“Feels like we’re being invited into the earth.”
“It’s been coming for awhile.”
“Odin’s Mine and Speedwell Cavern, you mean?”
“I think they were different.”
“I’d be inclined to agree.”
“So would he.”
Gemma’s warmth as
she links my arm and
the world stops screaming…
You are an island dark with life;
A swan-hatched dream, taking flight;
A blue-shot cormorant, nestled in night.
Gemma’s warmth when she talks about
the sort of house she wants, her bottom
drawer, and the colour of christmas decorations.
The warmth of a smile
when I look at her crotch:
earth / urge / air / care.
O’ for another storm stressed day,
when the sky spoke and
our world yielded… to rain.
‘I could have run much faster.’
‘You should have been here over Christmas.’
Of all the things
I’ll never get chance to do…
Becky’s sulk face is adamant with indignation.
If she only knew how perilous it is to neglect the young.
…Our roles are reversed for the tale
of mum and dad and a kitchen knife,
which Fiona tells in sobs on the stairway.
Something I said has recalled her
feather streaked cheeks of pain.
and we go on up
to talk about
a tennis ball
turned inside out…
Becky speaks quietly
but her quiet voice banishes
distance like a shout,
“Josh, come back inside.”
Is this redemption, or merely the wisdom
of being old enough to know better?
“The Great Orme, it seems, hasn’t quite finished with us, yet.”
“So it would appear.”
“There is a walk…”
“Not more walking.”
“…Which can be driven.”
“Let’s do that, then.”
“You see faces?”
“Yes, I see faces.”
“Then you are possessed. You are a believer, born again, and yet you see faces so you are possessed.”
“Possessed by what precisely?”
“The Spirit of Animism.”
“There are a lot of ugly looking lions in Portmeirion.”
We shrink from wondering whether or not one of them is devouring the Buddha’s missing right forearm.
“And lots of steps.”
“Number Six spends a lot of time in the village running up and down steps.”
Run up one set of steps in Portmeirion and a Mansion becomes a Two-up-Two-down.
Run down another and one is accosted by a plaster-cast-christ declaiming on a balcony from which depends a black sheep.
“Perspective. One is spatial, the other, intellectual.”
Here, the ridiculous jostles with the sublime to unfeasibly pleasing effect.
“It’s nothing more than a clutter and jumble of odds and sods, lovingly reassembled into, well, something, uncluttered and well ordered.”
“Much like memories, perhaps.”
“Or what memory makes of experience.”
In the corner of that courtyard there, a manicured tree sprouts in-front of a doorway.
Or rather, a doorway, which leads nowhere, has been constructed behind a tree which is then kept manicured.
Its the perfect place in which to reconsider one’s cardinal points and be reminded of one’s priorities.
It was five years ago that we last attended and actually got to see the Fire Festival.
On that day too the rain had poured steadily all day and many a lake-like puddle lay in wait for us on the road into the heart of the West Yorkshire hills.
What is it about playing out at night?
Cold wind and black trees are not supposed to be friendly or inspire comfort…
As a child playing with friends we quite naturally want to ‘stay out as long as possible’.
The loss of light brings with it a frisson of excitement attendant on the haziest of notions that ‘anything might happen’ and this vague possibility is only enhanced by the bone white disk of the moon as it skids like a grinning skull through the night sky.
In later years how many of us get to spend much time outside in the dark?
There were no lights alongside the canal tow path.
The water in the puddles though still glistened and shone reflecting a cloud filled sky… and led to mobile phones pressed into action as torches.
The last time there had been unknown others with us taking the short cut to the dancing ground and the banking, lending security to our muddy madness which had left the crowds and the concrete in our wake as we walked into dark silence.
Unknown others who tonight were conspicuously absent.
Many years ago the procession itself had trod this path until somebody had fallen into the canal.
Would the tow still be clear?
Memory, playing tricks challenges us with an alternative route through the trees.
A more sensible route, less fraught with possible risk and danger.
In the daylight such descriptions would be ridiculous.
In the daylight no unseen horrors lurk in the shadows.
The sign had promised a five minute walk yet it seemed much longer, and yet, not quite long enough, before the gurgle of water announced our arrival at the bridge and a certain memory…
A train of compartmentalised light thundered overhead.
We were almost there.
Flimsy paper lanterns swung like beheaded ghouls in the trees as we approached our destination.
The first sign of civilised life.
A fire danced on the hillside left and dark figures hopped and warmed their hands around the flames.
Away in the distance, the steady beat of drums and pipes sounded as the procession made its slow progress to the top of the banking.
They would be here soon…
Something untoward is about to happen
on the edge of Langsett Forest…
The Langsett Foxes have their Fire Festival
usurped by a Pack of Hellish looking Hounds…
And you think Charles James Fox will be okay with that? …
Bone-white winter gleams in the moonlight. Silent shadows hunt in the night…. The Hunter’s Moon sails above dark hills, caught in the empty fingers of the treetops. A mysterious company gathers to kindle the flames of the dance; arcane patterns of fire woven in the blackness to the beat of the drums. Silent as ghosts in the darkness, others follow their trail, lurking in the night to watch… and wait… seeking their chance to usurp the forest throne… Old Fox wanes with the fading year, his fur touched by the silver of frost. Can he hold his realm against the ghostly challenge of the Demon Dogs? Yet all is not lost. They have seen it in the smoke… three magicians use their arts to breathe life into the spirit of Fox…
For more details of Mister Fox, visit his earth…