Saturday, 2 February 2013


Ghosts are different in the open country,
Unconstrained by the memories of walls.
Here they have a lightness that combines
With the beauty of the rising or the setting sun
Or in the gentle rain melt to liquid joy.
You will, I know, have felt their presence
The many times you’ve walked this way.
Perhaps you listened to the sighing wind,
Playing antediluvian melodies with the trees,
Or at half-imagined footsteps, turned around
To see who, with an almost-silent tread,
Had crept behind you as you stood transfixed,
To whisper beautiful, enticing words
That, just indiscernible, you longed to hear again.
I know! For I have heard them, too.
Not torn from wraiths of long-lost chieftans
Who, from their barrows’ vantage, still survey
The beauty of the land they ruled;
These spirits are not embedded in the earth
But, nonetheless, they have a right of tenure here.
Nor do they cry with grief, or pain of things long past,
But murmur with a deep and pure pleasure
That they are free at last – whilst we,
Whose souls remain ineffably attached to earth,
Cannot yet follow where they lead,
Into the very essence of this land,
To commune with trees and rooks and with the winds,
And fly, with soaring gulls, to unimagined heights,
Or follow the fox on silver-shadowed, moonstruck nights
To where fox and hare have secret shadow- trysts.
In wonder, you and I can only pass along this way,
Bound to a world that they have gladly left;
For they are clouds across a blameless sky
And soar, delighted, closer to the sun.



John J said...

A fascinating piece on a subject that I find intriguing. Nice one!

It brought to mind the Pieman's blog write-up on part of the South Downs Way here:


Pete Thompson said...

That's a nice blog, John. As it happens, the Yorkshire Wolds is part of the same band of chalk that makes up the South Downs and the landscape is similar in some respects, with a wealth of barrows, rings, etc.

Anonymous said...

I now have my weekend set before me. I've not been following this blog because I'd not linked my email to it. I've done so now. There seems not to be a misspent or misplaced word in "Ghosts" in that each adds its meaning and intent to a well-constructed and visceral poem.

In general, your writings bring to mind Coleridge, no small feat in that he wrote what I consider to be a 'best-ever' poem when he penned Kubla Khan. IMO, you have that same 'thing' in the way you use words, in the way you connect people in their wherever with what you experience on your walks. I hope you will give consideration to doing a book of poems. Your work would find appreciative audiences in countries that still have wilderness(es) and people who love their visits to them. You have put in words what I have experienced many times in life but never had the poetic wherewithal to capture.

I think the Brit term for your poems is 'brilliant'. Many thanks.


PS When I've read them all--my intent over the next few days--I may have a criticism. But don't hold your breath waiting for one

Pete Thompson said...

Thans, Bruce, I'm incredibly flattered by your comments. One thing I do have in common with Coleridge is the link between walking and writing although I came to that through another of my poetic heroes, Edward Thomas. I have it in the back of my mind to publish a book and may give it some serious consideration when I have ammassed a few more poems. Hope you enjoy the rest of the blog.