Wombwell Woods photo by Paul Brookes
May the Seventeenth
I found a new walk today.
The descent to Walmgate Stray
was like the wardrobe door into
Narnia, except it wasn’t winter.
Before I knew
it I had more than a view
of open countryside,
the suburbs no longer beside
me. The cattle were as tame
as Aslan, they came
to be stroked. Seeing
Sutton Bank was like being
there and spotting York
Minster from the White Horse.
-Peter J. Donnelly
One Day on Dartmoor
One day I must return to Fingle Woods
to do again the walk I once did
with my great-uncle and aunt.
Morning coffee at the Inn
by the bridge over the Teign,
a picnic in a meadow,
leave time to take in Castle Drogo,
then back to Drewsteignton.
I will try not to be sad
that he is no longer with us,
she too old to walk there again,
that they cannot show me
the way they knew so well.
Instead I will rejoice
at the work they helped to start
to restore the ancient woods;
to protect the land and what lives on it –
redstarts, wood warblers, pied flycatchers.
I wish I could return each year
as the birds do, or lived closer
like my loved ones.
My memory of that day
is like the leaves on the conifers. Constant.
-Peter J. Donnelly
Walking by Water
I love to walk by water,
in the country and in town.
My favourite place is Ripon Canal,
I pace it up and down.
I gaze at boats and barges,
admire moths and meadowsweet.
Whatever the time of year,
I barely feel the cold or heat.
Through the lanes of Littlethorpe,
I like the homeward walk as well.
For a change I choose the woods
by the River Skell.
All views of the cathedral
never fail to please.
But there’s often something unexpected –
a heron, a kingfisher, fallen trees.
-Peter J. Donnelly
-Leela Soma. She says
Let me explain. A few weeks ago I was cleaning the kitchen cupboards, fell down and did some damage to my left knee. The hour long walks we enjoyed in the woods behind our house came to an abrupt stop for me. Life revolved around the house, hobbling painfully with the aid of a stick, hence the poem.
Three weeks on, the pain has subsided considerably but not enough to warrant a walk outside my garden, so the patio’s every slab and the wee beasties hiding in them are all too familiar now. Thank God for the garden! It gifts me new blooms every day and makes my day a little bit better. Hope you’re all enjoying the warm weather.
Ever Striding Edge
Always two stairs down from landing
sister and I safe
neither half up, nor halfway..
Listen on this hill/mountainside braced against icy
gust of Mam/Dad shouts below whose igneous lava erupt at each other.
Front room door opens Mam climbs
stairs/hill/mountainside, and as she speaks
ice encrusts solid rock expands.
Your Dad and I can’t live together any longer.
Cold mist, prevailing gust and ice brings wet eyes
You need to decide who you want to live with.
I’ll go with you, Paul my sister says and rock falls away
makes valley sides sister and I stand on Striding Edge razorback,
serrated edge five years later.
Hiking boot midair over steep
drop to Red Tarn somewhere in mist below
Somewhere in mist Sisters/Dads hand.
Manoeuvre frozen legs, up, over, round,
shift from one side edge to the other,
weeks with Mam, weekends Dad,
Careful what you say, interrogation from both.
mist clears enough for summit sight. Time away at college.
Focus. Careful to have three rock holds. Focus.
I’ll go with you mam I say. Summit reached always another higher later.
My hands support Sister/Dad/Mam when their sides fall away.
Ever Striding Silence.
Bios And Links
is a writer and poet from Hull where she has an allotment and keeps honeybees. Sue’s work has appeared in a number of poetry journals and magazines, and she has two books due to be published this year. ‘Heaving with the dreams of strangers’ is a Dreich ‘Slims’ Chapbook and ‘Thetis’ (Esplanade Press) is a poetic narrative retelling the Trojan War through the eyes of Thetis, mother to Achilles.