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  • Pule Hill
  • Nab Hill
  • Cows Mouth Quarry
  • Ilkley Moor
  • Rivock Edge
  • Backstone Beck
  • In Memory of Water

THE STANZA STONES PROJECT

If like me, you enjoy the prospect of finding something out of the ordinary and inspirational as you walk on the tops, Stanza Stonesyou might like the idea of searching for the Stanza Stones. The seven stones, each carved with a poem written by the poet Simon Armitage are at locations which in general follow the Pennine watershed. The Stanza Stones project, which started at Ilkley Festival in August 2010, is focused on Poems specially written by Simon stirred by his response to the Pennine Watershed and the relationship between the landscape and language of Yorkshire. The seven stones will form a permanent moorland trail across the watershed from Ilkley to Marsden the home town of the poet. Simon Armitage said “we have identified most of the sites where the poems might stand. We’ve driven, hiked and biked around the landscape, and still have some exploring left to do. Some of the poems will be carved onto existing outcrops, others onto introduced stones. I made a decision to let water be the overall subject, and the various forms of water to provide the topic of each individual and self-contained poem. A piece about rain, a piece about snow, a piece about dew….the Rain Stone, The Snow Stone, The Dew Stone…and so on” The first Stanza Stone (pictured here) to be completed is to be found in a disused quarry at Pule Hill near Marsden. The Stanza Stones poems are reproduced here by kind permission of Simon Armitage.
Download Stanza Stones Poetry Trail Guide

SNOW


The sky has delivered its blank missive. The moor in coma. Snow, like water asleep, a coded muteness to baffle all noise, to stall movement, still time.
What can it mean that colourless water can dream such depth of white? We should make the most of the light. Stars snag on its crystal points. The odd, unnatural pheasant struts and slides. Snow, snow, snow is how the snow speaks, is how its clean page reads.
Then it wakes, and thaws, and weeps.
©Simon Armitage 2010


Link to Simon Armitage's Web Site

 

Nab Hill Oxenhope

MIST

Stanza Stones

Who does it mourn? What does it mean, such
nearness, gathering here on high ground
while your back was turned, drawing its
net curtains around? Featureless silver screen, mist
is water in its ghost state, all inwardness,
holding its milky breath, veiling the pulsing machines
of great cities under your feet, walling you
into these moments, into this anti-garden
of gritstone and peat. Given time the edge of
your being will seep into its fibreless fur;
You are lost, adrift in hung water
and blurred air, but you are here.

©Simon Armitage 2010


Simon Armitage at Oxenhope

Ilkley Literature Festival held an event at Nab Hill
on Satuday evening 19th May when Simon read all the poems from "In memory of Water"
To see a video of him reading the Beck Stone poem click the link below.

Simon Armitage at Oxenhope

Blackstone Edge

Stanza Stone

The third Stanza Stone has now been completed at Cow’s Mouth Quarry near Blackstone Edge. The quarry is situated about 20 minutes walk along the track (Pennine Way) which starts at the White House pub. The Pub is on the A58 road between Halifax and Littleborough just beyond Blackstone Edge Reservoir. As you approach the quarry from the White House, watch for a small stone arched bridge spanning the catch water drain on you right about 75 yards before the crags. The path from the bridge affords a close up view of the face carrying the carving. The poem can also be seen from the main path if you continue along the gravelled track. A circular walk can be made if you continue on the track, taking the right turn to White Holme Reservoir returning to Blackstone edge and the White House on a good path over Byron Edge.

RAIN

Be glad of these freshwater tears,
Each pearled droplet some salty old sea-bullet
Air-lifted out of the waves, then laundered and sieved, recast as a soft bead and returned.
And no matter how much it strafes or sheets, it is no mean feat to catch one raindrop clean in the mouth,
To take one drop on the tongue, tasting cloud pollen, grain of the heavens, raw sky.
Let it teem, up here where the front of the mind distils the brunt of the world.

©Simon Armitage 2010

Ilkley Moor Whetstone Gate

Stanza Stone Ilkley Moor The last Stanza Stone is now in place on Ilkley Moor.

PUDDLE

Rain-junk
Sky-litter
Some May mornings
Atlantic storm-horses
clatter this way,
shedding their iron shoes
in potholes and ruts,
shoes that melt
into steel grey puddles
then settle and set
into cloudless mirrors
by noon.
The shy deer
of the daytime moon
comes to sip from the rim
But the sun
likes the look of itself,
stares all afternoon,
Its hard eye
Lifting the sheen
from the glass,
turning the glaze
to rust.
Then we don’t see things for dust.

©Simon Armitage 2010

The organizors of the Ilkley Literature Festival wanted to keep the locations of the stones under wraps for now, until they are all in place.
The whole Trail is being launched on May 1st when they will be revealing ALL the locations and anyone will be able to download the Trail Guide and maps of the walks to each stone.

Rivock Edge Silsden

Rivock Edge Rivock Edge

DEW

The tense stand-off
of summer’s end,
the touchy fuse-wire
of parched grass,
tapers of bulrush and reed,
any tree
a primed mortar of tinder,
one spark enough to trigger
a march on the moor
by ranks of flame.
Dew enters the field
under cover of night,
tending the weary and sapped,

©Simon Armitage 2010


lifting its thimble of drink
to the lips of a leaf,
to the stoats tongue,
trimming a length
of barbed-wire fence
with liquid gems, here
where bog-cotton
flags its surrender
or carries its torch
for the rain.

Then dawn, when sunrise
plants its fire-star
in each drop, ignites
each trembling eye.

The Dew Stones

For a short period the Dew Stones were displayed like an open book just beyond the gate leading into a field. The Stones have now been moved to an upright position within the open gateway.
The position of the stones obstruct the gate way but allow light to pass between them. The stones were made out of one thick block of Scoutmoor gritstone sourced from a quarry in Brighouse. The block was sawn down the middle thus creating two halves which, when stood together give the impression of two mirrors facing each other.

Backstone Beck Ilkley

Backstone Beck

The Beck

It is all one chase.
Trace it back the source
might be nothing more than a teardrop
squeezed from a Curlew’s eye,
then follow it down to the full-throated roar
at its mouth - a dipper strolls the river
dressed for dinner in a white bib.
The unbroken thread of the beck
with its nose for the sea
all flux and flex, soft-soaping a pebble
for thousands of years, or here
after hard rain, sawing the hillside in half
with its chain. Or here, where water unbinds
and hangs at the waterfall’s face, and
just for that one, stretched white moment
becomes lace.

©Simon Armitage 2010

In Memory of Water by Simon Armitage

A beautifully produced, limited, signed edition of Simon Armitage’s six newly commissioned Stanza Stones poems. Specially written by Simon Armitage for the Stanza Stones project and inspired by the language and landscape of the Pennine Watershed.

In Memory of Water

Stanza Stones, an imaginative collaboration between Simon Armitage and Ilkley Literature Festival, is part of imove, a Cultural Olympiad programme in Yorkshire.

Limited edition, numbered and signed by Simon Armitage, with a foreword by the author.
Cost £5.00 BUY NOW

Sunday 11th August 2013

Coach dep 09.00 (1) We Are 110 A: Mick Melvin B: Rita Schofield Malham Circular: a very special event Please see newsletter for details