A dozen of us gathered for Robin Williamson at the weekend and a good 50 turned up the night before for his introductory evening of story. Robin was in great form (i've rarely seen him not) as he slowly layed connotation and speculation around the ancient Celtic image of 'The Four Cities of Instruction' and its relationship to seasons, ones life, musical notes and angelic beings that hover around them. Always playful, the depth of both his psychic relationship to it and his knowledge of history was dazzling.
We spent some time together on the friday drinking tea, laughing alot, swapping road stories and thrashing out Sufi relationships to Arthurian stories, the role of surrender in Leadership, experiences of faerie and the secret singing from where sounds become a Tree then an Eagle and then finally a Story. Feels like a future weekend workshop.....
'I have sold my mouth to the song
to hack after angelic language
in the written world
loving the two of magpies
and the authority of the weather
loving most what cannot be seen
or said at all'
R Williamson. So he did....
After last weeks defence of Excess as an invocation of spring, i now feel strangely drawn to the delicate, paired down verse of the Chinese. Here's one by Chang Chi:
The moon sets. A crow caws.
Frost fills the sky.
Maple leaves fall on the river.
The fisherman's fires keep me awake.
From beyond Su Chou
The midnight bell on Cold Mountain
Reaches as far as my little boat.
Night at Anchor by Maple Bridge
And Liu Ch'ang Ch'ing
Sunset. Blue peaks vanish in dusk.
Under the Winter stars
My lonely cabin is covered with snow.
I can hear dogs barking at the rustic gate.
Through snow and wind
Someone is coming home.
Snow on Lotus Mountain
I bet if you close your eyes you can locate that cabin, dog and wind somewhere in your body. Who is it coming home?
The Norwegian poet Olav Hauge had some of this sparse linguistic treasure too-check out 'The Dreams We Carry' (2008).
So this weekend, those on the year programme will make their way up to budding forest and open moorland in the old way; to wander, empty out and listen-and then in late afternoon return to the warmth and hearth of the village. Much of what happens out there is a subtle as the last two poems-a good way to spend an hour out there is to examine one square foot of earth, turning over and sifting through its complexities and visions.
I for one can't wait. See you up there.