What I like

In my poetics everything is dark.

So let me, in this place of revelation

Of yet more darkness let rip on my hopes

And pull the rip chord, parachuting down

Into a proper world. Let me describe it.

And if it cause offense or give some pleasure

I don’t care, we are at ground zero now.

I told somebody what I love in life

Before, when we were travelling up above

In places which I took to be my homeland.

I’ll tell them once again to let you hear them.

I lectured Galya and my daughter thus

As we went walking close and far from home.

At Vyrnwy where the village was submerged

For English towns to have our plenteous water,

We went up through the forest in the snow

And the deserted farms. And I said, then:

‘I wish for order, real discipline

In my society. People are honest

And they must promise virtuous things.

They may be dissolute at feasting times.’

At Nant Glyn’s yew tree pulpit in the night

We went another time, and talked like this:

‘Because things flourish by the grace of God,

I want my people to be near to him,

And to avoid what spoils proximity.

So arrogance, and eating lots, and passions

Which wreck the still composure of the heart -

You must avoid this kind of egoism.

In strictness with yourself you’ll find the freedom

Of joyful lightness of mind and heart’s peace.’

Another time, at Diffnog’s Holy Well

Behind the little church and naked trees

We drank the water and took photographs

Galya and me. And this is what I said:

‘But where the people must live lives like this,

All of them just the same in self-coercion,

They must also have leave to be alone

In fact the very core of my society

Is the monastic challenge to the state:

Let ordered isolated single people

Go looking for eternity in time.

And set up monasteries in the wastes

To combat time and merely temporal things.’

At Holywell there at the saint’s cold shrine

We drank the water three times, and the last

When gypsy men and children were with us,

We shared the place, and this is what we sang:

‘They’ll build fantastic monuments to their lord

Around the idea of solitude and order

Roads will be built and maintained, grand machines

And works of art will be created for

The celebration of our solitude.

And taxes will be paid by everyone

To pay for this magnificent effort.

An army and police will be levied

To protect it with the money got together.’

Another time we went up Moel Ffamau

My child and me enduring wind and rain,

And I told her that ‘All of this is on

The explicit and indubitable ground

That the only life worth living is the one

Lived in the utter stillness of the heart.

And never on merely human principles

Should you do anything of any kind.’

At Llandwyn on the edge of Ynys Mon

We took our torches to the fallen chapel

And to the very edge even as the tide

Washed round the silent decommissioned lighthouse.

We made talk in the night, and someone said:

‘And public rituals will be conducted

To commune with their God in public spaces.

It is a large church with a canon law

Immune to change, performing rituals

Attended by all people and the young

Especially and resolutely old.

The Christian sacraments will be observed.’

At that time we went to Treaddur Bay

And there was sea spray mixed with ice and snow

Across the windscreen of our little car

And no one else around. These words were heard:

‘The statesmen of the land will be well-born

And constitute a class of higher people

For people who compete for power are given

To lying and forgetting what is right.

They will reflect our Christian position

They’ll be elected, if that’s what you want

But, being privileged and rich already

They’ll act paternally and mainly do

By any means whatever the act of service.’

What leaves you breathless is to know the truth

That I am happy and that I love to think

That there must be a ruling caste in Britain

And that is why as we one day approached

The top of Snowden, while she was exhausted

I said this to my love with no response:

‘The upper tier of the land will be true Christians

And born to rule. They will know how to pray

And how to form and maintain our traditions.

They are exemplary in ostentation

Because they do not do that, rather they

Are frugal and not vulgar and deceitful.

But note well, there must be a chance for falling

And rising to that rank by other folk.’

Another time we went to Pistyll Rhaeder

Along the river to that waterfall

Where it debauches into mists of water.

‘And what I love is hierarchical order

Where wealth’s inherited and social status

Inherited and gathered in one place.

And lineage descends from male to male

To circumvent the habitus of lying

And anguish when these things are subject to

The base game-playing competition of life.

But let those vicious unpaternal men

Fall and be trodden down on hard if they don’t serve.’

On Anglesey are many lighthouses,

I was imagining swimming across

The high tide to one at the eastern end

Of that ancestral place one day in Summer

And how I never did Commando training.

