Nine years old, I am kneeling in the easy earth
following the line of the ploughed, polished damp soil
over the bow of a familiar horizon
and into my teenage years.
Cumbria, the Lune Valley, Ruskin’s’ view,
Casterton, Barbon, over Howgill’s curves and into Settle,
the Ribblehead Viaduct, stretching on through the Lakes to Carlisle.
To Wordsworth, his Dorothy and his daffodils.
They all loom large.
Casting their sun and their shadows across the Dales and into Harrogate,
buttery teacakes at Betty’s before dusty class rooms
alight with Blake’s bright angels, with Dante and T S Eliot.
It was they who called me and carried me on the railway artery from York
and onto the number thirty Route Master from Kings Cross to Roehampton.
Dancing my way onto an empty stage,
an empty page.