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In the Aber Valley

for Eileen

The first sight of the houses that are there and not there
among the low stunted trees in spring leaf
in the high wild bowl of this mountain valley
in the sunlight, and behind the light.

‘You can almost see them’, you say, and you’re right.
Round stone walls, rough thatch, rising smoke
skin-clad, bare-armed hunters, and the women folk
as we hover in the future where they can’t see us
and we can’t quite hear them either…
and the two high waterfalls are as they were
great white threads of lace drifting down
in the same primordial silence.

And I don’t know if it was finding
this gnarled distended fragile tree root
the width of a piece of bark, forming
a low triangular gate we crawled through
and under the arms of a beech below
with a stream flung out from a hollow
that opened something, playing as we were;

but when we got down to the river’s edge
where it crosses the onward path
we both paused, entering that silence, and our own.

A hawthorn sapling beside it, the water glittering
smooth dry stones in a row for the crossing
three short steps to the other side
and suddenly you know as you stand there
that nothing has ever happened
all is always now, all One Day
night and day, so then is now, here
the light brightening on the side of your face
where you lean against a boulder
the warm wind breathing on your neck
and we are in the summerland
as it is in us.

Stand in the river, then, astride the stones
where time is standing still as its flow
and cross to where the memory of the air
still spells danger: changing, hardening grey
the world that is always outside, waiting

but melting here, as we may too
free of the need to meet enemies, or make them
and greet each other in the One Dream
we’ve all been dreaming: to live without fear
entering into Creation, not as a frozen idyll,
but living for the day, and at last, for each other
for the love of the earth, where the land is summer.

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