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The Hill Runners (A New Poem)

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The Hill Runners


Hill running is something you admire.

It’s in your blood, North Yorkshire’s

Moreish love of loneliness

How the heather heavy tragedy

Makes mountains sides romantic,

Peaks magnetic as a pole star’s pull.


I know you dream of them, those grim,

Uncomplicated, headlong men.

You can see heroic silhouettes –

Black dot specks on blue hillsides

Doing something brave and pointless

Through the night, mile after lonely mile.


You have felt the selfish thrill of an unshared sunrise,

Flushed with pride when you looked behind

To find not another human soul

Between you and the horizon

The valley’s green-gold blanket folds

Glinting in the hazel of your eyes.


You have form, of course, being born

In the shadow of Roseberry Topping

Where you walked the bare backed, spinal ridge

To Captain Cook’s monument to sit,

Your little mittened hand in hers,

High above the village where you lived.


I am not cut out for it, but still,

The hill runners have got inside my head.

I dream of you and them, bobbing up ahead,

Of me, slipping, falling, looking up to see

Your darkly spattered runner’s calves

Moving into the distance, away from me.

naturepoetryhill runningrelationships

Poem published on poetry24 ►


Steve Smith

Sun 28th Dec 2014 18:03

Well made!
Steve Smith

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Wed 10th Dec 2014 20:02

A poem to re-read many times with great pleasure, to enjoy so many excellent images built with fine diction.

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Laura Taylor

Wed 10th Dec 2014 09:53

Ooooo - blimey - one of the best poems I've read for a long while this. Chockful of gorgeous sonics and a proper soundscape to match the geography.


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Gary Smillie

Tue 9th Dec 2014 17:33

Thank you very much, gents. Great feedback. Just rediscovered this site today. It looks great and really looking forward to exploring and reading some of your poetry too.

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M.C. Newberry

Tue 9th Dec 2014 16:39

The content takes me back to the hill-walking of
my younger past (nothing quite so energetic as
"hill-running"), and the majestic country of
mountain and valley across the British Isles.
Sitting alone at the end of a high ice-laden ridge
after a hard slog...with those wonderful feelings
of achievement and being at one with the timeless surroundings. Matchless memories.

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Greg Freeman

Tue 9th Dec 2014 15:39

Fine poem, Gary. "The selfish thrill of an unshared sunrise" is a great line. And I love the topographical details; wonderful part of the world.

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