On the Name,
ContinualeSong

 

ContinualeSong: There's a Welsh Triad, that I used as an epigraph for my book, Continual Song (1986) which reads "Tri Dyfal Gyfangen oedh gynt in amser y Brytanniet: Bangwr, a Chaer Gariadawg, ag Ynys Widrin. yn Sasonaec Continuale Song.". Translated, this says that there were three places in Britain where monks, time out of mind, took shifts to sing praise for Creation, round the clock (at Bangor-Is-Coed, Caer Caradoc, and Glastonbury). In a notion of that spirit, I had tried to make my book continual, by supposing the book could be read round in circles, front to back and back to front and from the centre out unto the fringes. Then I'd have done with Continual Song, and could do something else instead.
        But life can't be tidy as that: it obeys the Second Law of Thermo-dynamics, the spur to fresh cleaning and creation. For in my senses I was still making continual song, albeit in new irregular shapes, in praise of The Creator---for there is a God, and His name is Richard Dawkins, Inventor of Memes, that take life as the Supernatural Fairies who flood in through the Old Hall back door that Dick to kindly left on the latch, and spill out again to play on the lawns of some Itchycoo Park, from dawn to dusk, and they bump into lust in the passages of dark.
        And ContinualeSong could be an alesong. I'm a lover of English beer (including Caledonian Deuchar's)---though, in truth I find the ale I love a great impediment to poetical composition. It has proved a proud achievement of self-discipline, learning to combine the two.
        I began Continual Song in the late 1970's, when I realised that I was going to stay put at Foster Clough, where I'd been since 1970, and so had better make sense of being here, singing round my life's clock. The plots were to be made by ups and downs---girlfriends maybe coming but surely going off and leaving me bereft, as I grow older. The place itself became my mental and artistic content. Sikes, becks, cloughs, deans run to rivers called waters. Birken, oaken, wicken, withen shaws and haughs, and other scrubby shroggs come out in leaf. Crow, magpie, curlew, lapwing. Blue forget-me-not. I am bound to repeat myself like April Spring.
        Poetry is music, but, at its most musical, cannot be sounded. I can write, but can't sound, a chord of three meanings, three tones of voice, at once. I can only imagine spirit ditties. polysemous pipes in multiple tones, of alchemy, and alcohol, and alkathene. I'll worship Dick or Gob, and drink and think in peace how Life is Grand.

 

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