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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 2, June 2015

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Glyn Roberts
Swansea, Wales


Winter Hill

Across the valley from my house lies the hillside known as the Darren. When the first frosts and light hail of winter settle I am drawn to it and then, when the first snow falls, I feel I must climb upon its slopes.

The remains of an old slate quarry beckon and I scramble upon the heaps of grey stone pointing above the white drifts. These old workings are strangely compelling. They have undermined the beauty of the hillside but their ugliness has softened with time and even more so, when covered with snow . . .

the scars and slag heaps
upon the hill in winter
are repaired with snow.

I am alone. Few people come here, especially in winter. Even the sheep have been brought down off the Darren to the farm below.

In spring, a new generation will graze the hillside but for now all is quiet. I like to imagine the sheep are still here, camouflaged by the snow, and will reappear when it melts . . .

on the white hillside
the sheep are lost to winter
until the snow thaws.

My walk continues along the old disused tram and rail tracks; a confusion of main and side lines from different eras. Water from off the hill has collected in puddles along the tracks and now has iced over. I crunch along, enjoying the sound underfoot . . .

water and mud held
rigid until my foot breaks
the grasp of winter.

My winter day upon the Darren is coming to an end as I slip and slide my way down the hillside.

Back in the valley the hold of winter is already failing. By the track the overhanging ice has begun to weep, warmed by the weak sun, and perhaps soon all the snow will be gone . . .

winter grips water
with a promise of spring that
slowly drip, drip, drips.

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