Window into the past

The lonely cottages endlessly wait
High in the screes of these ancient hills
Huddled by lakes as grey and still
As if they too were made of slate.

But the miners are gone and will never return
Who now would live and quarry these heights
Battling the cold of the icy nights
With only a few cut turfs to burn?

Who stood at this window? Did they enjoy
The mountains’ stern and lonely beauty?
Or did the grind of their arduous duty
Leave them too exhausted for joy?

Even gloved hands feel the chill of the stone
And I hurry back out to the wan winter sun.
More than time divides me, hiking here for fun,
From the long-ago miners who worked here alone.

This poem was inspired by this amazing photo, taken by Richard Penlington – which I came across at Cafe Philos, and by the prompt “Through a window” at one single impression.


12 responses to “Window into the past

  1. This is haunting. Such places seem to collapse the past and the present together. I wonder if the miners ever imagined who might stand there one day and think about them.

  2. “Leave them too exhausted for joy?”
    This wonderful line questioning an existence in what seems to have been a harsh and demanding setting sets the tone of a visitor’s observation. The emptiness of the window, devoid of glass to soften the light, or to give shelter from the elements invites the power of the landscape inside. I enjoyed both the words and the photo of the beautiful mountainous landscape.

  3. That was a wonderful and inspiring picture indeed

  4. I could almost feel the haunting of the miners as you touched the stone window sill. Lovely poem and wonderful photo.

  5. Beautiful picture and thoughtful poem. I especially like the last two lines – “more than time divides…” It is amazing how some places evoke history and emotion. Perhaps the intensity of such solitude imprints the emotions of those who lived there into the earth and stone.

  6. What a mind- and soul-broadening experience for you. I enjoyed your poetry very much.

  7. Both photo and poem are very striking.

  8. i live in nor cal,, and sometimes i feel that the old prospectors that tamed these parts would be rolling in shame if they could see what the prodigy thy left behind had become…

    very nice view….

  9. That is the best First Impreesion today!

  10. In some places, there is often a distinct aura of souls that wandered or worked there! Mining areas, places once inhabited by native peoples and prisons are 3 places where you get the sense of souls still there!

  11. This was so different and so enjoyable. You also have the perfect image to go with it.

  12. What great inspiration, both the photo and the prompt. I love what came out. And the impermanence of its inhabitants as compared to the longevity of the rocks. Nice.

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