Last July my niece Jenny and I went wild camping to the English Lake District and this is a poem about that memorable end of day experience of lake-light and vision. Ennerdale Water is the most westerly glaciated lake in Cumbria, very deep and the area has been designated for “re-wilding”….well I don’t know about this concept ..look up the literature on “re-wilding” and draw your own conclusions. It is stunningly beautiful, remote and mystical. The poem is dedicated to Jenny, my companion in adventure for the week. The photos are all her work. Here is the poem:
“And the azurous hung hills are his world-wielding shoulder”
Hopkins, “Hurrahing in Harvest”
You want to stop with your camera
and though it’s almost evening time
we leave the wooded track
emerging at the lake’s edge
balancing on the wet stones
and look across to the far side
of the valley that cradles
this expanse of still water.
The light is labile now, it almost slides
into new forms as we watch
silent, transfixed, listening
to the metallic click from your camera
that denotes time and exposure.
And then the water changes
Slowly takes hold of, grasps the image,
like the camera,
of the mountains, woods and sky.
And I realise for the first time
that this is temporal, this intensity
occuring only when the light is flexed,
the lake open and yet withholding something
something alive and passing.
Soon it slides again into shadow
with the approaching darkness.
If we were to stay,
pitch our tents here and wait
I know we’d see the starlit-sky
and wonder whether
the lake would hold the galaxy
inverted like the shouldered mountainside
so we would feel planetary,
born up in space and time