Rising Umber

rising umber

Rising Umber

Grimspound, Dartmoor National Park

By KB Ballentine

Dusk lavenders the horizon,
and in the half–light
the stones begin to speak.
Wind slips across the mountain,
asterisks of mist softening the ruins.

Sheep drift through the field,
tufts of green hollowed into havens
for leggy lambs.
I cross the collapsing threshold
beside a wall still stacked,
still circling crumbled huts.

A ram eyes me, shambles to his hooves
and paws the grass.
Swallowtails rush, scythe the air,
hooded crow stalking the shadows.
I stoop into the shelter of stones
where wind fades,
palpable stillness rioting the air.

Through gathering gloom, a man and woman emerge
crossing the ridge of stone —
They scan the valley, silhouettes bruising,
ghosting the ribbons of fog.

When I glance again only emptiness,
star–breath, slivered moon paling the sky.
An owl summoning the dark.

 
KB Ballentine

Author’s Bio:  KB Ballentine has a M.A. in Writing and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry. Her fifth collection, Almost Everything, Almost Nothing, was published in 2017 by Middle Creek Publishing. Two collections, The Perfume of Leaving and What Comes of Waiting, won the 2016 and 2013 Blue Light Press Book Awards. Published in Crab Orchard Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also appears in anthologies including In Plein Air (2017), Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (2017), In God’s Hand (2017), and River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-first Century (2015). Learn more about KB Ballentine at www.kbballentine.com.

Featured image courtesy, KB Ballentine