Monthly Archives: August 2015

Blackland, Northumberland


Impressions of an abandoned lead miners cottage near Weardale, Northumberland, July 2015

The edge of the moor – Blackland

A name that summons the darkening heather. Vast inland sea of changeling flora, plotting transits from purple to leadgrey, then coalblack.

And there.. Isolated.  Lost to the moor.

Solitary. Bereft here.

A Stone Cottage.

Abandoned, dispossessed,  derelict.  Roofless shell.


I hesitate on approach. A mire underfoot., foliage ensnaring.

The pulse of the moor quickens. Birds wheel noisily at the wall’s edge.

Cloud gatherers.  The stones their carrion.


The sun, a glaring eye, illuminates the scene. Then dark clouds intervene, a screen, a cataract. Obscuring.

Create false shadows.

Trees, Grasses susurrate, then bend –  in deference?

Indifferent.  To my intrusion

I peer through a windowless aperture, hoping to capture

a revenant spark , a glimmer of life. The hearth still warm? distant echo of activity? insistent clatter of hoof on cobble?

Your song, hovering.  Suspended in the land.

Your eulogy, lost to the wind.

Your epitaph, a crumbling stone.

The stark poetry of the riven.

Silent.           Yet sentient.

Put my ear to cold, dark walls. Track the contours, fissured, fractured, contorted. Wait for a whisper, murmur, scent.  Try not to linger on pathos, sorrow, loss. Aching for a memory.

Memorial..  You


In some places, these stones would be reclaimed, relocated, dispersed. Disarticulated fragments, bequeathed new life.

Yet these stones lay quietly obsolete. Unclaimed.

mute, anonymous, unavowed.

This crude rectilinear form, agonisingly dissolving, collapsing into itself.

Rotting timber. Shattered slate. Decompose into the soil.

Stoneseeds that propagate the next life.

Copyright B G Nichols 2015