Peter Larkin: Engladings

These poems are loosely derived from the Welsh englyn penfyr, traditionally involving a stanza of 3 lines, the first with 10 syllables, the second with 5-6 and the third with 7. I have more basically and less fleetly substituted a word-count for the syllabics and forgot the second line was intended to be at least one syllable shorter, so my pattern is a line of 10 words followed by two of seven. One poem goes for a fourth line. Some of the contributory material is filtered through translations provided by Francesco Benozzi in his excellent Landscape Perception in Early Celtic Literature (2004).


Engladings (Englynion)  [extract]


Never a settled stance at enhancing unless the hills petition:
after preaching sedentary green to the island
greener thirst of any chance-pliant plant


Tree to a lunge is how an element switches ground,
swatches (of lean-to) have been to
the conicals of its swaddling the rebound


Soils, why so green-come, took colours off steep winter?
Long haunches, time grows a petulant green
over pale yewtrees, a transform hunch-steady


Discrete horizons press on concrete continua, not thrown over, just
an unspilt at being so given over,
ocean feathering the off-flutter of land


Brave tackle very rod, shapely bidden, well-hidden in shrift:
spindle and juniper chariots of natural act,
how prayer is upcast pith and arm


Tempo as topology glides tuitions or advisory entrussments onto space,
reckoning the durational undertow of middle things,
how an unremoved bough creates new attributes


Does present a towards of the sampled, examples para-representative:
forwarding assent is tall secondary miracle,
perforated stare of leaf agency simple adjacency


Landscape its whole crescent slice of beseech, one beech each:
or at times by a token oak,
its rarest foil so nearly above holly


Tree-grapple any assault is accustomed to bring: despite place
wish that some cording fleck its tag,
scarce then but not serried in arrears


Lets conceal what resigns bare to the chest of seed,
the stewarding will foster many muffled alerts,
in proportions of shallows where it dabbles


As spun off should be neighbours, rare to the full:
winds sweep offbelt the sack thickening woods,
bespeaks a carrier not gone upon expedition


Remission at the nape of branch, defray contention: hazel adjudges
it suspensive (new attentions) of the conflict,
dispense bracken and broom from general turnout


Notables of the stood, common tree (accessioning) oils the bowl,
smooths a final sprawl of woodland shafts,
retire spike and enrol ancient horny trees


Compressive braces in tree-cutting, ivied hazel the only hospital,
atones in immature commotion, as evasive undergrowth
will sound immune ringing of parted forest


Freest of all counter-slippages from removal, penalty of lopping
is these targeted limbs, larger reversionary adhesions
scarce as every risen distraught series was


Ripe fruit safeguards bushes, whose palisade is juice converting raid.
Alder ahead of lime, piecing its firsts,
ivy pure respite in seeking an appearance


Tree toward passage inclines every cancelled sheath of its return:
one drift in midst (sift) of leaves,
surges and dormancies, for purges and normalcies


Operative stasis not oasis but full standing at relational take:
here settled (adjacently whittled) as believe periderm
receives it, pouch of tree announce implication


Linkage heeds branched texture, foliage fetched, a rift in a
rib in raft of receiving, low-pressure
emphatics, at local crook its own unsawn


Pilot of the shaded decoy, limbed from hill to hill,
along the stoppages (spiral strappage brief mending)
of a wood which ridges bail out


Green waves freshly cut (float) where a flood is due,
diving then the scan of imbued horizons,
prompts a coast for shore of oak


Woods a without of effort, woods a within of effect,
that safe core rinds before it climbs,
cavities of thicket hollow in field density


Congealed branching wounds in one, thorns those are my palms:
over-stretching woods congregate green-teamed, as
much abroad as any grievance of shelter


Diagonal hands rear a branch-time’s durational escapement, locally collapses
infolds cut from the delay of it,
what outswing curtails for a covered slope


Less post-reductive originals but a scarcer conduct of gift,
every common rarity each such sponsored horizon,
prayer in slender depth result sprung from



Peter Larkin contributed to The Ground Aslant: an Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry, ed. Harriet Tarlo (2011). Among his more recent poetry collections are Trees Before Abstinent Ground (Shearsman, 2019) and Encroach to Resume(Shearsman, 2021).


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