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Poetry Pleases: Blackley From Hemplow

Paddy Webb's poem conjures up an autumnal moorland view more effectively than any camera.

A world turned upside down,
Still water,
Deep reflections in the dark depths
That hold the sky
Blue sky, blue, blue sky,
The world bright with the glow of autumn sun.

The chiselled quarry face is black in shade
And the steep grass banks rustle like shot silk
Russet over pale green.
The intake fields, etched with dark shadows from dry stone walls
Hold long images of sunlit trees and cows
Dark as shadows on green grass,
With plump grey balls of sheep
Sun draining dew from wool.

Wood-smoked grey grooves mark the downward track.
Then the high moor begins, reaching beyond
The greenway and the bridge,
Bracken and pink tinged heather
Leading up the escarpment
To the sky
And the distant steep stone crown
Of Wessenden.

Still, not silent
Breath of breeze on grass
High song if skylark in the air
And below the deeper, rippling harmony
Of water over stone.

The wind shifts.
Trails of ripples disturb the view,
Fractured reflections sparkle into broken light.
There comes the scent of sun on grass,
Tang of dark green bracken,
And the warm smell of blackberries,
Red and black on grey stone wall
As morning stretches into noon.

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