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Contents Page: December 31, 2010, vol 6 no 4

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Ken Jones


A Plodding Present

Beyond the ruin a gap toothed fence of upright slates. And a green track. Leaving the pasture it climbs steadily through scrub and heather, wild and lonely. I follow unseen black beasts, their hoof prints filled with thin Welsh rain. Each time they disappear into a bog finding the way on the other side becomes more difficult.  Finally no more than a sheep path through dead bracken, round outcrops blotched with ghostly lichens. I hide inside my hood from a flurry of hailstones  boxing my ears.

The raw landscape becomes more intimate. This bleak solitude thins me out. And what’s left is edged with frisson. A whiff of fear for this creaky octogenarian. 

a broken ankle
and  a sharp young moon
playing hide and seek

But, for now, the ground levels off, the wind grows keener, and the path and I finally lose ourselves in a confusion of bogs, pools and hillocks. The broad back of the pass. Over on the right is what must be Pen Carreg Gopa.   It’s somehow reassuring to be able to put a name to a face – even one which has so little to say.

Ahead the land falls away and, in fading light, a panorama of, waterlogged tussocks, stretching away to the horizon – pathless and quite impassable. Spreading my map on a rock I bite on a crunchie bar

Half a mile to the left a great conifer blanket covers the moor. Ten thousand tight-packed sitka spruce – a sterile no man’s land. Except for the open mouth of a firebreak, reaching to a distant logging road? Or perhaps not?  I let it swallow me up.  Dipping and rising, it soon shuts out the moor behind. While far ahead the dark green tunnel fills with evening mist.

the plodding present
a firebreak
through a forest without end

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