The moor is bilious, secretive and strange.
Under the weather, yellow grass fights for a hold in the soft ground
but sphagnum is likely to win.
Water patters into the untopped chaos of the North Sinc,
seeping through the teetering tips.
Most days are washing days,
soaking down through the dark adits
past the wormed pump, the wagons, the rails growing rust shells
out from gloom again.
The drainage adit a mystery
smeared onto the side of the hill far below.
In the north chamber
a chink of light, high up
makes a study of the fallen crane,
shear legs fibrous and delicate
while rusted brackets weep ochre.
Above, the tramway, seamed, puddled and tadpoled
reflects planished sky and memories.
The old mill offers all it has left.
Gnarled fingers of wall point to the sky for quarter
none will come, only oily rain.
Inside, the roof beams and frames of forgotten machines
lie over all at unexpected angles.
I looked but couldn't find the fabled north road handlebars
scratched in the wood,
though found "WD" and "Jones, 1936".
"Evans 1904" had a quiet voice,
he'd carved with skill and finely,
his name echoing faintly down the years.
On the top of the hill
three chasms are punched into the moor,
unguarded, like a brazen mischief done.
The wind flutes its fell music across
keening for the men who once split slate.
Hunched between the tips, an old cwt
hunkers, as if dodging from enquiring eyes,
shocked to see the situation it finds itself in.
The tips are built up all around it
a slow, fingertip tsunami of slate.
Now the lichens have equably
badged what remains.
Birch has yet to visit, but spruce
regretting it's mistake
among the slate dust and the heather.
The skylark skirls above the rain
The ravens cronk.
Somewhere in their black memory
the moor is untouched by man
unclassified by light.
Stacks of slates
ready to send, in 1960
are now a blue-grey geological card index,
sorted occasionally by the wind
infiltrated by rain
but weathering out the years.
Copyright Iain Robinson 2018