A most fabulous idea of sharing poetry in the wild.
One of the great advantages of having a dog, or nine, is that there are endless opportunities to go walking with them.
The other day, Jean and I became aware of the most wonderful idea: The Stanza Stones Walk. Here’s how that walk is explained on the website:
THE STANZA STONES PROJECT
The Stanza Stones Walk: An Alternative devised by Mick Melvin.
A fifty mile upland walk from Marsden to Ilkley visiting the six Stanza Stones carved with poems written by Simon Armitage.
Why create an alternative walk?
I have created this walk as an alternative to the 47 mile trail created by the team working with the Ilkley Literature Festival, not because it is my intention to denigrate the walk which was produced by the team. Far from it, the trail which they created is a fine outing and one that will satisfy the desires of most people wishing to visit the Stanza Stones.
My purpose was to devise an upland walk linking the stones which did not stick to recognised footpaths or to existing well-known walking trails. This has not always been possible, since I felt that it was necessary to follow the Pennine way or Millennium Way on occasions, in order to visit significant places of interest i.e. Blackstone Edge.
In addition I believe that considering the walk was motivated by literature, it should visit the places that inspired some of the area’s finest writers, Haworth and Mytholmroyd. My objective is to create six more circular walks to each of the stones which will be suitable for a day’s walking. These walks will be posted on the site as I complete them.
The seven Stanza Stones, each carved with a poem written by the poet Simon Armitage, are at locations which in general follow the Pennine watershed. The Stanza Stones project, which started at Ilkley Festival in August 2010, is focused on poems specially written by Simon stirred by his response to the Pennine Watershed and the relationship between the landscape and language of Yorkshire. The seven stones will form a permanent moorland trail across the watershed from Ilkley to Marsden the home town of the poet. The Stanza Stones poems are reproduced here by kind permission of Simon Armitage.
Isn’t that an incredibly wonderful idea!
Here’s a photograph of one of the stones bearing Simon Armitage’s poetry.
The third Stanza Stone has now been completed at Cow’s Mouth Quarry near Blackstone Edge. The quarry is situated about 20 minutes walk along the track (Pennine Way) which starts at the White House pub. The Pub is on the A58 road between Halifax and Littleborough just beyond Blackstone Edge Reservoir. As you approach the quarry from the White House, watch for a small stone arched bridge spanning the catch water drain on you right about 75 yards before the crags. The path from the bridge affords a close up view of the face carrying the carving. The poem can also be seen from the main path if you continue along the gravelled track. A circular walk can be made if you continue on the track, taking the right turn to White Holme Reservoir returning to Blackstone edge and the White House on a good path over Byron Edge.
Be glad of these freshwater tears,
Each pearled droplet some salty old sea-bullet
Air-lifted out of the waves, then laundered and sieved, recast as a soft bead and returned.
And no matter how much it strafes or sheets, it is no mean feat to catch one raindrop clean in the mouth,
To take one drop on the tongue, tasting cloud pollen, grain of the heavens, raw sky.
Let it teem, up here where the front of the mind distils the brunt of the world.
© Simon Armitage 2010
Whether or not you will ever have the chance to enjoy this walk, do go across to the Stanza Stones website and just revel in the poetry and the nature.
You can find out more about the poet, Simon Armitage, here on The Poetry Foundation’s website.
Surely a walk to feed the souls of both man and dog!