I wrote nothing of summer, high or late,
nothing of the kingfisher I saw fishing
on the pooled river Irt, nothing of the loosestrife
and downy oat-grass I lay in while I watched;
and that was the easy part, the flashy
feathers of morning, the sheep in neat circles
of shade beneath the oaks. Iā€™d left my car
in Nether Wasdale then walked to Strangends,
Foxbield Wood, crossed the river at Hollins,
then Santon Bridge, through Mecklin Wood, skirted
Latterbarrow, then down to Forest Bridge.
At Cinderdale I should have found damp dusk,
should have found the cinders of the day.
But at the triangular crossroads, a place
steeped in human pause, something palpable
as the heat from a coal fire in winter blazed
in my face. The highest reaches of the beech ā€“
six trees close packed ā€“ were flame and they were water.
The green sun, the red cattle, the blue-faced sheep:
everything primary-bright, solid, and yet
see-through. For a long while as I looked
into the heart of the valley, the silence,
I could only think that it was life
or death I was being shown. But as I write,
I see it was continuance, or to use a word
as poetic as Cinderdale ā€“ ceaselessness.