All here seek solace, food, solitude. Winds

Scoop stories, spilled as oxygen, from fishes’ gills. Waters

Dam folk tales in this opercular gorge of corporeal rocks –

Medieval legends, excavations of mind and mood. Bird

Skulls and dog’s tooth embed the roof of a barred, arched mouth, treed

In a dark verdure, sheltering violets, holed up towards the Northern sky.

A metal bird crashed through this sky.

A black-billed migrant, unbolted, moulted on the splintering wind –

Swept soot and scorched prop, unbelted bark of cracked willow,

Inurned, burned at the wellspring of still, sombre water

Swelled to waking, rising to meet rook’s caw and bellow of goose

Yawing earthwards as seeds of ash settling to the slope of rock’s

Shattered seam. A hollow – concretised. Byre and scow rocked,

Heeled-in below the clay-reddened foot of an explosive, strongarmed sky.

Stars burrow deep pinpoints, blacker-blue than the jackdaw’s

Eyrie eye, lighting twining river and ducal den, labyrinths unwound

To flood an ancient, bared spine where blunted nerves would steam

A railway line to uproot charred, boughed elms

Creaking whisperly through gaps in iron gates, spoiling-up secrets to birches

Unhooked from flinted crooks, knaps and dust. An earth-hewn clepsydra crock

Seeps water –

Fowl, musked with dog-fox and piked with silt-slit tusk. A dusky

Roost of winged fingers clasps echoes from high-pitched howls, windles

Over sluice and ditches under dawn. Plateaued low, bird’s-

Foot deervetch stretches to encowl hart’s-tongue and monkshood. Robins,

Tunic’d ochre as shodden leaves, outcast from noble oaks,

Loot berries – sun-blackened – from the wreath of iVy’s twin’d

Helical stoles, shawling the soothsaying hag, carved out of crag –

Casting petals upon reflections of Ophelia – unwed offerings to the sky

Larker, red breast-boned, pale throated. Muse doused and thwarted

In the webbed cleft of the hoofed gorge. Thawed, earth-horned ice

Slices, incises aurochs. Scrapes, from this sanctum wall, an ibis –

Augury of abstraction – shook from the melted pelt of a Neanderthal sky.

Cats prowl and wolves growl. Grazing clades gather ancestral saplings

Stripped bare as bone antlers, spanning wide open tundra. Tools of ironstone

Splice myth and epoch into an epic history in which time and tales enwind

To reveal the enskyed, omniscient authors – chiselling trees

And moulding birds – before the etched, lithic face of Mammoth Rock;

Squalling seers of sculpted water, these ageless, archival, changeling winds.