Penrhos Garnedd




Looking down from where we are,
the horizon weighted on a place
of origins, time undisplaced
by ends. This is open sight:
nothing, but which holds
a road’s, a journey’s day.

No more ask
where days leave vacancy within the sight
of open eyes. Where is the lane
of wall and rut upon the bare brow
where the chapel stands, slate roof dark
and lonely on the hill?

of yellow lamps were in the slanting rain
when horses hauled the stone in a day
which ended with the dark, and now
the wind flows from that unlit night.

The shade and sun
of other time makes depths and days
upon the flatter world: the hour
a stone’s breadth in a course of stone.
In prayer an age speaks to another age.
That’s the end of it, the deeper ways
of multiplying time in undimished days.



No equation lacks an absence
to its poise.

A building on a plain in ebbing light
and sharp in outline:

it has a wind its own — see the patterns
of the dust upon the stair — which opens doors
within the stillest hour of the late, sun-flooded

O, familiar, once; now
it’s emptier than anything I knew. A child
plays in its rooms, makes it anything
she has in mind, takes the hour where the senses
are the counterparts of what is seen
and lived within: the hand upon the double-door
without a latch or bolt: the shadow growing long
upon the mowing-field.

But, when you grow,
sequester time, you can’t fill voids
with pieces of the mind, instruct a sense
to hang upon a thread within the wind
that is divorcement from the jealous eye
in jealous sight ill-called a self.




Control released
by an unknown hand
in the dead of night,
great weights on the move,
planetary masses, perhaps
that is what they are,
beyond the owning,
beyond the compass
of a word: two people talk,
faces to the final streak
of lighter sky, the dead
of night’s to come,
direction’s to be lost,
and what we think we are,
the fragile remedy to loss,
the path more winding
than the heath
it has to cross,
a spring tide’s night-strait.



Deep so deep within the frame of words
there is the flowing silence of an hour
once told: dayspring, firstlight, Janus
on the plateau-path, looks across the plain
beneath the lifting sun, in his walking rhythm
the silence of the hour.

If his face and silence stand behind another’s thought
that’s recalled upon the utterance: the word
the hour the world the building bare.

Another earth shall cast a shade
so long in space that I speak earths,
the long and silent finger of eclipse
shall fall on things and valences.



Reflex to the sight, the nude hill
from the flowing wood, the wren-song
from the mossy wall, oncoming night
from the darkness yet to be. All’s found
at a path’s a nature’s end.

Highways the eye makes; the world’s
the structure of a leaf, and when night comes
the mirror constellations do not break
the heavens’ light, but quicken it
upon the rippled life of midnight’s lake.


Beneath this floor of beaten earth
there are floors of earth unumbered,
each as cool, each as party
to the feet in unmeasurable summer,
and, in the firstlight, through the open door,
the eye awakening sees the gentle dip
where darkness lies within this level light
where others stood upon the prospect of the day.

The fixity of stars was different once,
and cast so similar a light but by another name.

That which you do not know you do not see.
That which you find, at last you come to be.



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.

They spring from seeds, the days,
that know no time:

Swift growth beneath the clear sun.
Lucid as a mirror. Nothing known.


[The sequence Penrhos Garnedd in the collection The Present Perennial by David Wheldon]



The Present Perennial