NaPoWriMo Day 4

One of the photos from the NaPoWriMo prompt (click to read it here) was of a person standing on a snowy hill with their headtorch shining on a tree.

It reminded me of a night when I lived in the middle of the Dales when my neighbour persuaded little scaredycat townie me to go and help him to redirect a coursing flood that was coming down and into our gardens. It was one of the scariest and the funniest nights of my life! My neighbour’s lovely wife was also there in reality, but I was trying to use a minimal, short-line style and format here, so simplified it to it just being me and him. And I wanted to highlight his wonderful optimism and determination, which did in the end keep us all safe that night.

Night Flooding

(aka: I should have adjusted the elastic on my headtorch)

We slip and struggle

uphill, his waterproofs

gleam in the weak

beam. My headtorch

keeps slipping.


Rain slaps down in

quarry-sized puddles

on my back. Track

is a beck. My feet

keep slipping.


He’s eighty one

so I can’t really moan.

My spade is a staff

seeking limestone to catch on;

keeps missing.


Near the top field gate

there’s a lake, knee-deep.

Need to channel it

away, down to the river.

Get digging.


He’s swift and strong,

I see his eyes shine.

Then arse over tit

he’s down, splashing. I must

stop grinning.


Wrap my arm round the gate,

get purchase first, then pull

him up straight. Look

for my spade

It’s missing.


Hair glued to my

eyelids by the dark

and the rain.

How will we get down?

He’s limping.


See a spade handle, bend , reach,

it’s a branch. Torch slips

from my hat. Splosh.

I stand in the dark

courage slipping.


Here is a picture of the track (without a flood coming down it, but with a snow drift in it) just so you can imagine the icy water streaming down towards you.

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