Tag Archives Gresford Colliery Disaster

AT LOGGERHEADS

The Afon Alun rises from hidden springs

on the peaty Llandegla moors, and courses

through ruined mill races to this valley

of ash woodland and wych elm, hazel, oak,

of vast limestone cliffs, of redundant lead mines –

a place named for a dispute between two landlords.

Here the river waltzes, tripping over stones,

and its tawny shallows ripple and gurgle.

***

My mother and her two sisters, often

at loggerheads, rhapsodized about this place.

Crosville buses would bring day trippers

to enjoy the gardens, the bandstand

and the Crosville Tea House. In spring, folk

would walk the woods blooming with wild garlic,

bluebells, white wood anemones, celandine.

In summer, they would follow the river,

– dry in places where the flow

goes into sink holes and empty shafts –

to cross the bridge over the Devil’s Gorge.

The valley would be full of sounds – voices

calling, murmuring, distant music

echoing from the ancient, climactic cliffs

almost high enough for eagles to soar.

***

Downstream from the gorge, the Alun turns south east.

It meanders above abandoned coalfields,

and bones of men and boys left where they died.

In landscape shaped by Romans and Normans

it whirls into the Dee.

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