I went swimming this morning and, once again, found myself knocking off lengths with an internal dialogue in my mind. The irrational voice begged me to stop and go back to bed and opiates. The rational side of my mind outlined the health and pain management benefits of exercise. As the dialogue continued I just kept swimming, and dug in.
I found myself thinking of other times when I have had to ‘dig in’ to get something done in spite of pain or discomfort. Once out of the pool and in full ‘recovery mode’ I kept thinking about ‘digging in’ and my mind wandered to the wilds of the Brecon Beacons. This resulted in the following poem, I hope you like it;
Horizontal sleet bombards bare faced mountain slopes.
Lines of iced water score the view,
Through this scratched lens, the tableau appears featureless,
monochrome boulders interspersed with clumps of grass.
Here in this barren wilderness, they dig.
Shovel and pick toil in the rock strewn soil.
Hands slip and blister on mud covered helves
as the steel glances, bucks and jams again and again.
Slowly, painfully the bodies sink into the mountain.
The relentless internment matched only by driven rain.
The light fades, and somewhere out in that cold dark night,
they dig on.
In the morning's steely grey light,
tired eyes peer, from beneath mud streaked brows,
into that same rain scratched lens,
as they wait to move out,
then dig in again.
John Carré Buchanan
07 February 2014