St Mary

'O Brignall Banks are wild and fair
And Greta's woods are green
And you may gather garlands there,
Would grace a summer queen'.
Sir Walter Scott “O Brignall Banks”
there are places where hell surfaces
unearths itself in fiery, fuming pits
genocidal graves and laval flow
so too does heaven make itself known
mountains and spires almost touch
but holiness does not abide by aspiration
it reaches down - and surely leaves a mark
there where a Cumbrian church has crumbled
one eastern gable and a chancel ruin
topsy-turvy tombs with names illegible in lichen
and walking among them, I saw the apparitions congregate
bonnets and bombazine criss-crossing the dales
voices rising with the larks from the quaking grass
an easy summer Sunday pace  - but they ploughed too, these farming folk
through nettle and winds that bit into glove and gaiter
and here they lie side by side, the river glides beside them
its journey thwarted momentarily by boulders
slippery green the Greta rushes  - and I remained for always

see Brignall Church print by Turner (before the church was stripped to build a new one in the village in 1834).