It was raining when I started out.
A thousand years of weathered pebbles
glazing into stars beneath my luminescent feet
that friction polished to a backward slip.
If I came down the other way
the path would hurry me along.
But not towards the bridge.
Towards the witch.
It took a while to get the sword just right.
Balance its weight.
A full-grown man could wear it on his belt,
but every step I took it shocked an iron anthem from the rock,
and sent the struck path bolting for the overhang.
I’d waited for the new moon.
Thought I’d chosen well.
Sheathed myself in its dull dissolve.
Nothing living passed that way.
No birds above.
No sheep grazing sparse grass.
Only a tremulous stream busy with burial.
A slew of small bones littered the path.
A gatepost cupped the crown of a child’s skull
like a begging bowl,
a long gold lock, limp with damp,
tugging its sinewy hinge.
The unused bridge stood square.
The altar stone beyond,
the cromlech, angular and clear
against the moon-sick mountains.
I braced myself across its span
and spoke her name.
*Canrig Bwt was a Welsh Witch said to have lived in the pass above Llanberis. The bridge and Cromlech referred to are there to this day. There are many versions, this poem references the young farm boy out to avenge his sister’s demise.
David J. Costello lives in Wallasey, Merseyside. He is a member of Chester Poets. David has been widely published on-line and in print including Prole, The Lake, Magma and Envoi. David is a previous winner of the Welsh International Poetry Competition. His debut pamphlet, Human Engineering, was published by Thynks Publishing in October 2013. A second pamphlet will appear in September 2016 from Red Squirrel Press.