The pleasure of walking with someone
you don’t know well
but come to know better, one stride
matching itself to the other, finding a way of progressing
despite this weather. Snippets of talk
snatched away by the wind
or stalled for an instant and hanging
outspread like the buzzard whose two-foot wingspan
governs the entire valley, drops
in a rush of silence
on something small, but important.
The paths you push
where paths never were,
transient as sheeptrails, ponytracks
running parallel, drawing together, apart,
the rough heather springing up behind
but never completely; so that anyone coming after
might gather the snags of conversation
as you climb higher, into the clear
domain of ravens, a dolmen, sudden
lush emerald rings of grass
where something human must have been.
And the wind blows so strongly
when you stand on the Tor
that you can hardly stay upright.
It rips through your cagoule
and the sound is the sound of a kite
that someone is trying to fly
or the sail of a dinghy
years ago, in a Sussex harbour
shuddering, testing the air
before it filled and the perfect silence happened.
Caroline Price grew up in Sussex and Suffolk. She studied Music at York University and the Guildhall School of Music in London and has worked as a violinist and teacher in Glasgow, London and Kent, where she now lives. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in a wide number of magazines and anthologies over the years, and her interest in the French language and culture have led to readings and writing residencies across the Channel. In 1997 she represented Kent in a tour of Northern Europe by women poets from Kent, Ireland, France, Belgium and Flanders, and more recently she co-edited, with Myra Schneider, an anthology of poetry by women poets: Four caves of the Heart (Second Light Publications, 2004). She has published three collections of poetry, Thinking of the Bull Dancers (Littlewood Press, 1987), Pictures against Skin (Rockingham Press, 1994) and Wishbone (Shoestring Press, 2008).