Leave Nothing But Footsteps, Take Nothing But Memories

Leave Nothing But Footsteps, Take Nothing But Memories

Grab your words and fight back!

peaceful moments...

Read the words of  Thomas Gray, visiting the Peaks in 1762….and send us a  response! A sentence, a phrase, a poem, a paragraph, a photo…accept Gray as a challenge!

‘I entered the Peak, a countrey beyond comparison uglier than any other I have seen in England, black, tedious, barren and not mountainous enough to please one with its horrors’. Thomas Gray, 1762




    Gordon MacLellan November 22nd, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    The train follows the rivers,
    Winding down to the fields blushing
    Green with fertiliser,
    Leaving these stark brown hills behind.
    Hedges soften edges
    Where we have stone, hill-bones
    To limit the fields.

    Leaving them, I find I love these bleak hills,
    The sudden richness of trees in a dale,
    Limestone bored into caves and
    River swallows…

    Leaving the cities again and climbing
    On a slow train back to the
    Brown-green purple of the hills,
    Lifts my heart into
    The sunlight and the clouds


    Tracey Lloyd November 25th, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Fashion-blinded writer
    Can you not see
    The beauty that surrounds you?
    Bleak indeed, but tedious?
    Only to one who fails to notice detail,
    Rushing streams and falls,
    Deep gorges and dark caves
    Gentle dales embraced by stark sentinel hills above,
    An old land that knows its history
    Has no need for your approval.


    Gordon MacLellan December 4th, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Thank you, Tracy! Strong and beautiful words


    Caroline Ward December 4th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    An old land lies here
    Ancient bones are worn but strong.
    Follow these paths, into the dales,
    Seek the mystery in darkness,
    The beauty of stone and water.


    Paul Walker December 11th, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Peaking Too Soon

    The poet Thomas Gray
    had a very bad day
    walking black moors to Sheffield’s west
    landscapes ugly with hills denuded
    left him low and depressed.

    But if perchance he’d had the notion
    of ranging in White Peak’s direction -
    felt a little more cheery -
    penned lines punchy for posterity
    fit for the infant tourist industry -
    then his words would have had a more welcome ring
    and fame rest not just on that ‘Churchyard’ thing.


    Gordon MacLellan December 15th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    We Posted the starting quote on my facebook page and a whole richness of responses have been logged there. I’ll add these one by one

    Here is one from Damian hughes

    I’m impressed by these impromptu wordings.

    I didn’t come up with anything so quickly – but here’s one i prepared earlier, specifically about the River Derwent where it comes off the moors, but it contains a lot of things I feel about this “black, tedious, barren” place.

    river derwent

    sparked from the splintered sky –
    mercury fall of braided light –
    the river gathers its threads,
    spills its storm over the moor’s edge.

    eddies spire into peat-dark pools,
    layered over with the thin sky;
    and the light pauses, emanent
    in fired sheets of amber;

    until a white rage scours the bed
    and drags the hill in pieces
    down the widening valley’s maw;
    and still beneath the juggernaut path
    a fingernail width of life clings and steadies the flow,
    the aldered sentinel standing by.

    light deepens and pools again, flows through;
    silt and sand scatter and ebb
    between danced-out boulders and rooted banks;
    the light’s energy skims the river’s skin:
    it begins again, this reaching out
    for the wide home of the sea.


    Gordon MacLellan December 15th, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Susan Cross sent this:

    Susan’s response 2

    This countrey lies between
    the embrace of the picturesque
    and the titillation of the grotesque.
    Its beauty lies outside
    the confines of your imagination.

    The black depths of caves
    invite you down to grope blind
    through fearful imaginings
    to break forth new definitions.

    The tedium of Kinder
    strips away comfort and convention
    calls for a sharpened lively wit
    where the devil rides his road.

    There is no barren-ness.
    This land births rivers and stone
    sheep, cattle and gritted farm folk
    quarrymen and miners.

    Gray traveller, pass us by.
    Your smooth easy words of judgement
    do not fit this honest landscape,
    the rigours of dales and moors
    and their toughened people.


    Gordon MacLellan December 15th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    How I loved
    the wonderful playground of
    eroded stones along the moor’s edge,
    the old road twenty centuries old across it,
    the natural swimming pools of the brook,
    the valleys carved through white crags,
    the underground mystery of the caves,
    the majestic sweeping rise and fall of the edge
    from the mountain which slipped off
    the intrusive road from its flanks,
    the gardens of enchantment, with the magic
    of water, stone and plants around every corner,
    the ancient enigmatic stones of our ancestors,
    the Druid’s home of stone on the wooded hill,
    rich ground for the imagination,
    my homeland,
    my heartland.


    Gordon MacLellan December 15th, 2010 at 2:39 pm


    On entering the Peak
    a country beyond comparison
    open your eyes
    let your heart swell
    with its beauty
    your mind still
    with its peace
    stay a while and breath deep
    truly, a haven to replenish
    both heart and soul


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