Jan De Wilde is a Flemish poet associated with Orpheus Books. His poem ‘Galway’ deals with an intense summer spent in Galway city which he would like to see published in Galway. He writes in Flemish and English. He lives in the city of Gent Belgium.
AND OF THIS…..
And of this hexagram of clouds – what is their linage and what commands will be uttered for our liberation?
And of such birds as adorn the sky how can we pluck a red feather to strike the red drum hanging from a tree as if in a discarded Noh play?
See – I strike the drum and the sky shatters as the birds disappear upwards from the tree.
From such as this I have composed a syntax for myself and those who are dear unto me
And of this I have composed a language known only to myself
And of this I have made a heritage unto those to who I will bequeath sky and bird and hexagram
And of this…and of this there is the endless of what must be done so as to honor the linage of the race.
Ah, you who are the spirit’s forefathers, instruct now the one who come to you for instruction
Decipher the clouds into sensible words – or rather, into the wild language of the sky for we would have none other amongst us
Who only by the language of birds can ever attempt the sky.
For of this we compose nocturne and adagio
For of this we are lowly in our pride
Of this….of this….not other amongst ourselves nor to each other (as might have been a-foretime in the fables)
(‘I’ into ‘we’ wavering as in the fable’s retelling)
(and as a-foretime so be it also hereafter).
And shall it be other amongst us in the coming days when the horses return from the wilds of yellow grass?
And what messages and intonations will they bring from the masters who have abandoned them?
And what of that abandonment has been to their advantage so that it can now be to ours?
(It was the splitting of an age which caused this abandoning – as music was split in the same ending of an epoch).
What then will be the new fables?
By what reasoning will we pluck feathers and beat drums?
And how will we tame the horses when their coming amongst us are the strange days of a new beginning.
Ah, it is good in the new wilderness
And it is good in the strange syntax we must now learn the intricacies of
As are the clacking of stones in the new music.
Moving like drones over the landscape of temples and monuments (some are old, some are of a more recent construction)
Cantering on the horses to the new destinations (for this we travel by intuitive means having no maps which are valid amongst us)
Nor do we have judgments to issue against the past though we have disowned it
Nor do we curse the fine veil of rain that frequently comes across the fields.
See, there is a luminous brightness bright than the moonlight we sometimes travel by
See, we are not arrogant in our movements no less than in our thoughts
One carries a drum and beats out a travelling-rhythm
One sings with the voice of a bird
One is master of horses though they have no masters and we only travel upon them by their permission
All of this according to the new codex which is not a codex imperial but the codex of liberation we are still constructing.
Shall we enter the temple mound?
Shall we offer a limited acknowledgement?
Will the horses refuse to enter that compound?
So now what drum will we strike and what is the feather we will strike it by?
And of this hexagram of clouds what is the interpretation?
Once, it was said, their previous owners came from the lake but the horses give no sign of this and we do not yet have the language to confirm or deny this
And so in this wilderness we are constructing the new constructions and the new fables.
You will then ask what are the entitlements of the sky which we are seeking and we will reply we are seeking the sky
As under the oak tree we have made new and binding pledges
And of this, and unto this we are committed while letting the horses graze on the green grasses thereabouts.
For they are also of our pledge
And we seek no other significances amongst us
Nor have we set border-marks we do not go beyond.
And of this….
As in the best of those older days which few remember but which are still spoken about (but not with longing to have them back again)
And of this in the new alignments are those like that of a Noh play that might yet be performed amongst us
(or is already upon us in ways we do not understand as yet to the full degree)
Or that the script is yet for the composing.
With the old lessons and the new objectives
With the interpretation of clouds still something of a mystery (amongst us)
But none the less adamant in our perusals of the sky.
Horses, and the beaten drum
We winnow, it seems, the new traditions of the race in these the strange days of the new beginnings.
-Jan DeWilde, Gent, July, ‘14