Like sleeping statues, gaunt and trunkless, grey-black elephants,
by C Richard Miles
Great granite massive monoliths on parlous, pinhead plinths
Surmount soft, scoured, scored surfaces, etched, polished, buffed pavements
And calmly contemplate close-clustered pinnacles of clints
And blindly gaze into abyssal, gaping gap-toothed grikes
All overlooking Austwick, whose auburn, autumn, treetop tints
Reflect the last reminders of weak, watery sunbeam-strikes
Whilst scudding stratus cloudlets breathe darker, dismal hints.
Soon sifting snow shall coldly cloak the distant, dreaming dale
And eiderdown bed-blanket cover, like white ice-age sheets
Which rendered rocks all riven round to crumble, crack and fail
And carted, carven kings, unto unstable, stately seats
Like haughty raven thrones, imperious peering perches tall,
Observing rugged realms remote of rambling Crummackdale:
Divided diamonds diced by lichen-loaded drystone wall
Enclosing emerald meadow grass, all frosted faintly pale.
But still they stand, like solid, stolid sentinels, unshocked,
Strongholds of raw resilience to acid, carbonated rain
Which, rat-like, holed and vanquished puny, passive limestone rock
To gnaw and gnash till gnarled and grey, upland’s moorland plain
And craftily carve caverns cold, delved deep, sandpapered round,
Down which erosive esoteric rivers swiftly run,
Propelling poured precipitation, spilt on grasping ground,
To disappear to dark dominions, stark shaded from all sun.
The frailer, fissile fabric of carboniferous lime,
Succumbing to solution, slipped limply lower and lower,
Denuded to submission, trounced by tyrannising time,
Whilst sturdy, stronger silicates survived predation’s power:
Emboldened Norber boulders bravely bearing hail and sleet.
Erratics, some may call them, dragged from alien country far
But permanent in residence, resisting cold and heat
To dominate the scenery, supreme on Nappa Scar.