St Beuno's poems by J. P. Wooding
To St Beuno’s
Henry Kerr and Mr Bodoano met me at St Asaph, Mr Bacon put scarlet geraniums in my room.
(Journal of Gerard Hopkins, Aug. 28, 1874)
Fall, then, of dregs-from-the-wine-vat
petals; say, blossom aleatory.
The thought (today’s) is this: unique
selling point of religion is (still) holiness.
Petals in blood-spill asymmetry
make it more arduous for sanity.
Stamens sift rich sand in timbre,
shock flakes are tumbled pumpkin.
Count the fallen petals. Sixteen.
The nib of my pen jussive in this affair.
Holy order. How could it be arbitrary otherwise?
And as it happens, four left on one stem.
Now, in this confusion of colour and coloratura
something’s transparent apparent –
(as wine too may only mean one thing in such a case;
it’s indiscriminate after all) –
We shan’t last long. Holiness takes her chances.
She falls in the dreg-petals, drunken.
(J. P. Wooding, St Beuno’s, 2016)
Silent School (at St Beuno’s College)
Biocrats know, don’t they, whether I can speak
of God at all in a disconfigured world?
On Offa’s Dyke path God unpreempts
delivered speeches, withdrawing light
from a single strand
of this wind-flickered spider’s web.
Frost-buds – grey-haired – becoming apple blossom –
(it’s not for me to be original) –
and hail falling on Moel Maenefa;
how to forsake Gerard’s “damn’d subjective rot”
o, powerless power –
I never get far enough away, as you know.
But delay is play in the labyrinth here – think
simultaneity and separation,
resistance and reassurance –
hieroglyphics and let’s say birdshit
at the centre
and all your eccentric unseen is nó móre.
How I love to take notes (which will never be seen)
on birdshadow’s imprint in memory’s eyes,
on triggered caprices of angry birdsound –
no omniscience out there, checking
on me – tswit, tswit –
Look! shimmying grass blades in an icy wind,
and the way tree roots break the woodland surface there,
bridled and brindled by cone and needle
and last year’s leaf, and the gathering, great
encampment of leaping-dolphin ramson leaves,
stinking up the narrowing pathway.
And so, how do you share this silence, Greenleaf Whittier?
Must I share silence
just as vinegar bibles into vineyard,
and the disfiction of God impartially
whatsoever changes God, and vice versa?
(J. P. Wooding, St Beuno’s, 2013)