Poem of the North

Fifty years of the Northern Poetry Library

From Canto 5

Girls from a York School, Wharfedale Field Trip 1992

This is them learning the nature of glaciers. Scrambling
through the Kettlewell slit, Doc-footed, can-kicking sure,
mild piss whiff making them laugh so far from the Fiesta
engine idling at the school gates. The reach and roll-down of a window.
Sitting back in a sun-necked stretch hearing about deep lungs
of limestone sucking away below their bodies and old lead-mines
nudging those hard-edged caverns. Restless tongues poking the weird
sweetness from deadnettle flowers. And they’re sketching the U-shaped valley.

One girl, pencil-as-baton, conducts a sweep of the drystone spines
barrelling like a half-pipe, swooping like a beck-side rope swing.

Rolling over, rock under belly, she’s thinking of ‘Galena’ for a girl.

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