Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Home words.

That's it. Our bags are packed. Thank you Turtle Island for a greatly nourishing trip. So here's some words to start preparing for life back on the dreaming animal of Dartmoor. Slange and slange again. Remember - we have just a couple of places left on our year course in its new word-hall up on the moor. Join us by the fire for the tenth year: The Wandering Court. April 25-27th/June 13-15th/August 1-3rd/Oct 3-5th/Dec 5th - 7th.

The Rattle-House of Sound:
Beating the Boundaries

I am in the hut.
The warm hut of myself.

Where language is
a herding magic,
nine inky mares
galloping loose
on the bone-white page,
an equine flood.

Up in the crag-world
do you hear these whinnies?
Let the loom of my tongue
craft the wild bees furry speech.

Black clouds I am a-lightning;
I hurl rain-daggers into mud.
Black clouds I am a-shire,
loosening my muscle hoofed stomp.

The geese that flew for Parzival, I love.
The hawk that claimed three drops of their blood, I love.
The snow it fell upon, I love.

The hut is a rattle-house of sound.
A croft for wolves.
It stands in dark privacy.
Deep nested, wine briared
from the drifting snows.

The floor is erotic dirt,
the air is sweet like stored apples.

Walls are the big trees
– Grimm’s trees,
Siberian, enormous Irish
voyaging stories.

Bark shines wet,
the roots are mad and deep.
I ramble under the
billowing skirts of
love’s tall pines.

This twigged hump
holds the vastness
of a stag’s breastbone,
a pirate’s cathedral,
is a smokey den of gaudy leaps.

Gawain’s bent head
in the green chapel, I love.
The heavy horse alone
in the orchard, I love.
The woman who lives at
the edge of the world, I love.

Grasses hum with beehive.
I break chunks of honeycomb
and offer them up to Dartmoor.

The hut shudders with foamy energy,
reaching northwards to coax the rivers –
the Tavy, the Plym, the Erme, the Avon,
the Dart, and The Teign.

Brittle gods are amok
in the tourists' sour heather.

I call the names
under the names
of old Devon
- Broken Court - Breazle,
Dark Stream - Dawlish,
Great Wood - Cruwys Morchard,
all shimmering in the gramarye
of this Kingdom of Dumnonia.

I carry green waves
from the bright girdle of the sea,
generous beer in a bronze cup
for the spit-wind.
I come in the old way.

I leave a hollowed out hoof
filled with apple-blossom on the turf,
I haunch the dream path of the adder
up to Hay Tor, Lucky Tor, Hound Tor,
Benji Tor, Yal Tor.

The dry-stone wall, I love. The moon over corn, I love. Branwen of the white breast, I love.

In my forties, I bend my head.
I come in my father's boots,
and Alec’s, and Leonard’s, and Bryan’s.
I carry dark bundles of my mother's hair,
and Christine’s, and Monica’s, and Jenny's.

The blood holds Shaw, Gibson,
Causer, Thackery.

I come to walk the boundaries.
I come to find a myth-line.
This spreading turf is the moor
– once a desert, a tropical island,
a red wood forest.

I clamber flanks of bailing twine
and rusting tractor engine to get nearer
to your gurgled speech.
I break the hard crust of snow with blue paws.
I lace granite with whisky and milk.
Within the stag’s bone there is a hawkish wine,
in the glisten of the hare's paw lies the old singing.

Let the tusks
of Dermot’s Boar
get soaked in the wine
of your education,
Let your milk heavy udders
splash hot into our
story-parched mouth,
Let the wild swan at dawn
rise to meet Christ’s dark fire

I ask for protection from the good powers.

Let all stories hold, heal and nourish my small family. Let they be hazels for our mouths. Nothing but goodness –

no fear, no meanness, no envy.

Copyright Martin Shaw 2014


Sylvia Linsteadt said...

Completely gorgeous, this, lovely as the opening poppies and wild as the stalking bobcats with their eyes of moontime green, and true as any old song. Thank you. And thank you for bringing your hoofed and fur-earred words to our western shores. We are in sore need of them! Blessings on your travels home. xx Sylvia

tracy said...

Thank you Martin - a real treat and wholly (and holy) nourished by the energies of image and your word. A blessed transition back onto your home-land. Are the primroses in bloom? _/\_