Hunters Stone

Take the high road that leads into nothing.

Cam Gill RoadII.
The highland cow decides which way to go next.

Red HighlandIII.
Thistles thrive where the going is arduous.

White Thistle and Marsh ThistleIV.
Greet the stone, haunt of deer stalkers.

Hunters StoneV.
Make an offering of breadcrumbs where the meadow pipit lays her worm to rest,

Meadow Pipit on Hunters StoneVI.
Then the mist will close in from both sides,

Mist over Whernside near Nidd Head VII.
The stone will turn round four times,

Hunters StoneVIII.
The world will turn with it

And no valley will be the same again.

Valley of Park Gill Beck

Going to Seed

When long days of summer
stretch out languidly in the sun,
sometimes it is good
to go to seed,
says cow parsley,
to let one’s leaves curl and rust,
stalks brownly darkening
to fibrous grey ghosts
wilting on winds
that know no splendour or power,
abandoning the joys of spring
to warm ignoble hours.

Cow Parsley, Greencroft Valley

The Horse-Gift

‘Whoso would ride to Gwlad o’r Annwn
Shall find himself without a steed;
How then, of whom, asks he the horse-gift,
Through floods, to fields, safe home to speed?
-Nick Ford, ‘The Plains of Annwn’

My horse is lost,
white mare of the meadows
with the morning mist
that cannot turn to dew
on grassy blades.

The fields are harrowed,
over-run by JCBs and steamrollers
that press the by-pass wider,
steaming, smoking its way
across once grassy plains.

I would rather not
remember this in Annwn,
trampling damp grasses to my knees
on the trail of a white mare
who keeps running further away.

The knight with the shining visor
and eyes of sincere blue
is searching for a girl
before the King of Annwn
takes away her memories.

I say I am not that girl
and he gifts to me his steed,
a dark war-horse who stamps
and steams to save my land
from the harrowing.

Now that knight endlessly tramples
plains of grasses to his knees
seeking the girl who seeks the horse
who seeks the meadows
in Gwlad O’r Annwn

where the King
soothes all memories away.

Well field, Penwortham









*This poem is based on combination of inspirations; lines from ‘The Plains of Annwn’ by Nick Ford, which have haunted me since my first reading, the destruction of The Meadows in Valley Park in Penwortham, and a dream where I crossed from The Meadows into Annwn and met a friend who told me he was ‘searching for a girl before the King of Annwn takes her memories away.’

Nick’s poem can be found in full here:

Come Red Robin

Herb Robert, Red Robin,
Pink Geranium,
come as Stinking Bob

with Foxes reek,
Death Come Quickly now,
tendril in on Dove’s Feet

with Red Shanks
bold as Dragonsblood,
Bloodwort come

snapping Crane’s Bills
in an orbit of Cuckoo’s Eyes,
Hooded Felon of the woods.

Come Great Spirit,
Adored Mischief-Maker,
Sacred Flower of Puck.

Herb Robert

The Green Man and Flower Maiden

Through the city the steady sound
of drumming drowns out traffic.
Walking hand in hand come
the green man and flower maiden.

His face is ferocious with ferns,
branches veracious with ivy, nesting birds
sing out of him a chorus that brings
the stumbling city to a sudden stop.

She is no garden flower but all the wild plants
wearing dandelion seeds in ragwort hair knotted
with meadow crane’s bill, lifting her skirts
to reveal gnarled old roots and mandrake’s faces.

To the downtrodden they bring herbs,
steaming brews and cold compresses,
to tills and cash converters the shriek of rust
and promise of an autumn

where gold decayed like burnished leaves
and withered petals are dumped on a bare altar
to a skyless unfathomable god
unable to bear his concrete coda.

Wind surges through new rows of maples.
Flowers nod their acquiescence.
They disappear in a drum beat
to the slow song of silence.

Preston High Street


This Wall

This wall is a miracle
of Victorian brick and mortar,
cascades of speedwell
rooted firmly in,
green flaps of hart’s tongue
unfolding from every crevice,
buttercups daring on long stems,
willowherb, herb Robert
pink and squiggling, pretty
as any hanging basket.

This wall speaks to me.
Its many tongues unroll its name.
It says it remembers New Cock Yard,
stabling, hooves striking cobbles like flints,
the New Cock Inn, its bright spirit
crowing combed and red,
dark draughts of porter,
the chink of glasses
as torn feathers and bloody droplets
litter the forbidden room upstairs.

This wall was probably never there,
yet wants to be the interlocutor
between you and me
of this city’s bloodstained architecture.

Preston, alleys, wall, waxing moon 027 - CopyPreston, alleys, wall, waxing moon 027 - Copy - Copy