The Friday Poem on 21/10/22
We chose ‘Old Woman Ravine’ by Jennifer Copley as our Friday Poem this week because we like the air of mystery the poem generates. Copley obviously delights in the landscape of Cumbria and the Lakes, and we delight in the way she anthropomorphises and celebrates the fells and ravines. Her language is precise and measured, and her imagery is delicate and considered — we can almost see the straggly hair rising in water and feel the damp mist settling on us. And we love those footprints, wherever they lead.
Old Woman Ravine
No one knows where it is.
Maybe behind the sloping granite stones
of Carlingill or in the dip
between Hobdale and the sea?
The old woman who lives there
has been heard cursing anyone who seeks her or her place.
She is known to have a limp, to hide in water,
only her long grey hair straggling the surface.
We go to Coniston.
Old Man looks like someone with a secret.
Perhaps he dallied with the woman, left her sleeping
behind the slate hedge near Skelwith.
We climb to a tarn.
Ravens are calling and the mist is coming down.
It clings to our hair and there are footprints in the grass,
one heel deeper than the other.