Scenes from the North
by Dylan Squires | December 10, 2022
We wrestle wind of Irish Sea
Atop red raw sandstone,
And gusts that wail like ghostly gales,
A far, far cry from home.
The fading coastline hurls
Crashing from mouths of caves.
All of it now a memory,
Washed out and veiled by waves.
In valleys hollowed by glaciers
We walk where ages passed.
Two faint silhouettes slip and lurch
On the fells that outlast.
Turn men to marching ants,
For tarn ‘tween crag and rigg,
A sanctum in Mother Nature’s
Embrace, sweet as a fig.
Scampering swift over loose stone,
Falling fast from above,
With feet that weave over water,
Twisting towards the Dove.
A sweet and sticky hive.
Steps, the path leads up high,
As summer sun gives one last groan,
Waking a moonlit sky.
The fells, in Kronos’s shadow,
Down by the reservoir,
Where the rocky trail tries to hold
Onto what still is our
Beating for lakes we part.
In view, the Yorkshire dales,
Over which we trav’lers now go,
Rolling on with hay bales.
A path, through Yorkshire, of limestone,
A pavement from weather.
Food for acid rain under feet.
In the dales of heather,
Too) the wildflower smells
Its fresh scent a clear wave,
Watering seeds of friendship sown,
Passing Robin Hood’s grave.
On the hill, creeping into sight,
In the Eden valley,
Where a troop of cairns march on east,
More miles to the tally.
Mark the lost borderline,
With devilish horns brawl.
But at the sight of those cairns, fright
Enters the eyes of all.
Left behind, the sheep of Swaledale,
Sheep of foreign Holland,
Those Texel sheep with heavy heads,
Now stand on brawny land.
The Swale cuts through terrain
Gaia’s hardened tissue
Squeezing out walkers that exhale
As Richmond comes in view.
The trail levels out, turning black.
Levelling out, turning
Back the time to cinders and shale.
And the ground starts burning,
Subject to human wrath.
Birds squawk, a broken wing,
And our screaming world turns to black,
Our requiem to sing.
Light illuminates the painting.
The sun burning up high,
Turns fields to flaxen gold shades
With strokes of coloured dye.
Of lapis lazuli,
Through the sky’s blues over
Malachite hedgerows, bordering
The frame lit up solar.
Through Oberon’s forest, the day
Tires as the sun dapples
Its warming touch through emerald leaves.
Each ray floats, unravels
The rushing water’s song,
Between trees that echo
The sound of dell-fairies who play,
Innocent and mellow.
Wheat fields replaced and left behind.
Ahead, snaking sandstone
Slides through fields of purple heather,
Whilst heat swells and cracks bone.
As veins bulge, forming peaks.
From owls, stuck into hats,
To shade the Sun’s tightening bind,
As pheasants run down tracks.
Ghostly mist from Northern Sea veils
Eastern coast in myst’ry,
As wandering souls creep onwards,
Sings the tail of the score
That sink into my chest,
Falling with the final exhale,
As time rides the wave’s crest.
During the summer, I undertook Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk, from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay. The night before departing, my film camera jammed. So, I turned to poetry to capture the images along the way, hoping to expose them through words rather than film. Lying in the tent at night, I recalled images from each day, rendering them into poetry. My images are developed here. ∎
Words by Dylan Squires. Art by Lottie Hassan.