indian ink drawing by Sarah Longlands
In truth I
neither have nor live a name,
No syllable upon a nameless shore;
The landward margins of the sea, the same
Debate beneath a lunar semaphore.
No origin is
singled to a sun
Nor ending to a future's unseen flow:
Totality of days perféct to one
Might tell the world I see from that I know.
There is no
cause: no hope is unforetold
Where this change lies, and where I now must range,
The place the man, the eye the days behold
The orbit of the ebb and race of change.
No late equations
make this one day's end.
My sighted soul and I shall not contend.
the shuttered sequence of the days
Beneath the session of the pastdirected mind
Arraigned within an ordered timebound maze
To judge beforehand what the eye may find?
The days fall
out, whose wintry distant lights
Stretch morn and eve through dusty windowglass
Upon the witness eye, and restraint flights
The hours' elided endings where they pass.
Self so arraigned
by self within one day,
Defenceless, nude, constrained by word-mad laws
To make imagination of the way
As though the brain's poor vault lacked outward doors.
of time, time's mirror will refract,
For hindsight is the one unfinished act.
thought before the thought of day:
No form of thought, nor mind, within the soul;
No voice, nor apprehension of the way,
The plenum of the origin, the whole.
stands before the making word
Unvoiced, beyond the utterance, yet known
In action at the instant, being heard:
From pregnant calm quick motioned time has grown.
the days' dimensions furled
And in the elemental heavens' light
The orb of wisdom is the living world,
The humane eye, which opens onto sight.
The pupil of
the world engulfs the eye;
In frailties of sense the swift days die.
The last light
hour hangs on the general flood
Which inundates the green fields of my sight.
The water stands, where once my mother stood
Beneath a day's unfolding newer light.
The grey expanse
lies on the broken road
Which to the moors' edge hamlet took its way,
Where in days past the lamplit windows glowed
In rising work before the break of day.
weight, no landmark to the earth,
Less deep than is the steady vision's calm
Less ruffled than the winds of sightless dearth,
Is echo to the time held in the palm.
reflex to the fleeter sky:
To find true worlds, the eye must know the eye.
now in hand within the mind
Must leave past houses to their local change;
The very door that recall cannot find
Is weathered still by every season's range.
will know that weather well,
In wind or hail or thick unpurposed snow;
Within the sound of some vast half-heard bell
Cognate with ends which point the path I go.
I rise from
sleep, and know this is a dream;
The room surrounds me in a longer night
Which for an end takes up the barest gleam
And makes time from a momentary light.
I measure moveless
hours before I leave,
As though, awake, I would my stead bereave.
of the first grey orphan hour
Are known within the presence of his sight
Which touches hilltop summits with his power
And in slow warmth lays bare the tracts of night.
silence in his level eye
Empowers a world to know itself and love:
The stony pastures where the oxen lie
With golden breath against the night-cold grove.
blood runs through his wakened mind.
His nature is the nature of a man
Beyond the vestige of a name: his kind
Was silence, not a prior daybreak's span.
god is mute, and, silent, stands,
The world inseparable from his hands.
The sun does
not rise new upon the day
To prove an almanac of indigo
And brilliant sparks. The orphan star-dim ray
Marks shoreline losses from the ocean's flow.
unnamed the orders of the night,
Whose waters in a breathing swell now lie,
Whose darkest edict, <let there be no light>
In tempest drained the elemental sky?
These are the
forebears of the first light hour.
New-shuttered night cannot be fetched to mind:
Asleep, unknown, the deep responsive power
Makes womb and seed to generate his kind.
To those who
are alive, this dawn's the last;
The faintest light makes orders of the past.
Lost calm before
the storm is of an hour
Which will not hold an arrow of the thought
Flighted by the days-and-orders power:
An ended time cannot in time be sought.
of the night unnamed and made
No antecedents to the time before
The journal of the way; the world is laid
Where chaos is the wandering of law
Upon the shoreline
where the lovers stand,
The untaught edge, the steady star above
The island of two lives in one: the land
That bears the firmament of love.
moves upon the waters' face,
And all that is, is echo to that grace.
of days is in the child
Unborn, who knows the journey of his soul
To pure perception through dark worlds defiled
By darker moieties within the darkest whole.
stars are weights within his mind
As is the night-dark movement of the sea;
His path is laid through countries of the blind,
His way bereft of sighted history.
