Lapping Reflections [Deep Within Waters]

Lapping Reflections [Deep Within Waters] by Mark L. Redfordboth Appendiary and Appliquiary to The Boats of Vallisneria by Michael J. Redford

 

—~~~\___ “O” ___/~~~—

 

Contents

(prependiary by Mark L. Redford)

introdepthion

The Wandering Mind
autumn
a bowl of gourds
moment
from arm to nature, doing nothing

People
mmpph’
gull circling out at sea
I suddenly / remembered

Walking
… as the new town marches in
snow
Follow your Nose
The Agricultural Show

Working
A letter of Two Parts
Making Hay
With Cows
With Pigs

Out of Doors
Trees
Sky
Rain
The Valley

Around the Country Cottage
An Old Piano
Candlelight
The English Lawn

Memories
Going Back
Distant Journeys
The Breath of Memory
The Golden Hour

 

 

 

prependiary

How to entitle this?   I don’t want to detract or take over from Mick’s work.   I want to supplement it; I want to stand alongside it – a cross-generational accompaniment, basso and contralto.   My work would not have happened without his, for certain.   But nevertheless it adds to, or brings into clearer relief facets of, his work.

‘Supplement’, ‘Companion’, ‘Rereader’, ‘Poeview’?   Do I use his title, or do I conceive my own or adapt it?   Why am I not clear having already started the work?   Appendiary?   Appliquiary?   Boatiary?   Vallisneriary?   And then it came to me … of course!

Lapping Reflections [Deep Within Waters] by Mark L. Redfordboth Appendiary and Appliqiary to The Boats of Vallisneria, by Michael J. Redford

 

 

 

                                introdepthion

                                filigree roots dissimulate the soil
                                at the bottom of shallow waters
                                (like a diagram – no contact, with
                                 sheath of border); a stalk will grow

                                through water, sure twists towards
                                the light; on the surface petals will
                                open wide without shame and wait
                                for the floret to rise from the bract

                                then release just three boats for to
                                float the potent cargo where the
                                movement of water will hazard the
                                inexorable kiss; but there is no

                                morphology or physiology of
                                vallisneria, only certain quest from
                                darkness to light, and the surface-
                                knowledge retrieved back; I am

                                a Londoner born through war to
                                work the land to look for pattern in
                                life to make, trusting it is there to
                                swim through, but lost in currents

                                to and `fro with only adventitious
                                and god-like perspective when I
                                contemplate in four-line stanza …
                                sometimes

 

 

 

autumn

                young wheat and emerald, in sese vertitur annus,
                reading an old poet in the garden, the sky is clear as face –

                                I had mown the lawn that morning just before lunch
                                and turned over the plot where the peas had been cleared –

                                                              on the steep hill opposite a horse pulled forward from a plough
                                                              moving slowly towards the skyline, jingle of the traces,

                                the book fell, the starlings flew, suddenly, I came awake
                                as the plough turned the field and spark of sunlight leapt,

                shoulder to mine eye, while the earth lay opened and dark-folded;
                                              (visitors had arrived, in quietude, invasion of linyphiids,

                                                              a thin gossamer between ridges – lapping under the sun –
                                                              bristles of random colour, a hundred yards long

                                                              and twenty inches wide and bare of future gold);
                                among the nemesia the book is retrieved, many lives

                                              will be lost, just enough will be saved, restless; this is
                                              thistle-down upon the air, here are crackle and pop

                                                                                 beneath the sky; the tree tops will be dipped in
                                                                                 old gold, and the swallows will be off for Africa

 

 

