Poem By Mike Tonkin
The valley is silent apart from the
calls of woodland birds,
a single anoraked figure exercising his
from thicket to long grass in search
Of a scent,
and the scuffle of nocturnal feet
hurrying home before the dawn,
creeping over the horizon
in a crash of colour,
heralding in the new day.
The wooded slopes are
a bosky backdropp to the ruins,
in this idyllic setting of winding
waterways and leafy glades.
They made gunpowder here
that innocent looking black powder.
Men, and girls with yellow hands,
laboured to produce this explosive
mixture in mans hunger for battle.
But the valley which rang to the
sound of machines and the industry of war
is now a backwater of peace.
Another more powerful force is at work,
that of mother nature,
with a quiet industry she reclaims
Imperceptibly and with studied care,
tree roots seek out
weaknesses in walls and floors,
while wind and rain cause the
ironwork to decay.
Wooden doors and window frames
rot, small beasts working under
natures tutelage gnaw and
reduce to ashes mans dreams of mastery.
The stonework will take much longer
to break down, but will in the end
be just a pile of rocks
decorated with moss and lichen.
As the heat of the sun wakes
the slumbering giant
out her dark green raiment,
it becomes a beautiful wild garden.
Bluebells, primroses and anemones
decorate the valley, a glimps of a
multicoloured kingfisher in the sunlight,
a blackbird collecting nesting materials,
and in a pool of clean, clear water
a robin bathes.
Lilly of the Valley, more perfumed than
gunpowder drench the air
The valley is tranquil now,
the men and machines are no more,
but the valley will remembers them
and what they did to her.
She will not forget.
Written with Gillian Rowe