But let a morning
in a foreign place
Allow a light beneath the morning star
And all eternity is in his upturned face
And he is home whose soul has wandered far.
of the earth has patient eyes
For all that changes in the winter skies.
motion of the stars;
The naked force of order of the light;
The sense beyond the dead-word mortal bars;
The all-perceiving freedom giving sight;
of power, growing bare;
The graven stones' lie, scattered by the sea;
The roofless artifice, to plainer air;
The overarching law without a key;
The gate which
nothing passes, opened wide;
The tutelary phrase's blankened sense;
The smooth-backed boulder in the endless tide;
The seamless flowing of the waters' tense;
self is lost in shifting ground;
In fearéd loss, the finer world is found.
The time that
is the matrix of a life
Was born of unknown mother in the night
Where streaming fields were her attendant wife
And lightning forks the swift surmise of light.
But well she
knew the moment of her time
And smelled the morning close upon the air -
The naked child against the cruel rime -
The first-drawn breath upon the dawn's long stare.
No words call
out the still unended day
Nor of conception in the fast of dark:
Nor voice of age or country, but her way
Of hour and sight has drawn the infant's mark.
No place to
live upon the slow day's face,
No life on earth is made, but by her grace.
I came here
for a day and lived an age
And nothing brought nor summoned for my way:
A stranger's language did my own engage
As stranger gods might shape familiar clay.
As days are
summed, the world and I are changed;
I to myself become an interdict;
Against the eye of recall, days are ranged
And prophecies unreal my sight restrict.
insight comes upon the form
I am, but do not know, as though in sleep
Day-wakening were pretended in the term
Of steady night, eyes open in the deep.
has no words to guide its course
Nor attribute, nor form, within its source.
to the pace of change,
No hourglass against a hazy sea,
Unknown beyond the fracture, and a strange
Presentiment of lives that shall not be!
the land I give my sight
And tenantless the ground on which I stand;
Unseen the first and final ray of light
Through virgin air on printless level sand.
directs my soul
And throws my shadow on the edge of dearth,
Simulacrum of place and man, poor whole
Of obscure provenance, obscurer worth?
immuring wastes the soul stares now
To see the end of change upon the brow.
ironies of time, nearness
Of night, the onward bridge, a river crossed,
The finished thing on end, and clearness
No lucid script, but writing that is lost.
in the narrow of the way
I meet another man who thinks as I;
Though he is gone, th'interstice of his day
Shows me a world where widest landscapes lie
to me, possessing freedom's field.
And so two ages stare across the bourne
That has no living memory: and so must yield
Their grip on emptiness: and that's the dawn.
All days' one
day: an age is springtime wide
That finds an apprehension of its guide.
compassion holds the dreamless eye
Untroubled through the troubled hours of sleep;
Hoared boundaries in frost; the vixen's cry;
The glassless window in the long night's deep:
fail a use, then who am I
To fence a home, an acre, and an end,
A yard of ground beneath a foreign sky
On which a foreign life and art contend.
of silence hedge this place;
Quick-motioned thought delineates the day;
The sleeper wakes within sufficient space
To lose his all to sight and take his way.
of his waking and his name are one;
The place put from the mind, and he is gone.
hand of precept never feigns
Nor shows an intent by the end it makes;
The day that woke it now no longer reigns
But lies within contentions that it wakes.
must betray its guise of calm;
The seeker, sight-line, form of sighted thought
In strangest silence through its sinews' palm
Embody spirit which cannot by touch be sought.
Then what end
lay beneath the feigning clause
To make me as I am, outside your eyes?
To make the world of wandering? No pause
Nor land my own beneath these foreign skies,
uncompliant to my will,
Unknown in daybreak's light, and unknown still.
days are figured by the road
Beneath the sun, beneath the changing moon,
By winter's time, beneath the hard frost's goad,
Asleep while walking to the colder tune.
The lands that
pass might change me as I walk
Into the figure that I do not know;
To stop within the speech that feigns my talk
To make diverse the single way I go.
is but a wayward life
Of that completeness which I scarcely knew:
The landscape under elemental strife
Can change no more than he who journeys through.
on skylines! Far drawn breath
To name and judge in recognition's death.