 

a bowl of gourds on the dark-wood table
before the window before the paddock to the
piggery, unadorned, and cultivated through
chance and heel, forgotten beside the trellis;

a bowl of colour and varied shape: Bishop’s
Mitre, Red Turk’s Cap; one looks like the
old orange toad who lives behind the
water butt and likes to be called Bebe;

but the Montgolfiere balloon of yellow
and green took me up through slated
cloud in 1783 from the Bois de Boulogne,
so came the silence on the way to the stars

such a time away at ions of eyes per hour,
rivulets in tributary down the inside of the
flask by letter and equation far beyond my
jiggery and pokery, round ticket through

time …   I breathed in back from the mass
so distant that its light would never return,
back in through milky way and system,
faster than any quantum of backward light,

back past giants and Mars, back into
Earth’s sweet atmosphere and the waiting
bowl brimming with the circles and undulate
trajectory of every plot surmised beyond

my paned windows; where meadow fescue
curves like blackened oak and manual
labour, abhorrent of vacuum and straightened
line (those harbingers of discontinuance):

they almost screamed at me, “This is now,
this is NOW;” mind confined by time grades
eternity by linear thought which always
misses the soft canticle of the gourds:

                                                                      “So man, upon his world so great
                                                                      Has always wanted to create
                                                                      Machines which, started once will never
                                                                      Cease but carry on for ever.

                                                                      Yet all the time O foolish man,
                                                                      You’re merely part of that great plan,
                                                                      A tiny part, hast thou not seen
                                                                      This wondrous universe machine?

                                                                      This motion so perpetual
                                                                      Is the universe and all
                                                                      That lies beyond in time and space,
                                                                      E’en down to us, the human race.

                                                                      There’ll be no end, there was no start,
                                                                      There is no shape therefore no heart.
                                                                      And to create it doth aspire
                                                                      To use the debris of its ire.

                                                                      Poor mortal look deep in your heart
                                                                      And realise that you’re just a part
                                                                      Of that which knows no boundaries,
                                                                      Heeds not your trivial quandaries.

                                                                      Servants of the cosmos vow
                                                                      To play your part and take your bow,
                                                                      Or servants you will always be –
                                                                      Until you die, ‘tis then you’re free.”

 

 

 

                moment

                when the day is done and the green is brown
                and shadow is the deeper purple, and when
                the earth gives up its warmth to the stars, I
                walked one evening, direction of Jupiter to the
                darkening east, while the nightjar echoed empty fields

                I stood where smaller noises become: dusk
                to night, the tethered bull, the calf’s raised head,
                the creaking elms, whispers above, stems below,
                depths of space; silence; was it Selene within
                the lap of dusk or the white barn owl, that

                blackened or, then, silver-plated, the night
                with a quietude that freed me from the tired eyes
                of day to reverie while the planet turned; morning –
                it is half past five when I start the milking,
                I arrive beforehand with the spaciousness of valley

                where breezes end and leaves are still and
                no longer conscious of breath and vale; a thought
                is born, from one come two, coruscating within
                seconds, each one nearer to the vertex of
                ultimate truth; the stars in their patterns

                out of time; questions asked and answered at
                accelerating rate, brutal logic ceding to the
                preceding cause – reversal of effect; but the pace
                is too much, I flounder and sink as I lose
                momentum; but I have brushed the grey curtain

                aside and my cup runneth over as the Left hand
                lifts the veil on the eastern horizon we are reborn
                with the stripling day; no energy lost, just changed;
                the air is scented green along the unused road,
                within a mother’s arms again

 

 

 

                ‘when’s uncle coming back?’ tin-
                colander-clnkscrape-against-
                enamel ‘he’ll be back soon; run

                along now’ plate-shuffling ‘where
                IS Mick, he was going to check
                on something …’ cutlery-placed-

                on-wood ‘oh, he’ll be standing
                in a field somewhere, looking …’
                from arm to nature, doing nothing

                I wish I had more time to float
                about on the surface; I made a
                garden seat from the wood

                of an ancient cottage, six hundred
                years old, a daffodil in the breeze,
                the echo mocking the cuckoo

                in the blue shadows, green pasture
                walls of tree acknowledged by
                no conscious thought; lightning,

                magnetism of blackbird commentary,
                the paper I write on through time left
                not empty-handed as the present slips

                                              through
                                                              sensory
                                                                                 fingers
                                                                                              to the
                                                                                                            dead past

 

 

 

                                Olly was never Alfred
                                with a face like a walnut,
                                eye can do anything
                                called ‘Buttercup Joe’;

