Posts tagged ‘nature’

07/08/2013

The Summit of Pen-y-Ghent (Walk No. 7) – video poem

 

Pen-y-Ghent and Language

 

A video poem for Walk Number 7 from thecheesewolf’s series Ten Walks. This piece was filmed on Pen-y-Ghent (The Hill of the Winds) in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, northern England. One of the main themes of this poem is language and naming – in this case the names of hills. Pen-y-Ghent is believed to be the Brythonic name for the hill – it is very similar to the Welsh for “Hill of the Wind”. Clearly there is a Celtic resonance in the name, and there are many remnants of the pre-“English” cultures of the Dales. Indeed, on nearby Ingleborough there are the clear outlines of ancient round houses, and just up the dale from Pen-y-Ghent itself are the remains of a small Roman outpost. If you are ever in this neck of the woods, do try to check out Pen-y-Ghent, and the other hills around (Ingleborough, Whernside, Buckden Pike etc). It is a special place, and the food, wildlife and walking are all wonderful.

if you would like to read the poem, go to www.thecheesewolf.wordpress.com, it’s down below… Alternatively, click on the captions button on the video for a “sub-titled” version. this may not work on Kindles, for some reason.

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03/08/2013

A Breath (A Stream) – video poem

 

 

A video poem of the piece A Breath (A Stream). This video poem was filmed in the summer of 2013, and is of the upper reaches of the River Wharfe (Yorkshire Dales National Park, England).

It is one of a series of video poems made to accompany my 14 line poetry.

 

The words for the poem can be found in this collection (below).

31/07/2013

High Summer at the Roman Fort (Mastile’s Lane) – video poem

 

a video poem by set around the site of a Roman fort on Mastile’s Lane, above Malham in the Yorkshire Dales.

 

the written version of this video poem can be found at:

http://www.thecheesewolf.wordpress.com

 

this video poem is copyright Gavin Jones 2013

14/07/2013

Stone Curlew

 

The scrape, like hare, of pebble bird:

As fawn and cream as flint in church.

The jaundiced, yellow eye will blink

As mirage dews pour through the fen.

 

The field was first, the bird was first,

The sky reflected breck was first:

The yellow eye had snapped them shut.

The clouds of dawn turned iris bright.

 

The lines of earth, of dyke, of hedge,

Formed islands, merged and took the sea.

It watched it all, the yellow eye:

It watched it from its field of stone.

 

Beneath the dust which birthed its calls,

A wary bird ducks low to earth.

 

 

07/07/2013

Hare

 

Those eyes, which take the souls and run

From hedge to far and vanished hedge,

Can pierce right through the skin of time,

And see its luminescent depths.

 

With unmatched speed and dancing heart,

A spirit dreamer, cast from minds,

Runs out across the plains and moors.

It runs not “to”, it runs “because”.

 

They watch us with our weighted gait:

Our feet, our arms, our thoughts in clay.

So slow, we live within a day:

A single, monstrous, leaden day.

 

They watch us with those eyes of light,

Those eyes which see beyond our sight.

 

 

21/06/2013

Creatures Beyond

 

Beyond the dramas of the town,

Outside the battleground of now,

The creatures, barely human, form

And question our complacent ways,

 

By simply being with the hum,

And spinning through the forest lanes.

By breaking and remaking whole,

By calling all the creatures home.

 

They nest their fictions in the earth,

Lay naked all their tales and truths.

They slip – revolting – from our grasp.

They drip – as fungus – from our pasts.

 

And bloated, we build roads and walls

And so much noise we drown their moans.

 

 

15/06/2013

Three Storytellers

 

He hears his name in robin’s songs,

The cadence calls him from the scrub.

He answers in his shaky voice:

They understand but don’t respond.

 

She sees the heron spell her name

In semaphore with arching wings.

She signals back, she jumps and flaps,

They catch her drift, but on they pass.

 

I see the clouds, I hear the trees,

I feel the rumbling through my feet.

The world is here, and I am here,

With robins, herons, clouds and breeze.

 

They speak to us, they know our names,

And nothing here will ever change.

