Moorland

The moor has a dialect
abrupt and guttural,
harsh and impoverished.

It is the sharp tongue of the wind
berating the bracken;
and the yatter of rain.

It is the hawk’s cry
and the hare’s scream
and the low cough of grouse.

Swarthy the moor’s complexion;
its skin of peat
pocked with reed colonies;

and heather primed
for autumn’s explosion
into purple erysipelas.

It partners the sky.
The two of them cohabit,
blend and intersect.

The morning mist
brings a confinement
of all horizons;

while the wester sun
burns its image
on the moorland pools.

This unhedged margin
is our borderland
and needful wilderness.

May its rough thirst
never be slaked by fertile lime,
or by the dew of pasture.

– David Morphet 2002