A Lancashire Chimaera


The ribbon dribbled, as a full-blown windsock flopped.
The water rippled, as the tidal Ribble dropped.
A thrilling treble flutes after the watch has stopped.
            The spirit river filters through the stones---
                        a dipper bobs about a bit
            and flowing pools through boulders.


A note to A Lancashire Chimaera might be just the place to try to speak of The Vision, since the Chimaera, it seems to me, is an aspect of The Vision. I’d rather not claim the title of Visionary Poet, but a swath of my poetry presents such a thing as a Vision. Is that One vision or Many; a singular shapeshifter, or a full menagerie of----is it singular?----phantasmagoria? Here are some descriptions of what The Vision is: the fountain-tree; the paradisal tuba; the fabulous imaginary creature; a slender flame of fire; the fantastic bird; the snake; the goat; the goose; the dove; the duck; the whole watershed; the shimmerer; the chimaera; the lady of the lake; a something seen in sunlight by a tarn in conifer; a sunset on The Irish Sea; a circuit of lights generated by a testicular dynamo; the poet’s ultimate interlocutor. That’s enough to be going on with.


But what does it mean? It looks Divine, but answers to no Theology; I don’t believe it can be contained within Psychology. I can’t interpret it and yet it seems to interpret itself by capriciously changing shape. I can talk to it, I can ask it: O Vision! are you perhaps An Archetype of the Collective Unconscious? Laugh biff giggle slap: suggestion rejected. Are you The Eternal Feminine, or, Are you Phallic? Similar reply. Are you really True? Interview closed, and I’m left alone on the dreary condom-strewn saltflats of Southport Sands.


But sometimes, merely glanced, no importuning but with shy askance, The Vision can seem to touch and grace odd moments of common sexual romance. It seems perfectly true that light dances.


But nothing suffers diminution.
Waters trickle in a showy swirl
and run upon a sudden.
            Wind has suffered nothing
as it lifts and drops. The light
in leaf along the glade has lit
thy neck, thy crest, thine eyes,
thy rising and thy falling scales.
Our fingers intertwine. And so we slide,
glide, wind up down along
the greenwood footpath lanes. I trust
            love may be sane.

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