 

 

09/06/2013

Night Birds Calling

 

In other times, on darker nights,

The ones who carved the stones would quake

At forest howls, at spirit streams,

At shadows flitting through the trees.

 

But us: we see the lights of planes,

We hear the distant hum of roads,

We search the nightjar – tick that box –

We walk straight lines of forest tracks.

 

Oblique we stand – their world breaks through –

There’s distance here that we can’t know.

We hear the birds, we sense the fear:

Religion, science, mean little here.

 

Our pride and indolence are new,

These creatures scream from something true.

 

 

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

20/04/2013

Corncrakes (Slovenia)

 

At night the village dropped its blinds,

Its shutters closed, its curtains drawn,

And pillows piled to drown the scrape

And rake and ratchet calls of crakes.

 

The meadows sweet with flower heads,

Alive with honey bees and hay,

Cut once by hand and dried in air:

The birds could find their shelter there.

 

The echo owls call out for hours,

And nightingales let flow their stars.

The village knew their world was right:

They tended, coppiced, nurtured flight.

 

The villages knew the summer nights

Were full of corncrakes, full of life.

 

 

11/04/2013

A Breath (A Stream)

 

The simple contact of the stream,

A touch of ice which fell as rain

And soaked the paws of hunting wolves.

A mix of mists condensed on ferns.

 

The breath of trees through ancient leaves

Which hid a thousand goshawk nests,

And oaks on oaks have hidden more,

And added streams to other streams.

 

Around the fish the waters flow,

And through the water spectrum’s bend,

And in those prisms histories meld,

And through those pasts the fish still breathe.

 

I run my fingers through the stream,

And all is now, and always was.

 

 

11/04/2013

Geneva, 1980

 

From where I lay I see myself.

The lake was full of tiny fish.

I thrust my foot into the shoal.

I feel it now: the empty cold.

 

No matter whether fast or slow,

The little fish remained untouched.

Across the lake the mountain peaks

Of France were white and distant shades.

 

Geneva’s haze was spreading south,

Towards the river flowing out,

I see the fountain, see the bridge,

And see the silver flash of fish.

 

I failed to see the truth that day:

The fish untouched, in fact touched me.

 

10/04/2013

The Spirit of the River

 

She spent her life apart from folk,

And all her dreams were river dreams.

She watched the weed which hid the pike.

She crept through rushes by the streams.

 

As winter drew the evenings in,

She’d bend the willow, thread the sedge,

And sleep beneath the branches bowed,

As warm as otter, curled as mink.

 

On mornings, white with frost and snow,

She’d break the ice which formed in rings

Up by the bank where water’s slow,

And find the haunts of torpid trout.

 

She’s spent her life – and spends it still –

In river dreams, in drifting free.

 

 

10/04/2013

Sticklebacks

 

I had a jar of sticklebacks

I’d netted down amongst the weed.

I sat and watched as they watched me,

Our stillness shared for forty years.

 

With azure, scarlet, silver sides,

Eclipsed the joy of my field guides.

The book I’d read on every night

Would now be left to prop a pile.

 

The jar contained the living truth –

The eyes, the spines and fragile tails –

I’d felt them wriggle on my palm,

Their life as real as mine was dry.

 

I watched them breathe through gaping mouths.

I watched them stop, grow dull and die.

 

 

26/03/2013

Fox on Pendle

 

How far? The shadows on the sea:

The pools of Irish light and rain,

The Dales, the Fells, the Lakes, the sky,

And heaven burning through those eyes.

 

The sodden feet where dotterel land,

The pounding heart where plover call,

The simple path, the vision scraped,

The buzzard circling overhead.

 

How far? From Israel to the mill,

From handloom to the broken hand,

And further still, the trees and hills:

He saw them, feared them, felled them, climbed.

 

How far? Beyond the passions’ reach:

As far as words and mysteries teach.

 

 

10/03/2013

Leighton Moss

 

1. The Ghosts

 

So nothing dies, it lingers on,

It sinks beneath the matted reeds,

It hovers on the winter air,

It wraps its roots around the oak.

