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Peter Crossland
aka Willowdown

November 1953 -- February 2016

In Loving Memory

Willowdown – My Friend

As the founder of the Tir na nog I have known you for about 10 years. We have spoken together on Skype, emailed, but as much I would have like it to happen, we have never met. If only I had made that extra effort whilst I was working in Penang, but I didn’t.You could not come and see me but with a bit of effort I could have met you.
I was thinking about using some of my frequent flier points, but you are probably the frequent flier now.
One year ago, you posted "Walking in Sand"...

photo by Willowdown 2010

by  Willowdown

Walking on sand, a man is poised half way
between the sky and the land,
white clouds scamper over his head
yet his mind is privy to thoughts
of things that live on the deep sea bed,
his fancy treads in the faery wake of mermaids
and recalls dark forests where submerged
leviathan linger.
The mysterious singer in the Deep calls to him
even whilst the invisible stars of the midday
sky command his spirit to rise
higher than the hungry seagull crying
in the turquoise sky.
Walking on sand, a man leaves the lightest footsteps,
one minute he is apparently there,
the next he vanishes utterly,
stepping through a pocket of air into another world
built not on crude ideas and rivalry
but, rather, beauty, grace and subtlety
for though he steps upon the crushed and shattered bones
of tiny beasts and angels
powdered down by time’s longevity,
he is a vibrant angel himself
and a million glorious devas of light
cascade from his wings like spores from glades of delight
wafted down on Aeolian breezes from verdant forests
whose breasts lean on the mountains
eager to mingle with the foam and spume of the ocean,
bright music of the seventh wave,
and fill the attentive atmosphere above the shore
with new life and emotion
charged with silent lightning
and full of mystic fire and song.
Walking on sand a man is poised half way
between the sky and the land.
Come, o maiden of ecstasy
and run with me through symphonic waves;
walking on sand, the mundane and the mystic are One,
the ugly duckling and the snow white swan
converse in mutual harmony
and dance a lively turantella,
a thousand cities greater and more grandiose,
fairer and nobler than Rome or Athens
are built and dashed down every second;
wise men laugh at the sad world’s farce,
fools discover salvation in tragedy.
The hedonist exchanges his life-long self-indulgence
for the stoic’s austerity,
the miser casts away his gold and secret
love of luxury.
The poet is reduced to silence,
The pacifist’s heart is mated with the dove,
Hermes falls to earth and shatters his winged ankles.
Brahma is enraptured by the sound
of a common dancing girl’s bangles
and quite forgets his divinity;
the tax collector bums at the side of the road
and discovers his new ministry.
Walking on sand I see the black unicorn
race against the white dragon of eternity.
I see satyrs mating with naiads
and Davy Jones playing his pipes with Pan.
I see Mary Malone and St. Bridget,
I see Patrick and Bran and sail with them
to the Isles of the Blest.

I am both invigorated and at rest,
I walk in the wall-less cathedral of a greater heart
and listen to a thousand bees;
I am not this body of flesh, blood and bone
nor am I swayed or cajoled by either light or dark.
I combine and contain all opposites
yet am contained by none;
I am every man and no one,
the amnesiac King that sleeps
and the radiant King arisen
undefeated, anointed, shriven;
I live and die with each crashing wave
yet am more than the sum of my parts,
not just head or loins or heart
but the indivisible totality of all things
that are, ever were or will be.

Walking on sand I reach out my hand
and the Universe reaches out two hands to me.
I am alive, though the clamouring dead
of every deed and every atom reach out to clasp me;
I am alive and always will be! 

photo by Willowdown 2010
You always will be to me Will. ,
                                       aka Teagan De Danaan
Walking on Sand