where slate spills from the land,
like prehistoric teeth.
I bite back, snap
with my new camera,
angled for scenic views,
fail to capture
that dead outreach,
the way silence underlines
charcoal, and my hand itches
to pull each ledge,
maybe climb to the top.
If I could find the perfect piece
I would write on it in chalk.
Pretend to be an old-school child,
instead of just older.
I can’t see my face in the green water,
flanked by cliff and sunshine gorse,
that cool, elegant emptiness has me.
K. S. Moore
Earlier this year, my family and I visited the old slate quarries in the village of Ahenny, County Tipperary. Now disused and a little desolate, the quarries still contain an air of history, of industry and beauty. Due to several accidents having occured in the area, it feels as though the public have abandoned a place that used to hum with good work. It was a thrill to absorb the atmosphere and take pictures, as if we could breathe a little life back into our surroundings through our very presence and attention.
The poem above has strayed little from its original first draft. It came to me in a rush of words, much as the slate pressed itself into my eyeline- all juts and struts and bursts of existence. Despite my intention to edit the poem, it refuses to be anything but itself – a pure, fresh response to slightly eery but awe-inspiring surroundings.