Chuck-House Bard

New Mercury copy

Aeros Deos

I was sitting in staff dining hell during a lunch break at work when I saw the Poet enter the indisposed room.

Normally I’d not be so distracted from my food or indeed concern myself unduly with anyone or anything other than 30 indulgent minutes away from the desk-monkey grind, but the Poet is such an enigmatic man that one cannot help but pursue the phantom glimpsed from a corner of one’s eye and give solidity to his form.

Standing tall within the darkly weave of a pressed suit and elegant in poise and motion, the Poet glided in to the busy room through the wide open doorway before pausing momentarily amidst the quiet cacophony of chattering voices to survey the room with a slow almost nonchalant turn of his head. From within a visage of chiselled Welsh granite I watched as penetrating eyes looked out from beneath a rakish mop of dark hair and ploughed two furrows across the ensemble of people and furniture that littered the room about him: until finally his harrowing gaze fell upon me. Seconds later the Poet was sitting in the chair opposite me with his palms calmly resting upon the table surface and an enquiring urgency emanating from somewhere deep within the blue of his piercing gaze.

I’ll put it down to a moment of surprised distraction on my part, but I have no recollection of the Poet making any direct request to join me for lunch. From the moment he entered the room to when he was sat down opposite me everything was such a blur…just how did he move through the bustling dining room space so quickly anyway…that I fail to recall the voice that undoubtedly preceded his arrival at my table. The Poet is a decent, noble and courageous man.

In contrast to his sandwiched lunch that was packed tightly within the confines of a small plastic box, the Poet seemed to somehow occupy a space disproportionately larger than himself. It was almost as if he either absorbed the immediate area around him or simply just expanded into it. I didn’t know which it was, only that I found the comparison between the size of his meal and the enormity of him both uncanny and, if truth be told, a little disconcerting as well.

Before setting out the details of his arrival in the Welsh capital and settling down with the contents of his lunchbox, the Poet introduced himself in the manner of polite discourse as the ‘new boy’ on the block. Immediately there was the crease of a smile upon his face behind which he toyed playfully with a private joke within himself in the same way as would a cat devilishly tease a ball of string. But it was a smile that extended into his eyes and never faded regardless of the many twists and turns that our forthcoming conversation was to take. And a richly accented and rhythmic voice as velvet smooth as melting chocolate that carried his words to fall upon the ear in softly undulating waves of cacao seeded rapture. Had he not already made known to me his many years spent living within sight of Cardigan Bay, such a voice would have eventually transported my imagination to the West Wales shore-line anyway where I’d walk atop the rugged wind-swept cliffs capped with salt-sprayed fern and stand awhile to linger amidst the peaceful serenity of a coastline so beautiful one can hear the angels sing.

However, as I was soon to discover, the Poet’s opening gambit in our lunchtime discourse was of course an understated declaration that belied the fact that he is most assuredly a man possessed with high powers of imagination and expression and whose modesty is as prodigious as his ever-giving gift of words. What I learnt during those opening moments of meeting him was a powerful lesson in humility and inclusion, or to put it more precisely, it was an immediate encounter with the essential signatures of the melancholy minstrel whose unpretentious manner is at once charming and persuasive and whose perpetual poetic narrative is effortlessly penetrating and deeply resonating within us all.

As I recall we discussed many things during the 30 minutes shared on that eventful first meeting. Quite naturally given our individual proclivities and interests this included a broadly sweeping summation of our respective philosophies and reflections on life and of our perspectives on the Arts and literature. However, I like to think that the Poet became a little curious at the emergence in our conversation of the subject of Alchemy, a topic we briefly discussed as both an academic science and as a spiritual silk road – a path towards an unknown destination upon which I had already embarked several years prior to meeting him. Yet, it was not so much the Alchemical discourse itself that tweaked his curiosity and made his eyes shine with mischief, he is after all a Welsh poet with an immersive understanding of his true bardic heritage and a deeply aligned affinity with Nature and Natural Law, but rather it was the near instantaneous hyper-awareness he perceived from the briefest of conversations in the importance of our chance meeting. And it became an awareness that was for want of more demonstrative words, catalytic and infectious. I began to experience it as well! A kind of narrowing in of the margins of perception as if activating a focused beam of light onto a single point of thought.

Perhaps it was the compression imposed on our minds by the rapid exchange and distillation of a highly summative yet detailed conversation held within the compressive time-frame of 30 short minutes that ultimately gave way to non-verbal communication but I began to feel quite distinctly that somehow and in someway we had found through the combined mediums of Alchemy, acausal uncertainty and precipitous words an determinable denominator that lay poised and silently waiting in space with held breath in anticipation of becoming fully realised.

