Saturday, 25 August 2012

A walk around Laugharne

Altarwise by Owl-Light

Altarwise by owl-light in the half-way house
The gentleman lay graveward with his furies;
Abaddon in the hangnail cracked from Adam,
And, from his fork, a dog among the fairies,
The atlas-eater with a jaw for news,
Bit out the mandrake with to-morrows scream.
Then, penny-eyed, that gentlemen of wounds,
Old cock from nowheres and the heaven's egg,
With bones unbuttoned to the half-way winds,
Hatched from the windy salvage on one leg,
Scraped at my cradle in a walking word
That night of time under the Christward shelter:
I am the long world's gentlemen, he said,
And share my bed with Capricorn and Cancer.

Death is all metaphors, shape in one history;
The child that sucketh long is shooting up,
The planet-ducted pelican of circles
Weans on an artery the genders strip;
Child of the short spark in a shapeless country
Soon sets alight a long stick from the cradle;
The horizontal cross-bones of Abaddon,
You by the cavern over the black stairs,
Rung bone and blade, the verticals of Adam,
And, manned by midnight, Jacob to the stars.
Hairs of your head, then said the hollow agent,
Are but the roots of nettles and feathers
Over the groundowrks thrusting through a pavement
And hemlock-headed in the wood of weathers.

First there was the lamb on knocking knees
And three dead seasons on a climbing grave
That Adam's wether in the flock of horns,
Butt of the tree-tailed worm that mounted Eve,
Horned down with skullfoot and the skull of toes
On thunderous pavements in the garden of time;
Rip of the vaults, I took my marrow-ladle
Out of the wrinkled undertaker's van,
And, Rip Van Winkle from a timeless cradle,
Dipped me breast-deep in the descending bone;
The black ram, shuffling of the year, old winter,
Alone alive among his mutton fold,
We rung our weathering changes on the ladder,
Said the antipodes, and twice spring chimed.

What is the metre of the dictionary?
The size of genesis? the short spark's gender?
Shade without shape? the shape of the Pharaohs echo?
(My shape of age nagging the wounded whisper.)
Which sixth of wind blew out the burning gentry?
(Questions are hunchbacks to the poker marrow.)
What of a bamboo man among your acres?
Corset the boneyards for a crooked boy?
Button your bodice on a hump of splinters,
My camel's eyes will needle through the shroud.
Loves reflection of the mushroom features,
Still snapped by night in the bread-sided field,
Once close-up smiling in the wall of pictures,
Arc-lamped thrown back upon the cutting flood.

Dylan Thomas
It is impossible to visit Laugharne without thinking of Dylan Thomas.  He and the small riverside town are synonymous.  I cannot pretend to understand some of his poetry - indeed, much of his poetry.  Perhaps I should have a skinful to drink and then it might become clear.  But oh, the WORDS . . . the descriptions which spring to mind . . . the magic.  A fractured genius in a world of numskulls who saw so complete a world whilst the rest of us glimpsed it in blinks.

Taken through window-glass, his writing room seems ghostly, almost a drunken lurching staggering view . . .

The heron-priested shore . . .


  1. Lovely photos as always. It looks like a very peaceful little place, where you could gaze out over the sea for hours, writing poetry.

    One of my other blog friends Ann, from "Around and about in Pembrokeshire" blogged about her walk round Laugharne, a few days back, as part of Dylans birthday walk, so I was interested to see more photos.

  2. I love that ghostly picture; it's gorgeous. I feel the same about his work but, I'm ashamed to say, have made less effort than you to get past my lack of understanding!

    By the way, I made a discovery the other day regarding displaying photos at their original file size. You click on them once they're loaded to make them hazy so you get the options and then click on 'original size'. Mine go far too big but if your file sizes are smaller, it could be the answer.

  3. Hello- You popped kindly by to look at my blog about Dorset and I can't believe the coincidences in 'blogland'!I was staying at a lovely place- Llansteffan at Heartspring, only a couple of weeks ago, and I too went to visit Laugharne.I love your photographs and description of the village. Dylan Thomas is one of my favourite poets as to is Edward Thomas... best wishes, Jane xx