There was trees up there with broad leaves,  eyes closed or not, and a yellowish blue sky full of midges and crane-flies. Fields with seeding grass and low hills orange covered in bracken.  There were sharp birds on the telegraph poles and thrushes under the hawthorn. Most importantly there was a lane low down, with high sandy banks either side, and in the bank was riven small paths this way and that from nocturnal animals.  Further down the lane, where a loop took it languidly between the bullpen and the yard where the stink of silage was the highest note for a moment the sand had been thrown out of a badgers sett and coloured the lane, veined with rivulets from a blue plastic drainage pipe running from the top field.

That lane led onto a road and the road was mostly quiet enough for me to kneel in the centre of and pry the cracked rubber housing up from the cats-eyes along the centre line and prize the glass lenses out like a pearl collector. When someone came along though the road was fast and it led quickly west and north and twisted its way across the plain past the oil refiner, its towers keeping eye like two fat sentries

I grew too large for the cot and was driven upstairs, into the first floor of a brick cottage with straw in the plaster and barely a stick of furniture.  but that wasn’t the last of it.  In the rough quarters i was confined to upstairs, my mother had laid out a small bed and wash table a chest for my few clothes and some pencils and paper.  This is when i discovered i had a sensibility towards drawing, imagery, the magical skill.  I felt like for some time i would smell herring coming from areas of the room, or a chemical taste.  I also experienced a strong taste of marzipan, similar to the taste of apple pips when crushed and chewed between the teeth. and when that came over me i would take the paper and i would draw.  I drew simply at first, that landscape, larks and night-catchers, that i heard calling, referencing only my imagination the results were fantastical.

When my mother was out shopping or at the hairdressers, and later when she was working at the caff. I would open the latch on my door and creep about the creaking little cottage listening to the rats and mice scampering away over the ceiling, to hide in the broad iron drains.  When those rats became too bold, too arrogant in their ways and the cold clustered them in nests tails twisted and tangled together my father would boot the huge copper kettle on the cooker and stagger with it to the attic where he would open the hatch to the roof and sluice the scalding water down the pipes.  My mother would chop at the screaming rodents as they flew knotted in pain and panic out of the drainpipe downstairs with a spade, in the same way she chopped at the carrots on my plate. chop chop with little stabbing motions mechanically. and later how she would chop chop in futility at the partially mashed and  liquidised food she ate in her old age. 

Mind the mind, the memory, the mind forgets, the hand remembers the sheep of the shovel or the grip in the fingers and the invisible prick of the seamstress’ sewing needle.  The wrists wrought under strain and stress, twist to and fro with the tremors of the shuttle back and forth, clack and back and forth echoing for decades in the tinnitus of the ears. The spots the rot the sun leaves and around the eyes goes leather with squinting.

The word of them coming along the lane or as it was the track and the path, for they used existing ways in their push north and west from the soft southern coast up to the border, worse was as they fled, the municipal rug pulled from under their sandled feet, looking like local lads back flipping off the bridge into the dee out of piles of dull dirty armour looking pewtery like trout like fish scales on some giant kitchen floor.  who to tell from who after three hundred years of military occupation, blood spliced and spilt like fruit trees in my granddad’s garden Conovii and Powys never seen the edges of the island not the wash nor the sea.  As for darkness, an age of darkness, the sun still shone, our cows still drew milk and we were alright I reckon.  Crying often about the problems of others, empathetic to a fault. 

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