Bog miles are a long spill of rust, flat cloud and the road
a single feature snaked through rain that’s veiled us
all day. Until the lake, an alpine face-lift stretched
as cellophane – too level between hills. No piecemeal
moss and fraying of things
going under in their own time.
At the museum of drowned farms
litanies of loss are framed – Shelley’s house where Harriet
crushed blueberries for gin. Cast off in London
she dropped under the Serpentine.
Rock and water age alike, soft dulling, the seep
of weed, its binding.
Such lost slow dying
is not recorded here.
Retrieved perhaps down the valley where a chapel
has drunk in its years
for the roof to sag, a yew to flake blood bark, for swallow
droppings to fur panes
to stitch glass to sky.
The reservoir stalled us, a shield
as if that blanketing sealed in
water’s coal flatness, its playing
out of inertia, glassy
laid over, sky polished as a lens
for probing intimate structure.
And maybe aftermath is all you get,
however deep into the hollows
of stomata you peer, however many layers
you call a journey: Outer bark, inner
bark, cambium, heartwood,
pith. The roots are anchored
to shadow, the branches opaque
as a stem word,
We walked there, hunted the affixes
drowned with one farm and a fist
of valleys, broken, gloved
in sheen – limned out from text
the lost ferns,
tuned to less light, their fruit
silt-brown, their leaves
keel ridged, ovaries
Rosalind Hudis is a poet, writer, and educator based near Tregaron in West Wales. Her poems have appeared in a variety of print and online journals and she has won several awards, including the Wilfred Owen Bursary, and prizes in The National Poetry Competition, the Poetry London Competition, the Magma Poetry Competition and the Aesthetica Creative Writing competition. In 2014 she was runner up in the International Dylan Thomas Poetry Competition. In 2013 she was awarded a New Writers Bursary from Literature Wales and an Arts Council of Wales mentoring grant. Her début pamphlet, Terra Ignota, was published by Rack Press in January 2013. A full collection, Tilt came out from Cinnamon Press in autumn 2014. She co-edits the online literary journal, The Lampeter Review.
Artwork courtesy of Valériane Leblond – ‘Does dim dal’