Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tara uprooted. Image credit Paula Geraghty

In the Seven Woods

I HAVE heard the pigeons of the Seven Woods
Make their faint thunder, and the garden bees
Hum in the lime-tree flowers; and put away
The unavailing outcries and the old bitterness
That empty the heart. I have forgot awhile
Tara uprooted, and new commonness
Upon the throne and crying about the streets
And hanging its paper flowers from post to post,
Because it is alone of all things happy.
I am contented, for I know that Quiet
Wanders laughing and eating her wild heart
Among pigeons and bees, while that Great Archer,
Who but awaits His hour to shoot, still hangs
A cloudy quiver over Pairc-na-lee.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lettergorman South

Beal's eye planting with a gaze and reaping with a glance.
From the breast of a lover, into his breath I went spinning.
Twisting, turning and entranced, unmoving onto this.
From the top of the dog's hill, into his stop I sit staring.

Face my brothers to the mountains and my sister to the stream.
Mad minds melted by the years, pouring their grief into raving.
While the whispers of my kinfolk, hissed as this dance moved the sun,
are now faint in the distance, and taunt this terrible waiting.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Silbury Hill: A pile of rusted iron struts. Image credit anonymous

Faintly, and as if from a great distance

Faintly, and as if from a great distance.*

Fall steps along the hallowed, hollowed whitened path
that began four millennia ago
and end today
in a pile of rusted iron struts
and rotting Merewether timbers.
Cast sarsen souls on pallets of 21st century dust.

Words fail
voids fill
then open up on another dismal collapsing surface
of another dark day of dismal lies.

And all the time they paint another rosy watercolour
of consolidation and restoration and not-in-the-book conservation.
Epithets for the spineless.
Phoney photographs for the future.

While a thousand plastic bags pad out their stupidities.


* Thanks to gjrk for this line.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Irreverent Day. Image credit anonymous

Suggested by the opening made in Silbury Hill, Aug 3rd 1849

Bones of our wild forefathers, O forgive,
If now we pierce the chambers of your rest,
And open your dark pillows to the eye
Of the irreverent Day! Hark, as we move,
Runs no stern whisper through the narrow vault?
Flickers no shape across our torch-light pale,
With backward beckoning arm? No, all is still.
O that it were not! O that sound or sign,
Vision, or legend, or the eagle glance
Of science, could call back thy history lost,
Green Pyramid of the plains, from far-ebbed Time!
O that the winds which kiss thy flowery turf
Could utter how they first beheld thee rise;
When in his toil the jealous Savage paused,
Drew deep his chest, pushed back his yellow hair,
And scanned the growing hill with reverent gaze, -
Or haply, how they gave their fitful pipe
To join the chant prolonged o'er warriors cold. -
Or how the Druid's mystic robe they swelled;
Or from thy blackened brow on wailing wing
The solemn sacrificial ashes bore,
To strew them where now smiles the yellow corn,
Or where the peasant treads the Churchward path.

Emmeline Fisher (1825–1864)