I came and rested here the night,
No sequence held the road of each day's sun,
The past a day-divorced, self-shining light,
The spirit's flight, the road for running on,
and the mind a summer swift
And fields overflown, a calendar
Of time hedge-marked, long day from day, the gift
And crest of seasons: and the winter's far.
Night in winter, Winter's night,
The sound of fracture, sharper, jaggedness
Of years' ends: the sound of shortest light:
No witness but a mind of raggedness.
And when the
mind gives up, that's not the last,
Nor when the body shrinks in winter's fast.
of the road I came
Was in myself. The silence of the phrase
Stands steadily beneath the past, whose flame,
In flickering, casts suns of prior days
on the backward-looking eye
To hang, perspectiveless, above the wedge
Of present and foreshortened day, the sky
Portending storm, rain, clean advancing edge
Of night. The
past's an easy poet's tongue
Of shadowings and names he seeks as his;
In that my song is all, and all my song,
The road I travel is the road which is.
is worked in time unjust;
The days brought back are journeys in the dust.
thing cannot be brought to mind
Nor sequences of days condense to one
Eternity without a tense assigned.
But these things are: and when the mind has gone
They will remain:
but now the footfall sounds
Of autumn days, an age unleafing walks,
Unmindful multiplicity of wounds
Of day on day, whose axe-fall never balks
sinew and the guided stroke:
The old man lays the axe upon the tree
In naked intent under winter's yoke:
The wish to leave upon the wish to be.
of winters, sighted rage
To seize upon the weakness of the age.
strait the promontory's side
Is massed beneath the rain-dark evening sky
And even now the longer shadows slide
To days' end coalescence, so to fly
A world so
nude and blistered by the light
And narrowed to the spectrum of the solar hand
That other light is darkness: and the sight
Behind the eye, the black and haloed brand,
of suns. Do days produce
Such ages' counter-time of shifting stance
Where living is? And do no sounds seduce
The rock-wise steersman in the night's advance?
person, duressed, quick mote
That is unseparate from I, an asymptote.
of day, the limits' mind
Unbridled in a dayspring yet unbreached
Upon a road that has no way assigned
Nor path upon its stones, its end unreached;
A plain at
daybreak, never seen before,
Still lies in sleep. The level shadows flow
To skylines in a daybreak from a store
Of time and provenance where ages grow
character may thrive;
A multitude of roads one road might span,
An eye in animation, and a speech alive
The path in words and all intelligence in man.
All days that
dawn sequester such a day:
This morning's light should be its ray.
mountains sheathed within the cloud
Perturb the air and generate the storms
That end in nightfall, shape the floating shroud
That hangs, as over limbs, upon their forms
As days defined
within one day of life
When unseen matter bodies their unrest:
Change beyond an end in making's strife
Upon that templet which their forms invest.
and presence felt; the stranger's days
Unlucid acts and agents of days past:
Were change a man, his roads were strangers' ways
And he himself should weather change's last.
the moment of a free air, the light
To slake a dark, and give a lifetime's sight.
This day, one
day, distinguished from a line
Of days self-folded and beyond the eye,
The seeds of dormant thought, the drying vine:
Where is the earth to which the dead leaves fly?
The field of
still succession where new light
Grows out amongst the orders of the old?
This day, one day, inheritor of sight
What do you see? Are all beginnings cold
in these dews and mists, where breath
Hangs in the air? Inanimate am I
Apart from you: and that's my death:
To truly know the earth on which I lie.
the spurious analogy,
Daylight's end, tower of tautology.
day, borne of a longer sight
Of unmade days, detaining to the eye,
Making all the past, furthering the light
That holds the leaves of time: new sky
Above new earth.
And I, a man most poor
Who has no living in the unfixed place,
Must ask the day: as cities ask the moor
To bear their weight, their roofs the heavens' face,
the will of
none. Then who was here before,
And spoke with ease a language held in trust?
And who art thou, who from a dark time's door,
Might stay and read, but goes because he must?
time's assumed, beyond our own
Recital of a day, and that's soon flown.