It was as cold and dreary as it gets

I loved it so much and it started raining.

‘I’m sorry that I talk of what I think

But in these places no one else could hear

We’re always on our own,’ I said to her.

‘But I can’t keep my dream inside my belly

It must come out. Despite the hierarchy

And splendid unashamed patriarchy

It will at the same time be understood:

That this society’s every action

Is fruitless and redundant without this:

The individual alone is king.

The crowd have their day, but never trespass

On ground where the soul stands pure before our God.

The land can pass away for all I care

If this is not informing all its works.’

At Telford’s Horseshoe Falls we were turned back

That Summer when we strayed along the bank

Of the Dee there, when Police caught up with us.

They told us not to come back into Wales,

And walked us to the car; but it’s my land.

‘I have no comment on this place today.

But in the future, universities

Must try to turn out individuals

With taste, and to believe in our ways.

They will mould children into Christian grown ups.

And things like papers, like the Times or the Sun,

Along with anyone else with influence

Will be imprisoned for misuse of words

And trying to propagandise what is false.

I mean if they deny God’s love for us.’

That Summer on the hill of Dinas Bran

Outside Llangollen we lay in the sun

The girls and me and my son. A ruin since

Some seven centuries like many castles.

The mozzies bit us; we ate and were happy.

‘But people should not be taught to be happy

It is impossible and never let

A nation set its hopes on this delusion.

It’s time, by contrast, for original sin

To be recognised scientific fact.

There’s no perfection of the human life.

They’ll be shown history to prove I’m right.’

That year, no longer wary of police

We came to great Llyn Brenig’s farther shore

Where no life stirred and where the burial mounds

Of Neolithic people is what we saw.

But walking from one end to the other end

We talked a bit together, sweating hard.

And I said: ‘I would never have the law

To change in any way. Rather, the dead

Wanted to leave the world to me like this

And that is how I want it to remain.

If any change in social things should happen

I would say that the dead are not in favour.

They have the biggest say about our future.’

There are actual caves near to St Asaph

You’d hardly notice on Bontnewydd hills

They huddled there and buried one another

Ten thousand years ago on the hillside.

I went inside, but Galya didn’t like to.

We said: ‘I’d teach the children Latin and Greek

So that the birth, and the death of a society

Will be embedded deep into the minds

Of the young and old, so that they know their future.

And in addition, learn of the time of Christ.’

Near to the sea at Colwyn Bay the Orme

Had seals lying on the beach in the Autumn

They howl like wolves whose voices echo round

The bay and inside caves when heard from above.

The night was coming on when we observed them,

And I insisted, as we walked away:

‘The taste for music is not arbitrary

There’s good and not good music like all else.

And good music is music fit for God

And for pure intellect and memory.

And in the other arts what edifies

Our country and our people.’ She replied

That she did not agree and I just smiled.

And these things make me happy in a good life

That in the ideal society I dream of

That I could live there and have my ideas

Shared in common space and based upon the truth.

We went to do some work near Iron Bridge

I showed my children and my Galya

The bridge there, as it was shown me at school.

‘My beautiful land I love, and me alive

In it, and such things as these functional things

Whose dark complexity and struggling

Contrast with the destruction of our day

Which socialists get into in their hatred.’

Don’t think that I am on a holiday

When I take my beloved to the scenes

Of mines dug at Minera near to here.

I work at labouring, and my ancestors

Were miners here, and at Blaenau Ffestiniog

And miners also generations back

In Ystradyfodwg and in the Rhonda,

In slate, or coal, or lead and also lime

And above Coedpoeth covered in heather.

We went into the lime kiln from the rain

And what I said was this, or something like it:

‘Greedy behaviour, avarice and wealth

Got in the heat of greed is frowned upon

Because it demeans labour and it spoils

The soul of a man to long for it inside.’

Some time toward Autumn we had made our way

Beyond Pwllheli to Bardsey Island.

We found a holy well there which the pilgrims

Are thought to have drunk before they made the crossing

To that remote and Christian site of prayer.

We sat and watched the seals as they watched us

And ate our sandwiches: ‘In my wild dreams

I see society orderly and strong

And based on something so weak and beloved

As its ideal; and yet for foreigners,

It is a terrible power of murder and hate

Which foreigners abhor and also envy

But it is kept safe by its military.

