Alexander Averin

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Powder Mill

Black Powder


The curlew’s lonely, plaintive call,
drew me to  high Dartmoor

by way of moorland paths and woods of willow .
Ancient trees and trackways  led me to a legend,
to ruins of stone and to a powder, crude and black.
Below Birch Tor, stonechats nestled in juniper groves,
bees  landed on heathers, whose purple mingled  
with the  yellow of gorse and broom.
I dreamed  awhile  in gilded sunshine
beside the Cherry Brook of pure water.
Moss-covered  branches of dogwood
laid with  playful September shadows.
Nearby, within decaying buildings of  stone, 
I saw  the ghosts of the gunpowder-makers,
leather-apronned, copper-handled tools in hand,
working, safely, to prevent some dark catastophe,
making the cake  they called ripe charge.
I saw Indian saltpetre, Vesuvian sulphur
and dark black charcoal burnt from the moor.
I saw slabs of  cake being beaten, sieved and tumbled,
heated by gloomstoves  and dusted with lead.
As smoke rose from  tall chimneys,
slabs were packed in oak barrels, leatherclad.
Watched over by the skylark, they were carried
to damp tin  mines, to clearance cains,
to dry powdered quarries at  Swell Tor, Foggintoor, Merrivale,
cradled,  so very carefully,  in the moorland  ponies’  carts.
Cait O’Connor










Mac n' Janet said...

Incredible imagery, as always, thank you Cait.

Fennie said...

Love the pictures - particularly the his 'n' hers house - if that is what it once was.

Pondside said...

Beautiful, Cait - and I saw tin mines when I was in Shropshire last year, so was able to put that picture from my memory, with yours - a complete picture, with your words.

Pondside said...

........and I meant to say that you always have the most beautiful header images.

Mrs Black the shoppe keeping cat said...

You do have beautiful Header photos! These words and images touched me deeply. I used to like to sit near the old tin mines and structures in Devon and Cornwall. They are sad, abandoned, but have such a story to tell. x

Friko said...

Dartmoor, a lonely landscape, similar to he Welsh hills.

Your words bring it to life, history and today.

Pam said...

Atmospheric Cait - I fulfilled a dream by going there not so long ago. Part of the ambition was to understand and experience writings such as yours -landscapes, sights and smells so unfamiliar to Australians.
I revisited earlier blog posts of mine from many years ago and your comments were there - thanks Cait for your time and visits. Much appreciated.