To see the
traveller upon the ridge
Is all that I may ask of days. Slow hour
From first-sight's distance, that uncertain bridge
Crossed by identities and moving powers
At the approach,
the speculative name
Now borne, a person by the skyline thorn,
Alive, a character and form aflame,
In onward motion where the day is torn,
one road's divided ways
That bear away the naming of a face:
One person silent in adjacent days:
Or two men talking in a single place.
A coming and
a going: one distant
Twice informed, and silence uninsistent.
The hours of
the night untied; and one
Time-loosened movelessness is all, the sight
Unbound in unhorizoned mind, alone
Awake, the sun of meditative light
the subtle world.
awakens in the night
To landmarks that I see but do not know;
Outpacing senses, quicker than my sight,
Holds boundaries as do the night air's flow;
learning is the flat of earth
Between myself and some possessive star -
Bare, nothing of a name nor thing of worth,
A rain-wet form, to cast a shadow far,
As he and I
inhabit one same land:
His pupils, in my sleep, watch through my eyes -
My name around him, yet his hand
Imprints the patterns in the springtime skies.
A name's a
time and thing of ornament,
Nocturnal gradus in the night's descent,
Is my translation
of his dialect
And seeds of speech, languageless, alone:
The chords may sound, the lips inflect,
To silent voice the edge of doubt has grown:
place there is no spoken word,
Beyond the self-same stead no hand of thought
By which a proud self's nature stands averred
In nights of silence. He comes unsought;
He has no burden
of my prior days
And speaks with all the readiness of youth
As intuition goes before set ways;
His innocence is wider than my truth.
Were he to
go, then I would nothing be;
Were I to go, then he would not be free.
The lease that
is determined on the house
Advances time unlived, to live the more;
Gives echo to the time the footfalls rouse
And disallows the limits drawn before
The wider dawn
has pressed upon the door
Of every room till they were one; defines
the lively road of leaving from a store
Most set and strait in ways; and unconfines
path. Places to the end are gone
And backward sight is nothing; to the field
Fulfilling end of action; a life upon
The edge where limits fall away, and yield
No void, no
numbing to the heart's quick pace:
An allegoric person lives a place.
I speak, and
err, to set my figure here
And make myself an image of my own;
The hollow of a parlance insincere,
A paler self, evicting self half-known:
waste, ambition of a day;
It's then that we invent a world
To touch the edge of life and see decay,
The birthright spent, the anger hurled.
Self so arraigned
must make of self a drudge;
My own annulment figures my own age;
The judgement of the self impugns the judge
And temporality is not time's gage.
My self is
empty in its own defence.
My words in other ways frustrate their tense.
More true to
see my true love's lucid mind
As closer to me than my made defence
And I a speck in distance, day-designed,
And spending out the days at day's expense,
home-returning recall's sight,
And taking tracts time-measured to their end.
A poor dove wearied, ending outward flight:
Quick spirit, home-returning, home subtend!
of heath are something of a home,
The wayward path is semblance of a track
And days are days. The mire and sour loam
Impartial, vacant, in the long days' slack.
My love's mysterious:
her watching face
Affirms as solid this sad hollow place.
Not many worlds
withstand the sudden night.
Few things that the hand has shaped will make
The edge of sunrise, and a nature's light.
The dusty ages do not flow, but break,
in the wilderness of earth
A language and a lineage align
Upon the simple age and time's rebirth,
Old reason new-learned and a mind's design.
of man is in these lines.
The sense is hidden by the present's flow
But must outlast the shortest day's confines
Must follow me, must be the place I go,
And what I
am: the world unmade by sense
As character is fined when all goes hence.
image falls upon its source;
The sunlit eyes depict the painted plane;
The made world's evidence will reinforce
The hidden thing within the mind. Day's reign
how nature changes, in abuse
Of days that went before, unknown, unfound,
In ignorance of nature's mind, disuse
Of freesight and of love: false nature crowned.
seer lose himself in sight
He bears the world, and all its weighted past
Unseen, in endless referential light,
The road to discord, starless, overcast.
one day's light beneath the sun;
The speculum of time is nature's pun.
days that made you as you are,
The lands that form the background to your face;
Beyond the painted panel, drawn afar,
That passes into silence at time's pace;
reach of distance, and of age,
The dust of plains, the figures on the brow;
Beyond the point of reason's flight and gauge,
The dialect of strangers in time's flow;
genealogy of name
Where lives deferred are judgements of its line;
The undefending word denying shame
Where sense is perjured in these days' decline:
The self you
say you are, as you know well,
Is to yourself as is the pilgrim's shell.
