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.