contemplativeinquiry

This blog is about contemplative inquiry

Tag: Jay Ramsay

POEM: RAPT FORM

FIRE upon Night the way flashing

Cove within Earth the seed receiving

South into North of us –

Eagle upon mountain and the light ascending

The Bowl of the daily dark descending

Stars beyond the shore of us

The Centre stays and the pattern fixes

The Centre moves and the diagram mixes

For many and more of us.

The Eye shines as the cast is shining

The Bowl gathers darkness as the shade is spreading

The Pentagram weaves its tent overheading

The stars and the Polestar turning and twining

Until the rotating of day.

O day and night O night of time

[the weft upon the warp of rhyme}

I backward step to the abyss

Where Form ends and Nothing is –

Where Nothing ends and All-Thing is.

Ross Nichols Prophet Priest and King: The Poetry of Ross Nichols Lewes: The Oak Tree Press, 2001 (Edited and introduced by Jay Ramsay)

“Ross Nichols, who was a contemporary of Eliot, and rated highly by many including Edwin Muir, was Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) until his sudden and unexpected death in 1975. An accomplished prose writer, essayist, editor and water colourist who exhibited at the Royal Academy, we can now see him as one of the ‘Apocalypse poets’ of the 1940’s As Chief of the Order from 1964, his contribution was substantial, re-introducing into modern Druid practice the Winter Solstice Festival and the four Celtic Fire Festivals, which he led at London and in Glastonbury.”(Book blurb)

For information about OBOD see http://www.druidry.org/

POEM: TALIESIN

Poem by Ross Nichols, who founded OBOD in 1964.  I like his seamless interweaving of naturalistic, mythic and theosophical themes – because for him they are one integrated experience. For me the poem reads like the work of someone who needed to live it in order to write it.

Here the Fish enters

The world of dark water

Pre-birth waters

Waterworld Elysium

Lake Tegid and the magic weir.

Much does he grow,

Many his transformations.

Warm are the waters,

The dark waters of Tegid,

And they swiftly flow

Downwards as he grows.

Talisin is found in the weir:

Elphin finds him

In a bag of leather

Where the waterworld dams,

Where the womb-waters

Are falling terribly

At the weir of birth.

The entering fish

Was the spirit of Taliesin:

His transformations

Were the many souls and bodies of Taliesin:

Leading him gently, drifting him slowly

Into the bodily definition of Taliesin,

His bag of leather,

His separated skin.

And Taliesin, after his separated life,

His songs and his wonders. His challenges and his fame,

Shall enter again as a Fish,

Shall know again sufferings and transfigurations

And the waters of Tegid.

For Taliesin was ever upon earth,

Knew all things, suffered all things.

And Taliesin shall be

In many wonderful shapes,

A grain of wheat and a hare

Sown and running

While there are fields, and the spirit of men,

Leaping alive at a harvest,

Or silver in the waters of time.

This poem can be found in the collection Prophet Priest and King: the Poetry of Ross Nichols edited and introduced by Jay Ramsay Lewes: Oak Tree Press, 2001.

POEM: BLOSSOM

This poem, by Jay Ramsay, was recently published on Philip Carr-Gomm’s weblog. I like it very much.

THE BLOSSOMING for Martin

You know the story. After months of grey

rain, wind and weather wet

the cherry blossom suddenly appears

with the merest touch of late April sun,

its three or four day lover. Blossom

filling the branches, and up against the blue

as you gaze up…its delicate pale pink chandeliers

each hanging by a thread, intact.

But then three days of blasting wind

billowing up the path, around the house

battering it, beating at it, torn

down in bucketfuls, coating the front bed

and the lawn inches deep—

with the waste of it only just blossomed.

Why do you care? Because it’s moved you

because every beautiful thing you’ve seen

has entered your heart, aware or unaware

becoming part of you extending out

you can’t escape now, it’s too late

your heart is open and it can’t close again.

You care because it’s all you are

this beautiful ravaged world now

resurrected then crucified…and as the wind dies

with all we still have, as it returns.

I call it poetry, with or without words

the one language we know without speaking

that seeks us out from the Beginning

because it knows we must blossom

there is no other hope, no other way

to become human, but to love, and lose

turned inside out and outside in—

and this, my God and yours, is the operation.

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