The Present Perennial


drawing by Sarah Longlands



first lines and beginnings


A constant dream of those who can no longer walk / is the running over level sands

As distance were itself a state unknown / the roads keep to the body of the plain

Denser than the shape / of the unknown town at nightfall / the tract of level road I travel on

Threshold, entablature, / unnamed to named, / sun to shadow

Growing fore-edge, / the roof of watery cities of swift-motioned flies; / the age is ours.

Forget, for a time, the edifice above / the crypt in which we are

The earth has a hollow sound / beneath the houses / and a dog barks in the mist.

The Isle The child’s metaphor, / a template to the later truths

Half-dark morning / light without an origin / no horizon to the day

Where is the weight / carried by a word?

The look of effort / above the stillest time / of room and note

Finer minds than mine / have wished the world were void / but for the thorn-tree on the heath

Upon the apprehension / of a distant form / borrowed nature / falls away

The ochre stream from the workings of the mines / still flows densely in the sough

In meaner times a dispossession / of what in greater time / would be freely given /-every path a day’s digression, / unreturning rhyme / at a pace undriven

Late unfolded hour / unknown before its opening, / and, at its opening, / no other time

The light strikes only one side / and the rest is shadow

Take the colour from the word / O mind in flight

Things are what they seem, / that’s not the point; / to grasp it is to own a fragmentary loss

Speed is everything; / no-one leaves the highway / but in a wreck of blood and steel / and the vanishing-point goes on and on

Each age is one syllable / in the pythia’s voice

Penrhos Garnedd

1---- Looking down from where we are

2 ----No equation lacks an absence / to its poise

3 ----Control released / by an unknown hand / in the dead of night

4 ----Deep so deep within the frame of words / there is the silence of the hour

5 ----Reflex to the sight, the nude hill / from the flowing wood, the wren song / from the wall

6 ----Beneath this floor of beaten earth / there are floors of earth unnumbered

7 ----There is no certain memory / beyond dimensions of a day: / the way of distance is to resist sight / and turn it back upon the eye

The past is not a foreign dwelling place

You think you know emotion, / but you are surprised / by what is kept / behind the word

The unnamed hunger hangs behind the use of names

The roofs are rarely sighted, slate acres / of an institution

No memory of yesterday; / the day is gone. It passed without remark

I believe, but, in the acting of this truth, I have taken it / to be a play

Something arraigned itself before the eye, / every open sense was vigilant

May God help us, where we take entities / where there are none, and let the dark unspoken matter / move about us, and deform by weight our sight

A presence, other, in the darkness, / not unfamiliar, no, not to be so made out

Density of light, to speak of it / is to be upon the edge

Enquiry, the only possession / through the daylight

In the hiatus of the night / is the journey of the sleeping form



The sequence Penrhos Garnedd and six other poems are presented here
clcik on the underlined titles











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