Stoodley Pike by Louise Whitham




                                             Todmorden  by Louise Whitham 


One cold wind blows on sheep faces

 towards the valley with granite flint traces,

links a frozen thought

then it's gone with dappled sun

Rooted our silent  jury turn, and shun,

A wake of wet dawn postmen

heavy cold dampen they tip toe past…dumb.

In the ferns, we read a catalogue of tiny shadows

 Stare through Heathcliff's widows

 Brewing skys, distant, hawthorny and bitten

 Grey mist symphonies, with catastrophic histories

beat the rocks and reeds unheard.

It's hard to know what the winds' tune is but still

on yellow sun rayed days it whispers 

Trudging farmers inspect their sky

They are warm (oh Aye)

They puff up their chests in the sheep dog air

Booted slithering climbs to share

Dusk scramblers of bricky avalanches

Slide down the clowder of Pennine passes home

to an argument of factory chimneys

 west of the gasp of big black slag heaps,

outside the bookies the black and white collie

who dervishes whirls,

who sights and dodges a skein of black caps.

Late they're back  to their minted lambs

and wind burned wives who know,

its hard like lard to be Yorkshire

to work at dawn with the frost

on the path that melts in the sun.


Louise Whitham