Roll-call #poetry #earthweal


This are my Northern fells
my Northern dales, my
true poetic North, and
spiritual home.

But wait! There are more:

Great Gable

Who left these names here? No-one can tell,
perhaps Vikings, or Celts:
lost tribes who also set their compass by
these risings of the earth
these hallowed wooded hollows
place of spiritual birth.

The stone-circle builders at
Castlerigg, Long Meg
and her daughters
who dance as I danced:
mountain-enchanted child
later, adventurer
exploring the valleys and heights without fear.

Glaciation through
millennia carved out
this sacred space
which I had thought
could not be easily erased

but now, I fear:

the temperatures rise, as
the sea-levels rise:
irradiation, a roll of the dice
and what will become of this
temperate paradise?

© All Rights Reserved.

Written for earthweal

Sherry has asked us to take inspiration from Canadian Poet Al Purdy’s wonderful poem ‘Say the names:’

let’s try Saying the Names with love of the places most beloved to us. Tell us about the places you hold most dear in the corner of the planet where you live. Share them with us; let us see them through your eyes and your words.  Let’s sing their names and landscapes – the places that hold our hearts, that call to us when we are gone, that welcome us home when we return.

“Say the names…till the heart stops beating. Say the names.”

I chose to say the names of some favourite places from my beloved Cumbria, as I wonder what the Anthropocene holds for them. The photo is of the mountain Blencathra, also called ‘Saddleback.’

34 thoughts on “Roll-call #poetry #earthweal

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  1. Oh Ingrid … such serenity and beauty … oh why .. cannot see past their selfish greedy eyes …
    ((Just down the road from my place, on the banks of the Moorabool river is the ‘Derwent’ Hotel, built in 1860’s))

  2. Ah, this is lovely. What a beautiful landscape in the photo. I love the roll on the tongue of the place names, so steeped in history, recognizable from their appearance in books I have read. I especially love the image of the mountain-enchanted child, dancing near the stone circle. I loved this poem, Ingrid.

  3. The names here have the deep and rich sonority of five millennia of habitation: to speak them is to align with one’s true poetic north. Half the Holocene is tied up here, so its fading out (England and Western Europe are so vulnerable to the slowing the North Atlantic current) tears at the roots of that tradition. How to be singer of this? Who else to do it?

  4. I love the names and the stories and legends you weave around them,. Who can say what climate change will bring. These places have endured a long time and known many changes of climate. In the medieval warm period they could well have been sub-tropical.

      1. Yes, I don’t think humans are so powerful as to destroy the entire planet – well hopefully they won’t. All this nuclear stuff at the moment is a worry!

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