Posts tagged ‘walks’

26/01/2013

A Walk to the Isle in the Marsh (Walk No. 10)

 

Is every walk a walk of death?

Across the marshes to the isle,

Traversing fears and passing ghosts,

To rise at last amongst the lost.

 

Is every site a monument:

A shrine to memory, life and love,

A locus for the wanderer’s truth,

A proof that we had meaning once?

 

Each walk may seem to set us free,

To live at last amongst the souled,

To feel the flow from earth to sky,

To be apart and yet to be.

 

I recognise the way ahead:

Each wondrous view will mark the dead.

 

 

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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

Walking to Walter Benjamin’s Grave (Walk No. 8)

 

These fossilised, volcanic screams

They marked the very edge of life.

One side: the town with bullet holes.

The other: gravestones marble bleached.

 

And where the trains came rumbling through

The weight of Europe bowed the fence,

A force unseen which broke the necks

Of every dove that ever crossed.

 

And dancers lost their footing there,

And slumped into the waiting tombs,

And poets closed their pocket books,

And burnt their evidence of dreams.

 

The morphine killed the pain and fear,

But hope has ways to keep you here.

 

 

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.

 

 

26/01/2013

Walking to France (Walk No. 6)

 

The rock thrush calls through vultured skies,

And high above the spirits build.

The valley plain has seen the change,

As voltine butterflies emerge.

 

The gathered heat has history’s tongues,

And summons up the mystery’s ghosts.

The Perfects’ silent, deathly pyre,

Which lingers odourless and long.

 

The mountain griffon circle round,

As step by step we walk the track

Which wartime settlements had planned.

Ignored by all, the bones are dust.

 

Across the border nothing’s changed:

The Cathar’s rock thrush sounds the same.

 

 

26/01/2013

North Norfolk Coast (Walk No. 5)

 

Along the beach by Holkham pines

The ghosts stand watch on buried signs.

You feel them in the northern gales,

You hear them in the needles’ shake.

 

They choke the midnight bark of deer,

They still the hunting tawny owl,

And out before the rising tide

They pull the moon and drag it down.

 

The coast is endless, planet wide,

The sands are drifting, silence swirled.

But there amongst the broken pines

The Holkham ghosts are waiting still.

 

They hang and harm, they smooth and calm,

They break believers and possess.

 

 

26/01/2013

On a Northumbrian Beach (Walk No. 4)

 

Along the beach the seals lay lost,

And screaming terns are chasing foam.

Kids scan the sands for glinting gold,

A garnet carved, or inlaid bronze.

 

I watch the skies for signs of change,

For winds to switch from west to east,

And air to fill the marram grass

With falls of redstarts, warblers, shrikes.

 

But still the westerlies keep strong,

And all the sands can offer up

Are crystals ground from broken glass,

And gannets choked on fishing nets.

 

And whispered tales of monks who slept

On eider’s nests and faith alone.

 

 

26/01/2013

Pass Through the Cuillin of Skye (Walk No. 3)

 

This single line which marks a map:

A trail a single footstep wide.

And human understanding wanes

A single yard on either side.

 

The Viking sea laid at my back:

A highway through the ancient isles.

Ahead a gale and mountain track:

This vicious land where death is wild.

 

A hurricane hurled through the hills,

Drove rain as sharp as Cuillin peaks.

The track became a test of will,

As far from hope and help could be.

 

This singularity that’s life:

Absurd and free, I left the path.

26/01/2013

The Lost Paths of London (Walk No. 2)

 

The city’s still and empty paths –

Between the churches, through the fumes –

Are lines connecting times of change

From peasants’ lands to gilded claims.

 

We trace Brick Lane and Spitalfields.

We visit Blake: his grave at odds.

We walk down Moorgate, cold as plague,

And breathe the fires of old Blackfriars.

 

Beneath the heartless greed and lies,

The godless domes and faithless spires,

We find a world of poet’s songs,

And Celtic track-ways lost, not gone.

 

This hidden London seeks the light,

Downtrodden worlds and open minds.

 

 

26/01/2013

The Waters of the Acheron Gorge (Walk No.1)

 

The storm had turned the river white,

And everywhere the waters flowed.

The plain trees dripped and deadwood drenched,

A thousand springs welled through the rock.

 

We took the river, cold and deep,

And waded past Achilles’ stream.

Our footsteps on the gravel bed,

The same as heroes, gods and men.

 

And from the water, plants and air

We sensed a deeper current there:

The flood would usher in the heat,

And Demeter would swell the fields.

 

From facts we walked, from knowledge fixed.

Then – story drenched – emerged in myths.