A Shifting Gauze of Light
Edged with pointillist grey a dripping forest day with green underglow. Ahead of me small unrecognised birds fly out of mist and into mist. A piece of shattered tree, like a bird's broken wing, sticks out of rain-flattened grass. To either side, within this skyless cloud, occasional part-faces on shoe-brown trunks watch me walk by. All is quiet and smudged strange, as known and alien as one's own under-skin sinews and veins. Another small bird flies out of mist and into mist. Certainty is craved, something solid for the mind to hold onto. But here, step by step, are only part-formed thoughts, thought of a thought, one that goes no further. Like water lines when poured into a white basin become quickly settled, stilled, blank. Expectations are never quite met, moments missed. Another small bird disappears into the grey between the part-trunks. This timber road though is as remembered – pine trees and cliff to the left, heath grass under power lines the other side – and here I am again walking in a between place; road behind, road ahead; and in this moment newborn aware again, all to be made, to become, past and future as doubtful as sense.
‘Now and then he lifts his eyes to the sky or the wooded hills and his mind catches at an impression which never becomes a thought, but something between a picture and a tune in his head…’ Edward Thomas
Away from city chatter self dramas words without substance all I can see here now is massed wet bracken conker brown I turn to autumn's chirr from tree-hidden fieldfares The soil has compacted under millennial feet beginnings and endings beyond human time I find myself looking at the way spiky mountainside pines try to hold onto the floating-by mist and the way the grey mist holds onto the light obscures the sky Upon the moss-green glow of the forest floor are groupings of yellow white fungi like clusters of suns planet invisible
Isolation: a semi-precise reckoning
Bright summer rain splashes silver amongst the everywhere green A round gap in a twig dense hedge has a grey squirrel using his own fawn-speckled tail curled double to shelter under Squirrel espies me unfolds tail and goes I quicken my pace to the thick cover of the conifers catch my breath Ranked along the floor of this spruce plantation are round moss-coated stumps like so many grave markers Whine of tinnitus in this needle-soft silence fir-density dimness compressed by so many squat and crowded conifers has me go seek taller trees As I arrive dripping so does a wind find the tops of these lodgepole pines Part-fallen trunks white-scarred and criss-crossed rub against their still alive supports each fresh gust having them sound two notes one groan lower than the other then a relaxing back sigh
Sam Smith is editor of The Journal magazine and publisher of Original Plus books. Author of several novels and collections of poetry, he presently lives in Blaengarw, South Wales. http://sites.google.com/site/samsmiththejournal/