no. 1: “trace” [mine]

Written in the style of a renga on walking the tunnel routes of Smallcleugh mine.

The Nent-side track
steepens past the smeltmill
stoop into darkness

torch light turn
to wade the entrance flood

on the horse level
step along the incline flats
crawl the roof fall gap

on wagon rails
follow the line into the earth

the way unseen
sense blurs lost to the dictate
of the tunnel wall

past grim piles
of stone deads

once galena bright
walls drawn tallow-black
by guttering candles

trees locked into
doors chutes and roof

standing at Wheel Flats
a fractured rock vault cavern
rising up above

on hands and knees
crawl the short cut

painful observance
on the cross-cut crawl to
Sun Vein blackness

water bubbles
along Elliot’s String

the anteroom
offers the space
to breathe

at the limit of the light

roof rises
walls fall away
the silence of the Ballroom

under the fell
the tunnels lie silent and still

on Knoutberry Hill
windblown birds live breed and die
plover pipes unseen

the route back
along almost remembered lines

tunnel crawl
to a cave of quiet stillness
at the Wheel Flats

the straight tunnel
almost fast enough to march

an unseen torch light
dark disorientation
on the edge of sense

hobnailed footprint
of men long gone

ponies dragged wagons
round the whimsey
sound splashes the walls

last bend along the line
the tunnel and the entrance

inside the adit
water’s dark gurgle outside
stones crunch to Nent’s rush

past the smeltmill
walk down … walk off.