Tuesday, 5 October 2010


i have walked eight long miles
across fields to ilam village bathed in warm low-angled sunshine
along the meandering banks of the surging river manifold
over soft sculpted hills past chewing cows to dark satanic milldale
hidden from the sun at the head of the dale
where izaak walton sat on the old packhorse bridge
and contemplated 'the compleat angler'
finally through the narrow twisting limestone gorge of dovedale
where the rocks have been forged into fantastic shapes
where the sun cannot penetrate
and the waters froth and foam
now the gateway to the dale is framed to my left by thorpe cloud
a conical hill that rises steeply from the valley bottom
with one last effort i skirt its slopes
following a rough stony track that winds its way to the summit
i meet a lone woman with a frisky dog halfway up
then i am alone with the hillside, the sheep and my thoughts
at the dizzy summit of thorpe
i float on clouds
master of all i survey
looking southwards the land falls away abruptly
towards the cooling towers of the staffordshire potteries
behind me the wooded interlocking slopes of dovedale
lock away their secrets
and the sun sets on impassive hills
as darkness falls
i must go now
i must leave behind my cloud cushion
to return to the anxious brooding midlands
where my family waits

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