Dales Pictures

Wensleydale, Swaledale and Nidderdale,dwell

Up in the North under mountain and fell

While Wharfedale and Airedale settle, more southern

Than the bleak bare uplands of remoter cousins.


Here, cottongrass, deergrass, heath-rush and sedge

Bow fuzzy heads by the chill water's edge

As tadpole, natterjack, newt, toad and frog

Swim, squirm and slither in the soft sphagnum bog.


Tall bullrush and reedmace, willow and flag

Wave in the wind by the ponds, near the crag

Of grey limestone and gritstone resisting the weather,

Topped russet and purple by bracken and heather.


There, buzzard, sparrowhawk, kestrel and kite

Soar in the sky, full feathered in flight

So mouse, vole and shrew shrink and cower from capture

By talon and claw of ravenous raptor.


Elderberry, whortleberry, bilberry and sloe

Are the berries for the birds in the white winter snow:

Yellowhammer, linnet, whinchat and shrike

High up on the fellside of Buckden Pike.


Tewit and curlew, sandpiper and snipe

Make music with their calls as they whirl, cry and pipe

While celandine, primrose and bluebell burst buds

On the banks of the beck and the wilds of the woods.


Sheep, Roughfell, Swaledale, Dalesbred and Lonk

Down by the river, where the grey geese honk,

Browse timothy, fescue, bent and Yorkshire fog,

Shepherded homewards by rough-coat collie dog.


Longhorns, Shorthorns, heifers and bull

Munch on the meadow grass till they are full

Where hemlock, dock, thistle, nettle and sorrel

Sway as the sun sets, gold, crimson and coral.


Grassington, Reeth, Skipton, Settle and Hawes

Nestle in the valleys beneath misty moors

Whose chapels and castles and abbeys tell tales

Of mystery and history in depths of the Dales.

◄ Bowers Row Second-hand Memories

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Alison Smiles

Fri 25th May 2012 11:18

I love this one. Love the way each verse starts with a list. Love the rhythm, love the rhyme, and cheeky lines such as this:

bluebell burst buds On the banks of the beck

made me feel I was there. Marvellous and thank you for sharing it.

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