Running the Long Causeway


A mouldy lemon tinge about this sky,
shades smudged between daffodil and tin, shot
with hints of duck-egg. Grimaces as I run by

say rather you than me, an admiration I know well.
A half-laugh, like the half-weather rolling in –
a slash of rain, spit of hail, snowline on Win Hill.

No point in slowing down at Stanage Pole.
Although the flagstones level a few yards
you press on, pump the blood to toe and heel.

You’re praying it won’t pour. When horizontal raindrops
whip your eyes, you’re finished, vision just a blink
and sting. Better when you can lift your gaze each step,

take in the shades of lead above Mam Tor,
the peaty tumble of subsiding sun,
the Long Causeway’s bend and slant to evening glower.


I nearly met a war criminal

It’s the hands. Will that blood
come off? And whose is it?
Try not to shake,
but not to tremble either.

It’s the face. Can you express
revulsion courteously?
Try not to grimace, but
don’t dare to risk a smile.

It’s the chair. Do you sit
where ushered by your host?
Or try to shuffle off
any chance of conversation?

It’s the cameras. There are pictures
that can tell a thousand lies
or make you snap. You can’t
airbrush yourself away.