                                ‘Give Olly an oller’ would
                                summon a time to ‘set to’
                                in good time and a pipe of herbal
                                sweet as hay; smell afore

                                presence; “kines” f’some
                                “noots”, corduroys and
                                chrysanthemums tall
                                as a fiddle string – mmpph’

 

 

 

                           when I first walked the
                           slippery grass of the Downs
                           I remained at a distance
                           not wishing to intrude

                           during those mornings
                           when each leaf is etched
                           against the motionless air
                           of such blue that his eyes

                           ached to the far edge of
                           the meadow, the furthest
                           he had ever been by himself –
                           new lands of stubble and

                           bale; a cloud of finches
                           rose from the ground at the
                           touch of his material gaze:
                           beauty enriched by solitude;

                           along the headland he saw
                           a tiny mouse disappear as he
                           looked for it, then he rolled
                           on his back, looked through

                           the branches of a beech tree
                           to the depth above, tracing
                           the boughs with his fingers,
                           touch of urgency and echo –

                           gull circling out at sea

 

 

 

                                drift from the land continues
                the prosperous rings expand, there are

                shirts and elbows in the Nag’s Head
                and smoke curling to the gloom above

                Lordly entry to the fields, in the center,
                the last sheaf, left standing; he

                knocks out his pipe on the window sill,
                echoing across still fields; the poem’s

                ‘flames upon the alter’ – energy of the
                sun; strolling through the green evening

                                I suddenly
                                remembered

 

 

 

            there are great mountains of cumulus
            towered above, shadows course over
            grey-yellow stubble, gulls hackle rooks
            in leaning elms while red and black-

            berries hang in the hedgerow … run,
            run downhill, stretch my legs in boundless
            stride, stream through the air from boy
            to man, flood the plain with open memory;

            or maybe: scale a furtive upward glance,
            through boughs of avenue, a third
            dimension, to survey, to just survey all
            the song of all to sing ‘laaaaaark’; but

            I’ll just rest here, now, sit beside the gate
            sit under the signpost, and listen … foliage
            turned dark and almost brown, the earth
            awaits the golden plough while dancing

            rose-hips watch skeins of Friesians
            work meticulous across the skyline and
            … everything will change, piped rippled
            through bygone years – there will be ghosts

            in the ditches, there will be paths adrift
            of leaf, the ivy will reach up from the post
            which points only to the wind now leaving
            autumn mists to drift like webs into the

            corners of paddocks; and there is a strange
            silence in the sky … as the new town marches in

 

 

 

            snow

            waiting;

            ruffles beneath the trembling ivy,
            divergent verticals in the hazel coppices;

            silence;

            reverent steps, and in the cavernous
            grey of high hangs the faintest, pink;

            baton;

            on a woodland bank a single lesser
            periwinkle holds up a blue flower,

            by the wall a solo leaf descants to the ground
            and a snowflake touches the cheek;

            turn;

            the black background of the woods
            a million flakes seen,

            in the classroom thirty pairs of eyes
            drift across to the window

            and the music teacher holds
            his sentence;

            thought;

            leeward black, and fields of white, if
            we were to hate everything that

            included rip and tear of any ugliness,
            there would be nothing left to love;

            morning;

            through window panes the sun
            is a flat yellow disc viewable

            without hurt to the eye,
            mist divides land into borough

            and alleyway stepping crunch from the
            steam kitchen into the sparkling garden;

            piggery;

            at the bottom of the garden,
            piglets stop snuffling around and stand

            looking, like little pink statues, then …
            hurtle across the yard barking at the sun

            (the sow had rather build her nest in the
             corner of the field, one morning

             she was there, an army of piglets
             lined up at the milk bar

             the most ridiculous expressions
             of content upon their faces, and

             a robin on the solid water
             of the cattle trough);

            witness;

            the ch-nnk and bite of axe in log
            bounced across the fields to the woods and back with

            such clarity I expected it to continue
            as he laid his axe aside, “Morning”,

            “Morning”;

            it is not winter that dispels life,
            but life that dispels winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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