Posts tagged ‘moors’

26/03/2013

A Half-Forgotten Hymn

 

Beyond our acid moors and smoke,

Where crags and limestone tooth the sky,

An empty hearted oak grew old

In downland forest, inward grown.

 

We stalk our moors and cough and choke,

Parade our bitterness and pride.

Puffed up with scars and open sores,

We gather all our people round.

 

We hear the oak may topple soon,

Its rotten roots are losing grip.

Its age once countless now counts down.

It stands alone, it stands forlorn.

 

Together we begin to sing

Our tuneless, half-forgotten hymn.

 

 

26/03/2013

Roman Fort (Mastiles Lane)

 

The winter nights had scarred the grass,

So daylight owls could scatter voles

By drifting up before the sun

And lazing on the barrack poles.

 

They came from many different worlds:

We saw them, heard them, speak in tongues.

They walked the land on rigid lines.

They sacrificed to moonless gods.

 

They came and raised their camp in view:

We’d smell the roasting fires at night.

They washed and burned the heavy rocks,

They drew their water from the spring.

 

The owl brings panic with its flight,

The Romans keep their torches bright.

 

 

10/02/2013

The Hound of the Baskervilles

 

Around St Petersburg the fog

Is emanating tales of fear.

Its rotten stench has howled for years,

It spreads malignant myths of death.

 

The truth behind the curse is raw,

A void as deep as Russian steppes,

Where generations wait for word

Of riches mired as feudal hordes.

 

Those truths are never glimpsed for long:

They’re flashed as fugitives of code,

They’ll raise their dues and feed the hounds,

They’ll drag all wayward souls beneath.

 

The bleakest marsh has tales to tell:

For all around they’re tales of hell.

 

 

response to the film Приключения Шерлока Холмса и доктора Ватсона: Собака Баскервилей (The Hound of the Baskervilles): the version directed by Igor Maslennikov

26/01/2013

Circling Wycoller (Walk No. 9)

 

The moors are weighted with this rain.

Another ridge of peat is lain.

The curlews haunt the hills and wail.

The moors are closing round the dale.

 

The hamlet, old as language, turns

Its back on changing thoughts and forms.

Along the beck the pathways creep:

The gritstone pavements, rutted deep.

 

The mansion house, a hollowed shell,

Where spirit fires are burning still,

And owls can echo history’s cries,

Beneath the towering summer skies.

 

The valley sits above its pasts:

A flick of dust which cannot last.

 

 

26/01/2013

The Summit of Pen-y-Ghent (Walk No. 7)

 

So what is truth and what is not?

In words, the evidence of loss,

Of spirits swirling round the peak:

The nameless souls who named the hills.

 

I heard the songs, I saw the dance,

I felt the heartbeat in the rock,

I saw the springs of pasts converge,

I formed Brythonic words again.

 

This place – where lapwings guard the skies,

And ravens roll about their throne –

Has stripped my language from its roots:

My English never climbed this far.

 

Relentless winds have scarred its name,

Across the passing clouds of time.

 

 

30/12/2012

The Sylph of Dales’ Song

 

Above the hills and northern dales,

Above the outcrops on the moors,

Above the mists and passing rains,

Above the senses and the dreams,

 

It saw the world for what it was.

It smoothed the waters, rocks and flames.

It watched the changing, watched the lulls.

It wrapped the world and lungs it filled.

 

It quivered with the wings of birds,

It gathered all their voices up,

It kept them for the sun to breathe,

It kept them for the stars to grieve.

 

Above the beauty of the skies,

Above the tales, above the lives.

 

 

28/05/2012

Minotaur Running

 

He runs the moor on gritstone paths,

The heather pollen thick in eyes

Unused to sun and distant skies.

He fears his shadow on the quartz.

 

He’d built an image of the breeze,

But now, at last, he feels her touch.

He looks about but cannot see

The fingers running through his mane.

 

He tastes the blood upon his tongue.

His heart is bursting through his throat.

The moorland paths run on and on,

Across a world un-walled, unknown.

 

Below the earth he stood up proud,

But here – so small – his head is bowed.

08/05/2012

The Empire of the Minotaur

 

They built the halls and weighing rooms

Of millstone grit and avarice.

They birthed the monster, fed its spite,

Then hid it deep beneath the moors

 

The maze they dug stretched out for miles,

To Yorkshire mills and cotton fields,

To sugar cane and gold and slaves,

Through merchant men and ship-o-line.

 

And soon there lurked beneath it all

The monster’s barely human form:

The towns and cities bent in smoke,

The fenced and drained, the turned and choked.

 

Beneath the art the bullets forged,

Beneath the war the moneyed hoard.

08/01/2012

Ring Ouzel

 

A lunar crescent, skyward horned.

A tail which traces scree and ling.

A plaintive tone, a mournful tune.

A solitary black and bib.

 

Alone in rocks above the scars,

Where streams from bogs first scratch their beds

With steady tick like lowland merle,

A lost and wayward song of moors.

 

The moon is pitched in afterglow

And scattered with the trace of stars.

The melancholy call of space

A flick of night pitched wing and gone.

 

And left as one with what was once,

The sadness of a memory’s song.