Poetry Book

Hallowed Hills: Poems of Northern Britain

 John Light






(33 pages, stapled, card cover)
ISBN 978 1 897968 43 7
£5 (or £3 direct from Photon Press)   US$10; US$11 air



In his introduction the author wrote:

Even in my London childhood I felt drawn towards the north by the brief glimpses my grandmother vouchsafed, mentions of castles, blacksmiths, the old miser uncles in Northumberland, her journey as a child to visit them by steamer up the east coast and then overland by dogcart. Then when I was a student at the University of Durham I made an effort to find the reality - and there it was! A maternal line from northern ancestry seemed to make understandable my sense of identity with the wide and empty landscapes of Northumbria.

Although I returned to live in the south, it was with a wife born in Leeds who herself had ancestors from Lancashire and Cumbria. It seemed inevitable that we should usually take our children north for inexpensive holidays, to one side of the Pennines or the other, and over the border to Scotland. Many of the poems in this collection resulted from those holidays, more recent ones from our life since we retired to Berwick-upon-Tweed. So like my other collections of place, this one is made up of poems covering a wide span of years but it is perhaps a sunnier compilation than those.




Some poems from the book

Battle Stone

Cheviot broods,
wrapt in teasing mists,
watching over
summer-lazy fields
below heavy
dark hammer-headed
afternoon clouds
threatening thunder.

All these still fields
drenched in history
whisper stories
of dread men marching
through afternoons
of darkening cloud
beneath those skies
long centuries gone.

The battle stone
in sullen silence
marks the meadow
where fearful men strove
for possession
of these fertile lands,
a bloody day
long centuries gone.



King and Queen

Rulers of a distorted commonwealth
enthroned
on Glenkiln Moor;
their court
was caught
by Henry Moore
who cloned
uncanny visions of uncommon wealth.


Night Beat

 

It had a chugging

steam-driven rhythym

that set the body

joyfully dancing

into the night time

enjoying summer

with swinging lanterns

pin-pricking darkness.

 

The life-beat woke me

from my grey tiredness,

a fleeting vision

of pagan lifeforce

recalling young times

when blood pumped harder

by senses driven

towards the future.






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(Page amended 05 September 2017)

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