NASTY, BRUTISH AND SHORT


The sun is lowering in the west by the time

I reach the site. Though the hawthorn hedges

are casting long shadows, I can see

the remains of the earth fortifications.

This fortified homestead, a quarter

of a football pitch, was lived in for

six centuries, from the so-called dark

to the so-called middle ages. It was

some ‘continuing city’ for twenty four

generations – from Aneurin’s ‘Y

Goddodin’ to Dante’s ‘La Divina

Commedia’. They kept cattle, grew crops.

gathered shell fish from the shore over the hills.

We do not know why they built here or

why they left. There are no signs of havoc –

massacre or flight – and all their dead

had been buried with due ceremony.

Maybe they had received a better offer –

servitude in return for security.

 

I feel a chill here as twilight settles,

imagining the seemingly constant threat –

and yet… We are wired for fear. Sometimes

I dread – in my centrally heated house

with security lights, fridge and freezer –

the last clutch at the heart.

 

 

 

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