Albion

Tell me, tell, Oh tell me true,
Say where can you be found?
The secret spirit of Albion
Lies deep in the heart of the land.

It's not in the might of state nor monarch
Nor the power of riches and gold,
Nor in ownership of our sacred soil
And it cannot be bought or sold;
Nor is it found in the oil or the gas
Of the rocks that lie under the ground.
The true voice of Albion's deeper than that,
It's the voice of the heart of the land.

It hides in the words of our language,
When spoken or sung from the best
Of the tales of the folk who have settled these shores
From north, south, east and the west.
It's not found in the glory of conquest,
Nor of empires we built in the past.
When we wake from the nightmare of power and money,
Shall we wake to our treasure at last?

The mountains, the hills and the valleys,
The rivers and lakes and the streams,
The marshland and moorland are speaking to us
From the deep underside of our dreams.
Where the buzzard soars and the dolphin dives
With the hare and the deer running free,
Albion sings for the future: 'Awaken
And rise into what you could be!'

Sung to the same tune as the chorus:
Whatever we think as we walk this land,
Or dream that we could do,
The sacred spirit of Albion
Is living inside us too.

as yet unpublished but spreading in performance by many voices with a life of its own... (Ed.)

Sonnet

You are so far spread greater than you know:
You track the long trod dismal daily grey,
boned, kerbed and neatly boxed in a clay
border, heart blindfold, not even a toe
out of line, thinking unopened, slow
no wild verges; yoked to the straitened day;
But at the sluice, dreams, thronging the raceway,
Heave at the wet boards, lunging for the flow.

An angel pounds at your temples, stirs your gut;
the sheer light , landing, grips you like a crown.
He cannot bear these streams diverted, channels cut,
and you to yourself dim wasteland overgrown.
Will you turn the heavy winches of this gate,
before the terrible roar of your own soul breaks it down?

Published in "A Way To Meet"

Waymaking

Have you observed the meander of paths,
the paths we make,
never taut,
lines that wind over meadows,
sinuous, loose-curving
between timothy, cock's foot and clover?

They are unerringly right,
first pencil strokes of a master draughtsman,
dividing to skirt a tree, contour a hillock,
reuniting to lead you out, across, away, into,
among hawthorn and hazel.

We tread them yearly, over and over,
walking this valley ground,
joining up the ways.

We listen back along these trodden tracks of story,
moving from doorstep to woollen mill, farm door to shepherd's hut,
upslope and underwood, over grassland and grazing,
from gate to stile and back to the
humming highroads.

Who passed here centuries along?
Who passes, drawing beautiful traces,
this fine unconscious artistry of feet?

Maybe this is how we love the landscape.
Not knowing, just going about things,
from here to there,

we make paths.

Published in Walking Two Ways

Beltane in England

Oh, this festival of green,
rolling in torrents over the trees,
in the subtlest shades of surprise,
unfurling a boundless fertility:
saplings sprouting in bundles
from a smile wide as the woods,
dimpled with stitchwort and violets.

And we are expecting some
vast desert doom,
where our waste devours the wild
as we go down as into quicksand
with a last rictus of despair.

But She has other plans:
ivy, beech and birch leaves,
shaking out like handkerchieves
from her fat pockets;
leaf casings, rosy as lips,
littering the lanes,
and everywhere, She is agog
for love.

In the old cemetery even the graves
are beds of tufted grass,
inviting unheard of, secret conceptions.

Did you notice the daisies
eyeing you with sun-sharp intensity?

You could not slip out of this game,
even if you wanted to:
the bluebells are longing to explore
your toes,
and the footways are only
a temporary diversion,
surfaces to be reclaimed
by your feet,
in the wink of a green eye.

And the honey bees did not go far,
still weaving their rapid lemniscatory pollen dances,
behind the knotted veils,
waiting for our love-call
back to the hives.

A child in pink tights clambers onto a wall
and jumps.
Who knows where she will land,
wild clematis in her hair,
her core curriculum coiling green
from her schoolbag,
in long tendrils of exuberant vegetation?

And we are expecting some
vast and desert doom,
where our waste devours the wild
and we go down as into quicksand
with a last rictus of agony.

But oh, this festival of green,
riotous, rejoicing.

And are we now too old for love,
our loving days over?

As yet unpublished