Never to Return
In three-hundred years of attempted occupation
of this cold green wet
sucking land where marsh-wind
and driven rain alone can kill a homesick soldier
the Roman garrisons stationed here
could never once ignite a single beacon fire -
so no help ever came against the thrashing axes.
Afterwards, on the site of their hill fort,
nourished on the nutrients of Roman bones -
long grasses flourished
on barely recognizable grave mounds,
their whistling stems flattening themselves
to the gloaming earth whenever the
Indigenous spectres glided by, patrolling, imprisoning.
Today, hawthorn hedges enclose this place -
they grow quickly on this land
and are good at containing its livestock,
if not the sounds of its invading dead
who on the night wind will still cry out for release -
still scream for the warmth and comfort of hearth and home
until warned to silence by the clanging of a Celtic dawn.
Tim Goldstone lives deep in rural Wales, where against all advice will walk into marshland until he sinks. Travelled widely including working and backpacking throughout the UK, Western and Eastern Europe and North Africa. Published in print, online, and anthologies - including The New Welsh Review, Stand, Crannóg,Cambrensis, Anti-Heroin Chic, Ellipsis, Altered States, The Speculative Book, and forthcoming in The Cabinet of Heed, Déraciné, The Trove, Veil: Journal of Darker Musings, Cadaverous. Recipient of Welsh Arts Council scholarship. Twitter: @muddygold