Posts tagged ‘spirits’

24/08/2013

The Song of Ondine (Limestone Dales) – video poem

 

 

video poem for the piece Limestone Dales – one of the poems from the sequence The Song of Ondine.

This piece was filmed on location at various waterfalls around the Yorkshire Dales, places with a long association with water spirits and elementals.

Advertisements
10/04/2013

Revenge of the Spirit Fish

 

They come at night, the spirit fish,

With lanterns through the channel darks,

And ask the shore to give them back

The hooks, disgorgers, floats and line.

 

They make their dolls from wasted casts,

And form the hollow human shapes.

Beneath the overhanging trees

They cough their empty, gaping chants.

 

And somewhere sleeping, dreaming dry,

An angler turns and gasps and chokes.

A mouth drops open, feels the tug

Of barbless bronze and foaming blood.

 

The spirit fish will take their share:

They catch their quota, make things fair.

 

05/04/2013

Slender Billed Curlew

 

1.  They Never Do

 

In times of plenty birds would fill

The steppe-lands with their songs of spring.

Their wild and wondrous calls and cries:

Beyond the earth, they kissed the skies.

 

In times of plenty forest swamps

Would swell migration paths with wings

Across the plains and over seas,

And no one saw them as they passed.

 

In times of plenty people gorged,

Their noses closer to their floors.

They fought their wars and built their roads.

Their eyes were shut, their ears were closed.

 

And bit by bit the calling stopped:

The spring would come, the songs would not.

 

 

2.  Just One More Shot, The Final Breath

 

Retreating further through the swamps

And pine and permafrosts, alone

The hunter carves his name in bark.

A curlew calls its final dawn.

 

This stand of stumps and frozen breath

Was chosen by the spring and stars.

This place, this time, this pointless task:

Unknowing breath of man, of bird.

 

It probes its beak through frozen crust,

Its left foot quivers, head pulls back.

These movements formed in ancient times:

The last this world will ever know.

 

The hunter picks his kill and leaves

A precious feather to the breeze.

 

 

3.    Spirit Birds of Amvrakikos Gulf

 

Along the shore where the egrets pick

A flock of shadow waders roost.

The echoes of their silent calls

Are heard as ghosts amongst the stars.

 

But if you look you’ll never see

Again the birds, or hear their calls –

And no-one ever really did.

Their phantoms hug the water’s edge.

 

Your eyes have seen the taiga’s ice.

Your eyes have seen the dismal swamp.

Your eyes have seen extinction’s wing.

The curlew’s calls are deep within.

 

Their souls migrate across the gulf:

The shadow birds have lost their way.

 

 

 

26/01/2013

North Norfolk Coast (Walk No. 5)

 

Along the beach by Holkham pines

The ghosts stand watch on buried signs.

You feel them in the northern gales,

You hear them in the needles’ shake.

 

They choke the midnight bark of deer,

They still the hunting tawny owl,

And out before the rising tide

They pull the moon and drag it down.

 

The coast is endless, planet wide,

The sands are drifting, silence swirled.

But there amongst the broken pines

The Holkham ghosts are waiting still.

 

They hang and harm, they smooth and calm,

They break believers and possess.

 

 

14/01/2013

Oh Whistle and I’ll Come, My Lad

 

A space between the sky and death

Where tides leave tracings of belief,

And words can summon or dissolve

The science of our solid world.

 

That space, in which the phantoms play

With fragile games and fickle minds,

Conventions, platitudes and thoughts

Are shaken from its nightmare’s breath.

 

And last when shards of safety shred,

We’re left an awful truth to face:

The nameless horror on the beach

Which twists and turns and tightens on.

 

The space in which we all are thrown:

We walk, we sleep, we die alone.

 

 

(based on the story by M.R. James)

30/12/2012

The Sylph of Air and Time

 

Between the treetops time has curves

Where decades twine like blackbird’s songs,

Where centuries are interlaced,

And pasts are born from future space.

 

To work the weave you sway with trees,

And wind your mind up through the leaves.

Your neurons switch from time through time,

Through interlinking rings which bind.

 

In them you’ll live what might have been,

And twist back out through what is not:

All knowledge of the lives and deaths,

Are hanging in the forest’s breaths.

 

The chaos of this heavy air

Creates the mirage we see there.

26/11/2012

Coins for the Crossing

 

My fingertips have sensed the space

Between the rocks, beneath the grass,

And there the roots have taken sky,

And oceans push the dreams aside.

 

And in my heart I know you’re here.

Whoever: you have left your trace,

Its joy and peace around my home:

I feel your warmth and know your fear.

 

The aura floods with flashing words.

I hold the pen, it moves itself.

The paper pulls, it flows with song,

The gentle glow has found its voice.

 

At times like these I lose my mind.

At times like these I’m glad I’m blind.

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.