For Bert

Saturday Night: Long week at work, 6 days so far, perhaps 7 then on again. The leaves are falling now in Portland, and the winds are rising. We are heading towards Samhain, and the veil is kinda thin.

I have been having some amazing lucid dreams. Perhaps it is seasonal, perhaps not.

More postings on the way!

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
In Memory Of Bert Jansch
Bert Jansch – “Blues Run The Game”
Poetry: Philip Larkin
Bert Jansch – October Song
In Memory Of Bert Jansch

I think it was early 1966 that I heard Bert Jansch for the first time. I was hanging around the Folk Lore Centre, and someone put on his first album. It was of course, an import. Too expensive for me to purchase, I heard it just a couple of times. I was very impressed. I knew he was important, and I kind of grasped what he was doing. I was of course 14 at the time, so I didn’t have the musical knowledge to fully comprehend what he had done with his acquaintances borrowed 2 track tape recorder in his flat. Along side Davy Graham, Anna Briggs, and his other musical partner John Renbourn, he was charting new territory for British folk music. Listening today, I am astounded. Listening then, it was like a great wash of beauty on that late winter afternoon.

Three years later, I was in San Anselmo at some Sufi friend’s house (students of Sam Lewis) and someone put on Pentangle’s “Basket Of Light”. I was absolutely transported. We sat and listened, and I felt like I had returned home. This moment brought me to my roots musically. Although I love many forms of music, British Folk is where my comfort lies.

I have listened to Basket on and off now for some 42 years. I started listening to it with new ears in the late 80′s when I understood folk traditions better. An amazing body of work, some of it going back to pre-christian times.

Bert’s guitar work, phrasing, and articulation have always amazed me. He got out of a guitar what Jimi Hendrix did with an electric. Mind you, without effects, or playing it with his mouth. 80) His singing is an acquired taste for some, but easy on my ears. He had a way with inflection that I always found disarming, and as if he was in the room with you.

His body of work is quite large. I could go over all that he did over the years, but you can find that on-line if you like. Bert’s gift to me is on a different level. His music is part of the rich tapestry of our lives here at Caer Llwydd.

Thanks Bert for the beauty that you brought with your guitar and singing. Happy Voyage.
Bert Jansch – “Blues Run The Game”


Poetry: Philip Larkin

An Arundel Tomb

Side by side, their faces blurred,
The earl and countess lie in stone,
Their proper habits vaguely shown
As jointed armour, stiffened pleat,
And that faint hint of the absurd –
The little dogs under their feet.

Such plainness of the pre-baroque
Hardly involves the eye, until
It meets his left-hand gauntlet, still
Clasped empty in the other; and
One sees, with a sharp tender shock,
His hand withdrawn, holding her hand.

They would not think to lie so long.
Such faithfulness in effigy
Was just a detail friends would see:
A sculptor’s sweet commissioned grace
Thrown off in helping to prolong
The Latin names around the base.

They would no guess how early in
Their supine stationary voyage
The air would change to soundless damage,
Turn the old tenantry away;
How soon succeeding eyes begin
To look, not read. Rigidly they

Persisted, linked, through lengths and breadths
Of time. Snow fell, undated. Light
Each summer thronged the grass. A bright
Litter of birdcalls strewed the same
Bone-littered ground. And up the paths
The endless altered people came,

Washing at their identity.
Now, helpless in the hollow of
An unarmorial age, a trough
Of smoke in slow suspended skeins
Above their scrap of history,
Only an attitude remains:

Time has transfigures them into
Untruth. The stone fidelity
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.


Morning, a glass door, flashes
Gold names off the new city,
Whose white shelves and domes travel
The slow sky all day.
I land to stay here;
And the windows flock open
And the curtains fly out like doves
And a past dries in a wind.

Now let me lie down, under
A wide-branched indifference,
Shovel-faces like pennies
Down the back of the mind,
Find voices coined to
An argot of motor-horns,
And let the cluttered-up houses
Keep their thick lives to themselves.

For this ignorance of me
Seems a kind of innocence.
Fast enough I shall wound it:
Let me breathe till then
Its milk-aired Eden,
Till my own life impound it-
Slow-falling; grey-veil-hung; a theft,
A style of dying only.
Annus Mirabilis

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me) –
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles’ first LP.

Up to then there’d only been
A sort of bargaining,
A wrangle for the ring,
A shame that started at sixteen
And spread to everything.

Then all at once the quarrel sank:
Everyone felt the same,
And every life became
A brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game.

So life was never better than
In nineteen sixty-three
(Though just too late for me) –
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles’ first LP.

‘Waiting for breakfast, while she brushed her hair’

Waiting for breakfast, while she brushed her hair,
I looked down at the empty hotel yard
Once meant for coaches. Cobblestones were wet,
But sent no light back to the loaded sky,
Sunk as it was with mist down to the roofs.
Drainpipes and fire-escape climbed up
Past rooms still burning their electric light:
I thought: Featureless morning, featureless night.

Misjudgment: for the stones slept, and the mist
Wandered absolvingly past all it touched,
Yet hung like a stayed breath; the lights burnt on,
Pin-points of undisturbed excitement; beyond the glass
The colourless vial of day painlessly spilled
My world back after a year, my lost lost world
Like a cropping deer strayed near my path again,
Bewaring the mind’s least clutch. Turning, I kissed her,
Easily for sheer joy tipping the balance to love.

But, tender visiting,
Fallow as a deer or an unforced field,
How would you have me? Towards your grace
My promises meet and lock and race like rivers,
But only when you choose. Are you jealous of her?
Will you refuse to come till I have sent
Her terribly away, importantly live
Part invalid, part baby, and part saint?

Bert Jansch – October Song

Adios Bert… We Love Ya.

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