Right in the moment
The coltsfoot are out on the bank above the beach
below the newly dug rabbit hole. Lords and ladies
(cuckoo pint, jack-in-the-pulpit) grow beside celandines
and, along the road at Bardsea, Roy’s Ices doing a
roaring trade with bikers and parents, grandparents,
children playing in this bitter Easter Monday wind.
Across the bay I imagine I smell smoke from flames
burning hillsides of gorse and heather, new growth
soon sprouting, smoke rising above Heysham power station.
Today I’m collecting small pieces of smoothed slate
for my niece to carve her rune stones. She tells me:
‘Did you know that flint axes found at the Neolithic
axe factory Pike o’ Stickle were smoothed on sandstone rocks
St. Bees?” Polished greenstone volcanic tuff.
I’m catapulted back in time when forbears crossed the fells over
Wrynose Pass, dropped down to the Duddon headwaters
that have their source at Great Moss. Up they sweep, wrapped in
what? Bearskins? Wolf? To scramble up to Hardknott way way before
Romans trod these fells, or miners naming paths ‘Moses Trod’ –
did these Neolithic men and women hug their children to them, clutching
too, their precious axes, rough until they met the rougher sandstone
rocks at Fleswick Bay where Wordsworth fell asleep, dreamed
an open book and lamp, dreamed of Arabic lettering, dreamed
as I am now this moment, drowsing in the hum of computer, recalling
the low thrum of off road bikes drumming up and down the beach;
people licking ice creams, watching the sea come in. I drive home,
small darts of yellow suns pinprick my retina, coltsfoot growing.