At the very top of the pass a crow is perched
on the car park’s dry stone wall. The bird’s
black magnificence is ruffled by the wind.
With two wing beats, as we approach, it lifts off,
above the narrow road down the escarpment,
into the thermals from the valley.
A market town and pastoral farmlands
are hundreds of dizzying feet below.
This range of towering hills stretches north
from moors of gorse and heather to the coast
with caravan parks and carousels.
The iron age hill forts on four of the peaks
are enigmatic. Who built them? Why?
Were they all linked – by messengers or beacons?
Did they trade? Imagine the same gods and stories?
And did the view westward, over the empty vale,
of distant, purple mountains, treed then,
or eastwards down the gradual slope
to that far, wooded plain, empty of cities,
inspire or terrorise?