Long Distance Relationship with a Mountain

David Hawkins

We got our hefting up here all right,
the wind curling round us visibly, curing us,
as if we were stones to be placed
and lichen-dappled with glacial deliberation.

And now, thinking with these hills,
a wandering sentence can be levelled
between them, tested against the mean
of wilful horizon and capricious sky.

Grey-brown green-black lutulent river
drawn easily as a snagged thread
pulling the best effects of the valley with it.
Light hurdles swiftly into huge stands of pines

and hides there with great abandon
intimate with the windage creaks and groans
in the crowns of these self-shredding trees
brashed and rusting beneath it.

Pulled back the thick curtain of moss
and found wheel ruts slanting
through the Ordovician, pulled back
at the false summit and wandered towards

a trig point decentred in the mist,
spectral sheep splayed tarsally among
the drop-skied moors, while someone else
is summiting surely in their own home-made uplands.

A snipe whittles up from a cloak of rushes
and I try to keep its ember alight with my eye
until with perfect clearance it falls
off the edge, or edges beyond seeing.

A particular breeze tugs its harmonic
adjusted to our hearing, we are earmarked,
as across the Irish sea a shadow range
of mountains echoes unsayably.

Here the so-called Black Road
on its endless ancient traverse over the ridge
intersects the local corpse road
that looks to another false summit

before the tireless sway of the Atlantic.
The real inheritance: looking at ravens,
waiting for their croak in the welcoming gloom.
The names of all the rocks make their own ground.