So much about Dartmoor was a mist-illusion –
its retreating skylines, shiftless names: Ducks Pool
meant neither pool nor ducks but bog-sumps, lark-shrill …
Wind in the guy ropes, that was the dead hunt’s hounds.
(We cowered, half willing them. Yes.) Moss-cobwebs
in the grey, the wisht-man’s wood. The Hairy Hands
that might lunge out of darkness like our adolescence coming on.
Elsewhere, the world was making claims
on reality. We turned and headed for the mist or something
hidden in it, something sure as blast holes, chisel-cuts in granite,
benchmarks for another real. The granite, cold
with wet, yet warming to us. Friction that drew blood
and that we clung to, a hundred feet up. The quiver of taut rope
between us. Knowing that if I yelled Hold you would hold.
For RC at 60