An Easy To Moderate Climb.


‘An easy to moderate climb’, the guidebook promises.

But, halfway up Catbells’ spine, she turns to me and says,

“I can’t carry on anymore.”


We had followed in footprints of dead Roman legions.

I’d even seen her walking on her hands on Tynemouth beaches.

But, she can’t carry on anymore.


We covered maps by millimetres, drank goat milk by the litre.

I’d even got half sober in Saint Petersburg one winter.

But she can’t carry on anymore.


– Tide books, tealights, dry-stone walls.

Locks of light, umbilical.

Hagstones in the Royal Mail.

Pencilled names from Saxon graves.


Bunting stitched on hems and denim,

cut-out poems from daily papers,

paraded painted soldiers on rented windowsills.

Fucked in as many counties as we had toes. –


But “I can’t carry on anymore.”


Below us was the lake

and the road we’d travelled in on.

Above us was the flinted sky

and the chalked and bony spine.



We took each other by the hand and carried on.




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