Stephen Kingsnorth is a former Methodist minister living in Wrexham. His poetry has been published all over the world and we’re pleased to feature two of his most recent pieces below. You can find more of his poetry on his blog.
The featured image shows a footbridge at Nant Mill, Coedpoeth. The photo is courtesy of CJ Photography.
Esclusham Mountain, purple rolls,
arousing erica-hiden grouse,
while bubbled throats gargle scales
where ancient shafts which shifted lead
pit peaty ferns, brown feathered ground.
These valley sides with charcoal glowed,
mines, kilns below, webbed bowel land.
Slack topsoil makes for lazy growth
amongst grey birches struggling through;
where hot wood burned through many lives,
I now face fireplace wall of stone.
Men dropped from moor to Clywedog,
down from The Wern, up Nant Mill Wood
and here they fed the chimney stack,
wives griddled cakes and blacked the grate.
Buzzards control the airspace here,
patrol perimeter land claim,
stretch their wheel, I hear their cries,
like scenting marks upon the sky;
bird conversations heard above
awoke those who this stairway trudged,
when to Minera tracks took trucks
laden with heavy plumbum gold
clawed from the earth of Pyllau Plwm.
As children trundled hoops with sticks
along this lane to Middle Road,
and dressed a clothes peg as a doll
outside this door amongst the slate,
or ran with string to launch red kites,
birds preying watched tin chapel roof
and butts beside the hill, World’s End.
Now what would Ovid, poet, say –
with suchlike metamorphoses,
a change throughout our custom life,
shaped global screening, viral spread?
Far flung, the seeds of influence,
in literature, all media,
as urban myth that grows in tracts,
our inspiration under threat?
Mark Hero’s features, myth nineteen,
as Byron, swam the Hellespont,
the strait between two airwave seas,
a channel, victim Covid’s strain,
breast stroke of love with gasps for breath?