mist rolled in –
a settlement of pale net layered itself
on the hillside opposite, and sagged
into gardens and lanes, bleared terraces
of gable-ends, nestling in to stifle all
but its own rumour, letting only the pin-glow
of street and window lights poke through.
It flattened valleys, lagged farm and woodland,
swallowed Dark Peak and Bradfield’s mound
into a sky white with it, tasted our tongues
as we talked of it, beaded our hair and lashes.
Morning sloshes in gutters,
pelts tarmac with its urgent gurgle-hiss,
the radio gushes out flood warnings.
I peer out through the weft and warp
of our rain-braided window on mud
leaping puddles in grass and gravel,
Walkley Stream overflowing its runnel,
pot-holes filling to discharge in gulleys
down our road’s ribbed gradient,
and last night’s mist, slow to thin
in its outpouring, still fleeces us
of field’s depth: near hills show as bones,
roof and tree lines seem sketched
in charcoal on translucent stone.
From Fay Musselwhite’s debut collection Contra Flow (Longbarrow Press, 2016). Listen to Fay Musselwhite reading this poem on location in Walkley, Sheffield: