Wednesday 22 July 2015

Poetry, please - day three

Malham Cove, copyright Clive Thorley
Simon Armitage's book Walking Home: travels with a troubadour on the Pennine Way is an account of his journey along this footpath, which he funds by performing poetry readings in odd places in return for donations. After a reading in Malham, he finds his audience have left him £86.96, two corn plasters and a leaflet explaining how to put someone in the recovery position.

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.


  1. I've been here, it's a lovely place and features in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1. Thanks for sharing this poem.

  2. for signs of life on other planets ........ some thing that is very much in the news now a days.

    1. Indeed. Have you seen those amazing pics of Pluto? Makes you wonder!