Mam Tor

1834

Mam Tor | James Caruth

The slow brutality of ice
caught on a wind that given time
will whet a body to an edge.

From here our world begins.
High seat of abrasive gods,
their stone altar scattered.

Take back these roads,
take back these settlements,
for weasel and stoat will have dominion.

The hare will have dominion.
Curlew will sing a lonely praise
below this dome of cloud.

And crows will pick at our bones,
discarded in the half-drowned fields,
white scapula and skull.

Mam Tor is a 517m hill near Castleton in the High Peak of Derbyshire, England. It is also known as the Shivering Mountain on account of the instability of its lower shale layers. In 1979 the continual battle to maintain the A625 road (Sheffield to Chapel en le Frith) on the crumbling southern side of the hill was lost due to a land-slip and the road was officially closed as a through-route.

To listen to James Caruth reading this poem, click here.

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