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The Western Towers
Gone to Earth
The Roman Well
At Ravenscar
After Sunset
An Altar at Cilurnum
A Chorister
The Great East Window
The Hunters of Banna
The Legion goes North
Lines in October
The Maiden Way
A Song of Forgetting
St Cuthbert's Quest
St Cuthbert's Windows
The Ringers
The Snail
The Street
Traveller's Joy
Wind at Night









At Ravenscar I felt the wind come up

Cold from the puckered sea far, far below.

It had a tang of trouble, the same woe

The gulls arc always crying, the same cup

Of vinegar I think

All spirits drink

That through the worlds ajoumeying must go

Athirst for light, blindfolded by their seeing,

Victorious yet frustrated, the denial

Ringing insistent through the halls of being

An adamantine “No”

Cried by the cliffs against the reiterate trial

Of every tide. The North-East wind came up

As if it were a hand that held a cross.

 Indeed I could have thought the symbolled woe

Shrined in this craggy fane

Was God His pain,

Was Calvary and the broken Christ again.

But all at once a wayside thing befel

That set my mind to music, like the bell

Ringing in Heaven

As men’s thoughts of God

Are one by one forgiven.


There was a cry or was it song? or a chime of laughter?

Surely a child’s voice upcast from the deep!

Then from those grey abysses under me

A child climbed up carrying the lamb that he

Had rescued from the cliffs. What noisy glee

His mates who merrily scrambled after

Sent ringing down the wind! I watched him keep

So tenderly safe that weakling, saw his face,

An eager face whereon such beauty lit

As might have crowned a festival in Greece,

Men would be moved to worship seeing it.

I heard their laughter pass and cease.

I had the gulls long crying in its place

And the grey wind again.


Now through that pagan fane

A new and kindlier shining spread,

As though some dim and richly storied pane

Were unto sky and sunlight cleansed again.

And One that was within me made behest,

“Let Nature interpret her unread

And time-bewildered palimpsest

Saying the Pax that ages left unsaid,

Beatitude of every homing spirit

And passport of the undying dead.”


Now the tide-bitten rocks

Undid their paradox;

And all the heartless weather

Went choiring through the heather

With music that was the singing of my mind,

My mind that saw the whole no longer rent

God’s seamless robe, unsundered sacrament,

And He my priest, I His;

All ours the world’s solemnities;

Birdlike I knew what wind and water meant.


Verily by God’s Cross is this world lit,

Aye, and the worlds on worlds fulfilling it.

If pain should grip the heart of the old earth

Pain’s not the meaning but the giving birth.

Unto sublime ascension and return

Minds labour and the great suns bum.

Cry wind, cry bird, break break 0 heart of the sea,

Come dark, come death, you have welcome from me;

For at the heart of the world’s wrong

There’s a hurt lamb and a child’s song

Borne up together to inviolate fold

Till suns are dark and Time is old.



Copyright © 2008 [Fen Tyler]