Saturday, 10 October 2009

And when the mist comes down

An October afternoon up in the woods above Croft Castle, Herefordshire

And when the mist comes down
The silence of this grey shroud
subdues all sound and heightens
the call of the tiny goldcrest.

And when the mist comes down
the memory of the morning's
orange sunrise seems distant
and the brilliant moon
that kept the landscape wake
will not be seen tonight.

And when the mist comes down
the soft drip, drop of water
off the dense, darkest green pines
surrounds the lonely traveller.

And when the mist comes down
a gentle breeze waves
the golden bracken fronds -
the only movement in this shaded place.

And when the mist comes down
I walk with meditative footsteps
on the long awaited dampness
that the autumn now brings.

And when the mist comes down
the landscape hides its form
and only my feet and my soul
can guide my solitary path.

And when the mist comes down
My world has shrunk to that
which I can only see ahead -
the distance is no longer visible.

Lyngham Vallet: A Place to Be.


An October morning on the edge of Bircher Common near Croft Castle, Herefordshire

A place to be: where the valley lies, awakening to the cool, almost imperceptible pale salmon light of the new day.

A place to be: where shelter from the cold morning breeze is given by a thick gorse bush looking out over the trees below.

A place to be: where waves of bracken cascade down the valley sides under the birch and oak.

A place to be: where blackbirds and others call through the silence.

A place to be: where deep in the dark conifers the grunting of dear echoes over the landscape.

A place to be: where the subtle changes in the colours of the leaves call to the onset of autumn.

A place to be: where this small valley seems to hold treasure and peace.

A place to be: where, earlier, in a car sleeping. Cold and uncomfortable, yet beneath a moonlit sky.

A place to be: where a welcome can be given to the new day.

How the mind can play with words.

I was walking down from Croft Ambrey towards Croft Castle recently and happened upon a time when the poetic side of my brain seemed to awake from deep dormancy to intense creativity. Every part of the landscape seemed to speak to me and I responded with my voice in words that flowed with ease and freedom. I was reluctant to stop and try and write everything down as it would spoil the presence on the experience, so I sat down in the walled garden a short while later to try and jot things down. Alas, the creativity had gone and I was left with only a few memories that in no real way captured the real essence of what I had thought. I don't why this happens - perhaps it is to do with stimulation from the natural world or a relaxation of the mind when time is spent away from day to day thought processes.

Anyway, this is what I will write after looking back at my notes a day later:


Down the grassy hill I walked
towards the great old spiralling chestnuts
and now beneath a fruitful apple tree
the poetry I sang seems faraway.

I'll never understand the poetry of life.
The twists and turns like the falling of leaves
and the breeze that carries thoughts
like a bird on the wing
with freedom it flies in the wilderness of space.

A jay - from branch to branch
with a flash of white;
and a pigeon a fluttering of grey.
The crow, dark and heavy with steady flight
and a squirrel hurrying away
with chestnut to a hidden place.

....

And I can't remember anything more - but it went on for ages.