by Ken Jones
From the mountain ash
another year
of crimson berries

It can be reached by a twisting, overgrown forest track. Even when you have walked it many times, imagination still lurks around each vanishing bend. And then the dreamt lake, with its grassy islets. Long and narrow, its upper end forever out of sight, in mist or summer haze. Perhaps that is the other way out from this desolately beautiful upland of tussock and bog. Years ago I funnelled my brother's ashes into one of his empty champagne bottles and hopefully flung it in that direction.

Sky blue and clinker built
moored and waiting
her owner

The boat and its mooring chain are, as it were, inherited. On sunny days I make my way through the reeds and clamber aboard, baling out the rainwater.

Worn old keel
the lift of the water
the pull of the tide

Over the exit stream is a rickety footbridge, which has to be crossed one at a time. On the hill opposite a ruin is being slowly devoured and spat out by the westerlies. Disgwylfa - The Lookout. Stones trickle from its sightless windows.
The few small irregular fields are bounded by banks of coppice hazel gone wild, and hoary ant hills, each its own long shadow, dot the pasture. A landscape worn thin and pressing close.
A track up onto the moor fades out among nettles, bracken, and small yellow flowers.

Charnel ground
beneath the turf
singing bones

Last year a visiting shaman friend crooned along with them. My deafness saddened her. But in this, bleak landscape, which can only be swallowed whole, it is the skylarks that I hear.

Autumn ebbing
a broken fence
wanders through yellow gorse


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