Up hill and down dale.
Frost’s crunch beneath tread on the moor top and fell scaled.
At least until the wind near took our feet, turned us around.
One day the rain lashed in waves that rolled across valleys like smoke
Gave us eerie light, pale and ominous as noon struck.
It etched an image that will last many more turns of the clock.
Paths wound us through fog to brief plateaus where we sat on rocks
produced tobacco and papers, drew on rolled cigarettes,
ate sandwiches before moving off again.
Other times, perfect silence reigned when snow fell
in those big slow flakes that settle layer on layer.
Our merry crew didn’t always reach the top
but we tried every time.
Without fail, though, we found warm pubs
their grumpy landlords and assorted dogs
at each day’s end.
And mornings with bleary eyes,
coffee and soul music,
the evening headlit car trips home,
hip hop on narrow twisting roads
were just as much a part of it.
Stretched legs and cleared heads
keep winter’s gloom at bay
bring up past stories in new places
ensure those firm friendships are maintained.
This is the first piece I’ve written since starting to work in the unofficial refugee camp know as ‘The Jungle’ in Calais at the start of August. The camp is going to be evicted soon but there is and will still be an enormous need for donations of clothes, tents, bedding, food and money. Please follow Help Refugees on Facebook for information on how you can further support efforts in Calais.
The sky’s furnace orange
and it’s deep iron grey
meet above the mesh,
the razor wire curls
and dust clouds.
End to end
to end to end.
Four games, lengthways.
Bright green nylon covered
rubber’s pop on wood, and then its flight.
collective gasps when there’s a fall.
And the chatter,
of sandy kneed, crook legged
lines of crouched spectators.
The rule of thirds, almost to a tee
in this frame, a snapshot, but never that.
And across the barren space,
a strip called no mans land, there are men and life.