Purple heather on a windswept hilltop
of the northern Pennines.
We tread carefully, lifting our boots knee-high
thighs aching with the effort
of all that heather. We watch for black adders
who slither effortlessly out of our way.
Animal corpses litter the ground.
We walk downhill past a burnt out croft,
blackened timber and rubble are laid out
in the sign of the cross. We walk along
the remnants of a stone path
and come across a seat, a memorial
to a soldier killed in Afghanistan.
His death like silence on the moor
heather in full bloom, purple as a bruise.
We sit with his name cast in iron on our backs
as the sun sets blood red over our heads.