Monday, 22 November 2010

Old slates

The unsilent mountain side is soused
and still and still there's more this day
incessant stair-rod rains and insane gusts
above the black lake's surface ripped in vees
where waterfalls pour milk and we stand alone
in tussocked grass and bog upon a slope
of broken slate that's stacked in steps
into the mists and the unseen bleats of sheep
like us chilled deep into the bone and there
I feel the presence of an angel.

The blue slate quarry house below
is but a pattern nettled on the ground
as if an excavated dig had left and left it so
a fallen monument to men who roofed the world
and to the sons who were called away
to Ypres, Somme and Mons.


  1. Powerful with a great lead in line. You are into your wars these days!

  2. Thanks Gordon, this is another in my poems from Snowdonia series - and it is a place near the Dinorwic Slate Quarry (there's a photo a few posts back) - in the Snowdonia Welsh villages there are the usual war monuments in odd corners but they are not glorious like the one outside the King's residence in London. Many of these men, already working like slaves, now called to war had not even a decent pair of shoes to their name and yet they were called to live their lives. It was empty stomachs that drove them to Flanders. By the second world war the situation was not much better. My father, for example, wore his sister's boots to chapel.


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