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A poem a day for four days

Elaine Walker

I was nominated by a friend on Facebook to post four poems - as I'm so tardy at adding material to this site, I thought I'd post them here too. The first was inspired by the landscape around my home. I read this poem aloud this week for the first time in a while, when I took part in The Watchman's Walk as part of Denbigh Midsummer Festival.

Moors Weather

The moors stretch flat into the distance, until your struggling feet learn that flat is a relative term, that small undulations, deep holes and hollows, sudden crags and thigh high bogs make A to B the tiring route. There are no straight tracks on Mynydd Hiraethog.

‘Hiraeth’ – longing, yearning, an ache in the heart - they are like that, these flat, not-flat peat moors, worming their way under your reluctant skin while you think of softer places to live.

Places where the wind stops thrashing occasionally, where winter is over before June and summer extends beyond July. Places where trees are many and stand straight, not leaning alone, weather-crippled like Wordsworth’s leech-gatherer.

Then moors weather closes in to offer a damp embrace. The hills leap closer with mist hovering at their shoulders and each sprig of heather stands out clear below. Every lush and lethal bog shines bright green, and moisture soft as breath soaks you bone-deep in moments.

Moors weather, when blizzards rage for two days straight, making you seal your family, home and animals safe inside as best you can to wait, and wait, and wait for the silence. The utter silence.

Then you venture out into a strange world of snow gate-high, swept into waves and billows, filling the lane and the yard, burying cars and human things. Reclaiming the land as wild, destroying fences, phone-lines. Isolating you in white too bright for seeing.

Except when fox-cubs catch your eye playing in the drifts, or rabbit tracks or badger prints remind you of the secret lives, unseen alongside yours.

So you stay a little longer, brave a few more winters – long winters, short summers, no blissful spring or fruitful autumn.

Just moors weather, under your skin, niggling at your heart, defining home.

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