Poetry – by Sophie Livingston
It is a winter landscape that your feet
Tread now. A brittle arrangement of trees
And fields and low, mossed walls that hold nothing
The sheep are gone and no one walks the path.
“Something is warmer than something else,” you say
As whispers of fog rise from a stream that rushes on.
“I can’t remember which it is, or why.
Or even how I came to be
Under this motionless sky.”
The ridge belongs to the dead.
They have laid claim with bones.
A horizontal shrine of beech leaves
sifts the light that falls on stones
that still pay homage.
The path’s a scorching streak of white
And nettle flesh hangs from chalky
No shade for travellers.
And though we tread, we tread, we tread
from Overton to Ivinghoe we cannot reach
the place they know.
Thermos and Marmite in the 70s
Mum waited with the thermos and marmite
sandwiches half way up the mountain. The
rest of us began the climb, Dad, Alice, Ed, Me,
in Pac-a-Macs and Adidas, all quite
relaxed, ‘cos in the seventies that’s what
you wore to climb mountains, and we were full
of oxtail soup and Famous Five and pull
-ing on our empty rucksacks we got
nearly to the top – before the fog came.
I was twelve. Did not dare climb on, though Dad
swore we’d be fine. At last he said: “chase the same
stream down.” The rest climbed on, while scree-slid, pad
ling, rough, down-stream, tumbling, I sunk to the main
path. Kodak snaps record them triumphant,
brooding, faithless, in our orange tent.