Ribblehead And More

At Blea Moor we reversed the train
Then returned to Skipton via Ribblehead
Where Mick Smith and I
Had stood gazing into crystal clear pools
Of so cool
And fresh rainwater,
Fascinated by the water boatmen
Which danced on the meniscus.

I remembered the newts
Staring up at us from the bottoms of the ponds
With cold, black, fish-like eyes,
And the ferrets in their cages
In the barn next to the site office,
And how the ferrets darted back and forth,
And how they stank.

I remembered the chickens and the guinea fowl,
How Id chased them in and out of the barn,
And how on an earlier visit
Id explored the other side of the line
With Brooky, and speculated on the caves.

I remembered that morning when the clouds were low on the hillside,
And Id stood watching them roll like thick blankets of smoke
Or a promise of Jupiter.

I remembered too the viaduct,
And the decapitated sheep at the side of the track,
But most of all I remembered
And even felt
The tiredness which always overcame me on the return trip,
And thinking:
Yes, it is a wondrous place to visit,
It is an awe-inspiring landscape,
It is great to be alive,
But there must be more to life than this.

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