Ffynnon Eulo (a deep map)
From beyond the mountains
They came in search of a blessing.
But to where no one can say.
There is no x that marks the spot.
No lichen-crested monument stone.
No pilgrims beating pathways of those who came before.
It could be that they never came at all.
Or they came to taste the bitter waters
so as to render them sweet.
How else to make a place
than to sink into its mire
for to crawl like a sinner into grace?
Fixing a stake for the stem to grow.
Roots that bind a kindred heart
flex and falter in the lumpen earth.
From my window I can see
the field that is now a green
is flooded once more
as if in memory of an ancient rain
that flowed from cupped hands.
Like a discarded prayer it finds its way.
Through trampled folds of seasons
that came and went but never stayed.
Where ice irrigates the pastures raw
and sunflecks pattern a vision in absentia.
It finds its way.
Like lines in a landscape
or a poem.
Through swollen grass
water runs black as the loam that cradles
the serried sheaves of the faithful.
There is no one to ferry the bale downstream.
No load to be carried beyond the old clay pit
where travellers came to rest.
"We are home" they whisper to anyone who cares listen.
But there is no one who does.
Just a field that is now a green
and a well that neither fills nor drains.
I am floating above the journeying brook.
It has a purpose that is barely disclosed.
Mine is to marshal an epistolary dream
of measured steps and a plunge into place.
The evening is quiet and gentle as the spring
that flows from her beauty.
Are we not here now in this moment
divining the nature of our bond with the land?
Or have we fallen again into another's sleep
lost already to the night that cometh?
Alone in the garden I find comfort in knowing
that others lie with me.
And when I invite them to rise
and to guide me through the bramble and sedge
hospitality is conferred.
Let us be hosts to each other's guests
as the scent of wild garlic makes us
remember where we are and we are now
among the wood melick and dog's mercury
and the brook we are following from its source.
From Kitty's bedside a wooden dish
is carried to the holy well.
Afloat upon the surface veil
it turns against the sun.
In the airless gloom of his Ashmolean hollow
Edward Lhwyd gathers answers to parochial questions.
One Dorothy Daniel died lately aged 91.
One Peter Wigh was about the same age.
One Grace Mŷnalex was about 100.
The Sea has gained here considerably in man's memory.
I find you in New Inn Brook
and again beneath the ruins
where we slip into the Wepre.
We are a gutter through the mud
and a drain into the estuary.
The bay and the sea and the ocean
that lies beyond are here in the depths
of this field that is now a green
where we kneel among roses of stone
and proclaim the Second Coming.
© Les Roberts 2016. All Rights Reserved.