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

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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      1. 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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        1. 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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          1. 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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  4. 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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    1. 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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  5. 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’.

    Like

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