The road to Kendal

rises high across the moors.
The heather’s gone now.
Scraggly this year, they said.

The car sweeps up the hill,
red-topped snow poles stand
against the sky, ready

for winter drifts. We turn sharp right
towards Middleton-in-Teesdale,
almost miss the white signpost

and the two stray sheep lounging
beside it. A green farm truck and trailer,
just visible, is wide for this route,

but there’s no motorway anywhere near.
The bracken stretches either side,
miles and miles of gold, dark brown

from a burnt-out summer. Fires raged,
danced on this skyline, but today
clear sunlight spills across our path.

The convoys of Land Rovers no longer squat
on the horizon, beaters are gone.
August’s Glorious Twelfth is dead till next year.

The red grouse can return.
Sunglasses on, we forget for a while,
that it’s the very end of September.

We climb the heights,
change gears, could carry on
into the sky if we really tried.


Alison Campbell is a school counsellor from Aberdeen living in London. Her poetry has been published in Obsessed with Pipework, The Curlew, commended in the Barnet Poetry competition 2018 and shortlisted in the Segora poetry competition 2018.