Caught by the River


24th July 2022

A short piece by Eirwen Abberley Watton conjured from wind and heather and grass.

Bleak wind spells this place. Bleak wind woven through grasses strangled by reeds which sprout like hairs bristling from bent backs. Humps of soil left by the burrowing moles of old rise like islands above the swallowing marshland. The sky is light, but no warmth is absorbed by the grass snake bearing its belly on a flat rock. Instead, biting wind slices through spaces beneath scales. It feels, journeys away, vibrations from weight thumping the ground repeatedly, and slinks away through the grass.

Across the moor, a billowing figure alights upon the ground, a constellation of skin and hair making contact with the ground. It almost floats, suspended above grass that is buried beneath water like swathes of kelp, by a microcosmic forest. It is purple, deep, and purposeful. The figure grazes delicate tendrils stained with trees’ black intestines through the heather, releasing spores which colour the wind with a cloying scent. It sees, in the periphery of eyes evolved to look forwards, the grass snake moving through the lowland. This acknowledgement, a moment of looking which signifies a difference, stretches the pink scar on its face upwards like a spiderweb pulled taut between trees.


Eirwen is a recent English graduate from the University of Exeter. Growing up in the Brecon Beacons has nurtured her passion for natural/rural environments. Her degree has allowed her to explore these interests and how to represent these places in a less exploitative way. You can follow her on Twitter here.