Elan Valley

Percy Shelley’s house hid under the lake
And I quoted a line or two about sleeping lions
Stood looking out on the bridge
With you and your friends

Across fields we rambled
Looking for mushrooms with magical properties
I felt a deep and healthy fear
Looking at the vastness of the land

They ran chanting like Indians
Through the pine trees and down a slope
I couldn’t keep up
And for a moment you all disappeared

We stopped to fill a water bottle
At the stream I took a moment to think
That everybody should live
Quiet and simply, just like this

Talking about getting older
At last we walked through the heart of Elan Valley
And you said that Leonard Cohen captured how it felt
To be twenty-seven

Whilst looking silently at your face
I knew that I would never forget these days shared
And that this was one of the happiest moments
Of my life

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Your Name

I’d begged you to see what was in front of you, to see how completely I was yours for the taking. Your calm repose and indifferent responses only impassioned me further. It was all a joke to you, it seemed. My agony, my desperate attempt to explain just how totally in love with you I was, was nothing more than a passing compliment that would fade in moments. Hysterical, I began to panic and babbled in a frenzy. A slurry of home-truths spilt forth. You were repressed, a coward, a narcissist, you were in denial, you saw what we had and it frightened you, you were too weak to allow yourself to love me, or too weak to acknowledge that you already did.

In the midst of my tirade, and as you began to blush with fury, a group of young women who appeared to know you came by. They whispered unintelligible insults about you into my ears, all speaking at once. Were they the ghosts of your past come to haunt you and enlighten me? You watched for the briefest of moments before walking away shouting out ‘you’re fucking mad, don’t ever try and contact me again.’ From the back of you, I noticed you wipe a tear from your cheek. ‘Don’t waste your time on him’ said one of the women ‘he is notorious.’ ‘I have to go, sorry’ I spluttered pushing past them.

By now you were nearly out of sight. I was running after you as you cried, walking away all in black. Every time I got close to you, some obstacle came in the way, pinning me down or holding me back – metal wires which appeared from nowhere entangled me. It was good that you were crying, I thought, we were finally getting down to the bottom of things. ‘What shameful past is holding you from living your future?’ I wondered as I continued to shout after you, desperately calling out your name.

Out of breath I shook off the mysterious and unearthly wires again and again which creeped after me like vines of ivy. The passers by pointed you out, ‘that way, he went that way’ they would say with one finger extended towards a point in the distance. I squinted to make you out, in your black silhouette far down the road. I was still crying after you but I couldn’t breathe anymore, I couldn’t take in enough air, I couldn’t reach you. I woke up screaming your name.