Tuesday, 17 June 2008

TWO POEMS

The Voyage of Bran

Up from the western cape they came
Bran’s heroic crew
For every fathom sailed North
They Eastward sailed two


Ever watchful of the Bear
To keep the bearing true
For every port-ward furlong ploughed
They forward furrowed two

At length they came to Burrowbridge
Site of the famous mound
To which they tethered up their ship
And time for rest was found

The distance up ahead of them
And that which lay behind
Stood in golden ratio
Pleasing to the mind

Onward then they sailed again
And every measure North
As before was half as many
As furlongs furrowed forth

Amid the mists of Avalon
They drove the sacred barque
Towards the place where Arthur sleeps
Entombed in a golden ark


Rising high the noble isle
Of Glastonbury fair
Within its heart a grotto hides
Which nymphs have made their lair

In this place two crystal founts
Flow up to meet the air
And sanctify the apple groves
Of Glastonbury fair

Here the Hill of Faeries
The line it does divide
So the whole is thrice the large
When by itself multiplied

And so the ship was brought ashore
And Bran’s heroic crew
Stood and gazed and wondered at
The fruitful mystic view

In bliss they stayed upon the isle
A full six days and nights
And then renewed their course
The centre in their sights

For the town Divizes named
Divides the trail in half
The distance lying up ahead
Equals that to aft

Sail on, sail on, heroic crew
Across the verdant sea
Each year these fields are marked with art
Devised from geometry.

On the fourth of seven rings
That gird the hemisphere around
Beside the spring of Kennet stands
Silb’ry’s Mother Mound

They brought the ship to rest upon
The summit of this hill
And by this act a destiny
Bran’s heroes did fulfill.


They slept the night but come the day
Away they sailed again
Until they came upon the place
The Thames conjuncts the Thame

Here again the distance left
By ratio of gold
Compared with that behind them
A wonder to behold!

The larger to the sum
Equals the smaller to the large
Here in Thameside Dorchester
Where they parked their barge

And then they sailed straight and true
To Whiteleaf’s cross of chalk
Which lies beside the sacred path
The Chilterns’ Ridgeway walk.

Here upon her eagle wings
Soars Isis as a kite
Circling round with poignant power
And distance piercing sight

On towards the Eastern point
Sailed Bran’s heroic crew
And every league they measured North
They East-ward measured two.

Phoenix Fire

The plans of Khufu’s chambers hide
Amid our British greenery.
The form is printed far and wide
Where slopes of gold on either side
Run down to meet the sea.
The Mansion of Osiris stands
Upon the Balance-of-the-Lands.
The Earthly and the Oceanic Powers
Are measured in the scales equally.
The Mansion stands amid the Field of Flowers
Enduring like the stars, eternally.

The Triangle Egyptian boasts
Harmonious geometry
Which spans the land from coast to coast
Invoking Beauty by the most
Aesthetic alchemy.
And I would like to build again
Not with stones but with my pen
That pyramid, from fragrant words of rhyme
By the poet’s deft technology
To stand in the collective human mind
Enduring like the stars, eternally.

In times of quiet contemplation
Neither pen nor book in hand
I like to let my meditation
Fly to sites around the nation
Beautifully planned
As a man in drugged inertia
Feeds his gaze on rugs of Persia
Peacefully observing the design
While phoenix-fire flickers in the hearth
So I let the eye within my mind
Journey out along some ancient path.

Come inside, drop gard’ning things
Unfurl the feathers of your mind
When teatime’s four o’clock bell rings
Sit you down and spread your wings
With your course aligned
So southward distance equals seven
And eastward equals half eleven:
Khufu’s Angle, ‘cross the Southern Weald
To meet the Ouse at ancient Lewes town
Osiris’ road traverses many a field
Leading onward over vale and down.

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