From dawn to dusk, the pewter silver-grey of clouds that haven’t aspired to the sky. We walk inside them, drawing onto our faces the unrained drops. We’re comfortably dislocated from horizons; paths ahead are vanishing points lost in feathers; red kites whistle the fields’ edges. I walk, you run the curvature of this known, unknown world.’
more like treading water
here in the slack pool of night
or a long walk to nowhere
but no behind or before
like didi and gogo
my trudge is all
on the one black spot
there's a sadness humming
in the skylight corners
a wind song looking
for a tune
it's all melisma
for busted sleep
and burgled dreams
Dog Latitudes §22 Some see God in the suddenness of the sun out of a cloud. Surprised by an event so much bigger than the monotony of thought (the telling of the same old story of doubt and fear), they glory in this brief gift of external light. For me when caught unawares I understand in the moment that the light that matters is always bright within and the shadows are of your choosing.
Our band MoorbyJones just laid down the basic tracks for a song called Light is a Story. It’s to be the next single so a good deal of construction needs to be done over the next few weeks before a fully embellished and mixed version is ready. The lyric is mine, written in free verse format, and the tune (to be added when the full version is mixed) is by my songwriting partner Steve Moorby.
LIGHT IS A STORY
I dreamed I was a bird amongst a multitude of birds and like bread rising the sun rose over the fields
I dreamed I was a fish amongst a tenement of reeds. Green was my truth and I glided past the fisherman’s fly.
I dreamed I was a tree at night under a sickle moon, drawing down the silver into my place of deep gold.
CHORUS Light is a story taken from the fire. Remember if you can the chapter of the single flame.
MY DANCE PARTNER My shadow could be any age, sharpened to a T by a stare-me-down sun. My sideways self gliding across the straw and chaff tells me as we walk of how things were, or how things might have been. Like skidding down a slope on scree, laughing, breathless, like a fool, or floating, masked face down, watching tiny silver fish amongst the casual treasures of Salamis. Or watching your back from a high window, your right hand lifting a lock of hair as you climb into the cab, the last cab. Shadow blessing, shadow curse, shadow, my dance partner until the sun’s at rest and they turn out the light.
When I climb the slope of Bottom Field, I run my open palm through the stalks of barley. The little cobs are green and the stems are a ghostly blue and those grouped antennae are just junior whiskers. This multitude, though young, has buried the hill and is its own horizon. I shall come down the slope of Bottom Field some day in the coming months, heading for home. And I shall run my brown hand through the barley stalks, now a dusty gold, each ear a dream of bread, each stalk a dream of chaff and we shall know each other.
What’s the risk we take, we the music makers, compared to the dancer’s shifting, slipping grip; the penalty taker’s injudicious shot that hits the bar; the climber and her crew lost on the implacable rock for a final hand hold?
For us maybe a clinker dropped across a piece of pristine harmony before a crowd we’re trying to impress. And even then at half time it’s a shrug and, “I didn’t even notice, mate, and I don’t reckon they did either”. Or maybe it’s stomach cramping laughter, the three of us hunched over, all in tears at the absurdity: the sacred made profane.
Death or glory under the lights, the sun, the stars, we the mutualists, the diggers and the levellers are bound in a cargo net of love that fills the heart and stops the breath. There’s a joy you simply cannot buy in the moment pledged towards the shared self.
Dog Latitudes §16 as if the houses were to be drawn across the loose earth on which they stand and go down as if the trees that shield us were to shake once and follow the houses roots up and branches down each the mirror of the other as if the sky already broken open were to fold and fold and swallow itself like water does as if we were to stand on nothing watching the symphony up to its last echoes and wonder what now what to do whether to step back or step forward or like the houses trees and sky itself just fold and fold and swallow ourself like water does
trespass two paces off the path and inside the cloistered trees / the brindled hare steps his paddles from the free earth’s edge and into the governed bracken / you belong to my two barrels says the keeper their two round eyes will watch you through nettles and brakes and bushy hollows right up to my privileged moment and your reckoning / and here we are we two you crazy free me creeping across the fallen leaves a poacher sans traps lifting only the mushrooms picking only the berries breathing just the loaded air and its traffic of loam and pine pitch and the musk of deer / for my time along the aisles and trancepts of these oaks and beeches i shall pay nothing owe nothing care nothing for your deeds and contracts because just as i own my bones my salts my neural tracks so these trees and their partner shrubs and brambles and the passengers who tread and slip and scramble own themselves as is told in the encyclopaedia of all time from alpha to this green glyph right here and now / and i am happiest right here and now and I will prevail amongst the trees in my time
how you are lonely in a crowd like the moth inside the cage of hands and each wingbeat sheds more of your powder and you can hear the calm voices and the shared laughter and they think that you’re with them out in the light but where you are is entirely dark