The lost hamlet lies
like a broken skull
uncovered in a theatre of beetling slate.
The ravens heckle,
circling the grey bastions above
resenting our careful steps on their stage.
Old dwellings these
of country rock
built humbly before slate was found.
Encompassed and made secret by the walls of waste and the trees.
among the oblivious, waving birches
on the terraces of slate
you could look down
see only the crowns of ash and willow.
We enter by a hidden way
low under laurel and rhododendron
setting foot in a magical world.
has lost a lintel, doors, windows,
most of the roof.
Outbuildings only sketches in random stone.
Remembering lines but not knowing why,
the walls stand square within the trees,
defended by brambles.
A fireplace sits marooned, confused
halfway up the gable
tended by a dirty willow poker.
Shadows scuttle over emblazoned walls
sixties abstracts of peeling paint, decay and lichen.
A wren flits through like the quicksilver
tread of lost memories.
Ivy prised the doors open,
subdued slates off nails
the cold calling of winter.
Only the empty sockets of floor joists
show where a child dreamed
sleeping on a small bed in the corner.
Hard to imagine Mr Pritchard after a long day
with the quarry horses,
leading their philosophic hooves,
the slate retinue of waggons
through the tunnels and the pyramids.
Putting his boots by the door
easing weary limbs into a chair.
The unglossed routine of a life.
I wonder what were his dreams
and where his bones lie now?
The wind gets up, annoyed
rattles what's left of the window frame.
Throws leaves to the blind fire-back.
The trees become louder
branches beat a hooligan tattoo.
Rhododendrons shuffle and whisper
falling slate shatters like china.
Our way leads home
along Mrs Pritchard's garden path.
Quartz pebbles enclose fading memory of herb beds.
The Raven notes our depature with approval,
Croaks to his wife over teetering slate.
Warns of rain before the curtain falls.
This poem is copyright Iain C Robinson 2017. No reproduction or copying of this writing by any means, electronic or physical is permitted without prior agreement of the author.