Hutton Roof Crags - Andrew Forster

This land reduced to its bones
a tattered map of runnels and grikes
carved by millennia of rain, stretching
beyond sight. Scrabbling on to
the limestone pavement of Holme Park Fell.

The motorway behind is in clear view
but oddly silent like a waking dream.
Wind rattles through dried hawthorn and ash,
blown in, seeded in the thin soil of clefts
twisted postures like a visible breeze.

It's hard to balance on the tilted rock
and rifts open out before us, forcing
shifts of direction. It's east to get lost here.
This place shrugs off any meaning we impose.
Scattered erratics are signs we can't decipher.

Resting by a boulder my fingers find
an ammonite in a crevice, in perfect relief.
We wonder at melting ice that brought it here
and strange peace that kept it undisturbed
and leave it as a gift for the next stranger.

Moving on, it's easier not to look
for a fixed path, but put faith in patterns
of limestone. Out of the corner of my eye,
a blue butterfly rises from a brittle bouquet
of hart's tongue, briefly charging the air.