by Wynn Wheldon

On sunny days I can see Cwmorthin
Where the flesh of the land is ripped away
To reveal livery slate that roofed the world.

Sheep safely graze in the ruined chapel.
The hillsides weep into the reservoir.
Water cold as reason refreshes feet

Swollen tramping from Blaenau to Croesor.
Were I a believer I’d hear voices
Catch the shadows of ghosts, smell labour’s sweat.

How many found solace in the sermons?
How many spat at rough hands, rubbed and shrugged
At what brought no extra penny, no bread?

Moelwyn Mawr is healing, a new skin grows.
Quiet is restored, shattered now and then
By local boys on shrieking bikes. I fume

But in the end they go and then perhaps
I might consider their temporary stab
A mere scraping to the gouging of yore.

And yet I like the slate, the slitted walls,
The peopling of place. I lick a finger
And benignly tag my name. It dries, goes.

I leave no mark in the place where Y Parch
Wheldon preached, but I’ve a chalk for this page.
I’ll scratch it up. There’s something of me there.


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