|Malham Cove, copyright Clive Thorley|
The poem below is in Walking Home and also in his collection Book of Matches. In the unlikely event that Mr Armitage reads this blog, I hope he will excuse my reproducing it here:
I feel I am at the end of my tether
and I don't want to go on any longer.
Not like those climbers on Malham Cove -
dipping backwards for their bags of powder,
reaching upwards for the next hairline fracture,
hauling themselves from my binoculars.
And without enlargement they take on the scale
of last night's stars in Malham Tarn,
inching upstream as the universe tilted, mirrored
till we burst their colours with a fistful of cinders.
I follow a line
from the base to the summit, waiting
for something to give, to lose its footing,
for signs of life on other planets.