Renga: Dreaming the Land

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During the first week of our Land Journey throughout the day we would take time to stop, consider, condense and write contributions to a communal Renga. Upon our return Malcolm spent an evening with Poet Linda France going through the lines written in the purple book. I hope you will agree that they give a rich flavour of our journey. Rengas work best if they are read aloud, perhaps with two people reading alternative verses.

A big, big thanks to Linda for putting her time and poetic sensibility in putting this together and to all of our participants for being wonderful.

Dreaming the Land
Footsteps treading the path
dappling of sun on fields
the relief of connection

ferns unspiral their tango
trees sway to the beat

ten thousand whisperers
heads bent in crowds
of wind and light

Eric arrives in the dark
fire burning bright

Farne-freckled flights of birds
lace the land
sea and sky together

mew of swerving gulls
joy!

*
tiny model world
river curves seawards
cloud shadows creeping

alone and together
bless the synchronicity

fluttering wings
tumbling grouse
calls to its mother

mist covers the heart
blown away by my tears

come from the sea
Darwinian shrine
to civilized settlement

stone-ringed fortification
or grand palace with a view

every generation
heaves up Humbleton Hill
seeking sheep sorrel

I cannot take my eyes off
Old Redpath’s scrapyard

the curlew’s calls
blown to the sea
before wing arrives

walking in silence
we walk more together

wriggling between rocks
wind fierce in our hair
horizon surrounds us

basin of stones
gathering past and present

sit and watch life
before this grass grows
from the sand of your grave

*
fallen stone
purpose beyond memory

I am a link
in a line of silent people
snaking through heather

below Cheviot and Hedgehope
bobbing heads of cotton

*
cold toad
squatting in my palm
gone in a jump

lost knowledge
marks on rocks

stop for breath
lark looks
into my eyes

the voice of the wind
words blown like chaff

slow airs on the hill
a bee conducts
interrupts

coffin with black bones
monks carry the memory

time shrinks
we are lighthouses
holding the space

you can’t stay cross
with a hill for long

*
unearthed we tread
iron and bronze
hinged histories

make your engine kind
yield to nature as steel

under the pit-sawn oak
aisle of scutched stone
solace of deep silence

her earlobes zipped
lime green to match her trousers

cooked or raw
behind closed eyes
my tongue tastes the world

barbed wire fence
mimicking the gorse

lift the latch
one hand touches, then another
striding through

metal and fire, ephemeral sisters
born from coolness, rock and tree

Divining the past
Now we are listening
Ancestors calling

how did it happen?
what was it like?

today’s winged warriors
steel birds stoop
take bearings from hilltop cairns

like those before me
I carry a ring, a knife, a clasp

*
I am part of this land
which keeps on giving
forgiving

in paradise insincerity
clogs my throat

flowers – feast for the eyes
we leave a trail of flattened stalks
a collective gasp

children, grass seeds
scattered across the earth.

A Walking Renga –
from Fenham Grange Farm, near Lindisfarne,
to Lady’s Well, Holystone,
30th June – 5th July, 2013.

Participants:
Peter Andreson, Rachel Bollen, Emma Bowers, Tom Butterly, Marg Craig, Malcolm Green, Neil Diment, Geof Jackson, Georgiana Keable, Steve Lancaster, Gail Lawler, Eric Maddern, David Metcalfe, Eka Morgan, Pat Renton, Wilf Richards, Ali Safari, Andrew Sclater, Ruth Thompson.
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