Mid-Winter Magic, Ingleborough

I.
Following a pathway of foot-jewels to the capsized summit

IngleboroughII.
Leaving low lying lands whose gyres and waterfalls climb

View toward IngletonIII.
Entering the site of undecided cloud wars

Clouds from IngleboroughIV.
My shadow touches the trig-point leaving my body’s mechanics behind

Ingleborough Trig-PointV.
Clouds volley my shadow into the valley

Ingleborough towards TwistletonVI.
Ash trees shake snowfall down limestone’s spine

Ingleborough Pavement  - CopyVII.
Crescent moon blinks a snow-smile and winks out until next time

Crescent Moon over Park Fell

The Old Grey Man of Lancashire

He wears twigs for antlers,
a long wolfish face
and smile or grimace
trapped somewhere between.

His coat is staring and grey
as something dead for years.

A bottomless cloak
covers what he’d call his feet.

When he moves, he sways
like something blown in on the wind.

He staggers,
tilting like a chess piece,
holds out a black pad with yellow claws,
unable to unlock heavy jaws,
mumbles, “beri, beri, beri.”

His words are grey as the melting moor
fading with the sense
of his request or question.

Does he want berries,
or does he want me to bury him?

He shivers with the hills,
passes away into a crack of light.

~

I wrote this poem in July after a vivd dream where I saw the sketchy image below, there labelled ‘an old grey man of lancashire,’ in vivid purple on a black computer screen. After waking, I scribbled it in my dream journal.

The Old Grey Man of Lancashire

 

 

 

 

In the space between waking and dream before my alarm clock went off the scene in the poem came to me. Fans of Ted Hughes may recognise that I was immersed in ‘The Remains of Elmet’ at the time and this colours the imagery.

A couple of days later, planning a walk, I had an impulse to visit Brinscall. Getting the map out, I noticed nearby was Old Man’s Hill, which became the destination on a suitably grey Lancashire day. I encountered a ram beside a strangely rooted hawthorn but nothing extraordinary happened and I received no clear answer to my pondery.

Brinscall and Old Man's HillSheep, Brinscall MoorsOld Man's Hill