TOM HIRONS

Writer and storyteller


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Poetry

Sometimes a Wild God

The background

This poem is proabably the reason you're here. If you'd like to skip straight to the poem, click here.

I wrote it a few years ago now, after the first few lines had been going around my head for months. I thought they were someone else's lines - I kept looking for who'd written the poem and it seems that it didn't yet exist, so I thought I should finish the poem, see what happened after those lines.

The poem is now available as a book or as a poster from Hedgespoken Press, with beautiful black-and-white ink illustrations by my partner, Rima Staines.

You can also hear me reading it here:

Merrivale

1.
Between stones, over hill,
I am stretched out fully,
To a great and impossible height.

My fingers touch the horizon;
My face presses heaven;
My back is all green grass and rock.

This is my rite of night-surrender
To this moorland Earth and the dark, dark sky:

I am insubstantial and immense,
Like a cloud or a wish or a song.

The sky is a bear’s mouth.
It is blacker than ink or oil, or
A pool of dead water in a dream.

Black Mountain River

Autumn begins.
It doesn’t take much;
One tug at my feet by
Autumn’s grey strangers
And I’m away
Or rather, perhaps,
Returning.

The Lapwing Stars

This piece was written in 2017 and appeared in Fiddler’s Green Peculiar Parish Magazine #4, Crown and Crossroads.

 

The Lapwing Stars

The lapwings have it, no doubt;
Seen across the field, their green-black
Backs are the measure of mystery
For every colour as yet unseen by the boy.

The thin seam of coal by the brook,
Beneath a humpbacked bridge
Of brick and moss over a slow lap
Of water: that has it;
He mines in tan clay with a spoon,
Slick with rain, as sure of riches
As an oil-baron or a king.
The coal has it, but it is not black.

The pheasant in the spinney has it;
Half-glimpsed, gold as a fairytale thread.
As the boy steps between the trees,
Time peels away like leaves of bark,
Century by century by century.

A fossil in the Suffolk flint has it.
The old figure in the bright field is it.
Cadair Idris magnifies it.
Forebears in calves’ hides, they have it;
Their waterfall vigils make it afresh.
Finger-touch, breath-join, skin-meet,
That remembering kindles it.
A fire made of flesh and lightning.

The boy watches wheat-stubble burn;
A hawk chases a blackbird through the hedge;
The ground cracks open, endlessly.
Memory is this thing’s echo,
The tip of its tail, the print of its
Fleet-foot, the fur in the bramble,
The musk of it on a gatepost in winter.

I know it through the bright star-belt,
Seen clearly in the night of my fast.
I am a vagabond, drifting from it
Like a rudderless boat, numbed,
Thick, graceless as a tripped foot.
But, in that moment of remembering:
Lapwing, coal, pheasant, fire;
Fossil, mountain, waterfall, wife...

I know its place in heaven.

I shake my head. Time colludes with the stars.
The centuries emerge and the lapwing calls:
Pee-wit! Pee-wit! Pee-wit!
I sight it through the gathering dark,
Push at the water with my idiot hands
And steer my clumsy craft towards it.

 

 

© Tom Hirons
All rights reserved.

Tom's work available from Hedgespoken Press

 

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