hung on warm vapour,

Full and ever watchful

Free to paint their minds.

In the hedges

Small rabbits, tiny birds,

Are speaking,

Behind a forest of honey gorse,

And only beating wings

And ticking of young hearts

Can pollute this time

On fair hill.

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Big Sun

Obelisk above Nantlle Valley, Wales

Big sun,
Hang over,
As I live and breathe
In the light of orange fox,
As the sound
Of distant stream
Cools my fire
And stirs green trees.

Moon signs,
White light,
In the depths of valleys
Where rocks rise
Like great ships
And wheat ears catch the breeze
Of the forever changing.

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The Poetry of R.S. Thomas

Taken near Porthmadog, where Thomas remains.

I am living in Wales and the poetry of R.S. Thomas has taught me more of what it is to be Welsh than any history book.

He lived most of his life in this area of Northern Wales and wrote about the people and land that surrounds us.  His poems speak of the fresh earth, the mist filled valleys, the bleak winters and aching beauty of the landscape; they are sparse and sometimes bitter.  This was to Thomas ‘the true Wales of my imagination’ although his later poetry was more metaphysical in nature.

Thomas was a spiritual man and believed in a free Wales (free of England that is); a Welsh speaking land, living in tune with the natural world.  He was a vicar for most of his life and lived in an almost ascetic manner.  He bemoaned the use of even basic technology like a washing machine or electric iron.  Thomas believed that materialism and greed would destroy communities and erode culture, epitomised by the English ‘invasion’ of Wales.  He condoned the fire-bombing of English owned holiday cottages but considered himself a pacifist and supported the CND.

Strangely, Thomas only learnt to speak Welsh later in life, spoke with a posh English accent and sent his son to private school in England.

A complex character and a brilliant poet.

The forest meets the shoreline, Portmeirion.

I have selected a couple of my favourites here:

A Welsh Testament

All right, I was Welsh. Does it matter?
I spoke a tongue that was passed on
To me in the place I happened to be,
A place huddled between grey walls
Of cloud for at least half the year.
My word for heaven was not yours.
The word for hell had a sharp edge
Put on it by the hand of the wind
Honing, honing with a shrill sound
Day and night. Nothing that Glyn Dwr
Knew was armour against the rain’s
Missiles. What was descent from him?

Even God had a Welsh name:
He spoke to him in the old language;
He was to have a peculiar care
For the Welsh people. History showed us
He was too big to be nailed to the wall
Of a stone chapel, yet still we crammed him
Between the boards of a black book.

Yet men sought us despite this.
My high cheek-bones, my length of skull
Drew them as to a rare portrait
By a dead master. I saw them stare
From their long cars, as I passed knee-deep
In ewes and wethers. I saw them stand
By the thorn hedges, watching me string
The far flocks on a shrill whistle.
And always there was their eyes; strong
Pressure on me: You are Welsh, they said;
Speak to us so; keep your fields free
Of the smell of petrol, the loud roar
Of hot tractors; we must have peace
And quietness.

Is a museum
Peace? I asked. Am I the keeper
Of the heart’s relics, blowing the dust
In my own eyes? I am a man;
I never wanted the drab role
Life assigned me, an actor playing
To the past’s audience upon a stage
Of earth and stone; the absurd label
Of birth, of race hanging askew
About my shoulders. I was in prison
Until you came; your voice was a key
Turning in the enormous lock
Of hopelessness. Did the door open
To let me out or yourselves in?

Forest Dwellers
 
Men who have hardly uncurled
from their posture in the
womb. Naked. Heads bowed, not
in prayer, but in contemplation
of the earth they came from,
that suckled them on the brown
milk that builds bone not brain.
Who called them forth to walk
in the green light, their thoughts
on darkness? Their women,
who are not Madonnas, have babes
at the breast with the wise,
time-ridden faces of the Christ
child in a painting by a Florentine
master. The warriors prepare poison
with love’s care for the Sebastians
of their arrows. They have no
God, but follow the contradictions
of a ritual that says
life must die that life
may go on. They wear flowers in their hair.
 
Listen and read more R.S. Thomas poetry here.
 

From the Portmeirion Peninsula

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Beautiful Snowdonia, Wales – Part 2

Black Pony and the Nantlle Valley

From Portmeirion Peninsula

The Snowdon Range

Billowing Clouds

In magic glade

Looking Up

A warning before Mynedd Mawr (Big Mountain)

On the Blaenau Ffestiniog Railway Steamer

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The Way of Zen

Sunset, Dinas Dinlle

You light the fire;

I’ll show you something nice –

A great ball of snow!

 

The long night;

The sound of the water

Says what I think.

Gochiku

 

The stars on the pond;

Again the winter shower

Ruffles the water.

 

How admirable,

He who thinks not, ‘Life is fleeting,’

When he sees the lightning!

Basho

 

The shattered mirror will reflect no more;

The fallen flower will hardly rise to the branch.

Zenrin

 

The theif

Left it behind –

The moon at the window.

 

The wind brings 

Fallen leaves enough

To make a fire.

Ryokan

Mountain on a garden

No thought, no reflection, no analysis,

No cultivation, no intention;

Let it settle itself. 

Tibetan Tilopa

Nantlle Valley, Snowdonia

‘In this moment there is nothing which comes to be.  In this moment there is nothing which ceases to be. Thus there is no birth-and-death to be brought to be brought to an end. Wherefore the absolute tranquility (of nirvana) is this present moment.  Though it is at this moment there is no limit to this moment, and herein is eternal delight.’
T’an Ching

‘If the mind is not overlaid with the wind and waves, you will always be living among blue mountains and green trees.  If your true nature has the creative force of Nature itself, wherever you may go, you will see fishes leaping and geese flying.’ 

Hung Tzu-ch’eng

 

From ‘The Way of Zen’ by Alan W. Watts

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Beautiful Snowdonia – Mountain Photos

Snowdonia from the Isle of Anglesey, St Bodwyns Grave.

Here are some recent pictures of Snowdonia,

just after the Easter snows this April.

Obelisk above Nantlle Valley.

Snowdonia over a 7th century stone circle, Nantlle Valley

Sunsets over the Snowdon Horseshoe.

The Nantlle Valley, the gateway to Snowdon.

The hills of Llyn Peninsula

First blossom on the trees, winter is finally leaving.

Happy Wanderer

Peace, Love and Light from WalesXXXXXXXXXXXX

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