Ruth Bidgood lives in mid-Wales. Her collection Time Being (Seren, 2009) won the Roland Mathias Award 2011. Her most recent collection is Above the Forests (Cinnamon Press, 2012). It was jointly launched with Matthew Jarvis’s Ruth Bidgood (University of Wales Press, 2012).
Country Church at Night
Not so much silence
as voices, hushed.
Not so much voices
as emptied sound.
Not so much sound
as pulsing in dark.
Not so much pulsing
as stillness, alive.
Not so much dark
as starlight, waiting.
Walk to the Rock
When he was eight
we went to the Rock of the Birds.
He was ahead of us, eager
to get his first sight of the Rock.
When we reached the forest gate, and met
the openness of afternoon light
over green and tawny solitudes
of the upper valley, he stopped,
eyes fixed on the grey craggy shape
distantly barring the further way-
very small from here, but in its nature
Away he went, looping and winding
to and fro between path and stream,
and always nearing the Rock,
that slowly, slowly grew, suddenly
becoming just that- a huge rock,
challenge, playground, something to use.
He scrabbled up its fissures and ledges,
whooped, whistled, ran along its crest,
paused once in a while to see
the wilderness that lay beyond,
slithered down, gathered breath
for the slower trudge down-valley.
At the gate, he looked back
at the grey shape that stretched,
tiny in the distance, across the valley.
‘Now it’s big again’, he said, and smiled.
A treasure found between
promise and memory,
a bracketed beauty,
the searched-for house
revealed itself- pretty, gabled, white,
a farmhouse once, perhaps no longer-
perched above clean-swept yard,
a low wall setting the house apart
All I knew
was of a man who lived here once,
nearly two hundred years ago;
his son, who left, but in the end
came home to die.
Then and now, sheltering trees behind,
light screen of more across the road. Beyond,
gentle mile upon mile of wooded valley,
gold hills, blue hills,undulating
into far distance.
On the way,
by the winding road , a woman
had come to her gate, directing me
with the zest and drama of someone
sociable, living in isolation, for whom
a stranger’s query was a happening.
The house began to live.
And after, remembering it, remembering
the beauty of those great benign
solitudes, filtered through drooping boughs,
I felt the discovery of this place was not
simply enclosed by the journey there
and then the thinking back, but mingled
with all of that, in a blurring of time
and feeling- joined with more, too.
There seemed no gulf
between the falling in love, so suddenly,
with this discovered place, and any human love;
for each embraced the other, each was now
more deeply felt for this conjunction.
Into the same
mystery, their roads ran on.