Monday, October 15, 2012

Ecopoetry handout #3

(We'll discuss this one Monday, October 22)

Eco-poetry & Ecological Awareness:Raising ecological consciousness through eco-sensitive poetry


The world does not need words, It articulates itself
in sunlight, leaves, and shadows. The stones on the path
are no less real for lying uncatalogued and uncounted.
The fluent leaves speak only the dialect of pure being.
The kiss is still fully itself though no words were spoken.

And one word transforms it into something less or other—
illicit, chaste, perfunctory, conjugal, covert.
Even calling it a kiss betrays the fluster of hands
glancing the skin or gripping a shoulder, the slow
arching of neck or knee, the silent touching of tongues.

Yet the stones remain less real to those who cannot
name them, or read the mute syllables graven in silica.
To see a red stone is less than seeing it as jasper—
metamorphic quartz, cousin to the flint in Kiowa
carved as arrowheads. To name is to know and remember.

The sunlight needs no praise piercing the rainclouds,
painting the rocks and leaves with light, then dissolving
each lucent droplet back into the clouds that engendered it.
The day light needs no praise; and so we praise it always—
greater than ourselves and all the airy words we summon.

Below Cyn Bachan

There was nothing to be said about
the sky or the clouds that drifted there;
the oaks were all that oaks should be:
sun splashed itself through foliage.

A stream ran on between rocks, clear,
water impelled by water, gushing,
bustling with the noise that water makes
when it is free.
Trout slit the glass of a deeper pool;
a dragonfly skimmed its clarity;
a waterboatman sculled between stones.

Birds conversed among branches, hidden,
and children’s cries range in the trees
remotely, caught and held as if
in a green and greener dream of leaves.


The flat land was a watery eye
Across it came the dribbled notes of curlews
Lamenting sunset. Occasional herons stood
Up to their knees in blue water
Hunched grey coats on their old men’s backs.
The reeds hissed in among the pools
And a quick curve of otter pattered over sand
Dissolved in a deep ring of nothing,
Stars shone weak as pearls and no moon
Climbed into silence.
Only a flagging line of geese in rags
Came down muttering Eskimo on thin water.

Barn Owl at Le Chai

Tonight, cooling off on the terrace,
glow-worms lighting the long grass,
we listen for crickets, nightingales, nightjars,
turning our palms to the first stars.
Little mists rise in the night garden,
then, a shriek of something taken,
and in the darkness under the trees, white
flowers, feathers, her cry in flight,
and the air is blood-flecked,
a grief in retrospect.

Here at the Tide’s Turning

You close your eyes and see
the stillness of
the mullet-nibbled arteries, samphire
on the mudflats almost underwater,
and on the saltmarsh whiskers of couch-grass
twitching, waders roosting, sea-lavender
faded to ashes.

In the dark or almost dark
shapes sit on the staithe muttering of plickpack,
and greenshanks, and zos beds;
a duck arrives
in a flap, late for a small pond party.

The small yard’s creak and groan and lazy rap,
muffled water music.

One sky-streamer,
pale and half-frayed, still dreaming of colour.

Water and earth and air quite integral:
all Waterslain one somber aquarelle.

From the beginning, and last year, this year,
you can think of no year when you have not sat on this stub of a salt-eaten stanchion.

Dumbfounded by such tracts of marsh and sky—
the void swirled round you and pressed against you—
you’ve found a mercy in small stones.

This year, next year, you cannot think
of not returning: not to perch in the blue
hour on this blunt jetty, not to wait, as of right,
for the iron hour and the turning of the tide.

You cross the shillying and the shallows
and, stepping on to the marsh, enter
a wilderness.

Quick wind works around you.

You are engulfed in a wave of blue flames.

No line that is not clear cut and severe,
nothing baroque or bogus. The voices
of young children rehearsing on the staithe
are lifted from another time.

This is
battleground. Dark tide fills the winking pulks,
floods the mud-canyons.

This flux, this anchorage.

Here you watch, you write, you tell the tides.
You walk clean into the possible.

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