PORLOCK

for Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

 

(The Coleridge Bulletin  No1 (Winter 1992-93), pp 22-23)

 

 

All night the white rills sang down the sheer dark silences,

With their rainórapid melodies; but now

The blackbird calls the sun above the seaward hills,

Spring snow of blossom fills

Black chandeliers of cherry: the daffodils

Lean their golden trumpets,

Silently, to morning shadows.

 

 

And galaxies of stitchwort blaze

This new new day's star-white along the hedgerow sides;

Seam-white, silk-flare, through all

This nervous gorgeous tapestry of flowers.

 

 

Across this morning's sunlit Severn strands

Sun blades, of scimitar or gentle gold,

Beckon the bright seabirds into the strengthening skies;

In bright compressions of young blue they soar

Towards the land of Gwilym, Taliessin;

There green fall of moor to white-farm shores; this morning

The sea rhyming with sun-shadows: milk-break of surf

On rock and sand.

 

 

Last night, I slept within the primrose field;

A soft breeze soothed the jagged timbers of my hut:

Dark holly was my guard, the thorn my friend, the tender ivy

Tangled softly at my door: the west winds lulled

Beyond the shield of western moors, those Kubla hills;

The steep oak-coombes still dry of leaf, still patient for

That tumbling swaying break of summer-green

All down these hillsides loud with song.

 

 

Song, sweet song; spring morning sun: dew-burden

Of the sun, rising in swift skill of spring and summer-gold,

Building the soft cloud-palaces of rhyme.Across this narrow sea

The mountain winds still listen with ap Gwilym: Taliessin sings

His lightnings through this shadowed world, above the dark

Inconstancies of men - the winter eye, the bloody hand;

Dry heart. One vision failed among these coombes; one singer

Thwarted by his fears: his garden choked - one span of palm

One squeeze of heart beneath the sheer immensities of stars,

The cold galaxies flashing their cruel fires.

 

 

Last night I slept within the primrose field;

Now those star-deserts yield to morning light: the young ear fills

As the blackbird sings the sun above the seaward hills:

Untempered, sweet aggression - glorious listening:

Throat of tunes, blackbird, his burden is his song.

This morning man sang morning to the primrose field, to the Kubla hills,

To these white rills that laugh the steep coombe-sides;

To the daffodil that leans its golden trumpet

Silently, frail child of sun against

The moving shadows in the lane.

 

 

CODA.

Song, picture, music: eternities released, cage opened;

The grain of sand shining with the million million grains,

Bird-dream our image soaring to infinities of light:

Nature with our ears, our eyes,

Our mouth, our bodies: eternities released;

Each one a poem, a morning: the white rills

Sing the morning through the sunlit-coombes:

Cage opened; poem; eternities released.

 

 

Porlock Weir

and Kilmarnock.

 

 

Note: I am aware that the "Taliessin" poems to which I refer 'are actually from an anonymous 13th-century manuscript. I cannot resist the glamour of the name!

 

 

GEOFF COOPER