Blue Lake

by Sally Flint

The adults said only mountaineers could access
the quarry – but we found what lies
past the disused church and the phone box
with its peeling paint. A broken stile,
empty fields edged with hawthorns,
and a padlocked five-bar gate. We squelched across
marshland, took the right-hand fork at the bridge,
gripped the earth as we climbed alongside
the crashing waterfall. It was as if God kept
a giant tap turned on to cleanse the valley.
The tunnel lined with bats, moss
and stepping stones, led to water edged with slate,
where a boy caught an eel in his bare hands.
Only once did we swim in Blue Lake.