Posts tagged ‘forests’

03/06/2013

A Week in Slovenia (Part 4 – From the Adriatic to the Alps)

 

1. On Piran Seafront

 

Ten thousand years of people stare

Off out to sea and feel its breath.

Ten thousand years of questioned souls

Who turn, and shrug, and build their worlds,

 

Those years are here within this point.

Entranced, we watch the fish and boats:

That silver dart, that bobbing float.

We are those generations now.

 

Then Trieste fades and Piran falls,

The bells un-ring and we are back.

The fish all hide, the sun is bright,

I hold your hand, we are alone.

 

The Adriatic Sea is blue:

It always is – is ever new.

 

 

2. When the Birds Fly Low

 

You see the point in being close:

An avalanche destroyed that house,

An earthquake took the town that day,

You closed your heart as war raged on,

 

You see the way the birds fly low.

You buy the cheese and share the bread.

A flock of alpine choughs descend:

They work as one, they fly as one.

 

As snow is creeping through the trees,

A dusting through Arolla Pine,

It brings its memories of times.

The birds fly down amongst the town.

 

You turn your back upon the cold.

You feed the birds and drink your fill.

 

 

3. Rainfall in the Julian Alps

 

The sun won’t break the clouds today.

The mountain crags have gathered rain,

The sparrows hide beneath the eaves,

The church bells echo hidden peaks.

 

The peace of circle patterned slates:

The point before the rivers form.

Within a pine a blackbird preens.

The air is still, the rain is clean.

 

A miracle has formed the sky.

Here in the sky, we are the sky.

The snowmelt cycles up, then through:

We breathe the ice of years gone by.

 

Within the clouds I see the sun.

Amidst the rainfall there is song.

 

 

4. Night in the Julian Alps

 

We do our best to kill the still

With street light, owl hoots, cow bells, cars.

We build and burn, we run and hide,

But up here nothing comes our way.

 

The mountain’s cold and silent depths,

The forest’s growth on rotten roots,

The haze which twinkles dying stars:

They are the silence we can’t dodge.

 

We think we are unique in this –

Us falcons, martens, humans, frogs –

Not caught in headlights: we freeze at night,

And stare into the mountain depths.

 

The long collective mass of life

Is just a tiny flick of light.

 

 

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02/06/2013

A Week in Slovenia (Part 2 – Overheard Tales)

 

1.  The Angel and the Buzzard

 

Above the Ljubljana plain

A buzzard wheels, then tips its wings,

Its eyes fixated on a point

Where, in the grass, a halo glints.

 

The angel fell to earth in search

Of Jason and the golden fleece.

Instead he found a world of fear:

A mythless world of worthless wealth.

 

The buzzard lands: it speaks no word.

The angel and the buzzard stare

Into each others’ eyes, and know

They come from better worlds than this.

 

The angel nods, then leaves this world.

The buzzard screams for all it’s worth.

 

 

2. The Forest Man

 

Beneath his canopy of pine –

Far deeper than his stands of beech –

The forest man is moving rocks:

He’s building walls around his tales.

 

His beard: a twist of ivy fronds.

His mind: a mass of histories gone.

He plants his feet with sapling oaks,

He carves the tunes of violins.

 

His walls are taller than before.

They hide the world of dragon’s teeth,

Of golden chamois, witch’s curse,

But still the forest man builds on.

 

He knows our world has lost its myths.

He’ll keep his stories safely hid.

 

 

3. The Shadow Figures of the Vrsic Pass

 

I took the high road through the pass.

The rain and mist whisped round the pine,

Above the trees the clouds touched earth:

I saw the shadow figures there.

 

I moved towards them, they withdrew.

The shadow figures knew the tracks:

They knew them like the hazel grouse.

They padded lightly with the lynx.

 

I saw their faces briefly there:

Beyond the rock face, glaring down.

I saw their questions, wild and raw,

With human eyes and shadow souls.

 

The mists soon closed the Vrsic Pass:

The shadow figures melted back.

 

 

4. The Once Great Dragons

 

Of course the dragons are still here:

What else could make a mountain shake?

What other creature barks at night,

And turns the forest tops to steam?

 

Their fear lives deep within the woods

And writes itself on cavern walls.

Their scales are found on river beds,

Their teeth and claws still scour the land.

 

And in the dark you hear them prowl

The village margins seeking blood.

Their rumbling feet, primeval growls,

Will haunt your sleeping, drifting hours.

