A kind of darkness; leaf mould, mist

Dank and rich, water sluicing mud

Into pathways, staining walkers’ pants,

Capillary action dampening

The spirits of all who pass. The dark

Seeps into the hotels; the heavy

Mansions weighed down with the sweet comfort

Of the middle people – middle aged,

Middle class, Werther’s originals.

Yes, it was weight more than a darkness,

Not ominous, more heavy, dense,

Over rich, sugar saturated.

It required the openness, wind blown

Heights, rock faces of adventure, seen

Between the thick foliage below,

As if the drama of the mountains

Sprang out of the valley’s rich brocade.

For me, freedom comes on the bare rock ridge,

The barren fields of summit boulders,

Looking down on the coach bound trippers

Who cling to the deep hued luxury,

The chocolate filled lounges, the heart strewn

Gift shops and carefully staged viewpoints,

Who bask in the closeness of people

Whilst we nod, shy in our solitude.

The heavy stone and lush gardens may

Be to me like Christmas Day after

The turkey dinner with a blazing fire,

Paralysed in a fug of family,

But the summit ridge needs the valley,

Its colour, its promise of comfort.


9 thoughts on “Borrowdale

  1. Enjoyed.Here’s one depicting sitting on the hillside above Keswick in return. The two seem to come from similar places; and not simply geographically.


    Planted splat firm atop this green hill
    Taking time to return to the source
    A cloud or two, the occasional bird
    Higher peaks a shadowed backdrop
    Thankful miles from the muscle bustle

    (Raw cells, fibres dancing a frenzied jig
    Cringing under the whip of urgency
    Mad underlying insistence on arrival
    At all cost – lest the unthinkable …
    Their journey demoted to annoyance)

    Breathing, inhaling the plenitude
    Mere presence the sole attainment
    Destination attained and time to
    Inhale … relax … exhale …
    Enjoy the sumptuous display


    • Thanks for this – really good to see your take on being on the fells! I think that you are writing from the heights where I too love to be but it had struck me on a few visits to Borrowdale how I responded to the comfort and safety of the valleys, coach tours and the hotels etc – a sort of wish to be away from them / a sort of reaction against their ‘richness’ but also knowing I was dependent on them for warmth and safety. It’s time I went back (I have a week in September booked on the hills above Ullswater!) Thanks for responding so interestingly!

      Liked by 1 person

    • This may have to stop soon! Sort of, “I will see your Castlerigg, and raise you Buttermere!”

      The Buttermere Sentinels
      Cloying and greasy, round and comforting
      I was predisposed to spurn Buttermere.
      The world is hard edged, cruel, anything but
      Buttery. The stroll around the lakeside
      I disparaged. The rough fells, the bare rock
      Sharp, cold, rugged; this was where I wanted
      To walk. Buttermere was for the choc’late
      Boxes of old age, for times of retreat
      From sweat and strain.
      And there at the lake’s head
      Stood the trees, proud and strong against the fells.
      Whilst they had been co-opted by commerce,
      Cosied up for postcards and packaging
      And sold to armchair clad geriatrics,
      Their declamatory decoration,
      Glorying over the elements and
      Standing unbowed by the dark attendant
      Haystacks, spoke to this small boy of how life
      Should be; a free flowing spirit, a tall
      Ambition beside great mountains; a screen
      Tenderly guarding the lake’s blue beauty.

      Do you know these trees by Buttermere?

      I really enjoyed Castlerigg- you’ve captured the sense of a living stillness beautifully.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sorry. This wasn’t meant to be a contest; more of a sharing. 🙂 Our house is only a few miles from Buttermere and I have walked its shores with my wife (also those of Crummock Water) and sundry friends a few times.


      • Please don’t apologise – I was laughing at myself not you but I couldn’t resist sending another Lake District poem! Now I’m envious of you living there! It’s been my holiday destination of choice since I was 11 – more than 50 years! Odd that I’ve not written more about the mountains…….

        Liked by 1 person

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