On the Road to Sleeping Child Hotsprings (1972)
Poems by Roger Dunsmore ©1972
THE MOORS Occasional sheep, flanks red-streaked huddle in round sod and stone huts or shy at the bike. Once a burned out farm and naked chimney, dark birds in the scrub. And out in the heather a green Morris off the road with two old guys standing around as I come pushing my bike uphill. I think to ask if I can help, they are quicker: "Would you like a cup of tea?" And Christ yes, they've made tea on a small stove in the middle of the afternoon in the moors and I say yes. One hands me a cake with a cherry on top, says he baked it himself, thumps his wooden leg, France, 1917. The one with false teeth drips tea on his splendid tweed jacket and they tell how in winter when snow is up to the sills and a man can't putter in his garden or paint the gate-- it is very cold, expecially in the bed at night. They eat bananas and sandwiches, but haven't enough for me, and put a pill in my tea for they can't take sugar. One loses the rubber band he was trying to put around wax paper over the milk bottle and I find it in the road gravel. Before I ride off they say to tell 'em back in Montana that I met a couple of guys, anyway, over here that weren't so bad. I pump downhill and across a narrow bridge grinning so wide horse's tails sweep a hundred miles of sky overhead.