Bewcastle Pilgrimage

This high and lonely landscape
lays no claim to grandeur 
only majesty:
magnetic resonances
chime the air, to wake still silent 
Cuthbert’s bells 
to tolling

The Black and White Lyne
a two-pronged divining rod
meet north of Roweltown
forming the Lyne, follow the line
always the line

So I am drawn here,
time and time again,
at threshold moments
life’s magnetic compass,
always pointing North

God bless this sacred wilderness 
this wild uncharted darkness
these combes and heathered hollows
iron-rich water, 
metalled, peaty earth

Ley lines crisscross 
this barrenness
like the lines I trace 
across your palm with silver
sky, a rainbow’s arc,
a glorious rebirth

© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Sharing with earthweal

I could write and write about the high, lonely lands somewhere on the border between Cumbria, Northumberland and Scotland: The former Debatable Lands once raided by Reivers, revered by Anglo-Saxon and Roman settlers alike. I do intend a more informative post on the area at a later date, but for now, a poem: an emotional response to the landscape. And some more photos on Instagram, should anyone be interested…

This poem was inspired by Heaney’s ‘Bogland‘ – a firm favourite of mine for many years.

Sharing with earthweal’s Open Link Weekend #139.

41 thoughts on “Bewcastle Pilgrimage

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  1. I remember a cold January afternoon back in early 1976 as it was getting dark – my father and I had been drinking Scotch and talking feverishly about the spiritual lines in the earth. We bundled up and walked out down to the frozen far field of his property in wooded Pennsylvania, looking with our hearts for leys. Concurred on a point of confluence, marked it with a stone; he later erected a tripod of long branches there, still later built a bell tower named for St. Oran. We keep prospecting those places inside, going back over them in memory, engaging in the sidhe buried there. As you do here, feeling into the boglands of the heart..

  2. We holidayed in Bewcastly two years, as a teen. I loved it up there. Wife and I went up there again ten or twelve years ago. She was bowled over when we went on to Hadrian’s Wall.

  3. Tis is sacred isle , this one we inhabit, ( I am in Scotland) and our ancestors knew it well. I hear how the land calls you in this piece and I welcome that connection for both you and for her. She needs all the prayers we can muster right now and this poem has that lilt about it. Thank You.

  4. Tis a sacred Isle, this one we inhabit, and our ancestors knew it well. Being magnetised or drawn in by the land is a blessing of sorts and your poem is a reflection of the reciprocity,an answer to that call, a kind of prayer. Our Earth is in need of such gifts at all times but perhaps more so now. Pray away.

  5. A poem full of the spirit of place, and of a heart filled with the search for it, and for the resonance and strength it gives. In a more trivial vein, I watch a great many British television shows, and am always feeling the beauty of those Isles in their ever-renewing yet magically unchanged feel–it’s easy to picture Picts and Celts and Romans all at home there, all traveling their history up and along those hidden lines. Beautiful photo to match the poem as well.

      1. I imagine we are! My brother’s research traced us back to James V (and farther back), and hence, Mary, Queen of Scots, which I say is why I don’t like a cold neck. (I always have it covered in chilly weather.) 🙂

  6. Ingrid, a reverence for this beautiful and historic land are evident in this lovely poem and photo. My ancestry is English, Scot, Irish and German. I am intrigued to learn more and look forward to your future posts on this enchanting area.

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