Gelli Fach

Gelli Fach

I'm a cell, I'm fragmented, I change my form;
I'm a repository of song, I'm a dynamic state.
I love a wooded slope and a snug shelter,
and a creative poet who doesn't buy his advancement.

Wyf kell, wyf dellt, wyf datweirllet;
wyf llogell kerd, wyf lle ynnyet.
Karaf-y gorwyd a goreil clyt,
a bard a bryt ny pryn y ret.

From: Legendary Poems from the Book of Taliesin, edited and translated by Marged Haycock

Saturday, 20 February 2010

I Thought The Tree Was Rather Ordinary Until Yesterday..

Yesterday I went for a quick excursion up to the top of the garden in my lunch break to breathe in the fresh February air and look out over the hills. On my way back I was suddenly arrested by this bush, shining out from amongst the dark soil and general dullness of the afternoon. There was no frost or snow to make it gleam so and I stared at in wonder for some time, uplifted by it. When I moved closer I saw that there were tiny, almost invisible buds of the same colour shooting from the ends of the branches. It seemed to me then it was glowing with the creative energy of spring.

The line of a poem by Brian Patten sprang into my mind and coming back to the house I looked it up. It wasn't at all like my rather ethereal vision but a more embodied experience of the coming of spring, written by the poet as a young man. Here are the first two stanzas:

Spring Song

I thought the tree was rather ordinary until yesterday
when seven girls in orange swim-wear climbed into its branches.
Laughing and giggling they unstrapped each other,
letting their breasts fall out,
running fourteen nipples along the branches.
I sat at my window watching.
'Hey', I said, 'what are yous doing up there?'
'We are coaxing out the small buds earlier than usual',
said the first.
Then the second slid down the tree - amazing how brown the body was -
and naked she lay on the dead clumpy soil for an hour or more.
On rising there was a brilliant green shape of grass
and the beginning of daisies.

'Are you Spring?' I asked.
'Yes', she replied. 'And the others also, they are Spring.'
I should have guessed.
What other season permits such nakedness?

from The Irrelevant Song by Brian Patten

The rest of the poem goes on to describe the nymphs of spring coming into the house and the poet's world bringing renewal and joy: "they'll take our hearts to the laundry/and there'll be but joy in whatever rooms we wake". Yea to that!

The mind, it seems, is associative; it seeks to re-mind and re-member. I wasn't consciously thinking that the bush had looked ordinary before and certainly not in words; I was simply struck by its beauty. But my subconscious mind looked for some previous experience to equate with this one and, searching the archive of the brain, came up with this: someone else's description of an extraordinary tree I had read and liked decades ago.

I wonder what it was filed under?

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