How well I
know that prospect of your eye
That draws perception of the known world's edge.
How well I know that you return to I
And draw the mark and make of I a hedge
Where to be
made is to be seen anew
And change the landscape in the eye's first sense:
My strangeness on a strange horizon's view
Is hedged beyond the stranger self-made fence.
such seam in my eye's further range
Which sets a beacon for the longer course:
It makes the well-acquainted of the strange:
The pupils widen in its gazing force.
echo can no more delay
The prophecies the eye made yesterday.
The fast compression
of the winter days
To one still instance of a single edge
No open sense nor hidden search conveys
But hangs unsaid, as one recalls a pledge.
of this river have no name;
Its morning mists have never borne a tense;
Its great meanders have no greater claim
Beyond their witness by the witness sense.
flood is borne within its flow
To mirror now the flight of all days' sky,
A day in days that time should undergo
Within the pupil of the witnessed eye.
In being here,
this day's extant in you:
No image leaves a footstep in the dew.
In this still
night the image of your face
With open eyes refracts the silent air
Of this still room, this moveless endtime place.
No hour to hang nor vacant thought to wear;
motion cedes a day
Whereby this room was made to house a soul:
Within the void and vast of time, the way
Of being one, we two are made a whole.
The poor convention
of myself may be
A thing in things that furniture the world;
But you within, and I in you, are free
As days within the one day's light enfurled.
I am a day,
and in an hour of light
The morning is the dayspring of my sight.
The lens of
sight that marks apart the way
As though there were a path where there is none
Must take amorphous time and make a day
By intuition, for the model's gone.
The way that
made you and the words that speak
Began as landscapes in a time now fled;
The hazy plain, the unremembered peak,
The habit's dwelling and the form now shed.
now measures out your time
To keep contention from the change's edge
And measures rhyme to world and world to rhyme,
The living day the quickened pulse's pledge?
making, you did nothing lack:
Remember forward, and remember back.
The day that
gives and understands your name
Might pass as any day time-lost in burning bright
From early birdsong to red-pillared flame,
Dew-shining slant to distant western light,
takes you to herself. Your life
renewed; her day relived; a babe, awake,
hands' reach to the setting sun; a dying's strife
beneath hoar light, the end of night, day's break:
water from the well of deep
And formless time, cool as dayspring: an hour
Flowing through life's every age: no rough-edged sleep
Deeper than reflection. Refracted power
At the day's
long side; all that is, unbound:
And in this day of yours, the world is found.
When I am distant
and the night-slow train
Has drawn me from the world where we might live,
The lonesome lamp beneath the gusting rain
Makes dark the hills which might some solace give
As though the
world were but that lamp and me
And flagstones in a downward cone of light
Where nothing was, and nothing more shall be;
No day to dawn and burn away the night.
And yet my
sight is happy this is so.
In loneliness I know your soul more clear;
The place's sorrow is that I must go;
Apart from you I am your witness here.
The world of
thought is crowded and askew;
The well of intuition must rest true.
world cries harshly and unclear;
Polluted speeches ratify the age
And dread of fear eclipses greater fear
Of driven nature's elemental rage.
roads the mind unstill
Sustains a nature's antiphon of trust.
Where is the silence that mute voices fill
As every error falls and comes to dust?
The deep attenuation
of each star
No longer seen above the cities' glow
Hangs in the sweet soul's landscape, burning far,
Fire of intensity to point the way I go.
of the age, so strong at source,
At every step relinquishes its force.
The age that
ends is finished to the sight
And seed is set, a form in form, days die
And stones grow weak within the night;
The stream does not recall the maytime fly.
The road with
emptiness along its length
Hangs on the mind unburdened from the day,
Unrecordedness its furthest strength,
A gateless and unwalled unlandmarked way.
