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Manifesto for a Simple Life


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“I want to live a savage life,
Of bared teeth and beauty and love.”

From Twm Gwynne

I want a life of simple wants;
Simplicity isn’t much to ask.
I’m not big on lofty goals
(other than changing the world).

I want room to stretch –
To stretch out my
Cloistered
Hunched
Aching shoulders.
I want room to stretch my arms and shoulders
Wide enough to hold the sun.

I want lungs full of air that tastes like air,
Like trees and streams and stones,
Like fighting and sweating and fucking,
Like seeing and hearing and touching.
Like life and death.

I want hands rougher than they are;
Black with dirt, thick with vital heat.
Skilled hands, wise hands,
Marked with signs and scars
Of a life fully lived.

I want knees that stoop to touch the soil
To plant a seed,
And never know the bend of deference.
I want feet that track out lost paths through venerated groves,
Through eternal grandeur,
And never demand a neck upon which to rest.

I want to walk through giants;
Ancient,
Full of secrets.
To touch their bark and know their life,
Their runes, their place.
To whisper among mountains
And chant with gods by firelight.

I want a hall, a house, a hearth,
Gathered friends that grin and laugh;
Those close to my heart,
With them I’ll share some dear-bought mead,
And gentler drinks.
My folk is all folk,
And I’ll skin the one who says a skin can tell you anything;
I’ll stretch his hide over my shield,
In our hall,
Where the only meat is pig
(the kind that drives in squad cars),
Where rapists are eunuchs before they’re dead.

I want to be a walking fire
That burns and so is burned.
Full of courage and of action,
Whose words are proved by deeds.

I want to live a savage life,
Of bared teeth and beauty and love.
I want to live a filling life,
Of building and growing and laughing.
I want to live this life,
With all the pain thus far,
I’ll defend it, and live it,
Until, at the last,
I find a place where I can pass
With no regrets.


Twm Gwynne

Eater of wild things, denier of stricture, communiser, poet, gardener, casual rambler – in essence, an anarchist in pursuit of the freest life he can grip. More of his writing can be found at his blog, Among Thorns, and at the radical poetry project he contributes to, Night Forest Cell of Radical Poets.


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