old rail lines

                    MIDDLE ENGLAND

Aconites shower colour onto the grass,
Their gleaming petals lying gold
Against the faded silver of petals past.
Bright as summer, they blossom.
Bright as false promises of a brilliant future.
At the bottom of the fields, the stream
Leaps like a lamb over brown stones
Lying on the river bed.
It’s here that in the dusk,
The bats play Tag in the scented air
And through this clear water,
Fish flirt with the rising moon.

This is middle England.
A land of spell and myth,
Where corn fields roll over roads,
Fly up hills
And plunge reckless to the valley.

Last century,
Within memory of men around here,
Within memory of women’s hands
Beating coal dust out of clothing,
Pitheads were sewn into this land,
Tall pit wheels standing
Like slivers of jet in the land around them.
Lovely ships anchored to a soft horizon,
Floating over tree tops.

Now these ships of the earth’s core
Are gone.
Their blackened docks,
Their ugly quaysides destroyed.
They were majestic,
Like the Queens of the ocean,
Lit from stem to stern with pinpoints
Of light.

Will it all go?
Aconites, river, hill and valley.
We weep for what has already gone.
Let the trees stay,
Let those old forest remnants
Give bone to the earth,
Joining bone to loved bone.

                                         © 2019 Gwen Grant

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