It was a feeling so overwhelmingly positive and spontaneously inspiring that I compare it with the rejuvenating feeling of freshness and clarity one experiences at the ingress of a breath of very cool mountain air.

~~~

~ Exhale ~ By ~ Paul Steffan Jones ~

~~~

A baby’s burp

and the last act

of a hunted desperado,

exhaling, punctured

to be recycled in a trade wind,

the Scirocco,

a hurricane with no name

or a nameless breeze

gradually moving a leaf

around a backyard,

whispering along telegraph wires,

animating curtains as you sleep.

~~~

The poet Paul Steffan Jones was born in Cardigan in West Wales in 1961. From 1977 to 1989 he was involved in writing and performing Welsh songs and poems which featured in albums, radio broadcasts, fanzines and an anthology, Y Tren Olaf Adre (Y Lolfa, 1984). From 2003 his poems have been regularly included in Poetry Wales, New Welsh Review, Iota, Weyfarers, The Rialto, Roundyhouse and The Seventh Quarry. Additionally, his work has appeared in the Seren Selections anthology and all three volumes of The Slab. One poem, ‘Bombstar’, is the basis of a song which can be heard at: www.myspace.com/bombstardom. His poem “When You Smile You’ll Be a Dog No More” won the first prize in the West Coast Eisteddfod 2012 Online Poetry Competition. Samples of his work can be found at: http://p47sj.wordpress.com/

~~~

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7 thoughts on “Chuck-House Bard

  1. Hi Dewin, many thanks. I never realised that lunch time can be so significant but then any can time could be that. Thanks for giving my poem an airing. Like the blog writing, too. Keep it up.

  2. Dear Dewin,
    Please keep writing, LOTS (Frequently). This is amazing….
    “As a spiritual silk road – a path towards an unknown destination upon which I had already embarked several years prior to meeting him.”…. Love that: Spiritual Silk Road. Also, I appreciate the way you used the word ‘ingress’ [“the ingress of a breath” myself being an astrology and meditation addict and all….these word choices spoke to me.] Furthermore, I love how you juxtaposed the breath work –>that of your own poetic writing with this poem written by Paul Steffan Jones. Beauty abounds here, Dewin!
    Ka

    • Hey Ka,

      How beautiful the words sound when you use them so generously, thank you 🙂

      Regards the blog post, thank you for your keen observation, for being receptive to the curiosity and form of words including my awkward attempt to breathe a little change into the content of my blog writing 🙂 Paul’s poem was a kind gift delivered to me after the artwork had already been completed, even the title of the work remained undisclosed until receiving his email, which sort of threw the gauntlet at my feet and asked me to deal with his response and link the three pieces. Marrying the parts together provided a creative challenge that delayed the post a little longer than I had hoped, but it gave me the opportunity to take a deep breath before setting pen to paper and inking a response 🙂

      Ingress and egress are wonderful sounding words, aren’t they? Some years ago I encountered these words when sound recording the voice of a near-deaf person who had been learning very basic speech control techniques using an inflated balloon. The balloon was held sufficiently close to his lips so that when he made sounds by an egressive action the surface of the balloon would vibrate against his lips. Over a period of time, he had developed an understanding for and made association between the sound he was making, the speed of the air flow he projected, and the variation in the vibration of the balloon’s surface against his lips. In this way he was able to build up a repertoire of sounds that combined together to create a basic form of speech. It was a fascinating process to observe and experience, and enthralling to see such committed effort, relentless patience, and sheer determination succeed.

      The voice recording was used with the subjects permission in an inspired piece of community based work the college I was attending were involved in.

      Thank you so much for your generous and considered comment, for looking more deeply into the fabric of words and for leaving me better guided with kind thoughts. Very much appreciated. 🙂

      Namaste

      DN – 08/12/2014

      P.S: When will you next write a poem? I do look forward to being lost again in the dreamy narrative of your writing…perhaps it is the Cancerian (?) poet in you that weaves a world so effortlessly between two realms and binds them together in the magical bow of your prose.

      • Hi Dewin,

        Might need some more time before replying…
        🙂 I just love how you shared about assistive technology and specifically speech technology. Your experience is indeed an inspiring one. To quote you, “It was a fascinating process to observe and experience and enthralling to see such committed effort, relentless patience, and sheer determination succeed.” I, too, am inspired by this… what FOCUS.

        Namaste
        Ka

  3. Hi Dewin,
    To answer your question: I don’t know when another poem will come to be published. Perhaps sometime over the course of the next couple of weeks, or perhaps not. Yes, perhaps, Mercury as he/she was in the sign of tropical zodiacal Cancer at the time of my birth. Thank you for your kindness. I find that my creativity ebbs and flows. How about you? I’m curious to hear/know/learn more about your work with sound.

    Once again, I’ll point out another one of the lines you wrote that I’m appreciating, ” A kind of narrowing in of the margins of perception as if activating a focused beam of light onto a single point of thought,” beautifully poetic.

    Have a lovely day/week,
    Ka

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