 

A bear has whispered through the woods,

Its tundra paws are soft as moss.

We see it in our open hearts,

We call it from its long lost path.

 

A lynx is in the reed bed’s edge.

Its stories deep as morning mist,

We summon memories from its shade,

Its whiskers taste of vanished dawn.

 

The sedge and forest, lake and burn,

All echo with the drifts of death.

 

 

2. The Wood Well Oak

 

The time zones buckled, seasons bent,

The rings lay thick, then thin, then lost,

As moisture, snows and distant droughts,

Were channeled through its heart of wood.

 

It stood beside a woodland well,

With leaves of cloth and dreams of love.

The people circled round like rings,

They merged their hopes with form and place.

 

A hundred years it took to rot:

From deep within the fungus grew.

It fell, one April, in a storm:

But even then its Spring leaves bloomed,

 

The wood well oak became the land.

The circles stopped, the cycle rolled.

 

3. Reed Bed

 

The waters teem with life and death,

Electric fevers of the Spring,

They’ve waited for their time to come:

In sun and light they burst and fade.

 

The land is crawling, grasping air,

It gasps for rain and captures birds,

It lifts and folds its crystal tears.

The land is dust and rock and grave.

 

The reeds are caught between these worlds.

They play the air and call to land,

Their echo-verse is ages old,

They breathe the water’s swirling song.

 

Fragility – it marks this place –

Where life wells up, but leaves no trace.

 

 

4. Bittern Fire

 

The light explodes in neural fires,

And life – intense and candle bright –

Reflects its spark from reed to reed,

And smokeless burns from eye to eye.

 

Invisible, the bittern blends.

Within the reeds it bleeds its form,

Through willow stumps, to deepest sedge,

Where only beak and eye are sharp –

 

Are photon sharp, are stark as stars.

The final sight the frog will see:

A dart of light, a blade, an eye,

Then gone and gulped and nothing more.

 

The bittern merges with the sun.

The life is one, the reed bed home.

 

5. The Last of Winter (A Northern Song)

 

The winter-scattered waxwings pause

For breath in rowans, twilight peached,

And dusted with the northern lights,

Vermillion and yellow chrome.

 

A Kalevala dance of wings,

Of brambling orange, white and black,

Of fieldfare stories, flighting seas,

At night with redwings, sharp as snows.

 

And on the lake the goldeneye,

Which fledged the earth, now dives for ice.

It pulls the songs out of the pike,

Then pops and bobs and shivers wings.

 

The tundra sun is turning round.

The arctic calls: its losts are found.

 

 

6. Saplings at the Margins

 

Embraced by roots and twisted truths,

With molten magic coursing through,

The bursting stems and latent forms

Are whole and fragments, buds and bark.

 

Conducting sun and seeping earth,

The branches whip the sky and marsh.

The sap they suck from distant stars

Is swirled in centuries of growth.

 

A universe is wrapped in reeds:

A fecund, replicating world,

A place of bird song, frog song, birth,

An immanence of creaks and leaves.

 

The sedge and willow bend and bow:

A pen and flute within the flow.

 

 

07/11/2012

The Tides of the Severn (1982 – 2012 – 2042)

(“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better”:  A. Einstein)

 

When free I cycled past Llanwern

Where all about was coated bronze,

And warblers chattered in the reeds,

And sang away the thumps of steel.

 

Then past the railway, orchard, church,

And out on to the flat and green,

Where grey was liberated earth,

And land was sea and sea was sky.

 

My bike had kicked the salt and mud

Until my legs were driftwood black.

As oystercatchers yelped and fled

I flew the bike to scatter more.

 

Then out as far as land would hold,

I stopped to place myself in life:

How distant Newport seemed and small,

Out here where worlds dissolved and flowed.

 

In thirty years I might return

To where that marshland used to be,

To find how even memories

Are washed away by rising tides.

 

In thirty years I’d look around

And note how cities fought the sea,

And blamed the sea, and blamed the sky,

And built their barricades so high,

 

And there I’d stand, a crooked man.

A mile inland from where I rode,

I’d watch the Severn lap the church

And wash away the graveyard walls.