This sleeve of land

Following the hilltop path, there is a warm patina, almost a glow, to the afternoon, despite the chill. You look down on this sleeve of land that is Cwm Grwyne Fechan. You have been walking here your entire life. The autumn colours on the hills, ranging from gold to russet to purple, the gradations of light, and the untamed horses, many of them the descendants of those abandoned by their owners over the years, left to breed in the wild, so that a new race has emerged from the stock of indigenous ponies and the incomers. You have a half-eaten apple, but you know they will not approach, so you show it, and toss it gently towards the nearest horse. He stares at you, unblinking. You shudder with the fleeting memory of something, then it is gone. The valley is small, and yet so vast. You experience the moment like a shaft of joy, even though there is something else, something that brings you to the edge of tears. You know so little. Back home, you watch the short video and the view across the valley brings to mind the final lines of ‘The Sleeping Lord’ by David Jones – who once lived not far from here – lines that now read as extraordinarily prescient:

yet he sleeps on
                                         very deep is his slumber:
how long has he been the sleeping lord?
are the clammy ferns
                                          his rustling vallance
does the buried rowan
                                          ward him from evil, or
does he ward the tanglewood
                                          and the denizens of the wood
are the stunted oaks his gnarled guard
                                          or are their knarred limbs
strong with his sap?
Do the small black horses
                                           grass on the hunch of his shoulders?
are the hills his couch
                                           or is he the couchant hills?
Are the slumbering valleys
                                           him in slumber
                                           are the still undulations
the still limbs of him sleeping?
Is the configuration of the land
                                           the furrowed body of the lord
are the dark ridges
                                           his dented greaves
do the trickling gullies
                                           yet drain his hog-wounds?
Does the land wait the sleeping lord
                                            or is the wasted land
that very lord who sleeps?
                                             
                                     

4 Comments on “This sleeve of land

  1. Wonderful
    I love the poem – fascinating layout and ‘enjambment’ – I’m just learning about these structural things – just a fledgling – but it’s so good to see such a great example -thanks

    Like

  2. these small bits of writing are such a gift! love it. baci amico gioia *scouting+translating good books * bio + translations

    things I write looking at things

    On Tue, 7 Dec 2021 at 09:46, Ricardo Blanco’s Blog wrote:

    > richardgwyn posted: ” > https://videopress.com/v/4FCHElyj?resizeToParent=true&cover=true&preloadContent=metadata > Following the hilltop path, there is a warm patina, almost a glow, to the > afternoon, despite the chill. You look down on this sleeve of land that is > Cwm” >

    Like

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