Against a darkening shore
the destruction which the sea is in that moment;
let it become, without thoughts of love
Perenne Lumen in Templo Aeterni
Descending to the moor
Nimbus towers and roads
blurring hordes of sleet
dimming light in the storm washed halls of the sky
And whilst the bees dreamt of their homeland
– the sovereign who sears the night sky and the day –
The lake on the northern borders froze.
Black-branched overhanging alder
broadcast diamonds of thought into the air
intent on its dialogue with water
felt her presence, and tree-watched.
Amongst the tangle of dog rose and blackberry
she was an obscure stillness
There was never a beginning;
The dark and darkening rock waiting in Earth’s heart
was a symbol of an inﬁnite past.
Some of the trees could hear it
some felt their roots touching it;
the Earth had no core of its own
but was wrapped around something without
In the wake of legions of hail
she had ventured from the red room
– which I visited once as a child
(to be told later that it was in fact a dream).
With the congress of the above reaching Earth
she had travelled over the ﬁelds
and it was as though her feet did not touch the frosting soil
There was no ﬁrst daughter, as there were no daughters
we only call them such
and there were no ﬁrst ones or ﬁrst one
Led to that place by songs of the hill grass
she had watched how the ﬁelds undulated
and saw how they ﬂowed like the sea over the ages.
Where the tide seemed most to call
no jeweled bones beneath
nor Gaia’s springs to cause sleepfall:
An unnoticed place from which to bring forth
Night – in that time neither before or hence –
she had a singular form and would walk
upon the shifting stretches of her world.
Her form had always existed.
and light did not radiate from a source
but was the blood of all things.
It was never meant to illuminate
since the causal effect of seeing to understand did not exist
nor did seeing itself.
In the wood, there were rocks with seams of tears, frozen as they fell;
Magpie as harbinger of sorrow, glided and vanished.
The trees, and rock, and her body, fastened to Earth
became as a clockwork ﬂuid
springing forth some unknown, perhaps unwanted form of time.
The trees and the brambles did not rise to strangle her
the animals remained hidden
the crows and rooks casually acknowledged
They who would later become Dream to the human mind
visited Night and created yearning.
She called an end to her walking form
and her thought became without boundaries.
Night became the inﬁnite itself and caused moments
In which new things were brought to being
A fox paused to watch
safe at the end of corridors of trees;
its mind was unreadable, but she could sense its hunger
and the ﬂitting dialogue of insects.
She also felt the gathering darkness, far distant,
and the light which splintered in some minds –
both brought deﬁlement and pain, and compassion and grace
each alleviating the other in eternal temple
Stars were the ﬁrst physical beings in that place
and they sought to understand Night with their light
which was a scream into the gulfs of black.
The stars called into being planets that were blind, unlike the stars
but all had light at their centre and looked inwards
in order to see
and in looking became still
and called into being myriad other lives upon their bodies.
The only sign was the ﬂight of rooks
and the sudden scattering of deer
then a swallowing into woody pockets of silence.
There were no bells of human making to herald
a release from an age before the sacred;
the opening Earth resonated beneath her feet
and the snowfall that came
sent out frequencies identical to those she felt from the stars
Night became ﬁxed there as universe
and in her agony wept beings of light, such as nebulae.
Her sister, Sea, who embraced the shifting stretches
felt her cries and entered the universe –
she became Earth and formed herself around Night
so that she cradled her sister in her centre.
The universe fell silent, but as cosmic eras passed
Night’s yearnings to walk again
sent tremors through the stars and planets
In that wood, as above, a sklenting from bodies
and in that time neither before nor hence, Hills were birthed upon the Earth.
Each contained in its heart a furnace which was a spark from the fire of a Great Star.
This fire gave birth to human consciousness.
Because of humans, the being of the Hills grew to become Hallowed,
nourished during each cycle by Snow.
And so, all was knit in that place.
The snow fell around her, but did not touch.
Walking, she created gulfs beneath her feet
She carried the Moon in her belly
The Sanctus in Mid-December
brings a remembering of a deep blue time
cold and rich with the hallowed spaces of nature.
Life there resides in its polygonal world of recall
itself set in a dusk of another time.
This world in its physical time held a centre of future calling
and in that time, I fed from this centre in sleep.
Understanding was withheld from me by the elder gods
who, wrapped in the storms of aging,
circled above me unseen.
On a road lined with horse chestnut trees
who always bear light in their boughs
I as ghost of the future passed myself.
He, sunk in darkness, was leaving the glowering mountains
forgetful in the torrent of youth
he did not know himself in that passing
Unable to speak but only one to observe,
a phantasm, mute;
to bring less understanding in later years
more gift a letting-go, and then connexion
The midsummer sky brought gales
the river raised and arched and spread tumult,
into the cold blue of memory.
My spirit wandered the mountains and looked
on the traces of his life just left.
I rushed upstream wearing the rags of storm
The stag saw how I reached out to that former life
locked in the mountains
sealed in that space of certainty
but haunted by the beyond.
The youth did not realise the haunter was himself
calling down through the years the credo of dissolving
revealing the shades in the words:
Perenne Lumen in Templo Aeterni
For there is instead a perpetual turning
there is the blue sky which hides the black
(2008; revised 2016)