valley of the Dales

Reinagle, Ramsay Richard, 1775-1862; Matlock Bath, High Tor, Derbyshire
Matlock Bath, High Tor, Derbyshire
Ramsay Richard Reinagle (1775–1862) Source

Willow seeds adrift at Ambergate
a bothersome fluff for passengers in patient, waiting rooms
small brown butterflies and gnats frequent the line here too
fleeing in retreat when engines rouse the Dale’s slumbering tracks
only the hustle of these halts can muffle the Derwent’s headlong rush
meeting to impress the ponderous Trent in Derby town

Aeons past, fortressed pinnacles of limestone were cleaved
the river’s relentless cut and thrust found a reluctant valley
scored and sinewed as a snake it wove the woods and meadow
and decades later dynamic railmen forged a lateral course
with dynamite and might of money, mind and muscle
took silk and cotton cloth to town,  milled on the harnessed headwaters

Industry rests now and the madding crowd disperses
crafting the waterways, picnicking on Peaks
woodlands thicket the grizzled face of High Tor
some naked, grey patches hang about it like smoke
as though charcoal burners have scaled the Heights of Abraham*
but climbers do, significant as insects in this valley of the Dales

*a Tor named after the Plains/Heights of Abraham in Quebec, Canada and the battle where James Wolfe died

Links:
The Derwent Valley

a brief interlude at Matlock Bath prompted these impressions and even though my Muse is not feeling refreshed I’m linking up with Bjorn at dVerse OLN #220

32 Comments on “valley of the Dales

    • Thanks Frank – the Derwent does not look like a thread but it does weave in and out and spun the cotton mills as well

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  1. This is wonderful story of a place.. how we change it, how it prosper in industry and then dies… I can see and hear the souls of people in that old industry… and tracks left in the landscape.

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    • A lovely landscape but hard to keep its beauty in the telling so thank you for your words

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  2. That was an awesome write… being a French-Canadian from Quebec and understanding our history.

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    • Both Generals dead and a Derbyshire peak memorialises the outcome!

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  3. When the muse isn’t feeling refreshed, send it to the locker room for a shower. Then follow Sean Connery’s character’s advice in Finding Forrester — “Punch the damn keys!”

    I thought this was a lovely, descriptive poem/history lesson/reverie. God only knows what you’re capable of when the muse shows up in force!

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    • Really appreciate your encouragement Charley – am evidently too passive with my Muse!

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      • Sometimes I resort to the cattle prod. Other times it’s a night out for dinner, drinks and dancing. I won’t elaborate beyond that….

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  4. I love the history behind the place and valleys specially with the creation of railways and trading of silk and cotton ~ How time and industry can change our landscape ~

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    • A little bit of the personal as my great grandparents had a silk mill

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  5. Incredible. A poem and a history less all in one. The people come to life again as do the tracks in the distance.

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    • Thank you as was not sure how and where to take this poem

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  6. I like the way you start with the tiniest detail – the fluff, the gnats – and then pull out, like a cinematic panning shot, and then take us through history, almost coming full circle, from rural to industrial to rural.

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    • great feedback Sarah – that is just how it all panned out but was not sure if it went too far

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  7. There’s a nineteenth century industrial feel to this poem. One that Mrs Gaskell could have included in a novel.

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    • I like that Jane – that era seems to fit me like a kid glove perhaps because of the many 19th centurty novels of I’ve enjoyed

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      • It’s very out of fashion now. The writing is too dense, too wordy and there’s just too much of it for the average reader these days. When I think that my great-grandmother who was working in a mill at the age of twelve read all of Dickens and Thackeray and her favourite of all was Wilkie Collins. What a load of ignorant wimps fashion is producing!

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        • your literate antecedents paid off in your talents Jane…and yes we are word wimps in these ‘too much information man’ days. I read ‘Vanity Fair’ at 15 – and could cope with all those words and pages but not ‘War and Peace’ or ‘Moby Dick’ 😉

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          • If you write for adults, it’s possible to get away with using long words, but woe betide you if you try it on with YA. I still haven’t read War and Peace and only read Moby Dick because it was on the course. Didn’t enjoy it though. I also read Vanity Fair when I was in my teens and enjoyed it.

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  8. Wow!💜 this is a beautifully descriptive poem! I enjoyed learning about history with the development of railways and trading of silk and cotton. 💜

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    • an industrious time Sanaa dense with an unapologetic history of Empire – only hindsight casts a different perspective as is often the case – for all that Derbyshire Dales manages to maintain the dramatic and scenic as I tried to evoke here – thank you

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  9. Oh this is so beautiful, Laura. I have a very good friend from Derbyshire and you’ve brought some wonderful scenes to mind in the lines:
    ‘small brown butterflies and gnats frequent the line here too
    fleeing in retreat when engines rouse the Dale’s slumbering tracks’
    and
    ‘Industry rests now and the madding crowd disperses
    crafting the waterways, picnicking on Peaks
    woodlands thicket the grizzled face of High Tor
    some naked, grey patches hang about it like smoke’.

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  10. I love your description of somewhere you obviously love. Beautiful images here and a quiet contemplation of place.

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    • thank you – a touch of the hypokeimenon in these Dales!

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