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Sunday 25 September 2011

How light does marble it...

Consequent upon the quality of light,
upon the way it marbles, limestones, sycamores
the space in any way that sun, rain, fog or snow
may sanction or suggest, in ways amenable
to all the sculpting skills that landscape brings.

The torn edge blurred by firs or cypresses,
the distant concaves that the hills have carved,
the spruce that splits the tight form down the grain,
and here, between the wild rose and the reed,
a tension that no heft from elsewhere overthrows.

But this is landscape with a fourth dimension
the open door to movements, moments of expression
from outside: a figure, sheep or cattle, water, clouds
or winds among the branches or the genuflecting flax.
Small movements and each momentary stillness speak

of presences among the rivulets, the vetch and chest-
nuts hung with dots and dashes now to give them meaning -
our light punctuation or white notes along a stave:
the dry stone wall, the cottage and the barn, both thatched.
Each time you look it will have changed - but just a touch.

Because we invoke meaning, sometimes all too glibly,
there is no option but to let the landscape in,
incorporate it in the soul of us. (To others, though,
we are immersed in what they see.) Our intervals,
the measures of those distances from beasts that roam to us.


Jim Murdoch said...

This one is a bit different, the long lines and even longer sentences. I read it through the first time and nothing went in whatsoever bar the words on the page; I had no clue what it was about. That is not a criticism, merely an observation. I was too close to the words and had to ‘step back’ and look at the poem in its entirety. It reads rather well but it is rich and all those choice words do overpower at first. Although not a poet this reminded me of the Byatt I’ve just read and one of her ‘faults’ is that you can get so caught up in the language that meaning slips by unnoticed.

Delighted that you decided to revamp the blog. It was long overdue a freshen up. So much easier to read.

Dave King said...

Thanks for your thoughts. Very helpful. Somewhere at the back of my bonce a few thoughts were skedaddling along the same lines when I posted it. I did wonder whether maybe I another draft might not have been in order, but sometimes I think I go a draft too far.

Good to be hearing that the revamp is an improvement. I agree it was overdue.

jabblog said...

The quality of light frequently affects our moods, I think, but certainly the shifts in light change what we see. Beautifully expressed, Dave, and I relish the richness of language and the way it rolls off the tongue.
Lovely look to your blog, too:-)

Rachel Green said...

I love the skilful way you've turned nouns into verbs, Bravo, sir!

Mary said...

Interesting to contemplate the fourth dimension. If we let the landscape in, who knows where it will take us. We have to keep our eyes and minds open.

Tabor said...

I kind of agreed with Jim and thought, perhaps, it was because you had redecorated!

kaykuala said...

Treading carefully through the 4th dimension makes one wonder. Am I in a make-up of reality? Thanks for enhancing the mystery!


Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Superb work and very Blakean like "the beast that roams in us" Dave.
And surprising and lovely your blog's new dress.

David Cranmer said...

Dave, I sent you an e-mail. Thanks.

Carl said...

I love this one. You are so right. I feel like I am always trying to squeeze three dimensions and time or motion into my 2D images. Trying to get the page to say more than just here I am rocks and water.

JeannetteLS said...

Well. I just came from Carl's blog, having written all this weekend, except for a couple of quick breaks when I painted... landscape with water.

For me, the tumble of the words at the beginning evoked landscape to me, and added to the dimension. Yes, it's a bit different from a lot of your work, but, well, I think the sheer overload landscape can bring was evoked by the words.

And if those last sentences made any sense at ALL, I am relieved! Nice to be reading your blog again.

CiCi said...

As the landscape changes with the various movements, we get to see different sights. We experience a variety of emotions depending on what that precise sight may be. Very nice writing. Hope you are doing well.

Windsmoke. said...

Bonza revamp of your blog. Very enjoyable, I've often wondered whether there really is a 4th dimension maybe there is after reading this poem :-).

Other Mary said...

Dave, I marvel at the quality of your thought, and the mastery you have with words. Your poems always yield more on a second reading, and this is no exception. For me it was you last stanza that really resonated. In particular the lines, 'Because we invoke meaning, sometimes all too glibly,
there is no option but to let the landscape in,
incorporate it in the soul of us.'

Anonymous said...

A lovely poem on sight and perceptions.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

I liked it, especially the final verse.

Isabel Doyle said...

There are some very fine lines in this poem Mr King. I especially liked: "a tension that no heft from elsewhere overthrows" and "clouds/
or winds among the branches or the genuflecting flax"

Almost Wordsworthian - or should I say definitely Kingly?

The new blog design is MUCH easier to read - I never liked to complain about the old one, but at times it was difficult.
Isabel x

Misterio Vida said...

awesome and wonderful as always... and the new design is cool just like your poems are... i am commenting carefully as who knows you will write on my comment a poem :) as you can write on anything... i am in deep awe of your talent and skills :)

Dave King said...

I do believe your response is more inspiring than my post! Thank you so much for it.

I thought that might have had a mixed reception. Thanks for the positive response.

Valid point. I have this idea that there's something in the structure of the mind that corresponds to the landscape, which is why it has such a hold and exerts such an influence on us and always has. All races, creeds and times.

Definitely. These decorators disturb everyone and everything!

And thanks for going along with it!

Ah, yes, I suppose that is Blakean. Glad you like the new livery. Thanks for saying.

Dave King said...

Hi, yes, thanks for it. I have received it.

Precisely. Very well put.

Much thanks for such a thoughtful response. I found it very encouraging, especially your reference to the "tumble of words" and landscape's overload: two echoes of my own thoughts. Hope your writing and painting went well.

TechnoBabeThank you for the response and the kind wishes. Yes, I seem to be doing well just at the moment.

Glad you liked the make-over. I am reliably told by my scientific friends that there are at least 13 dimensions - of course, it's always possible that they may go up in smoke if the Cerne scieists are proved correct and their neutrinos did travel faster than light!

Other Mary
Good to have your thoughts, especially those on the final stanza. Most interesting, that comment. Thanks.

Thank you - and another one today!

Thank you, as I said to Other Mary: interesting, that.

Thank you for your very kind comments. I can live with Kingly or Wordsworthian! Also most interested to hear your preferred lines and your views on the revamp. Thanks again.

My thanks to you for such a generous comment, but please do not feel you have to be careful. I am most helped and pleased when folk say what they truly feel, how the poem struck them.

Momo Luna S!gnals said...

I love the poem, read it several times to let it in....
The roaming beasts made me think of Blake as well.
Your words take me to different places all the time. I like that.

Dave King said...

As you will gather, I am engaged in a massive catch-up operation to thank all those (many) that I have missed of late.
Your comment was much appreciated.