Wharfedale Boxing Day 1960

The road at Bolton Abbey, going nowhere, industrially

Was narrow, wound and slipped.  Its

Camber saw no logic in its whimsies

Slip and slant, a pleasure to the eye.

The car parks, open fields, empty

Void of vehicle, tent or trailer: green

Foil to the browning bracken, the Abbey’s

Cool gravity and Wharfe’s ambivalence.

And Simon’s Seat black chipped silhouette

Stood up over Aptrick and set desires

To climb and eagle gaze momentarily on

Pen-y-ghent, see the white snake of Wharfe below.

At Burnsall the river rode on unmistakably

To the sea, anticipating its waves, in

A hurry, baulked by the bridge, slipped

Darkly smoothly frowningly through diminished arches.

Grassington was grey, periodically lost

In thick rain-laden clouds that low

Ran down from Kilnsey, still potent

Oceans of water unleashed on roof and rambler.

And in the evening, sleet dived over

High white walls in Catherine wheel exuberance

Choking the headlamps’ beams and building

Opaque encrustments in the windscreen’s dwindling arcs.

Before the noon of night, downdale again

The air was clear to the stars, and in

The soft black hollowed darkness

Ilkley’s ribboned lights blazed explosively.