Over breaking heather a sudden breeze
takes my hat.
Then peace – a touch of air on the cheek,
one small white cloud hangs silent,
just the tseep . . . tseep . . . of shy pipits
Grey stones, strewn like lost teeth –
who is the owner of this tomb?
Nothing comes; but here is a pool dug for thirsty grouse,
the sliced edge a profile of years,
an earth sandwich to gaze upon.
Dark peat above dun, ice-age clay.
Where is the filling? The rich,
forest humus that the old ones
tilled to feed their families.
It is gone.
The earth they heaped
over their fathers’ stone-lined cells
has also blown. No bones, just half-sunken
bleached rocks litter the moor.
On the breeze, faint voices,
perhaps the chants of celebrants,
the laughter, chuckles, sobs, shouts,
commands, giggles, the mewings
and the whisperings . . .
All the way down I wade
through waving grasses, purple and gold.
Ringleted creatures rise up from my stride
and dance like children in brown frocks.
Claret thistle heads nod.
the whin pods crack.
Far below, on the floor of the dale,
an old tractor clanks and rattles,
turning hay in July heat.
3 July 2011