The officers would all be upper class

Except where soldiers show an inclination

And real ability to rise up there.

And by whatever means these officers

Defend the land with tooth and nail and yet

These people have no authority in the state

But purely for defence or for attack

Against our enemies,’ and then was quiet.

If you were at mount Snowden as we were,

Then at Llanberris if you turned about

And went away from there, but to the north

You’d find Dinorwig mines lying about

Spread eagled over those more northerly peaks.

It is a mining ruin in the mountains.

Now shattered by the obscene and beautiful

The soul there is bewildered and is empty.

‘By birth the people of my ideal land

Are educated so their will is God’s.

And taught from childhood to love their country

Which brought them out of the womb and gave them suck.

But foreigners have not had that advantage

And so an immigrant is a foreign thing

Who will fit in, or be a visitor.

No changes to our world because of him.

No ghettos or new islands of new cultures

Inside our delicate and jealous land.

Freedom to be and think is fine, but law

And state and public policy will be defined

By our ancestral and inherited promise.’

On Harlech beach beneath the castle walls:

‘Outside church and the state small groups can be

Where people socialise and have ideas

But nothing at all that would hate my land.’

And this is what my heart longs for the most

That it would be a constitutional thing

That the heart meets the spirit of God in grace

When God awards it to the penitent.

And that this secret fact impossible

To be observed or proven or even known

Would be put in a law as actual fact.

And that in consequence the individual

Is in every case a part of God. And it’s a crime

To either say the contrary or do

A thing which harms the soul inside a man.

At Delamere in Cheshire it was raining

Again while we discussed this all together

The four of us, and I explained this lemma.

‘It’s possible to think whatever you want

In literature, or in some school’s debate

But in the public place there’ll be no doubt.

It will be criminal for the immortal soul

To be denied or to be pushed about

Without consent. I mean the mind and spirit

The stuff of bodies, gender, race and that

Is not worth mentioning.’ At Erddig Hall

And at the Castle at Chirk, both National Trust,

We went with others through the recent past

All gone now, I supposed, and shut today.

It makes me happy to be engineering

Some new computer at a workman’s bench

At nights like Shelley’s Platonist past midnight

Sat at drawing plans and trying scrape a living

Or trying to make an alchemist’s invention.

So there, I said: ‘It is completely right

That maths and science have a place in schools

But they’re a bit demonic of attention.

Besides, they can’t pretend to touch the heart.

They suit they study of the working class.’

We come home in the end, to Ecclestone

At Wales and England’s border where a bridge

Across the Dee was built by Thomas Telford

And walk there near the estate of Westminster.

And there reflect. And Galya said to me

Something I can’t remember, and I said:

‘The young will be brought up to graduate

Into this world. And then be married off

To someone so the race continues on.

The family home is a fit place to grow.

And then let them be given an occupation.

When I was coming up there was no hope

No public, no society, no taste

And that is how it is today as well.

But the largest object in the way of health

Is sex; sex in the mind; sex in the square

Sex in the act and in the gender question.

Let them be married, copulate and die

And this is all the mystery of it.

What stops this happening or makes it strange

Or complicated will ruin our state.’

And then toward Christmas I remember this

That we went walking near to Valle Crucis

The abbey there shut down by Henry VIII

And its remains, which only lack a roof.

‘And though the individual through God

Is sole and most important thing on earth

We shall have in my dreamed society

An actual king and he shall have a family.

For while what’s secret cannot be observed

We will attempt to see it in the flesh

God’s representative on Earth as human ruler

And he shall have a palace and his children

And be the immovable summit of the perfect

Embodying the favour of the lord,’

I said that there, and later, at Llangernyw

Where a four thousand year old yew tree grows

Indifferent to time or to the past

Or to the future, or the way they mix

Into the confused present moment, there,

Making the cross across her breast, Galya

Wandered about the churchyard out of sight,

And I communed within in that quiet place

Where people before me had done the same

I prayed that my land would think as I do.

‘And this is what you like, being positive?’

The demon asked me. I said, ‘This I like.’

Design Jason Powell, 2020.

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