Simon Armitage's Stanza Stones poems seen in new light - and at new locations
Ilkley literature festival has joined forces with the poet laureate Simon Armitage to revisit the Stanza Stones collaboration as part of the ‘Bradford is LiT’ celebrations of light taking place at the weekend.
The Stanza Stones poems were originally written in 2012 and then carved into rocks across moorland landscapes between Ilkley and Marsden. The new project reimagined them in a film combining light projections with video and time-lapse photography.
Filmed during lockdown in early 2021, the new work takes the six poems – Mist, Beck, Snow, Rain, Puddle and Dew – and transposes them to new locations around Ilkley, including the Cow and Calf, White Wells Spa and the Ilkley Manor House.
Screenings took place on Saturday 6 November between 4.30pm and 6.30pm every 15 minutes on a big screen outside All Saints’ Church, Ilkley.
Meanwhile the poet laureate has come up with his own response to the climate conference in Glsgow. Simon Armitage said of his "strange poem" in the Guardian: "I wanted to react to COP26 – so many of my friends and colleagues have been emboldened by the conversation it has generated. And strange times sometimes lead to strange poems.
"I was trying to chart the peculiar dream-like state we seem to be in, where the rules and natural laws of the old world feel to be in flux, one of those dreams which are full of danger, but not completely beyond the control of the person who sleeps.
"The speaker in the poem is watching a world out of kilter, and is full of doubt and distrust, but seems to pluck up enough personal courage to face the future. Let’s call it hope."
by Simon Armitage
I crawl out onto the rooftop
above the world’s junkshop,
lean against the warm chimney
and eyeball the city.
The vibe is … let’s say ethereal,
rows of TV aerials
spelling out HEAVEN,
spelling out ARMAGEDDON.
It’s T minus zero
of the Petroleum Era –
all my neighbours
are burning tomorrow’s newspapers
in their back-gardens,
getting their alibis sharpened.
As the hours evaporate
I say to my spirit
I can’t really pilot
this smouldering twilight
over the scars and crevasses,
but I’ll put on my best sunglasses
and steer the cockpit of morning
into the oncoming.