Stanage Edge, 10 miles

There may be a line
a dozen potholes beyond Stanage Pole
where sibilant South Yorkshire ends
and sandy mud turns into muddy sand,

a missing marker between here and there
the no-man’s-land that holds stupidity from folly
between persistent drizzle and a drenching
where sodden sedge slumps above sodden city;

it may be there’s a spot on squawking moor
where one becomes the other, where the run
of wonder turns to Sisyphean slog
and strike of heel or toe is just another nail

into the coughing lung, a bruise in earth,
dark footings where blood blisters blacken.
Dancing a drunkard’s jive from block to rock
the fog unfurls its fools, mad and alive.

Then comes a bridge and tarmac. Over the cattle grid
the long slope and the straight road back
insist we shape and are not shaped. Stones
are square, wood is chopped, sheep are penned

and in the suburbs
the television trumpets from the top of Lydgate Lane
but God still sings in Ranmoor.

 

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