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When she is not there, he runs his rough fingers
over the lips he cannot feel with his working skin –
his sun-stained, dip-dried, sheep-tending hands.
His mouth feels what his hands cannot.

Nothing is ever tender enough for him,
save the newborn lambs he sends
to their hideous deaths; a deep division in him:
Half of him understands her. Half does not.

The lambs fall into the chasm between.
Wool scents the brief and artless
kisses he gives her , meeting and parting.
Boy's kisses, laced with lanolin.

One day he hopes to hold her
to his heart for just a little longer.
But his arms will not go around her.
He is too large.

He does not see that she slips to his side
naturally, for his one-armed embrace.
Turns her cheek to his shy face with pleasure.
Does not reprove him, nor wish to,

for those soft stolen seconds on her lips that
she knows last for nights in his virginal bed.
While she is kept awake in her chamber
by the bleating of lambs, he counts sheep

in the fields he inherited, under the moon.
It is left to her to be the shepherd.
"Which one of you, having a hundred sheep,
if he loses one of them, would not leave

the ninety nine in the pasture
to look for the one who is lost?"
What loss each time he leaves her!
Lost, too, the moments between.

Anxious for the time that is left to them,
they look for each other ceaselessly
But for that brief and binary tenderness,
do not find common ground.

She longs to hold him to her heart one day
for just a few seconds longer.
But her arms will not go round him.
Like the lambs, she is just too small.

11 Comment count
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Kisses laced with lanolin

Beautifully tender poetry, Harrison. Reading it leaves me in another place, another time, where the edges of imagination and reality blur – I think in a realm much like that of the shepherd.

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"Another place, another

"Another place, another time, where the edges of imagination and reality, blur..." that is beautiful and that is Wales. Again, (as we spoke about on your Telltale Souls blog) this too is memoir - called poetry, this time, instead of fiction. I doesn't matter what I call it, the story remains the same: Wales. Thank you for your beautifully written response. ~H

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This is so beautifully tactile H - I taste and feel and dive into the folds of words you cast on the page. I like when you say ''it doesn't matter what I call it'' - it somehow liberates it and yet, in a strange fashion honours the tone, the subject. m

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Folds, Enfolds.

The folds are tesseracts and living in Wales, Welshly, really, is tessering. Knowing how to navigate the real as opposed to the apparent - all these folds that allow us to walk from one place to the other, without the tedium and life-shortening time-spans that would keep us from our destinies. You chose the exact, perfect word! Folds. I knew you would. Hx

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Working skin....

How potent is this one phrase, Harrison. And then it unfolds, the shepherd, the lamb and the isolation of the non-grazers.

"But his arms will not go around her.
He is too large."

"But her arms will not go round him.
Like the lambs, she is just too small."

The same thing and yet different. In one it is his loss, in the other hers. It is like something slipping away even as it is so grounded in the earth, the fields...

But "his mouth feels what his hands cannot". And thus spake the heart forsaking silence...

I just lived it, so thank you.


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Literal Poetry

Is there such a thing? But I am, and this poem is very literal. The person in question is very very stout and very beautiful. His arms will not go round me as he is constrained by the rest of himself. My arms will not go round him. Everything in it is literal, if literal means "exactly what I see." I'm not sure it does, but I don't make things up. I just look at them and write what I see. For a non-fiction rendition of this, if you are interested, please see: http://tinyurl.com/solow-bendithion in which you will find your "thus spake the heart forsaking silence." Farzana ~ thank you. H

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A singer’s song

The moment I read this I thought of Bendithion and Timothy and the magic of what is supposedly one image and is not, is reality and beyond. And your answer to Farzana confirms the setting and the continuation of your love for the place and the person. The childhood sweethearts he himself mentioned have become now, with this, another of many songs.

Graceful. Grace full.

Of course I love it. M x

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Insight and Imagination

Powerful combination. You're right, of course. This is what I wrote in yet another story about Timothy: Everyone is someone's song or story. He's my story, I'm his song - in this book. And out of it, sometimes.  (And just for those who have not read Bendithion, Timothy is a "confirmed bachelor" and I a deeply happy married woman. No hanky panky going on here!) There is no name for this connection other than the one he came up with and I must quote Farzana here as I have been wantonly doing all week - "to be categorised is near-death." I am so very glad that my metaphysical Red Room friends understand all these grace-filled things without need for categories! Thanks, Mara.

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I'm a little overwhelmed with the private emails and public comments from so many of you, so I thought the best thing to do was to upload one of Timothy's songs on my Red Room page. In this song, sung with a Welsh Men's Choir, Timothy is somewhat overwhelmed by the choir and it is very slow (especially for Americans). I could have chosen a song in which only Timothy appears. But this is the song I like the best and the Welsh Choirs are so "Wales" that I chose this. Besides, he sang it to me once.

I will answer everyone soon. Harrison x

Note to Sain, Timothy's recording company who were so very generous in allowing AGNI to include a 5 song CD in the issue 66 in which Bendithion was published, and who burned a special disc for the occasion: This is for the purpose of advertising only! I am pointing anyone who listens to this to http://www.sainwales.com/ or to iTunes where they can purchase any of Timothy's songs or albums.

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This is so Wales. Although I've not been, your writing makes me feel as if I had. A timeless piece that illustrates your profound connection with a beautiful land and people.

The next to last stanza is a gem!

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Thank you, Alice.

Unbelievably it has been over three years since I posted this and I did not for some reason, see your kind comments. Much appreciated. Thank you.