Unseen Tintern

smoky wreaths
plentiful and heavy dismissed the sandstone and the columns’
reproachful stare

medieval light

long gone the

sloops and schooners that disgorged ancient cargoes to

foam the river break the land and pace the shore

some lost building still discernible might be
a barometer of time despite the litter of rocks thrown from past storms

the plan with all its attendant intricacies flooded his mind
he began skirting what he imagined had been the furthest borders its form coalesced and sparkled in his imagination identifying stones that marked the foundations two further boulders that served to suggest the entrance
he turned to consider the view across the adjoining land


pallid dripping unloved

yet flesh and blood had been here gliding the broad nave treading the night stair scattering bright nerves that would unearth stone

‘… in the cloisters, what is the meaning of these ridiculous monsters?’

now light splinters

now a strange fog creating a ziggurat of levels bites the air an equipoise of light and smoke suggesting a littoral of thought tied up somewhere near the quiet curving limit of their world that became a

grinning dark dark beneath night’s dark

roused something alive in nightmare boots

slipped a tarnished coin bet
ween the stone floors
and shuddered into the fading mouth of the life they’d lived

a moth circled the tracery

watching the insect arch and take flight he remembered as a boy seeing a dead magpie its ancient arms visible through a mess of feathers the flesh long since fallen away as he considered both he could not be sure that hurt did not linger on in the bones


focused on dissembling only their evidence carried weight
behind backs they crossed purposes and countries leaving no way back
the roof an eardrum spat with thuds and groans and the beat of death

the shadow-hinge swung
the light blanked out

darkly they lived a grievous distance

as we now stall in the pre-articulate

a bloodied bar of light crept down dead leaves flooding the turf of the choir a grey mist hovered as a pale Lazarus dawn began to break revealing a landscape beyond imagination in its geometry of desolation

splintered pinnacles black smoke paddling the sky


the mist had turned the sea-resembling bay to a bowl of milk


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