52° 16′ 30″ N/ 3° 50′ 22 ″W

The ice-cream van left leaving behind a trail of half eaten cones. Now there is nothing except for dust and sunlight. A splutter of starlings hallelujah through the sky coming in ahead of the dark.

I sense but can’t decipher the signs. But maybe they could, the grey monks, now rumours and ghosts. Like the stories I remember of distant summers.They left one night in rain and smoke. Hideous shadows filled the road, their scriptures folded into the muddy furrows of fields.
No lamps. No light. Just men walking out to vanish. Long ago.
I never heard from them again. Yet still I sit up in the dark and pray: for faith. For anything really. Are they hovering still in the hedgerows and undergrowth?
The sunlight grows thinner. More tourists arrive. Photograph. Leave. Look back.

Whatever was dragged and trodden is still here some where. They run at the back of my mind like a powder of snowy footprints from the house next door.

No lives here any more
but if I walk just beyond the hedge
west, along the presbytery
and stop at the gate,
I am haunted by an unexpected
flash upon the mind’s eye –
glass spun to resemble skin and double time

a strange unease like robbing a bird’s nest
all tunnels and faith turned to dust and
hunting grounds for snails

a heron flaps out
on the border of seaside trinkets.

Saintfoin, a French name, meaning holy hay, is very useful as it will grow in poorer land than will good hay grass, and is much liked by cattle. It is a beautiful flower, growing in spikes, the colour a pale crimson, exquisitely striped with deep scarlet becoming more purple as the flower fades, so that the top of the spike is often a light pink, and the bottom deep purple, and when the wind rushes over a field, it brings out changeable waves of colouring like a shot silk.

extract from Pwllpeiran


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