 

The dragons curl in caves and cry:

They once were myths, but now they’re lies.

 

 

With thanks to Maja and Luka.

 

 

27/04/2013

Dawn Chorus

 

1.

The first of day, the last of night,

The woodcock and the lapwings meet

Beneath the blood-horn moon of spring:

A fold of wings in praise of bats.

 

The oystercatchers warn and reach

Inside the panicked twitch of deer.

They join the curlew’s howl of lust,

The curlew’s voice of bidden loss.

 

And soon the forest joins the moor

With wrens subsumed in bursts of wing,

Exhilaration on a feather’s barb,

The light which greets the point of flight.

 

An hour in life and all is raised:

The night time’s deaths, the morning’s birth.

 

2.

Avoiding death we sidestep life.

We miss the warbler’s beacon song,

The melodies of clouds on fire,

And trees which birth the passing days.

 

We cling to nights and hide in hopes,

Constructing tales of other worlds

Where fixities will fold our fears.

And shut away the shifting light,

 

And live these distant, searching lives.

The premonition sun will rise

Unseen. Unheard, the birds become

That larger world which we hide from.

 

Within us all is life and death,

A universe, a blackbird’s breath.

 

3.

The song is all, the forest one,

The neurones, pollen, twilight rings.

The trees connect, the eyes forget,

Ten thousand evanescent springs.

 

A chord beyond the reach of one,

Becomes the mantra of the one,

A unity to shed the night,

An ecstasy to greet the light.

 

A force as pure as air vibrates,

From blood, to throat, to bursting tongues,

Each song annihilates itself.

The forest sings, the birds succumb,

 

And I have ceased to cling to me:

The light is all there’ll ever be.

 

4.

And all this means the world to me,

But where are words to give it voice?

A ringing in the ears I shake,

The feet on leaves in dawning light.

 

The river glows with moons within,

The trout forget the bridge of day.

I walk and hear the passing dead:

The crumbling bank and martin’s nests.

 

A tree has lost its way this night.

Its branches bowed by sorrow’s time,

They point to earth, they brush the dust,

A chaffinch spills its mystery there.

 

I watch a redstart lose its mind:

Our eyes have met the pains of night.

 

 

For Steffen and Jo

27/03/2013

The Southern Pole

 

The reptile river winds its banks

Through stories deep as nightjar’s eyes,

Where crickets sing the moon its hymns,

And life comes writhing from the soil.

 

Each leaf has grown a thousand tongues,

And darkness glows with hummingbirds.

The air is water, steam and cloud,

The snake skin stream is hot to touch.

 

The frogs have tales of human feet,

Which ventured here and left no trace.

They smoothed the wriggling earth a while,

Then turned to rock, then back they turned.

 

Beneath these countless births and change,

The scream, the cry, the song remains.

 

 

11/12/2012

Song 1: Souvenir

 

The forests where the adder slept,

And where my loneliness found peace,

Were rich with beechwood Sunday rains,

And softened by the Autumn songs.

 

The drip of drums through scented larch.

A fractured truth which filled my heart.

Escape and acorns broke the hold

Of screaming homes and severed schools.

 

I ate the beauty of the earth:

Russula, Parasol and Cep,

I gleaned the music picking hope

In melodies which set me free.

 

For always are the two entwined:

A Souvenir, a stand of pines.

 

The forests of South Wales where I heard Souvenir by OMD.

.

08/01/2012

Treecreeper

 

They live another planet’s life,

Their world a maze of creviced wood ,

And flakes of bark and spider’s webs.

They seek the scent of insect’s paths.

 

And up they spiral, ever up –

Their probing, prizing spikes of beaks

Are thrust into the rotten reek –

They never reach the canopy.

 

Then out across the autumn woods

Where fungal spores spread sickly mats,

They claim their trees with needle trills

Like crystal wrens at misting dawn.

 

In otherness they live their lives,

As alien spirits of the oaks.

 

02/01/2012

Tawny Owl

 

You look into the forest’s depths,

The twists of branches, knots of fear,

Reflected panic of the dusk,

And through the tangle: night black eyes,

 

Or ember eyes, or mirror moons,

Or timeless worlds which pluck in dark

The twitching, writhing remnant lives,

Before the silent wings fold back.

 

And trees cloak round to hide the deaths,

To save the torment of the rest.

The forest floor forgets what’s passed,

And carries on with nothing lost.

 

Pressed tight against the oak tree’s trunk,

A night of killing hides in day.