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PEN BARRAS PASS

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?

 

 

 

© Copyright David Selzer
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2 Responses
  • Mary Clark
    May 10, 2021

    Human enclaves clinging to their hilltops, surrounded by mystery, enticing or terrifying, that’s a telling metaphor. Thanks, David.

  • Clive Watkins
    May 14, 2021

    ‘The bird’s / black magnificence is ruffled by the wind.’ – Yes!

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