All the years
past within a single word;
All waking life within the prone form's sleep;
The kingdoms of the night are suns deferred
And seeds of time are borne upon the deep.
hybrid, and opaque:
Yet reason breeds worse monsters while awake.
edge is white with winter rime;
The harvest's gone, the next beyond all sight;
The sleeping seed's unmanifested time
Before epiphanies of springtime light.
the short days of this winter hour
Beyond past orders of the year's round,
Before the blooming of the flower
Upon the unseen land, now winter drowned?
No cause beyond
a pace is witness to the sense;
No looking forward, nor yet looking back;
The evidence is lost within the tense;
The winter is herself, and has no lack.
In search of
laws, no witness will avail
For potencies of time do not prevail.
I close my
eyes and dwell upon the night
And see the storm upon the midnight glass.
No day is fixed within the ruffled flight
No instant caught beneath the lightning's pass.
flux the speaking sense is dumb
Within an age of catastrophic change:
What seemed to be a world is bare and numb
And all is one that mutes the senses' range.
But I am water
in a watery flow
Where nothing has the power to reform:
Wide worlds of want must show themselves and go
Unfinished in the unrecording storm.
A keen new
world shall be, as I foretold,
As this is not, the morning of the old.
shadow horrifies this age
And casts all ages past within its frame?
Something blocks the light: the poorest rage
Is opaque anger's sight-destroying flame:
the flow of light: the hand
against the future's form: days unaffirmed
As though an Eden could not understand
How, beyond her gates, time is confirmed
Sight is unsustained, no past
To hold secure, lest hand and eye dismiss
The person that she is. And that's the last.
And every age must come to end like this.
The end is
common, and one backward look
enough to read of pasts in future's book.
wind which moans throughout the age
Leaves nothing of itself, but in the mind
A desolation and a darkened stage
No injured eye may name, nor word may find.
colonnades of time
Find their half-fallen form within the soul;
The winter's field, now white with colder rime
Is spacious in the bourdon's half-heard toll.
And that is
winter's prospect, made in song,
The tenser tuning, and the scarce-touched string;
In music of the skyline, days belong:
At winter's end, so shall the heart's mind sing.
metre and in changing rhyme
The end of day becomes the end of time.
of slow evolving dawn
Is the fount of feeling; the flooding plain
Is endless, and the end of night is borne,
A long procession from the light's terrain.
The fount of
feeling, sightedness of day
To give both road and journeyer one course,
One light, one apprehension of the way
No night can douse, nor recalled habit force
in a multiplicity
Of hairline days, a fissured time, unhealing
For want of one true day's simplicity
And morning's sentience, the fount of feeling.
source is first and last of days;
The speculum of time no time portrays.
are the maps of days
Of languages and lives which no more are.
The country-dark is gone that fines the ways
Of clear-edged night, with every coloured star
A wisdom in
the density of night,
And every footstep solid on the earth,
And time, the softsound of the owl's flight.
The world's a house of silence, and the lath
ceilings open to the air,
Entablatures in voids, the windows brief
Within the moon's traverse. Cold bones, the bare
Anatomy of time removed from life:
But days and
roads have life; and then I tell
The constellations in your soul's deep well.
long field that limits out the soul
Is nature to the fullness of the night;
The crossroad yew whose winter-broken bole
Is found again by intuition's sight,
The roads dividing
at its spreading root
Where we must leave. The mortal heart would sigh
For all that leaving is the greenest shoot
Upon the mossy baulk. And so the sky
the step along the way is new
And potent is the vacancy of words -
Say nothing, now, and go, the hours are few
Before a springtime calls the migrant birds.
dim a lucid sky
And migrants move to find the clearer eye.
of the sentence of the days
Is through the eye brought to a partial sense,
For echoes of the unrecorded ways
Have present form before the eye's wide tense.
To hold the
pregnant mother of the night
Unchangingness stands in the lowest place
Deep to a search, beneath the world of sight,
Subtending wisdom and perception's face.
makes, and yet it has no name;
No chain of words the way of its enduring
Nor adjective by which its being came:
Against its freedom, freedoms are immuring.
This is the
eye from which the world is cast;
Within one iris is the first and last.
updated 16th October 2004