Howden Reservoir and Dam, Derbyshire, England

           Dark Ages

 

             Ranging within the two stone dams
             encasing Upper Derwent Reservoir.
             Towers and walls as imposing
             as early Norman keeps
             across the vied-for country had to appear.
             As sudden as a déjà vu,
             the morbid, hazardous impulse
             to run lost in the forest
             besieging the fern-covered slopes
             along the shoreline,
             or sink in the cobalt blue waters.
             For a moment I seemed
             to hear clangs in the distance,
             maybe roaming gangs of Saxons and Danes
             opposing the late invaders,
             in the brave but worthless struggle 
             not to relinquish power
             and submit to the newcomers' rule.
             Thrill and terror mixing in my blood,
             the urge of present days
             out of the echo of distant times.
             A shiver through the undergrowth
             and there I am: 
             back alone onto the bumpy, winding road
             outlined by larches.
             Just wind and shadows after me,
             bend round bend on end.
             Whispers from the flanking shrubs ahead:
             disbanding warlord ghosts attend.

 

 

 

               First published in The New Writer (UK)