Steps back in time

I’ve been out of the broadband loop for the past 2 weeks since moving house and have not had a chance to post some of the photos I took visiting the Caradon copper mines of Bodmin last month. A boom and bust venture which had almost ceased by the late 19th century.

The trackbed of the Liskeard & Caradon railway remains and although overgrown, many of the broad walks and paths are still evident. Along these once came hundreds of Cornish men, women too and boys. It is hard to visualise this pastoral scene as an industrial landscape of intense employment that it once was but the evidence is there for the imagining. {click to enlarge images}

“A mine spread out its vast machinery
Here engines, with their huts and smoky stacks,
Cranks, wheels, and rods, boilers and hissing steam,
Press’d up the water from the depths below.”

“Here fire-whims ran till almost out of breath,
And chains cried sharply, strain’d with fiery force,
Here blacksmith’s hammer’d by the sooty forge,
And there a crusher crash’d the copper ore.”

“And slimy boys were swarming at the trunks.
The noisy lander by the trap-door bawi’d
With pincers in his hand; and troops of maids
With heavy hammers brake the mineral stones”

“Below were caverns grim with greedy gloom,
And levels drunk with darkness; chambers huge
Where Fear sat silent, and the mineral-sprite
For ever chanted his bewitching song;”

The pathways connecting all the mines of Caradon Hill are best seen from the air

Which way?

Poetry extracts from John Harris’ “Christian Heroism” and with this plethora of tracks, footpaths and highways I’m joining this week’s Which Way Photo Challenge


Lessons in loss

My grief is a wordless thing
after the first flood, a solitary summer
that dried the river beds – and almost filled

the field of vision, colourless
opaque as cataracts drawn like blinds
over windowless eyes – but still I saw

the home become a distant speck
flying weightless, unearthly for a while
a cloud-hopper seeding rain – and there I saw

the path we trod now formless, tracked
it back though all September’s sign of swallow
had slipped South – and there I knew

that grief is an ageless thing
it heeds no earthly cares and leaves me
breathless – yet still I know

how senseless this sense of absence
since spirit is a boundless thing


In memory of Martin and wordsmithed from a list of ‘less’ suffixed words for my Poetics Prompt: Less is More, More or Less


Air on Agaricii

Ivory-capped immaculates
spored as if on angel breath
some cluster, comose and chorister-gowned
others outspread their alabaster contours
the way manta rays glide
though the seabed here is deep beech leaf
crisp and calm this late November
– far off in Stygian shadows of pine
a destroying angel stands aloof
innocent as air but ghostly
white with death


Agaricaceae are the true mushrooms including field, wood, and horse though not all are edible or white. The ‘destroying angel’ fungus is Amanita (virosa) and does what it says.


Inspired by the twiglet ‘innocent as air‘ and joining dVerse for another Open Link Night