I wanted to explain what it feels like to me when I go caving. This was my best shot: (actually finished 13/12/2016)
The path ahead is cloaked in shadow
Total stillness of the air;
If I speak, my words will echo.
To venture onwards still I dare.
The rock is worn of every edge,
And coming close above my head:
Rushing water carved this path,
But long ago that water fled.
Sinking deep inside the earth
Along the paths I follow now;
Somewhere still that river runs
Its lightless course beneath the ground.
This edge was once a waterfall
Now down its empty side I climb
Wire ladder anchored into rock –
Other hands were here before mine.
Yet in my mind I’m first to walk
Along these silent hidden roads
Though other people stand beside me,
In my head I’m still alone.
Far away from sun and wind,
Beyond the easy reach of man
In these all but untouched wilds
A lone adventurer I can stand.
The rock is not my enemy,
Its cool dark shapes a kind of friend;
Its challenge something deep within me
As I explore to journey’s end.
And round each corner marvels wait
Sometimes subtle or unseen
Sometimes obvious and plain:
Rock veils in hanging filigree.
A sinkhole like an inverse tower,
Water falling from above,
Daylight shining brightly down –
Places like this, too, I love.
Climb down towards the pool below
One last look, then back again,
Upwards to the light above;
Below, this untouched world remains.
The water’s risen in the caves,
Yet still I feel no fear at all.
Retrace my route: I know the way.
In my skills I feel secure.
I test each step on hidden ground,
Or climbing up a steep incline,
As careful on the journey out
As I was when I stepped inside.
I have mastered this dark world;
I have seen the great unknown
And when, in time, I might return,
‘Twill be a new quest all its own.
For now I breathe the open air
And see the sky so high above.
Out to horizons vast I stare
And can’t say what I’m dreaming of.
My journey done, my quest complete,
Adventures new another day.
New memories now mine to keep
Wherever next my path may stray.