Poet laureate's 'Balancing Act' poem installed beside rock formations
An artwork inscribed with a poem by the poet laureate has been installed at the spectacular Brimham Rocks in North Yorkshire. The National Trust commissioned Simon Armitage to write a poem, ‘Balancing Act’, to be carved on two stone pillars at the rocks.
In a video accompanying his poem, Simon Armitage said that “it was a chance to get reacquainted with the rocks. I’d explored them as a child and in my memory, they were almost mythical or pieces of an alien landscape.
“Coming back to the area as an adult, and a poet, they were no less fascinating and mysterious but carried new messages connected to the environment, the precarious state of nature and the importance of wild spaces to our well-being.
“I also discovered that Brimham Rocks is more than just the stones, and the poem is a celebration of the wider ecosystem, from some of its more glamorous and obvious manifestations to micro-organisms, open moorland, and seemingly empty skies.”
The National Trust, which owns the site near Harrogate, was granted planning permission by North Yorkshire Council to place the two stone pillars close to an existing footpath.
The poem has been carved onto two large, locally sourced, stones creating a permanent work of art positioned on the north moor at Brimham by the trust’s Richard Dawson.
The poem describes the rocks as "flaunting their alien shapes". Brimham Rocks are natural rock formations, which were moulded by ice, wind and rain over 325 million years, and have assumed fantastic shapes. They include the Idol Stone, which is balanced on a very small rock.
Simon Armitage was also involved in the creation of the 47-mile Stanza Stones trail, in which six poems of his poems were carved into rocks between the poet’s home village of Marsden, and Ilkley, along the South Pennines watershed.